Frequently Asked Questions About Counseling and Psychotherapy


Please click on a question to read the answer.




Q. What are your office hours?

Answer:
My sessions are weekdays from 7:30 am until 2:15 pm.

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Q. What is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychotherapist? What do all the letters (e.g., Ph.D., Psy.D., M.D., LMHC, LCSW, LMFT) mean?

Answer:
Psychologists have a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology and are licensed to provide psychological services for which they have training and experience, such as testing and psychotherapy (sometimes called “talk” therapy).

Psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D.) who specialize in mental health treatment. They are able to prescribe medication, and many focus their practices on medication evaluation and management. However, some psychiatrists also focus on providing psychotherapy.

Psychotherapists are licensed mental health practitioners who conduct psychotherapy. As such, psychologists and psychiatrists who practice psychotherapy could use this term for themselves. More often, though, you will see this title used by practitioners with Master’s degrees (or doctorates) in counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy, who have met the requirements for the following specific licensure designations:

LMHC – Licensed Mental Health Counselor
LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

There are differences in length, emphases, philosophies, and requirements of programs of study and licensure for the practitioners listed above. I also have encountered substantial overlap that would make different practitioners similarly qualified to help with a particular issue. When seeking a practitioner, you can ask about his or her qualifications (training, experience, and continued education) for the specific type of help that you are seeking.

For more information about my educational background, please see my About page.

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Q. How do I know which type of practitioner to choose?

Answer:
I suggest that clients choose a practitioner based on two criteria:

Expertise – the practitioner has training and experience in the area for which you are seeking help. I encourage you to ask about this before making a first appointment.

Interpersonal fit – whether, after your first phone conversation or visit, you feel you can connect with the therapist and talk freely about your concerns.

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Q. How long can I expect counseling to last?

Answer:
The exact length of time will depend on your unique situation and goals, and I can estimate a time frame for you after the assessment.

Each visit lasts 50 minutes unless we arrange for a different length. Visits can be weekly, twice weekly, or every few weeks, depending on your situation.

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Q. What if I need medication?

Answer:
After a complete assessment, we will explore treatment options. For certain conditions that can be effectively treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy, a medication evaluation with a psychiatrist can be very helpful. For this purpose, I have collaborative referral relationships with psychiatrists whom I respect.

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Q. Will counseling involve family members or other people?

Answer:
When a client’s challenge involves or affects relationships, we can discuss whether to invite members of those relationships in for a consultation for the purposes of input, participation, support, and/or relationship enhancement.

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