Health Psychology & Physicians

Studies have shown that nearly three quarter of primary care visits are mental health related. Primary care physicians are providing mental health care more than any other specialty including psychiatry.

Assessment psychologists have much to offer primary care physicians who are treating mental health clients with medication and bedside care. Physicians may benefit from a detailed behavioral healthcare assessment that can profile a patient’s strengths and challenges including functional capacity, ability to comprehend medical instructions, and capacity for treatment compliance. At times, there are concerns about substance use disorders, an area in which Dr. Griffith has many years of assessment experience.

Physicians may also desire an assessment for questions about ADHD in either children or adults. Dr. Griffith authored a monograph on ADHD in 1993. Before and since that time, he has performed many assessments to help determine treatment plans for children, teens and adults. Dr. Griffith’s philosophy is to perform an assessment of the person, the family, culture and the person’s educational needs and challenges, not simply to perform “an ADD assessment.”

Neurologists may want to consider a referral for a functional assessment of brain injured patients or patients suffering from neurological conditions. The field of neuropsychology seems to be moving more toward functional assessment, so that a thorough treatment plan can be established at baseline. Assessing for the various component aspects of memory, the ability to plan and care for oneself, the ability to manage stress and the support system of the client are all important aspects of the brain injured and neurologically compromised patient. Dr. Griffith and Susan Benston have taught a one credit, case study focused course in brain behavior relationships for Western Michigan University.

With regard to elderly patients, we are quite fortunate to have Susan Benston, MA, LMSW on our staff. Susan is a clinical and medical social worker who used to teach gerontology at Western Michigan University’s social work program. Her skills in biopsychosocial assessment of older adults provide additional insight to these evaluations.