What is Dr. Peter Meiland Ph.D.’s Professional Background?
Dr. Peter Meiland Ph.D. Educational Background and Credentials
Clinical Psychologist Serving NYC
Dr. Meiland received his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 1986. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 from Teachers College, Columbia University, obtaining two master’s degrees while pursuing his doctorate. The following year, 1996, he was licensed as a clinical psychologist in New York State and has been continuously licensed at the highest level in his field since that point. He maintains a private practice in Manhattan, providing to adults, and psychological testing for learning disabilities to children and adults.
From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Meiland served as a clinical supervisor at Teachers College, Columbia University, focusing mainly on testing and assessment. From 1995 to 2005, he taught as an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, C.U.N.Y., and was also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at New York University (N.Y.U.) from 1998 to 2000.
Dr. Meiland has extensive clinical experience beginning in 1991, when he served as a psychology intern for one year, and then as a therapist and Staff Psychologist at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in midtown Manhattan. At the Postgraduate Center, he provided direct clinical services, supervision, and testing and assessment, working there from 1991 to 1998. He entered private practice in 1996. From 1998 to 2002, Dr. Meiland worked as a Staff Psychologist in the Learning Disabilities Unit (L.D.U.) at the S.U.N.Y. College of Optometry in New York City, where he received intensive experience in the assessment of learning disabilities, working mostly with children in the early grades, but also with adolescents and adults. He has presented papers at the meetings of the International Dyslexia Association (I.D.A.) on several occasions, most recently in 2005.
In 2002, Dr. Meiland began a certificate program in Adult Psychoanalysis at the Institute of Psychoanalytic Teaching and Research (IPTAR) in New York City, and received his certificate in 2008. He has presented a series of papers in the psychoanalytic community since receiving this training, and has served in several administrative and service roles for IPTAR since 2008, including clinical supervision of psychological testing provided by trainees in IPTAR’s educational placements.
Since 1996, Dr. Meiland has been a clinical psychologist in private practice, and specializes in several areas.
- First, he provides intensive psychotherapy to adults and adolescents, utilizing an approach that mixes cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches to therapy.
- He focuses on treatment of anxiety and depression, relationship issues, health problems, aging, and career challenges.
- In addition, he has extensive experience in the treatment of diabetics, in particular Type 1 (juvenile) diabetics.
- Finally, he provides testing and assessment of learning disabilities, for issues ranging from Reading Disorder (dyslexia), language problems and visual-spatial reasoning deficits, and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.)
He maintains a modest range of fees, dependent on the client’s ability to pay, and is active in filing claims with the health insurance companies of his clients. He does not accept insurance directly, apart from Medicare Part B.
What are learning disabilities?
Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are really umbrella terms for a wide variety of learning problems. Learning disabilities are neurological and can manifest in numerous ways.
Specifically, someone who has a learning disability finds it challenging to acquire knowledge and skills that are on par with their age group.
It is important to note that those with learning disabilities are no less “smart” than their peers, they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information when they are left to themselves to figure things out or when they are taught using standard methods.
They simply see and process things differently than those without learning disabilities.
As mentioned above, learning disabilities are neurological. Although they cannot be cured or fixed, with the right diagnosis and testing, those with learning disabilities can find help. In addition, there is some evidence to suggest that the brain can change and, with the right learning conditions and support, the brain can reorganize itself by forming new neural connections which can help with skills like reading and writing which the old connections made difficult. With support and intervention, children and adults with learning disabilities can succeed in school and live successful lives.
What are the common types of learning disabilities in children?
Common Types of Learning Disabilities
Dyslexia – Difficulty reading
- Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking
Dyscalculia – Difficulty with math
- Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money
Dysgraphia – Difficulty with writing
- Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas
Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills
- Problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity
Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language
- Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension
Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds
- Problems with reading, comprehension, language
Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information
- Problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures
What are signs my child has a learning disability?
Learning disabilities can manifest themselves differently child to child. Some may struggle with reading and spelling while others may read voraciously but have difficulty with math. Some may have difficulty processing and understand what people say to them as well as have difficulty communicating out loud. In addition, children may act out in numerous ways because they are struggling.
Because of the wide variations in learning disabilities, the symptoms and additional behavioral issues, it can be challenging to know specifically what to look for when you are trying to determine if your child has a learning disability or disorder. There are some warning signs that can be more common than others at different stages and ages.
The good news is that once you have your child tested for learning disabilities, there is help and with the right support and training, your child can learn how to improve their learning skills.
