Psych Services: Got Stress? Here’s some advice

SONIA BURLINGAME

Perhaps you have been struggling with your marriage, have been grieving a loss, have been worried about your child, or have been concerned about your mood.  If so, you may have considered coming to Psychological Services for help but felt unsure or unclear of how it all works, and were reluctant to ask.  For that reason, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.  We hope our answers make you more likely to take the first step toward getting help.

What does Psychological Services do?  We provide a wide array of professional psychological services including individual, child, family, and couple’s therapy.  We also offer consultations, parenting education, and evaluations to screen for and identify possible mental health conditions.

How is this different than our City EAP? 

One distinct difference is that we work ONLY with HPD personnel.  We evaluate incoming recruits, we teach at the Academy, we see classified personnel following critical incidents, we go on ride-alongs with police, and we provide therapy to HPD personnel every day.  As such, we have developed expertise in working with officers and their families that you will not find anywhere else.

What are the most common reasons HPD personnel reach out to Psych Services?  Most often, individuals seek our service to obtain professional assistance in coping with life problems such as family and relationship issues, divorce, grief, work problems, burn-out, parenting concerns, etc.  They may also seek our services for treatment of various mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or ADHD.

How do I get started?  Just call for an initial appointment.  Our number is (832) 394-1440.  When you come in, you will meet privately with one of our licensed psychologists, for approximately one hour.  Future visits will be scheduled with the same doctor.

How many sessions do I get?  There are no pre-determined limits to the number of sessions you receive.  You and your doctor determine how long you need to come in.

How much does it cost?  Nothing.  Our services are provided at no cost to HPD personnel. We do not file a claim with your insurance company, so there are no deductibles or co-pays either. This is a valuable benefit when you consider the high hourly cost of professional psychological treatment in the private sector.

 Who is eligible to receive treatment from Psychological Services?  All active and retired HPD personnel, both classified and civilian, and their immediate families are eligible for services.  This includes your spouse and dependent children, up to age 26.  Ex-spouses, parents, and siblings are not eligible for services.

What are your hours and location?  The office is at 12941 North Freeway, Suite 635, on the 45 South feeder road between Greens and Rankin, down the street from the Academy.

Is treatment private and confidential?   Yes.  We are bound by state law and Board rules to maintain your privacy and confidentiality.  We do not release any information without your written consent, although there are a few specific exceptions as required by law.  For instance, we are required by law to report abuse of children, the elderly, or the handicapped, and to seek assistance if we believe you are a threat to yourself or others.  Any questions about confidentiality are addressed during your initial visit.

Will anything be reported to my supervisors?  No, we cannot disclose any information about your treatment to anyone unless you provide us written permission.  If you just need verification of attendance, we provide you with a return to work or school slip, which we call a “blue slip,” and you can present that to anyone you choose. If you come to us to satisfy a general order, you will be given a letter to verify your compliance.

 Can I come while I am on duty?  Yes. If you are on duty, you can attend at your supervisor’s discretion, although most officers come on their own time so that no one is aware of their visits.

Can I go to Psych Services if I am relieved of duty?  Absolutely!  Going to therapy is looked upon favorably, so you are encouraged to come.  Even if you are restricted to your home, you may receive permission to attend sessions.

Will you prescribe medicine if I need it?  No, we do not prescribe medicine at Psychological Services.  If medicine is needed, such as for depression or ADHD, often your regular primary care provider or pediatrician will write the prescription.

Do you conduct custody evaluations? No, we do not conduct custody evaluations or any evaluations for the sole intent and purpose of obtaining professional testimony in a court of law.

If you have questions we have not answered here, just give us a call–we’d like to hear from you.