FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQ: What is a Licensed Psychologist? Is every psychotherapist called a Psychologist?
A: Licensed Psychologists are Ph.D. (Doctoral level licensed) mental health practitioners. There are many Master’s level licensed mental health practitioners, (LPC, MSW, LMFT, to name a few).
Only Licensed Psychologists may refer to themselves as “Psychologists” in the state of Texas and in most states. When you are treated by a Licensed Psychologist you are being treated by mental health professional who has the highest level of training in their specialty.
FAQ: What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
A: Physicians (M.D.s) who specialize in psychotropic medications are called Psychiatrists and people often confuse the names Psychologist and Psychiatrist. While Psychiatrists also do psychotherapy with patients, they spend the majority of their practice managing medication with patients in short visits.
Unlike Psychiatrists, Psychologists do not prescribe medication except in a few states in the United States where Psychologists with special training can prescribe psychotropic medications. However, Psychologists frequently collaborate with Psychiatrists and other physicians who are prescribing for our patients as we often see the patients more frequently, for longer sessions, and are also able to follow a patient’s symptomatic response to psychotropic medications.
FAQ: Do Licensed Psychologists have specialties?
A: Yes, like physicians, Psychologists have various specialties.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I see patients of all ages (4 years and up). I conduct psychotherapy and psychological evaluations with children, families, adolescents, and individual adults addressing a variety of emotional and behavioral issues. Because I also hold a Masters in Special Education and am additionally a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, I am particularly focused on children and families.
The focus of psychotherapy in my practice may be one or more conditions such as anxiety problems, mood problems, grief, crisis, relationship problems, ADHD, academic or career under- achievement, to name a few. I do not treat patients who (first and foremost) need substance abuse treatment. Once that treatment is established and patients are recovering from substance abuse, I do admit them to my practice.
FAQ: When should someone seek psychotherapy?
A: Remember that mental health is part of general health. More and more research suggests that if people sought and received mental health more often, that physical health would generally be better for most people. We do not completely understand the mind-body connection but we do know that mental health and physical health are highly related. In Texas, mental health parity was passed into law recently. This means that insurance companies may not exclude mental health coverage in the health policies they provide.
Often it is a crisis of some proportion that propels a person to seek therapy. I remind patients that an emotional or behavioral crisis, while disturbing and often very painful, is a sign that it is time to make significant changes in one’s life. When a person feels very upset, that is an opportune time to engage in therapy. Seeking an initial appointment for therapy takes courage and resolve and is, in itself, a sign of mental health. The relative intensity of the problem presented is actually irrelevant. What matters is that the patient is concerned enough to seek professional help.