The Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology offers clinical psychology services at our Golden Valley office through Patricia J. Aletky, Ph.D., L.P.
Patricia J. Aletky, Ph.D., L.P. provides psychological services to adults and older children/teens. Therapy may be provided to individuals, couples or families. She commonly sees patients with symptoms of depression, anxiety and more serious mental illnesses. In addition to the general practice of clinical psychology, Dr. Aletky also has extensive experience and expertise as a forensic consultant/independent examiner.
Dr. Aletky starts with an evaluation, which typically involves two sessions, the first focused on what brings you in for psychology services and the second on your history. An objective personality test and, possibly, a brief aptitude test are typically used. These are tests that you take on your own at your convenience in the clinic. Dr. Aletky will interpret the tests and explain the outcomes to you. Based on Dr. Aletky’s assessment and your goals and wishes, an individualized treatment plan is developed and intermittently adjusted. Dr. Aletky may also suggest a different provider or type of provider if she feels that is more appropriate.
Dr. Aletky’s Therapy Style and Treatment Philosophy: POSITIVE and PRACTICAL
Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental, emotional, personality and/or psychosomatic (physical) disorders. A typical psychotherapy session lasts 50 minutes. What happens in each session varies widely based on the patient’s status and needs. Most often, the patient discusses how they are doing in terms of symptoms and goals, and then suggestions are made for further improvement. Specific “homework” assignments may be given -- something to read, write, think about or do.
There is much more to therapy than informational content; it is my goal to offer support, encouragement and hope in the context of a respectful and caring professional relationship. My communication style is direct; I am not a therapist who just listens and reflects. I also do not “overpathologize” or overanalyze. There are ultimately no answers to “why” questions; we develop a working theory that is meaningful and helpful. Positive focus means focusing on your strengths and reassuring you that you can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and vulnerabilities into gifts. Thus, you can be who you are and ideally become healthier and happier. Practical means simply what works for you, based on your life and your values rather than mine. I emphasize self-care, and learning to be your own therapist as well as developing a support network so that you do not need to remain in therapy indefinitely. I do see some long-term patients, typically on a very infrequent basis for a check in.
Scheduling an Appointment
To set up an appointment or ask general questions, patients or consultation clients, such as attorneys, may simply call our main number, 763-588-0661, and ask for Psychology. If you have specific questions about Dr. Aletky’s background or services, feel free to leave a message and she will promptly call you back.
As an outpatient facility, the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology does not have a psychologist on 24-hour call. If appropriate, your psychologist will recommend a physician on-call with hospital privileges so that you may be admitted if necessary. Hennepin County Medical Center Crisis Intervention offers 24-hour telephone crisis counseling, a suicide prevention hotline and walk-in services. Of course, any individual can simply call 911 or appear at a hospital emergency room to be assessed and possibly admitted.
Because your privacy is important, the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology complies will all applicable state and federal laws related to patient privacy and confidentiality. Your psychologist is not required to write down everything you say, but is required to document your visit, treatment, and diagnosis, if appropriate. Psychotherapy notes are subject to stronger privacy protections than general medical records and are rarely released. In Minnesota, teens 16 and over have rights to privacy, as do young adults, even if their parents are paying their bills. We must comply, however, when a court subpoenas records. If you are having an evaluation for an employer, attorney or other third party, you will be asked for permission to release information necessary to answer relevant questions. There are exceptions to the privacy laws, including mandatory reporting of abuse/neglect of children as well as vulnerable adults. There are also exceptions related to serious danger to self or others. Such issues are explained in the initial session.
Payment for services
Most third party payers (such as insurance companies) fund the treatment of diseases and disorders, not prevention or self-improvement. In order to submit bills to such companies, an official diagnosis is required. Your provider will provide appropriate documentation and justification to help you utilize your insurance coverage, if that is your wish. Also, please note that health insurance plans will not pay for court ordered exams, employer-requested exams or other services deemed not “medically necessary”. Please check with your insurance company prior to beginning any therapy to determine the details of your coverage. With so many different insurance plans and arrangements, we can help, but cannot guarantee coverage. Please bring your insurance card and any required co-payments to all visits.
Some people prefer to pay out of pocket (cash or credit card) which allows for minimal record keeping and disclosure of personal information.
Psychotropic (prescription) drugs can be very helpful in the treatment of some disorders, but are not required or necessary for psychotherapy. A physician with knowledge of your overall medical status should prescribe any such drug. Patients may appear for psychological treatment already taking medication (such as an anti-depressant), in which case it would be important for your health providers to coordinate and share information about you (with your permission). Conversely, your psychologist may want to refer you to a psychiatrist or another physician to consider prescribing a drug.
