Frequently Asked Questions
How do I go about making an appointment with a psychologist?
Call our office and let our office staff know a little about the problem, the urgency of your condition, the time you are available and whether you will be using your health insurance so that we can direct you to the appropriate psychologist.
How many sessions will it take before I feel better?
It depends on the severity and complexity of the problem, as well as one's motivation to follow the treatment program.
Do psychologists prescribe medication?
No. Most clients do not require medication and do very well with psychological treatment alone. If medication is necessary, along with psychotherapy, a referral can be made to a psychiatrist or to your family care physician.
How can I make changes and not upset anyone?
It may not be possible to do what you need or want to do without someone else becoming uncomfortable. We will help you learn to tolerate their discomfort, as well as your own.
What does a psychologist do? How can a psychologist help me?
Psychologists study the science of human behavior and then apply this knowledge in a professional setting. Psychologists spend an average of 7.2 years, in addition to their undergraduate college degree, in education and training. They are licensed by the state in which they practice. A psychologist can help you identify your problems and then figure out ways to best cope with them; change controlling tendencies or habits, or find constructive ways to deal with a situation that is beyond your control.
How does psychotherapy work?
It works by helping you objectively look at behaviors, feelings and thoughts in situations which you find to be a problem. Psychotherapy helps you learn new and more effective ways of dealing with those situations.
What about confidentiality and my insurance company?
All members of the American Psychological Association subscribe to a Code of Ethics that requires strict efforts to maintain patient confidentiality. Today, patients are often asked to approve the release of information in order to obtain insurance reimbursement or coverage for their treatment. Your psychologist will only release that information if you sign a release form indicating that you give your approval.
How do I know if my teenager is experiencing normal mood swings or is suffering from depression?
Adolescents deal with drastic physical changes, which leads to emotional and behavioral changes and mood swings. If your son or daughter begins to show regular physical and emotional symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, tearfulness, eating changes, lack of energy, emotional outbursts or loss of interest in or enjoyment of activities, seek professional help. If your child expresses suicidal thoughts in any form (letter, verbally, through a friend), seek professional advice.
Everybody, at some time, has difficulty concentrating, sitting still or staying organized. How do I know if my child or I, as an adult, suffer from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?
It is true that most people have times in their lives when their behavior is not the normal range for their chronological age or state in life. Certain life situations such as loss, transition, change or trauma present challenges to normal functioning.
In terms of assessing for ADD or AD/HD, find out the normal expectations for the age group in the physical, social, cognitive and emotional realms and compare the behaviors you are seeing in your child or experiencing in yourself with the "norm." If the lack of attention, poor concentration, difficulty organizing tasks, restlessness, and/or impulsivity are observed across settings and are ongoing, seek professional help. At times, these symptoms are masking other problems and may not be related to attention deficit disorder.
What do you think about medication for the treatment of AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)?
The decision about whether or not to use medication should be made by the parent, in consultation with his/her child's medical doctor. Stimulant medication, typically used to treat AD/HD, does have side effects, as do all medications.
Does my child have a learning disorder?
Learning disorders are diagnosed when performance on an individually administered, standardized test in reading, mathematics or written expression is substantially below that expected for age, school and level of intelligence. The impaired performance significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living. Each school district has its own guidelines for eligibility for special services and parents should advocate for the child¹s educational needs by working together with their district¹s special education coordinator.
How do I handle taking my child out of the classroom for a therapy session when I believe that drawing attention to my child might be harmful?
Typically, middle age children and adolescents, in particular, are extremely sensitive about what their peers think of them. Their self-esteem is often fragile and they are fearful of repercussions such as being ridiculed, embarrassed or questioned.
The counseling or therapy falls under the umbrella of a doctor's appointment. The child has control of what he/she says to peers and does not owe anyone an explanation. The parents need to communicate with the school regarding any concerns and heighten their awareness of your wish for confidentiality.