Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thomas Packard, Ph.D., pediatric psychologist in the greater Dayton area


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What is a pediatric psychologist, anyway?

How is a pediatric psychologist different from a child psychologist or any other psychologist?  Pediatric psychologists are more likely to work in  health care settings than in mental health organizations. We usually work more with pediatricians than with psychiatrists, and are focused more on building healthy behaviors than on “mental illness”. We are more likely to be trained in behavioral therapies built on scientific research than in therapies based on traditional notions about unconscious motivation and inner conflict.

Do you take my insurance?

The only commercial insurance network that I belong to is Aetna. There are other insurance companies that seem to pay me regularly (for example Tricare), or that may reimburse you for all or a portion of my charges. The only way to know if you are covered for my services is to call your insurance company directly, and ask about me by name. Even if you are covered, you may have to satisfy a deductible that will make you responsible for most of the cost of our work together. You are responsible for finding out whether or not your insurance will pay for your child to see me. See the tab on Fees & Insurance to learn more about the cost of my services.

Do you take CareSource?

No. I am not part of the CareSource provider network, and unfortunately they will not pay for my services.

I just want someone for my child to talk to. Is that what you do?

Not really. While many children may benefit from just having a supportive adult from outside their family that they can talk to about whatever is on their mind, my work tends to be more focused and goal-oriented. Research shows that, in most cases, learning strategies to change behavior is more effective than just talking.

Do parents need to be involved in the child’s therapy?

Parents are nearly always involved in the work I do with children. Only with older adolescents, and even then very rarely, will I work exclusively alone with the child. That doesn’t mean that I only do “family therapy”, as most people understand it. There will probably be times that I speak with your child alone, times I speak only with parents, and times I speak with parents and child together. In some cases, particularly with younger children, I work exclusively with the parents. Very early in our work together, I will let you know what I think is the best way to reach your goals.

Do both parents need to be involved?

It is always my ideal to have both parents involved in a child’s therapy. I realize, however, that somehow work and other demands on parents’ time make that impossible. I do prefer that there is one parent who is always present for the child’s appointments, rather than taking turns or otherwise switching who is responsible for bringing the child. I feel that it helps continuity and communication if there is one parent who is consistently there.

What about when parents are divorced?

My understanding of Ohio law is that, unless there is a court order to the contrary, both parents in a divorce situation have equal access to private health information, and either parent may give permission for the child to be in therapy or prevent that child from being in therapy. I welcome divorced parents who wish to work together, but I will always do my best to work with your family in the manner with which you are most comfortable.

Do you do parenting time evaluations?

No. I do not do any legal or court-ordered work, such as evaluations to determine parenting time, or what used to be called “custody evaluations”. My specialties lie elsewhere, and there are professionals much more qualified to do that than I.

I think my child might have been abused. Can you evaluate that?

No. I do not do any investigative or “forensic” work, and I do not generally work with children or teenagers who may have been subjected to abuse or other trauma. There are many other psychologists and mental health counselors out there who do specialize in that area.

Please feel free to contact me if your question is not answered here or elsewhere on the website. I am here to help.