No condition is strictly physical or strictly psychological; if a provider suggests you work with a psychologist on emotional health issues such as stress management, this does not mean you "want" or have chosen your condition. People with chronic medical conditions can be helped tremendously by psychological treatments aimed at improving mood, attitude, and quality of life.
Recovery from traumatic or other adverse experiences
Each of us is unique, and our reactions to bad events and other challenges are varied. It may be helpful to share in therapy the details of traumatic events, but I do not believe that should be a focus. The focus is the whole person. One can learn to move on from very bad experiences and sometimes learn from them. There may be “scars,” but they do not have to define you.
Sexual Health Services
Sexual health concerns include those related to sexual functioning and sexual desire, as well as issues related to sexual abuse/assault, sex roles and gender identity. For specific sexual problems, an evaluation and psychological treatment are often a fairly short-term and efficient solution. A typical course of sex therapy lasts 12 weeks and includes components of education, communication training, relaxation techniques and behavioral homework assignments in a therapeutic environment. When an ongoing relationship exists, couples are encouraged to work together in therapy; but individuals, too, can be treated alone or in groups.
Treatment of victims of sexual abuse may include working on sexuality, self-esteem, body image and assertiveness problems. Each person's experience is unique and an individualized treatment plan is developed following the initial evaluation.
The treatment of sexual health problems uses historical material, yet places more emphasis on present and future functioning. Following a two to three session evaluation phase, an individually tailored program is developed. Specialized sexual health services are offered to populations such as the aged, mentally disabled (cognitively impaired or chronic mentally ill) and physically disabled (e.g. spinal cord injured).
Psychology Services Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
Usually a referral is not required to see Dr. Aletky, however, you will be asked if you were referred and by whom. You may wish to check with your insurance carrier to find out if Dr. Aletky is in your network of preferred providers, and how that will affect your bill. Dr. Aletky is a provider in all major insurance plans as well as Medicare and MN and WI Medical Assistance.
How long does it take to get an appointment?
You can usually make an appointment to be seen within one to two weeks. There are no evening, weekend, or walk in appointments.
How long will my appointment take?
Appointment lengths are dependent on the type of appointment:
• Therapy sessions or diagnostic interviews take approximately 50 minutes.
• Psychometric testing usually takes 1-2 hours.
• Independent Psychological Examinations take approximately 4 hours and include written testing.
At which Minneapolis Clinic Neurology office are Psychology Services offered?
Our psychologist practices exclusively at our Golden Valley Office located at 4225 Golden Valley Road.
What information is needed for my appointment with the psychologist?
There is not any specific requirement, assuming the patient is able to speak for him/herself. If not, the patient should bring a family member or other trusted individual to help them explain what they are looking for. Individuals who come with family members or as a couple are always offered an opportunity to speak alone as well. Many patients prepare a list of questions they would like to ask the psychologist. A list of prescription drugs, if any, is helpful. If you want the psychologist to communicate with another provider, having that person’s name and address will expedite the process.
What will happen during my visit with the psychologist?
Our psychologist will ask you for information related to your medical and mental health history. You may be asked to take written tests. This is “talk therapy” so no touching is required.
What are some typical questions I might be asked?
You will likely be asked what brought you in for psychology services (i.e., what is going on which led you to make an appointment). You will be asked about your health, your daily activities, your history and your relationships. You will be asked about your goals or how you would like to change. You will be asked about previous mental health care. You will be asked about alcohol/drug use. You will be asked what you think would be important for me to know about you.
When will I get my results?
Test results are available from Dr. Aletky within a week. Feedback is given in person, except for one-visit independent evaluations. Psychological test data are released only to other mental health professionals, per Minnesota law.
How do I know when I am done with therapy?
Ideally, this would be by mutual agreement. If you decide to quit therapy on your own, it is recommended that you have a termination session to review gains, discuss any concerns, and get recommendations for future or other care. When therapy is winding down, it is important to develop a prevention plan based on coping skills you have learned and warning signs of relapse.
Are there risks, or is there a downside to psychotherapy?
Other than financial cost and some loss of privacy, the greatest risk is that painful feelings can arise when working in therapy. You will be encouraged to pace yourself and helped to develop skills to handle emotions more constructively. Another potential risk is that as you become healthier, if you have very dysfunctional relationships, you may choose to distance yourself from those people, somewhat like a recovering alcoholic is advised to stay away from drunks.
Couples who seek therapy sometimes decide to break up; before, during or after therapy. The couples’ therapist offers tools to help them make their own decisions and navigate the transitions constructively and respectfully.