Dr. Karyne Messina





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Psychotherapy | Testing | Psychoanalysis | The College Edge | Career Counseling | Coaching | Couples and Family Counseling | Mother/Baby Interventions | Custody Evaluations

Psychotherapy to me is about collaborating with other people to help them learn about themselves as they work towards solving conflicts and other life issues that they are faced with, sometimes on a daily basis.

When I see a new, potential patient for a consultation the first time, I attempt to assess what they want from life and from what they are struggling. I do this along with each person so together we can determine what is best for them at the current time. Sometime people want to work on one problem and then develop a greater desire to explore and be curiosity about there internal world. Often in these situations, we work more intensely with more frequency to search for what is meaning to them and how they want to navigate in the world with choice versus feeling they must comply with the wisher of others. In the pursuit of becoming freer, patients often come to know that the door to their own "personal and internal prison cell" is not locked; all they need to do is open the door and walk toward a freer and more fulfilling life.

The benefits of educational and psychological testing are multi-faceted. If your child learns differently, it is critically important to know exactly what the problem entails and how weaknesses can be improved upon. Specific learning packets are offered as an option for all people evaluated so those professional responsible for their growth and development will be able to pinpoint the area(s) in need of improvement. When testing talented and gifted children or adolescents, is it most optimal to know their their strengths, as well as the areas in which they perform less well. In this way you can help your child excel in areas of strength while greatly improving in those subjects that they are not as able to easily master. In both cases, children who are tested for strengths, as well as weaknesses, can be given the most optimal chance to be successful.

In a perfect world, I believe psychological and educational testing is a valuable experience for all children and adolescents because results most often help to highlight their strengths as well as the specific nature of their problem(s). Knowing a child learns differently in some general way is not what is most optimal. However, knowing their specific strengths, weaknesses and interests can help psychologists and learning specialists create specific activities that can help people of all ages improve in their less-well-developed ways of processing information. By combining what they do well with what is exciting for them to learn, their weaker, less developed skills most often greatly improve.

This concept also applies to gifted and talented children and adolescents. By weaving together what areas they excel in with what makes them excited about learning, one can help these students improve scores and increase performance in the areas that are more challenging.

In both cases, learning is enhanced and becomes more fun because their interests are incorporated into their regular curriculum along with individualized learning modules.

I also believe testing minimizes speculation and clarifies what goals are most important to address versus what teachers, parents or a therapist might believe to be the most significant issues. Clarification of a child's or adolescent's problems come to light much more quickly and efficiently through testing. This is due to the fact that some behaviors mask what is really occurring in the child's or adolescent's inner world. For example, a child or adolescent may act like the class clown to cover up being depressed or having low self-esteem. Test results highlight the discrepancy between external behavior and inner states of mind and feeling much more quickly than therapy alone.

In the case of latency-age children, it often takes a fair amount of time to have a clear picture of their problems because they like to play games and they do not like to answer questions. This can be true of some adolescents as well. While most young children express their thoughts and feelings through play therapy, which is interpreted by the therapist, testing can help clarify what they are trying to express in a much more efficient and timely manner rather than therapy only.