How do I get started?
If you are considering psychological services it is best to schedule a face-to-face appointment so that a clinician can best assess your difficulties and discuss treatment options with you. My associates and I are available for brief phone consultations if you are unsure whether or not to schedule an appointment.
At your first appointment, you will receive a brief history questionnaire which will help to build a map of important events from your past and present difficulties and help to assist you more quickly in getting some relief from therapy. We will also discuss psychological testing as an option to see if you would like to use that to gain momentum more quickly in the early phase of therapy.
There is no charge for the first one-half hour meeting.
How often do I need to come to therapy?
The frequency of therapy and the length of treatment depends on what you are wanting to accomplish. However most patients come between once and twice per week and are able to achieve their goals in this format. Sessions last from 45 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the type of problem and your own preference.
These questions may help you select a therapist:
(print them out and take them with you when interviewing therapists)
Psychologists vs Psychiatrists
Many people are unaware of the differences between psychologists and psychiatrists.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed medical school and gone on to do additional training in psychiatry. Due to their medical training, they are able to prescribe medications such as antidepressants and anxiety medications. Some are also trained to offer psychotherapy.
Psychologists attend graduate school (instead of medical school) and receive 5-6 years of graduate training in mental health issues. They do not currently prescribe medications in the state of Texas, but are highly skilled in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders.
Clinical Psychologists are typically trained to deal with both major and minor mental illness, completing 4 years of coursework in addition to conducting a major independent piece of research (a dissertation), one year of pre-doctoral internship training, and one year of post-doctoral training. Psychologists can work together with psychiatrists if a patient prefers to take medications in addition to pursuing psychotherapy.
Things to consider when interviewing a therapist
Feel free to ask any questions you feel are important. It may be helpful to bring a written list of questions with you to make sure they all are covered, and to help you if you become anxious in the process. You may want to reconsider a therapist who is unwilling or un-comfortable in providing you the above information.
However, you should be aware that it is standard practice in many styles of therapy NOT to disclose personal information to patients such as the therapists’ marital status, parental status, personal preferences, values, or morals, personal feelings, religious affiliations, family history, etc.
If you feel personal information is important to you in making your choice of therapist, you have the right to ask a prospective professional, but you may find that they are reluctant to answer personal questions. This would be considered appropriate and even desirable in many therapeutic styles, and should not be confused with avoidance of answering the types of questions detailed above, which are more directly related to your own personal situation and care.