Why do people seek counseling or “psychotherapy” and what does it involve?

Most individuals consider therapy because they are ultimately seeking positive changes in their lives.  They may be contemplating a major life decision, dealing with intense emotional pain, or perhaps feeling that their life is completely out of control.   Dr. Ridgway's life-span approach to treatment helps individuals successfully navigate life transitions ranging from college, employment, relationships, medical illness, retirement, caregiving, bereavement, and end-of-life.  Dr. Ridgway provides a safe and accepting environment where clients find relief from emotional distress.  She works together with her clients to clarify goals, identify strengths, and develop a treatment plan tailored to her clients’ specific needs.

 

What type of treatment does Dr. Ridgway offer?

Dr. Ridgway's primary treatment approach is mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy.  This means that she helps individuals become aware of what is happening in the present moment, and then develop skills to adapt their thoughts and behaviors in ways that foster health and well-being.  Mindfulness and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy are evidenced-based treatments with decades of clinical research demonstrating their effectiveness. Dr. Ridgway also integrates other treatment modalities as indicated to meet the specific needs of each client.

 

What is a psychoeducational evaluation?

Psychoeducational evaluation is defined as a set of assessment procedures administered and interpreted to obtain information about an individual’s development, cognition, academics, adaptive functioning, and social-emotional adjustment.  Evaluations are conducted using evidence-based methods; specifically, psychologist administered norm-referenced standardized tests; diagnostic interviews with client-and-collateral informants; direct clinical observation; administration of client -and-collateral diagnostic inventories; review of pertinent academic and medical records. 

A psychoeducational evaluation will assess an individual's functioning in three primary areas that impact learning and academic success at primary, secondary, or postsecondary levels; namely, 1) cognitive/learning aptitude; 2) academic skill development; and 3) psychosocial adjustment. More specifically, the evaluation will yield information about an individual's intellectual functioning, information processing, academic achievement, learning & memory processes, language, executive functions, and psychosocial functioning. 

 

What are the purposes of a psychoeducational evaluation? 

A psychoeducational evaluation is conducted in order to determine whether a specific learning disorder (SLD) or related condition (e.g., ADHD/ADD) may be significantly impacting an individual’s academic performance.  For instance, the presence of SLD, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and/or psychological conditions (e.g., anxiety, mood disorder) can contribute to academic frustration and limit the ability to perform at one's level of innate potential.  In addition to identifying SLD if present, psychoeducational evaluations provide specific recommendations appropriate to educational circumstances as well as recommendations for additional evaluation or treatment if indicated (e.g., psychotherapy, psychiatric consultation, chemical dependency evaluation, etc.).