Pediatric Outpatient Medical Coping Clinic

Tampa General Hospital’s Pediatric Outpatient Medical Coping Clinic is a specialized resource for children and young adults (2-21 years old) managing a chronic illness. Our staff has the unique ability to understand both the medical and psychological impact of an illness on emotions, social life, school, and overall well-being. Services are available to support children and young adults throughout all stages of the illness process. Your needs change as the status of your illness changes and as you work to integrate managing an illness with all the other stressors of life. We provide individualized support that is tailored to best fit each child, young adult, and family. Sessions can focus on working individually with the child, with the family as a whole, or some combination to best manage the significant impact of an illness. Our staff is here to help. The medical coping clinic helps children, young adults, and families.

  • adjust to medical diagnosis
  • prepare children and siblings for medical and surgical procedures
  • reduce anxiety related to painful medical procedures, treatment, or hospitalizations
  • increase disease self-management and treatment adherence
  • cope with the stress of a chronic illness
  • reduce illness-related depression or social withdrawal
  • address illness-related school, sibling, or friendship issues
  • support children enrolled in school or hospital homebound educational services
  • engage in health promoting behaviors
  • enhance and promote resiliency
  • support children prior to/or after the loss of their sibling

Common questions and how to prepare for your first appointment at the medical coping clinic

What should I tell my child prior to coming to an appointment?

It is normal for children to be worried or nervous when they hear they are coming to the hospital. Let your child know that this appointment will not involve any pain, shots, or a physical exam. Instead, this kind of appointment will be filled with talking and playing. You can let your child know that the reason they are coming to this appointment, is so they feel better and so that everything can be a little easier for them. For younger children it may be helpful to reassure your child that parents can stay in the room the whole time.

How long do people usually come to the medical coping clinic for?

The typical length of treatment varies depending on the issues that have been occurring and the goals of treatment. For families who are preparing for a specific medical procedure the treatment time may be very short. For someone with longstanding significant medical and mental health concerns, treatment will be longer. Throughout treatment, families will work with providers to ensure that progress is being made towards achieving treatment goals.

What type of therapy is used at the medical coping clinic?

The type of therapy we use is called “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)”. This type of therapy focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can all impact a person’s physical health, mental health, and well-being. All interventions used are evidence- based. This means that that there are studies that have shown that the interventions being used work and are effective in helping people.

What will a typical session be like?

The environment of the therapy room in addition to the session itself are all designed to make the child and the whole family comfortable. The room has many developmentally appropriate therapeutic activities and books available. Most sessions involve a combination of talking and, when developmentally appropriate, playing.

What kind of training does a clinical psychologist have?

Psychologists have a PhD or PsyD in Psychology. This means that anyone your child meets with, will have at least four years of undergraduate training and six years of additional specialized schooling and training focused on child-development, mental health interventions, and how to promote emotional health and well-being.

Will my child be prescribed psychiatric medications during the appointment?

No, psychologists cannot prescribe medications. If you think your child would benefit from psychiatric medications, we are happy to provide referrals to psychiatrists in the community.

Referral Information

You need a prescription from your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to start treatment at the medical coping clinic. Families typically get a referral from their child’s primary care provider. You may also get a referral from your child’s specialty physician. While some doctors may require an appointment to make a referral, most are willing to make a referral after a call is made to their office and a referral is requested. Once you have a prescription from your health care provider, call our office at (813) 844-7719, ext. 1. Our staff will verify your insurance benefits and schedule an initial assessment.

Patients are seen at the Tampa General Hospital Rehabilitation Center.

TGH accepts most insurance plans.

Information for Providers

The licensed clinical psychologist at the medical coping clinic specializes in not only supporting the child with an acute and/or chronic illness, but the family as a whole. We provide a supportive environment that helps families build on their strengths to move towards having happier and healthier children.

Referrals are typically for the following reasons:

  • New medical diagnoses or disease progression
  • Bereavement support to siblings and families
  • Difficulties coping with the stress of treatment or effectively managing an illness
  • Support achieving health promoting goals such as weight loss
  • Non-adherence to medical treatment
  • More effectively manage chronic pain
  • Anxiety about medical procedures, treatment, or hospitalizations
  • Illness-related physical changes or limitations
  • Illness-related depression or social withdrawal
  • Illness-related sibling or friendship issues
  • Toilet training regimen, constipation prevention

Who should NOT be referred to the medical coping clinic?  

Individuals who do not have a primary medical diagnosis should not be referred.

Does the child have to be a TGH patient?

No! We accept referrals from all Florida licensed physicians, ARNPs and PAs.

How to make a referral?

  • A prescription from a Florida licensed MD, ARNP, or PA is required prior to scheduling psychological services.

  • Three ways to make a referral:

    • Call (813) 844-7719, option 1

    • Fax the referral prescription along with an appointment request to (813) 844-1948

    • EPIC – create an ambulatory referral to psychology

  • TGH accepts most insurance plans. Self-pay rates are available for non-covered services.

    • Call (813) 844-7719, option 1 to inquire about self-pay rates