What is the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist?
The psychologist primarily aids the patient by counseling and psychotherapy. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D.) that can also provide therapy, but in addition may also prescribe medication. A psychologist may hold a doctoral degree (PH.D.) and be called doctor, but is not a medical doctor. Both serve very important roles in the recovery and assistance of mental illness.
Are medications right for me?
The initial consultation will allow you and the doctor to speak of the symptoms that have led to the evaluation. In addition, the doctor will also ask many questions to properly diagnose and determine if medication treatment is an option for you. Please note, most patients in all walks of life report some reservations about embarking in a psychopharmacological treatment. Therefore, if you are a candidate for psychopharmacological treatment you will be provided with time to address all of your reservations. Ultimately, you as a patient decide if medication is right for you.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.