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Attorney FAQs

Why refer a client for a mental health evaluation?

  • For asylum, VAWA, U visa and T visa cases, proper assessment and diagnosis of mental health challenges can substantiate claims for which there is otherwise limited physical evidence

  • For asylum cases, documentation of psychological distress and the impact of trauma can explain to the court why clients may have not met the one-year filing deadline

  • For hardship waivers and Cancellation of Removal, a comprehensive psychosocial assessment can document the detrimental impact on the qualifying relative


What age does a client need to be in order to be evaluated?

  • Michelle works with adolescents and adults. The exact cutoff to define adolescent is based on the individual case and focus of the assessment

  • For minors, a parent/guardian meeting is also an important part of the assessment. Often, connecting with the child’s school, pediatrician or other provider(s) can be helpful to formulate the most thorough assessment of the child’s needs and vulnerabilities. This collaboration is only done with permission from the parent/guardian and assent from the child


How quickly is Michelle able to see clients and provide reports?

  • Michelle can usually see clients within a few weeks

  • Typically, reports are available within four weeks or less of completing the client interviews

  • If a report needs to be completed urgently, a rush fee can be applied to ensure either rapid booking and/or rapid report turnaround, as quickly as within 48 hours, depending on availability

How do I refer clients?

  • Referrals can be completed online using this link

  • The legal office or the client can contact Michelle directly at or call/text 781-226-1606

  • If clients are contacting directly, please ensure that they are able to communicate in English or are aware they need to have someone assist with translation. Michelle will do her best to use Google Translate over email or text if no one is available to assist until the evaluation

Does Michelle ever meet with lawyers?

  • Absolutely! Collaboration is a key part of Michelle’s process and Michelle prefers to discuss the basics of every case with the attorney in advance of client meetings. A draft of the evaluation will also be provided for review and feedback before fully executing


Is Michelle available to testify in court?

  • Yes, Michelle has experience providing expert testimony and can arrange to be available to testify for an added fee


What should I do if my client is reluctant to be evaluated but could really benefit?

  • It may help to encourage the client to consider a consultation call with Michelle as a first step, without any commitment. After speaking with Michelle about expectations, concerns and the potential benefit of the evaluation, they may feel a bit more connected and ready to take the next step

  • Remind clients that Michelle is a psychotherapist with extensive experience working with vulnerable individuals, including those who have had a wide range of traumatic experiences. She is skilled in providing a supportive environment for clients to share what is necessary, while also fully respecting that not every detail needs to be explored in order to do a thorough assessment

  • Most clients describe that the evaluation was much easier emotionally than expected and in fact, most describe that they feel better after having shared their experiences in a supportive environment


What language is used for evaluations?

  • All evaluation are conducted in English

  • Michelle has experience working with interpreters and can provide recommendations for clients to hire an interpreter if another language is needed

  • Please note that a professional interpreter is needed, rather than a family member or friend


How is payment handled?

  • A flat fee includes all client communications, attorney communications, client meetings, scoring of standardized assessments and the detailed, written report

  • Expedited evaluations are available for additional fee

  • Payment plans are available (50% at first session, 25% at second session, 25% when report ready)

  • Payment can be made securely online. Cash or checks are also accepted

  • Interpreters will be hired and paid for by the client separately, when needed

  • An additional fee may be required for in-person sessions

  • An additional fee applies for court testimony


Are pro bono assessments available?

  • Michelle does regular pro bono work through Physicians for Human Rights

  • If you are in need of a pro bono evaluation, consider contacting Physicians for Human Rights or the Massachusetts General Hospital Asylum Clinic for assistance and Michelle or another qualified evaluator can assist

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