Psychology Clinic

Lisa Jacola, PhD, with patient Taylor

During your time at St. Jude, you and your child may be affected in many ways. Many families and children benefit from working with a psychologist in the Psychology Clinic. Although your child will be the focus of treatment, we work with the family as well. We offer a wide range of support services for you and your child.

  1. The Psychology Clinic at St. Jude can work with you and your child to help identify and relieve common problems that may arise during treatment. These can include:

    • Anxiety
    • Behavior problems
    • Depression or other mood problems
    • Trouble adjusting to treatment
    • Distress during procedures
    • Not taking medicines as prescribed 
    • Pain
    • Pill-swallowing problems
    • Sleep problems
    • Tobacco use and other unhealthy or risky behaviors
    • Toileting problems (bedwetting and other difficulties)
    • Other issues

    Your child may be referred by a doctor, nurse, social worker or other provider. You may request an appointment on your own by calling the Psychology Clinic (901-595-3581).

    Your child’s first visit with a psychologist is called a consultation. This meeting usually takes place in the Psychology Clinic, but may also take place in an inpatient room or another area of the hospital. The first visit helps the psychologist understand problems your child may be having and develop a plan to help relieve them.

    After that session, you and your child can begin to work with your psychologist on learning problem-solving skills and strategies to use during treatment and in everyday life. This process is called intervention and may involve daily or weekly visits until problems improve.

    Your child may benefit from psychological services in a number of ways. These include:

    • Coping better with treatment
    • Improving in mood and behavior
    • Becoming better at following medical plans such as taking medicines or wearing masks
    • Feeling less distress during medical procedures
    • Learning how to better manage pain
  2. Your child may also be referred to the Psychology Clinic for a psychological assessment, or testing.

    Clinical trial assessment. Testing may occur as a standard part of your child’s clinical trial. Tests are often used  to answer specific research questions and are the same for all patients who take part in the study. Following this type of assessment, you will be given brief feedback. Psychology staff may suggest a different kind of assessment (called clinical assessment) if areas of weakness have been found.

    Clinical assessment. This type of testing is done to address concerns that may be raised by you or your child’s medical team. Reasons for a clinical assessment may include concerns about:

    • Development
    • Academics or learning
    • Memory
    • Attention
    • Changes in functioning
    • School re-entry
    • Educational support (such as 504 plans or Individualized Education Plans, IEPs)

    This visit usually takes several hours, depending on the type of assessment. You and your child will talk with the psychologist, and your child will take some tests. You may complete questionnaires about your child’s behavior. The psychologist will also review your child’s medical records.

    Types of Clinical Assessment

    The Psychology Clinic offers two types of clinical assessment: psychological and neuropsychological.

    A psychological assessment typically covers:

    • Intelligence
    • Academics
    • Attention
    • Development

    A neuropsychological assessment covers the above areas, plus:

    • Motor abilities
    • Sensory functioning
    • Language
    • Memory

    A psychological assessment usually lasts three to three-and-a-half hours. A neuropsychological assessment may be longer (up to six hours depending on the child’s needs). For long assessments, breaks are taken to make sure that your child does not become too tired.

    How to Prepare for an Assessment

    • Make sure your child has eaten and is well rested.
    • Continue giving your child all normal medicines, including those for ADHD.
    • Children with glasses or hearing aids should wear them.
    • Reassure your child that there will be no physical exam or needle sticks.
    • If possible, please bring recent report cards, letters from teachers, education plans (504 Plans or IEPs), and results of any psychological or academic tests that have been done in the past.

    You will receive feedback either right after the visit or during a separate feedback session. This will depend on your child’s schedule and the type of assessment. The separate feedback session may take place in our clinic or may be held over the phone.

    We will also mail a written report that describes your child’s results and gives recommendations. This report is typically sent within one month.

    Benefits of the assessment may include:

    • A smoother transition back to school or between grade levels
    • Confidence that your child is receiving the correct educational and academic support
    • Guidance about jobs or further education as your child prepares to graduate from high school or college
  3. The Psychology Clinic team includes the following:

    • licensed psychologists and neuropsychologists
    • licensed psychological examiners
    • trainees at all levels
  4. Many other support services are available to your child and your family. These include Social Work, Child Life, Spiritual Care Services, Rehabilitation Therapy and the School Program. Learn more about these support services. For more details, call 901-595-3300 or (toll-free) 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833).