Why is it important to have a clear diagnosis? 

A clear diagnosis it the most important factor in choosing effective interventions for your teen. Many teens arrive at The LifeLaunch with a long list of diagnoses collected over the years from many providers. But those diagnoses do not always come from clinicians with the appropriate level of expertise. These diagnoses also may not account for changes a teen has experienced since they were made. We know adolescence is a period of dramatic development, so it is top priority for us to complete an objective, detailed diagnostic evaluation for the adolescents who are entrusted to our care.  

At The LifeLaunch, residents can participate in treatment while undergoing continuous diagnostic evaluation. They receive individual, family, and group psychotherapies along with medication evaluation and management. Therapists have time to develop rapport and trust. After diagnoses are clarified, treatment approaches can be refined.

With this comprehensive approach, we can ensure that every teen is seen and treated for their unique experiences, diagnoses, and symptoms—giving them the best possible chance at recovery.

Making a diagnosis

The evaluation process begins the moment a teen arrives at The LifeLaunch, and it doesn’t stop there. 

Our team uses a multifaceted approach to developing a diagnosis, including:

  • Background paperwork
  • Interviews with parents and family members to gather key information on:
    • School life, social life and activities, and any other general information
    • Medical and psychiatric history
    • Behavior
    • How they function across different environments
    • And more
  • Observation
  • Psychological evaluations and specialized testing, if needed
  • Therapeutic interventions

This approach helps us to understand the teen as an individual and tailor a treatment plan to them. Residents will meet with a variety of clinicians including a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse, and a number of occupational therapists and mental health workers. 

The team will come together regularly to discuss findings, observations, and impressions. After approximately two weeks of diagnostic assessment, the staff will share their assessment – including diagnoses and an individualized treatment plan – with the teen and their family. Diagnostic work will also continue throughout the rest of a teen’s stay. 

What kinds of conditions can be diagnosed at The LifeLaunch?

The LifeLaunch has expertise in diagnosing and treating teens with a variety of mental health conditions. We have particular expertise in mood disorders, trauma-related disorders, adjustment disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders. 

Some examples include:

Thanks to Sheppard Pratt’s world-renowned continuum of care, we can also fine-tune diagnoses through in-house consultations with specialists across psychiatry, including: 

Your child will have access to the top experts in every psychiatric field, because they are working right down the hall.

Who is involved in making a diagnosis? 

The entire care team has input on diagnostic evaluations. This includes:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Licensed psychologist 
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner
  • Psychiatric nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Mental health workers

The multidisciplinary, cohesive team is in regular contact, which leads to close collaboration and exchange of ideas. Residents and their families benefit from evaluation through different lenses.

The Diagnostic Process at The LifeLaunch


Our multidisciplinary team reviews reports and documentation, and collaborates with outpatient providers

Team sends standardized psychological measures to family to complete

Admission Day

Psychiatric assessment

Psychosocial evaluation

Nursing assessment

In-person-interviews with resident and family

Days 2 - 13

Individual & family therapy initiated immediately, coupled with medication management as indicated

Initial treatment team meeting to review impressions, behaviors, interventions, and plan

Specialty assessments and consultations as indicated

OT assessment

Resident participates in general therapy groups and 1:1 care

Day 14

Diagnostic conference: treatment team presents assessments, interventions, and resident progress to resident and family

Diagnostic conference includes diagnosis and continuing treatment recommendations

Days 14 - 20 and beyond

Continued therapy and medication management (as indicated) combined with bi-weekly treatment team and family meetings

As resident approaches discharge, LifeLaunch team completes collaborative discharge planning, ensuring resources are in place