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Health Psychology and Multiple Sclerosis

The Mellen Center offers a range of psychological services for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). We can help you cope with:

  • Emotional distress (such as anxiety or depression)
  • A new or uncertain diagnosis
  • Changes in your physical condition
  • The effects of stress on your physical and emotional health
  • The effects of MS on significant relationships

Initial evaluations

Before you participate in therapy, a psychologist will assess your needs by completing a psychological evaluation. The evaluation may take up to 90 minutes to complete and may include:

  • Questionnaires asking about your emotional status and coping skills
  • Brief testing of your cognitive (thought) functioning
  • Review of the results of your questionnaires and cognitive tests
  • Recommendations for psychological services such as individual, family, or group psychotherapy

Individual psychotherapy

During individual psychotherapy, you meet one-on-one with the psychologist. Individual psychotherapy enables you to address specific concerns or goals, such as:

  • Developing additional coping skills
  • Learning how to reduce stress
  • Building relationships
  • Improving your quality of life

Sessions last for approximately 45 minutes and are scheduled based on your needs and preferences.


Biofeedback is a tool that we use to help increase the efficacy of stress management techniques, restoring autonomic nervous system balance and helping to reduce the inflammatory state. Biofeedback occurs in a one-on-one session with a psychologist who has specialized training with the equipment, including:

  • EMG
  • Respiration probe
  • Galvanic skin response
  • Finger temperature measures

Group psychotherapy

Group psychotherapy provides an opportunity for you to share experiences with others who have similar concerns and issues. Benefits include support, knowledge, coping and personal growth. Groups typically meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Couples/marital therapy

During couples therapy, you meet with the psychologist to address a variety of issues that relate directly to your relationship. Often, couples dealing with chronic illness, including MS, have unique relationship issues, such as those relating to communication and changes in roles, in addition to everyday stressors. Areas of focus often include, but are not limited to:

  • Intimacy
  • Communication styles
  • Mindfulness
  • Forgiveness
  • Parenting
  • Grief and loss

Billing and insurance coverage

A portion of psychological evaluations and psychotherapy is covered by most insurance plans. Since coverage varies, be sure to check with your insurance company prior to your appointment. The following procedure codes may be useful:

  • 1. 90791: Psychological interview
  • 2. 90834: Individual psychotherapy
  • 3. 90853: Group psychotherapy

You can also contact the department’s financial counselor at 216.445.7372 for help resolving problems related to your insurance coverage.


Additional questions about health psychology services can be directed to Amy Sullivan, PsyD, Clinical Health Psychologist, Director of Behavioral Medicine, Treatment and Research, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, at 216.444.5376.

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