Below is a list of common signs and symptoms of learning disabilities. If you think your child may be dealing with a learning disability, contact Dr. Peter Meiland to learn more about learning disability testing.
Preschool Learning Disability Signs
- Problems pronouncing words
- Trouble finding the right word
- Difficulty rhyming
- Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
- Difficulty following directions or learning routines
- Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines
- Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes
Ages 5-9 Learning Disability Signs
- Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
- Unable to blend sounds to make words
- Confuses basic words when reading
- Slow to learn new skills
- Consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors
- Trouble learning basic math concepts
- Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
Ages 10-13 Learning Disability Signs
- Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
- Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
- Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
- Poor handwriting
- Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
- Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
- Spells the same word differently in a single document
What is learning disability testing and why does a child need to be tested?
Children are usually tested because they are having problems in school. Testing can pinpoint the areas of difficulty children are having. Students are very different from each other in how they process information. When a “processing deficit” or weakness collides with the skills necessary for good classroom success, a child will have difficulty learning feel very frustrated and confused about why they are having trouble.
A psycho-educational evaluation is conducted in order to isolate the particular deficit (or deficits) that are interfering with learning. A prime example of a learning disorder this is found in “dyslexics”, who often have trouble learning to “sound out” or “decode” the letters and groups of letters they see on a page they are reading. This deficit wasn’t always a problem: around the time of the Civil War in America, every town had a teacher who would write letters to mail, and read incoming mail. Most people could not read or write well. In comparison, reading is a primary skill for learning in the modern era. Beyond that, students are expected to be strong readers, as well as to be strong in the (complimentary) skill of written expression.
Often, children can read, but not as strongly as they perform in other subject areas. Every child with a learning disorder will “compensate” for their weakness. Often, dyslexic children will sight-read in the early grades, and work around their learning disorder for a while. By middle school, the difficulty of reading material increases, and sight-reading fails as a strategy.
A child may read with poor accuracy, but good comprehension. They may have to read slowly, perhaps to re-read passages more than the child at the next desk. These are common problems diagnosed through testing, and may require ‘extended-time” accommodations and other strategies to enhance learning and performance.
Is testing something that can clearly show why a child is having an academic problem?
Yes, testing is a very accurate way to isolate the processing deficits of a student, and to clearly show why this “deficit” makes it hard for children to learn certain types of material. It may help to read parts of the sample report on my website, which demonstrate how testing works, and how the connections between scores and observations in an evaluation lead to a diagnosis and recommendations for parents.
Besides showing the problems, does testing provide other useful information.
Learning-disabled children usually know that something is hard for them. Typically, they believe they are either “stupid” or they are told they are “not trying”. It’s heartbreaking to talk to a child with a learning disability, who has already acquired this label. Sisters and brothers may not be experiencing the same problem. , Usually, a child has no capacity to tell themselves they have a learning disability, so testing is an intervention that can reassure children that they are not at fault, and should not blame themselves for a problem that is a burden to them on a daily basis. Children benefit from testing because it “de-mystifies” them. They learn the real reasons for their struggle. Testing leads to strategies to “work around” their learning disability, and shows how they have already “compensated” for their learning disability” (often by becoming unusually capable in other subject areas). One typical compensation is found when children who read slowly, or with poor comprehension, have very strong abilities to memorize information they hear in the classroom. Their verbal memory is strengthened because they rely on this process to gain and store information, which is hard to learn through reading.
When are children usually tested?
Children are tested most often at three ages:
- in pre-school, when they may show delays in the development of certain language, motor (movement) or cognitive skills. Often, these children are provided services through their pre-school, and children under the age of 5 are provided with services free of charge through funding by the federal government;
- around ages 7 or 8, when children move into the core academic skills (reading, math, speaking about ideas in complex ways) that become the basis for classroom instruction and learning for the rest of their academic careers;
- from ages 15 to 17, when their ability to compensate for their learning disorder may weaken, and the problems become more noticeable to teachers and parents. Children in this group will often require extended-time accommodations and other interventions that will help them demonstrate their true abilities. Happily, there are now a great number of “assistive technologies” that can be downloaded on a phone, to help children overcome their difficulties to some degree.
When do children need to be re-evaluated?
Many children are re-evaluated in order to continue to receive the accommodations and specialized instruction that has benefitted them. This may happen every four years. If parents are interested in having testing to gain extended-time accommodations on the A.C.T. or S.A.T., this is best done when the child is in 10th or 11th grade, as their accommodations will be covered through at least the first several years of college (and often throughout college).
How long does testing take, and what is involved?
