1. There are a lot of different kinds of therapists. What kind of therapist are you?

I am a licensed psychologist in the State of New Jersey. To become a licensed psychologist, one must obtain a doctorate in psychology which can take anywhere from 4 to 8 years after one receives a bachelor’s degree. Following the awarding of the doctoral degree in psychology, one must accrue approximately 1750 hours of supervised post-doctoral training.  Following the accumulation of these hours, one must take the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP), prepare a written case for the State Board of Psychological Examiners, and pass the Oral Examination. To be an independent therapist in New Jersey, one can be a licensed clinical social worker (masters degree in social work), a licensed professional counselor (Masters Degree in Counseling or Psychology), or a licensed Psychiatrist (Medical Degree).

2. What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A psychologist has a doctorate in psychology and primarily conducts psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and/or psychological consultation. A psychiatrist has a medical degree and can conduct psychotherapy but often conducts psychiatric evaluations to determine if medication can be a helpful component of the patient’s care. I often work in close consultation with psychiatrists to coordinate the care of our patients.

3. Why don’t you take my insurance?

In short, most managed care companies will require personal information about the client and their treatment be divulged in order to process claims. Many insurance companies will reimburse a percentage of the total fee for mental health services provided by an “out-of-network” provider. I will be happy to provide you with a receipt for each session complete with the necessary codes for reimbursement. If there exists financial hardship, we can discuss payment options that may be suitable for your needs. Payment is collected at the end of each session. I accept cash, personal checks, and most major credit cards.

4. How long will I be in therapy?

There is no set time frame for how long treatment will last. There have been times when I have successfully treated clients in 8 sessions or less. More complex problems can take significantly longer; however, if we feel that we are not making any progress in a reasonable amount in time, we can consider other treatment options or an appropriate referral.

5. Does the fact that I/my child is seeing a psychologist mean that I am crazy?

No. The stigma surrounding mental health treatment is beginning to lift. American society has become more open in discussing mental illness and access to care has improved. It is estimated that approximately 20% of Americans have a diagnosed mental illness. Of those 20%, only about 29% of people receive treatment for their mental illness. Individuals seek psychotherapy for a multitude of reasons: self improvement, insight, behavior change, and emotional growth. One need not have a mental illness in order to seek treatment.

6. What happens if I/my child am/is having a psychological emergency?

In the case of a psychological emergency, immediately call 911 or go to your local emergency room. If you need to reach me for any other reason, please call my office phone, and if I do not pick up, please leave a detailed message, and I will get back within 24 hours between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

7. Who will find out that I/my child is seeing a psychologist?

Confidentiality is an important part of treatment. I am committed to maintaining the strictest level of confidentiality. No one else will know of the treatment unless you have signed a written consent that allows me to communicate that person (typically another healthcare provider). I am obligated by law to break confidentiality in the following situations:

1) If a child is being abused or neglected

2) If I learn that my client is at risk for serious harm

3) If I learn that my client will imminently harm someone else

4) If I learn that my client is at risk for seriously harming his or herself

5) If I am subpoenaed by a judge in a court case