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  Counseling/Psychotherapy :  

The counseling process begins with an intake, which is an approximately one-hour interview in which Dr. Milgraum questions you about the problems you have been experiencing and your background.  At the end of this session, Dr. Milgraum will provide you with treatment recommendations, which may include counseling, psychological testing or consultation with a physician.  Counseling usually occurs on a weekly basis, but under some circumstances, Dr. Milgraum sees clients less frequently.  Over the course of the counseling, clients develop greater insight into the causes of their problems and discover positive changes they can make to improve their coping.  As needed, Dr. Milgraum will make suggestions for positive life changes, and he collaboratively examines with the client the outcomes of such changes.  Counseling is conducted within a supportive, empathetic environment, designed to put the client at ease.  In addition, Dr. Milgraum often teaches specific skills during the counseling session.  For example, when needed, Dr. Milgraum uses relaxation exercises and biofeedback to teach improved coping with stress.

Counseling can take the form of individual, family, couple or group sessions.  Family sessions are used to allow multiple family members to provide input about problems with family functioning.  In couples counseling, Dr. Milgraum helps couples improve communication and trust and rediscover what originally untied them.  In group sessions, 5-8 unrelated clients discuss their life challenges and what they are doing to address them.  Group counseling provides a sense of understanding and encouragement, as group members see that others are struggling with similar issues.  Group counseling is especially helpful for those who suffer from social anxiety.

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When doing therapy with children and adolescents, Dr. Milgraum divides his time between therapy with them and private conversations with their parents.  He helps parents learn new parenting strategies, which have been demonstrated to bring improvements in behavior and emotional problems.  Dr. Milgraum uses talk or play therapy with children, as needed.  

Psychological Evaluation :

Psychological evaluation involves one to three sessions (2-3 hours each) of working with Dr. Milgraum.  During the evaluation process, a variety of psychological tests are administered.  Depending on the presenting problem, tests of intelligence, attention, educational achievement, problem solving, memory, emotional function, and personality may be performed.  While occasionally only one psychological test is utilized, Dr. Milgraum generally uses multiple measures in order to provide a well-rounded assessment of the client’s functioning.  Dr. Milgraum’s evaluations have been used in many court proceedings and he has served as an expert witness to present his evaluation findings in court.

Some examples of the types of psychological evaluations that Dr. Milgraum performs, include

  • Psychoeducational Assessments: Dr. Milgraum provides assistance to parents who are concerned about the educational progress of their children.  Dr. Milgraum provides a thorough overview of your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of attention, problem solving, verbal and nonverbal skills, abstract reasoning, educational achievement, and social-emotional functioning.  A psychoeducational assessment is an essential first step to understanding the causes of a child’s academic delays.  After the assessment is complete, Dr. Milgraum often continues to assist parents with their child’s educational planning.  He communicates with teachers and parents and helps them to revise their strategies as necessary.  Depending on the needs of the situation, Dr. Milgraum makes in-school observations, attends school meetings, and meets with the parents and/or the child regularly.

  • Assessment for Emotional, Developmental or Personality Problems: There are multiple reasons why clients may need an evaluation of emotional, developmental or personality functioning.  Physicians may seek diagnostic clarification to assist with medical management of a patient.  Courts may seek information for the purposes of making custody decisions for children or rehabilitating individuals in the juvenile or adult justice systems.  Parents may desire an explanation for the child’s behavior problems or withdrawal.  Dr. Milgraum has assisted clients in all of these situations and more.
  • Alzheimer’s and Other Memory Problems:  When conducting evaluations of potential Alzheimer’s or other memory problems, Dr. Milgraum provides evaluation of short-term and delayed memory, organization, planning, thinking ability and emotional functioning.  Such an evaluation is often an essential part of determining the presence of a memory problem and identifying the ways in which the client has been affected by the disorder.

  • Immigration Evaluations:  Dr. Milgraum has evaluated immigrants in connection to their petitions to remain in the country.  Such petitions may be based on political asylum, spousal abuse or other reasons.  In these evaluations social-emotional functioning, client background and life circumstances are considered.

Mediation :

In mediation an impartial facilitator meets with disputing parties and helps them design a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.  During mediation, Dr. Milgraum gives both sides the opportunity to tell their side of the story without interruption.  Dr. Milgraum does not assign blame, judge who is right or wrong, or make decisions about what should happen.  Once everyone has a firm grasp on the issues involved, the mediation enters into the problem-solving stage where both sides are encouraged to identify and agree on workable solutions.  Mediation clients are free to reject any proposal that they find unacceptable.  Clients are free to terminate mediation whenever they wish.  All discussions that occur during mediation are strictly confidential.  Dr. Milgraum provides mediation for a wide range of disputes, including divorce, employment, contracts, wills, elder care and tort lawsuits.

Mediation is especially helpful in divorce situations.  Separation and divorce can be a painful and confusing process.  In addition, legal battles are very stressful.  Litigating parties must contend with a high financial burden, delays and the loss of privacy, as the details of their lives are discussed in a public courtroom.  To make matters worse, the court system lacks the time and expertise to effectively resolve many domestic disputes.  Often both parties are unhappy with the court's decision and continue to argue with each other.  Mediation provides couples with a low-cost, practical way of resolving their disputes in a fraction of the time involved in litigation.  In addition, the mediation is conducted in a private and relaxed setting.

Divorce is a difficult time for children, and they can suffer greatly if the divorcing parties are "at war."  Mediation helps soften the effects of divorce on children.  It helps the parties discuss the needs of their children in a civil, non-confrontive way.  Mediation also allows the parents, who are the best experts on their children, to make decision regarding them, rather than a judge who has very little knowledge of their children.  Mediation helps the parents mutually develop a parenting plan, which will create a sense of stability for the children.

Parenting Coordination :

Parenting coordinators help divorced or divorcing parents with problems that arise in the co-parenting of their children.  A number of factors can interfere with effective parenting, including conflicts between parents, lack of knowledge about children’s needs and development, lack of workable parenting strategies or even logistical problems (such as difficulty coordinating the visitation schedule with the child’s extra-curricular activities).  As a parenting coordinator, Dr. Milgraum works with parents to help them create an environment and routine that is best suited for their children’s unique needs.  In this work, Dr. Milgraum draws on his expertise in communication, divorce, child rearing and child development.  Parenting coordinators are often appointed by a court, after the court has issued a parenting plan or ratified the parent’s settlement agreement.  Dr. Milgraum works with the parents as an educator and facilitator of communication.  He helps the parents with problems that may arise in their attempts to parent the children and interpret the court order (as it relates to parenting).  Dr. Milgraum also provides parenting coordination services on a non-court-appointed basis, when parents are independently seeking help in co-parenting skills. In parenting coordination, Dr. Milgraum has helped clients transform a high-conflict situation into one that is much more stable and healthy for both the children and the parents.      

Consultation :

Dr. Milgraum draws on his psychological expertise to provide consultation to institutions, such as schools and businesses.  He has frequently been invited to make presentations on a variety of topics, including stress management, bullying, mediation, learning disabilities and child/adolescent behavior problems.  He is available for extended workplace trainings on topics such as conflict resolution, stress management, and anger management.

©Copyright Michael Milgraum 2007. All rights reserved.