Testing requires 7 or 8 hours of time meeting with me. I sit across a table from the student and present them with problems and questions that can be scored objectively, and these scores and my clinical observations become the basis of the evaluation. It takes about a week or 10 days for me to prepare the report, and then I meet with a student and their parents to present findings to them. The meetings can be bundled into two or three separate visits, ranging from 3 to 4 hours each, depending on the age and stamina of the student.
How much does testing cost, and does insurance reimburse for the cost?
The problem with testing is time and money. I charge $4200 for an evaluation, soup to nuts, although I am sometimes able to offer a lower fee to families who cannot afford my full fee. Insurance companies generally view psycho-educational testing as an “educational” service and do not reimburse for testing for this reason. I do not accept any insurance directly for testing or other services.
Why do people go into therapy?
People go into therapy for different reasons. They talk about difficult relationships, medical conditions, anxiety and depression, the process of getting older, and the desire to meet life’s goals. It is probably impossible to list all the reasons, but new clients often come to me in a state of transition. Their lives are changing, and changes of many types can be very stressful and confusing. Most of us have family and friends we can talk to, but a “neutral” therapist allows a person to go deeper than they would in other relationships, and discuss things in a safe and very private setting.
I feel like I already know what my problems are. How could therapy help me?
Knowing what your problems are is important, but it can be helpful to know if these problems are a pattern that marks your life. You may know your problems, but feel “stuck” about how to cope them, or you may struggle to make risky and painful decisions about change. These are things a therapist can help you with. I am fond of saying that therapists don’t know how to live life better than other people, but they do have certain skills to listen, to clarify, and to make things more comfortable to talk about and act on Because a therapist is not a friend or family member, their ability to “unpack” life’s baggage is unique. Nobody leaves my office for the last time “problem free”, since life doesn’t work that way. But people enter therapy feeling troubled and leave therapy with a clarity and sense of power they are grateful for.
How do I know a therapist is right for me?
Just as in any relationship, there is “chemistry” in psychotherapy. Usually, a person coming to a therapist for the first time will feel comfortable with their therapist, but it is perfectly fine to consult with a few therapists before choosing one. Most times, a therapist will be happy to work with you, so you don’t have to fear judgment or rejection in coming to the first session.
How do I know therapy is helping me?
Research clearly shows that therapy helps most people, and often people feel relief and benefit after only a few meetings. There are different ways of assessing, or measuring the benefits of therapy. While researchers and insurance companies tend to focus on reduction of symptoms, patients often rely on more subjective ways of assessing whether therapy is helping them. Simply, the client’s perspective, it helps because it feels like it does.
My problems aren’t going to go away. Is it reasonable to talk about them anyway?
Some problems go away, and some problems you have to live with. Therapy is a detailed but non-judgmental talk about what is going on in your life. Sometimes, there is a clear agenda, and sometimes the exploration of therapy has less of a road map. But therapy is a process that allows us to understand patterns in our lives. The knowledge of these patterns allows us to make new choices and have new ways of feeling about ourselves. When this process emerges, even problems we have to live with can feel very different.
How long does therapy last?
This is a question that is left to the client to decide. The person I’m working with can tell me when they’ve reached their goals, or simply want to take a break for a while. While many people benefit from brief therapy (which is often defined as less than 10 meetings), other people stay in therapy for a longer period. Usually, there is a point where the first layer of problems have been handled. Then one can choose to stay and work more deeply on questions that may have been the foundation of the initial problems, or work on new concerns that may emerge. Therapy is not endless and is entirely voluntary. If you decide to leave, you can always return in the future.
Do people take medication and go to therapy at the same time?
Most people in my practice do not take medication, but simply utilize “talk therapy”. At the same time, certain symptoms and conditions are best treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication. A psychiatrist once pointed out to me that, “at the end of your life, you don’t get a prize for taking fewer medications”, and this is a useful quote, because it seeks to reassure people in need of medication that this need is not a personal failure of any sort, and because it works in opposition to the deeply held distrust many people feel (as well as the cultural messages against taking psychiatric medications). Referrals to a psychiatrist for medications are easily done, and must be handled by a clinician with an M.D. degree (not a psychologist or social worker).
How much does therapy cost?
Dr. Meiland works to agree at a fee that is affordable to the patient, and thus he has a sliding scale. This scale does not slide below $120 per session. Insurance often pays a considerable amount of the fee, and Dr. Meiland arranges to bill insurance directly (rather than bill the client for the entire amount, and have them collect from their insurer). Dr. Meiland only accepts Medicare Part B, and is not on any insurance panels or other lists of in-network clinicians.
What is Therapy?
