Melissa Neff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Missoula, MT. She has been in private practice since 2010, conducting psychological evaluations for children and adults. She specializes in the assessment of ADHD, depression, anxiety, trauma, nonverbal learning disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. She is known for her strengths-based and relational style, her passion for helping her clients to grow and thrive, and for providing thorough reports and educational feedback sessions.
Dr. Neff received her BA with honors from The University Professors Program at Boston University. She received her MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The University of Montana and completed her pre-doctoral internship at Spokane Mental Health Center in Spokane, WA. Her doctoral dissertation was on the topic of intimate partner violence, and how survivors found strength and resilience in and following their experience of abuse. She has worked in several community mental health centers, where she gained a respect for the collaborative “treatment team” model of working with kids and families.
Dr. Neff is a faculty affiliate at University of Montana, where she has taught graduate-level courses on assessment and therapy for the Clinical and School Psychology Ph.D. programs. She has consulted for a range of community agencies in Montana, including the Child Development Center, Full Circle Counseling/Consumer Direct Services, and the FIRST STEP Counseling Center at St. Patrick Hospital. She has participated in grant research aimed at equipping schools to treat children with trauma, and in the creation of a video game to help victims of domestic violence learn coping skills and gain the strength to leave their abusers.
Dr. Neff has also been featured on the Tilt Parenting Podcast.
What Can I Expect When Setting Up an Evaluation?
The referral process involves you initiating contact with us. When you call or email us, we will ask you a series of questions to determine if Dr. Neff is the best person to help you/your child.
Once you are approved as a client, we will send you a packet of information to complete. This includes a consent form and more information about what to expect on the day of the evaluation. When we receive your packet back in the mail, we will schedule the evaluation.
Evaluations are usually divided into two days of testing, for about 3-4 hours each day, depending on the reasons for testing. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, we can be more flexible with scheduling.
On the day of the evaluation(s), you can expect:
-A clinical interview conducted by Dr. Neff with you and your child. The interview lasts about 1-2 hours, depending on the reasons for testing.
-Testing will occur for the remainder of time each day. While your child is being administered tests, you will be asked to complete a series of behavior rating forms so we can determine more about your child’s struggles and strengths. We ask that you remain in the office while your child is being tested.
Over the next few weeks, while you are waiting for results, Dr. Neff will interpret all tests, gather relevant records, and consult with any providers working with your child. She will compose a written report that summarizes the test findings and her impressions of your child’s strengths and areas for further growth. The report will often include a diagnosis if this is appropriate, as well as thorough recommendations.
-In a subsequent feedback session, Dr. Neff will review the testing results with you and answer any questions you may have. She welcomes other members of the team being in attendance so that the team can be “on the same page” moving forward. Dr. Neff believes that it truly takes a village to support a child’s growth and help him/her/them find and reach their greatest potential.