Common questions

Learn more about our practice, what kind of conditions we treat, our therapeutic approach, and more.

Do you only treat autistic people?

We specialize in autism and neurodiversity. But that means we also have extensive training and experience in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric conditions. Please feel free to contact SIA at to learn more about our therapists and whether we would be the right fit for you. If not, we would be happy to provide you with local referrals.

Are you seeing patients in-person or on telehealth?

We use a combination of telehealth and in-person meetings for diagnostic assessments.  For therapy and medication management, we have options for both in-person and telehealth appointments, depending on availability. We take health and safety precautions seriously and have modified our office set-up and policies to make sure we can have safe and comfortable meetings. Please inquire about availability for in-person and telehealth appointments.

Regarding telehealth*: Although in-person therapy has advantages, we are fortunate that we have great modes of connecting virtually through secure platforms (we use Simple Practice). We even have research showing that Teletherapy can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy. And, we have found that we can get to know some patients better when I see them at home in their ‘comfort zone.’ Many patients over the last several months have told us they prefer this option, especially given the convenience for clients who were previously commuting to our office or juggling after-school and job commitments. While we hope to get to see everyone in person soon, we see great benefits with Telehealth as well.

*While telehealth is a great fit for many clients, it is not advisable for certain complex diagnoses, clients in crisis or danger, clients who are actively suicidal or homicidal, or other emergency situations. If you are unsure about the fit, our staff and clinicians can help you determine this.

Are you taking new patients?

Yes, as the SIA team expands, we are trying to accommodate new patients. Please note that availability may be limited, which means that sometimes only one or two specific time slots are offered as options for new patients; or, we will ask if you are willing to be put on a waiting list temporarily and we will contact you once a space becomes available. The schedules do shift all the time, so availability can change from week to week. We are also happy to provide other referral options in the meantime.

Can you do diagnostic assessments over telehealth?

Many components of an assessment can be successfully and easily conducted over telehealth, including intakes, interviews, questionnaires, feedback meetings, and even some direct testing. There are some limitations and caveats to doing testing over telehealth, so typically assessments are composed of a mix of telehealth and in-person testing depending on the specific goals of the assessment and age of the client. We are happy to discuss this further with you personally, as this differs on a case-by-case basis.

Do you take insurance?

Like many private providers, we do not take insurance and we are considered ‘out of network’. We provide clients with a ‘Superbill’ in case they are able to submit to insurance for reimbursement. Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance, but the policies vary and it will depend on your specific policy.

Before your first appointment, we recommend checking with your insurance company and asking about ‘out of network’ reimbursement rates for mental health services.

Where are you located?

For in-person appointments, we have an office in Naples Plaza in Long Beach. The office building is easily accessible and has available parking. View our location ►

Can you see clients outside of California?

All of our clinicians are licensed in the state of California, so we treat clients throughout the state on telehealth and in-person. One of our clinicians is also licensed in the state of Washington and can see clients in Washington via telehealth.

Can child clinical psychologists work with adults?

Yes. As Child Clinical Psychologists, we are trained as a general Clinical Psychologist and we have specific training as a Child Psychologist. Rather than specializing in a specific age range, our specialty is in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the age range.

What is comorbidity?

Comorbidity is the coexistence of two or more psychiatric diagnoses at the same time. For example, it is quite common for an autistic person to also have symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Often, these ‘comorbid’ symptoms become more interfering and impairing than the core symptoms of ASD themselves, and this is often what prompts the seeking of therapy or other diagnostic clarification. There are effective approaches available to target these comorbid symptoms.

What is your therapeutic approach?

While most of us have background and training is in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), we consider our approaches to be eclectic, such that we incorporate strategies from various approaches depending on the individual needs of the client. We value and we rely on approaches that are evidence-based (i.e., there are clinical trials and data supporting the use of certain approaches). For example, Dr. Sterling has specialized training in CBT that has been modified for autistic individuals who also have symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. These strategies tend to work best with children aged 7 or older, adolescents, and adults with intact language abilities.

Why does my child need an assessment? Is it just a label?

A comprehensive assessment is crucial in order for parents, other family members, partners, and teachers to fully understand the individual’s unique strengths and challenges, and ultimately, for the individual to understand him- or herself. We often misinterpret an individual’s behavior when we assume what is driving or underlying the behavior, without fully understanding it. For example, a child who refuses to go on a family outing or engage in a group project at school may be considered ‘oppositional’ or ‘stubborn’ when in fact other factors interfere with participation (e.g., sensory overload, difficulty with transitions, anxiety). A proper assessment provides us with a framework for us to better understand the individual and for them to understand themselves, which ultimately leads to more compassion, empathy, patience, and appropriate strategies to support the child/adult and their family. When an individual has insight and self-awareness of their own differences and needs, they are able to effectively express their needs to others.

What is the cost of services?

Cost of services, appointment length, and number of sessions varies depending on the type of service and the clinician. 

Rates for therapy range from $250-350 per 50-minute session.
Psychiatry services are as follows: $800 for a two-part intake assessment, $275 for 25-minute follow-up sessions and $450 for 50-minute follow-up sessions.
The cost of diagnostic testing for ASD and related conditions is $350 hourly. The number of hours varies depending on the age, scope and complexity of the evaluation. Please contact us directly to inquire about testing rates, including an estimate of hours for your specific needs.

Doctor and young girl talking