Talk Therapy, what is it and how does it help some people?
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or simply therapy is an important tool in healing from trauma. Human beings are just that, human. There is no reason not to seek help when you need it. Therapy is not simply talking about your problems, or your past, it is much more and it can help you not only express yourself and your experience, it allows you to work with your therapist to create a game plan for healing and recovery.
Therapy, specifically talking therapy, can be brief and focused on your current thoughts and experiences. Although focusing on the past can help you understand yourself, adding the tools to help you focus on the present and prepare for the future is vital as well.
Talk therapy can help you:
- Understand your mental health condition
- Define and reach wellness goals
- Overcome fears or insecurities
- Cope with stress
- Make sense of past traumatic experiences
- Separate your true personality from the moods caused by your condition
- Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
- Improve relationships with family and friends
- Establish a stable, dependable routine
- Develop a plan for coping with crises
- Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
- End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex.
What can psychotherapy do for me to improve my management of my illness?
Psychotherapy is a helpful addition to the other types of treatment you may be using. The challenges for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics are often different, so they will be discussed separately.
For Type 1 (a.k.a. juvenile, or insulin-dependent) diabetes, the initial diagnosis often comes in childhood or young adulthood. It is likely caused by an auto-immune response to a virus or other illness. Thus, the diagnosis is a blow to an otherwise healthy person who is starting out in life, and probably has few other medical challenges. The person’s acceptance of the illness, and their way of facing the illness directly, is important. This is especially true when you think about the many things that have to be dealt with, from blood glucose monitoring and medication dosages, to the need to carry “rescue carbs”, to the process of discriminating the sensations of low and high blood sugar from other body sensations. The disease, and the burden of self-management may feel like an unfairness, or carry a sense of guilt and shame for a person. Type 1 diabetes can wreak havoc in a person’s life with they are unable to normalize blood sugar, or when the illness cuts them off from sense of healthy and vitality. Finally, the disease is uncommon, and can leave a person isolated and ashamed of their illness. Psychotherapy is instrumental in addressing issues like this, and “fills the gap” of psychological intervention, where endocrinologists and diabetes educators are unlikely to tread.
For Type 2 (a.k.a. adult-onset) diabetes, the initial diagnosis brings a different set of challenges, and is almost a different illness from Type 1. Diagnosis often accompanies other health problems, such as weight gain or cardio-vascular problems, and may present itself at a stage of life where people are confronted with the process of aging and the conflicts of middle age. For Type 2 diabetics, the greater need for self-care and a perceived loss of personal power or other anxieties of aging, often accompany the first diagnosis. Thus, psychotherapy can address the anxieties and conflicts of diagnosis and management, which are often a “wake up call” to a person who is already confronting issues that occur in normal aging.
Is therapy like seeing an endocrinologist or diabetes educator?
A psychologist cannot take the place of a medical provider. Thus, advice about adjusting medications, about counting carbohydrates, and about steps to avoid long-term complications is not part of the focus with a psychologist. Diabetes educators are a very necessary part of treatment in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Also, regular blood glucose monitoring, healthy food choices, and exercise are a very necessary part of self-management. Endocrinologists play an important role also, especially around the point of first diagnosis and in dealing with medication regimens and handling long-term complications of illness for those who develop such complications. So, I don’t become involved in these other areas, but serve a complementary role in the management of the illness, aimed at addressing the psychological and behavioral dimensions of the illness and its treatment.
What are some examples of psychological issues diabetics face?
There are a range of issues that bring Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics into therapy. Here are a couple of examples, although they are not found in every person:
“I feel like my diabetes is a punishment for something I’ve done wrong,”
“Just having the disease makes me feel guilty,”
“I don’t want other people to know I’m diabetic, they’ll think less of me,”
“I hate the disease and can’t escape it”
“My sister doesn’t have to deal with this, why me?”
“My blood sugar goes up and down, so I must be doing something wrong”
“My father/mother/husband/wife always tries to control me. What can I do?”
“I don’t trust my body, how can I become sexually involved with another person?”
As a premier clinical psychologist based in NYC, Peter Meiland PH. D has been providing exceptional psychological services to clients from Manhattan and surrounding areas for over 20 years. In addition to being an experienced clinical psychologist and well known child psychologist, Dr. Meiland also provides the following psychological services: learning disabilities testing, learning disabilities diagnosis, psychoeducational testing, psychological testing, diabetes self management, individual psychotherapy. Dr. Meiland provides a supportive, direct and encouraging atmosphere for his NYC clients. Contact Dr. Meiland today to see how he can help you.