Psychologists generally have extensive training in psychotherapy and psychological testing and have obtained a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. Substance use counselors have specific training in assessing and treating issues related to substance use disorders. Clinical social workers and licensed professional counselors hold an advanced degree and have extensive training in diagnosing and providing psychotherapy. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who has specialized training in psychiatry. Most psychiatrists focus on prescribing medication and medication management, although some do conduct psychotherapy. When selecting a therapist, choose someone who has an advanced graduate degree (masters, doctorate) in the field of mental health, be sure they are licensed to practice in your state, and ask them if they have expertise in your specific problem area.
Mental health problems are common. An estimated 1 in 5 (22.1%) adults in the U.S. suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In 2017, this translated to 46.6 million people. Individuals who have had recent medical or physical health issues (i.e., traumatic brain injury, heart attack, diabetes, cancer), often experience depression or anxiety and individuals who have had a recent stressor may develop insomnia, headaches, anxiety or depression.
Psychotherapy can be helpful in terms of providing you with emotional support during a crisis and helping you examine your feelings, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors to sort out what is working for you and what is not working well for you any longer. Life has become very complicated and complex these days, and many people face serious stressors that affect how they function. Almost all of us have “crazy moments” from time to time but this doesn’t mean that we have to feel embarrassed, ashamed or weak. You’re simply at a point where you need some professional assistance in sorting a matter out. You wouldn’t try to fill your own cavity or do surgery on your knee — the same applies with your emotional and mental health. As for ending therapy, it often occurs when you and/or your therapist feel you have gained the maximum benefit at the time. This may be indicated in a variety of ways and include sleeping better, feeling more cheerful/confident/carefree, feeling less anxious/stressed/overwhelmed, feeling closer in family relationships and/or resolving or accepting aspects of family relationships, having healthier dating or relationships, etc.
Many of our patients do not take psychotropic (psychiatric) medication and not all individuals are in need of or benefit from medication. However, some types of problems (such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis) do require medication to assist the individual in a more rapid recovery and stabilize mood so they can participate in therapy more fully. Once you begin taking medication, it does not necessarily mean you must take the medication for the rest of your life. The decision to take or not take medication is yours, and your health care provider and therapist can help advise you to the advantages and disadvantages of your decision.
Fees vary depending on the therapist’s training, experience and services provided. Each therapist sets their fees. Your insurance may provide coverage depending on your specific plan and if the therapist is in or out of network. Before beginning treatment, you or your therapist can contact your insurance company to obtain information regarding your benefits.
This varies from insurance company to insurance company. The minimum type of information conveyed is your diagnosis, dates of service, type of service and charges. Sometimes companies ask for treatment plans and/or a checklist of current problems and issues however this is not usually requested. You can ask your therapist to let you know what type of information will be submitted based on your particular insurance. You should know that having some types of diagnoses (e.g., depression, alcohol/drug dependence, bipolar disorder, etc.) could affect your ability to obtain or the cost of health or life insurance at a future date. For this reason, some individuals prefer to pay cash for their therapy services instead of using their health insurance. Please talk to your therapist if you have questions or concerns.
That’s always a tough one, but you may decide to seek out education and/or support for yourself. You might contact a therapist to discuss the usefulness of some type of supportive (vs. confrontational) intervention from family and friends. You may also contact that person’s primary care physician or religious advisor (priest, rabbi, minister) and express your concerns. That service provider may be able to approach the issue with your loved one in a more neutral, less threatening manner.