office (205) 403-0955
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
A Psychologist has a college degree and a doctoral degree in Psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), which includes extensive training in understanding emotional and psychological problems and treatment of those problems.  Psychologists also are trained extensively in research and in the basis for what they do.  In most states, Psychologists do not prescribe medicine, but will refer you to a medical doctor if medication should be considered.

A Psychiatrist also has a college degree followed by training in medicine and then psychiatry.  Some psychiatrists provide psychotherapy, but most evaluate and treat the medical aspects of mental illness, including prescription medications.  There are a few states, but not Alabama, which permit properly trained psychologists to prescribe medications that are used to treat mental disorders.


What happens in therapy?
While in therapy, you may do a variety of things depending on your problems and needs.  Therapy usually consists of talking and answering questions about your history, background, and problems.   You may also be asked to read books that are relevant to your problems that may be helpful and speed your progress.  You and your therapist will discuss whatever changes will be helpful in your thinking and behavior.

Children may be involved in a variety of play and interactive activities to facilitate their improvement.  Sometimes other family members may be involved in their therapy.


What about taking medication?
You and your psychologist may decide that, in addition to psychotherapy, medication may be of help to you.  Your therapist will refer you to your family doctor or to a psychiatrist for consideration of medication.  We will consult with the M.D. as needed to be sure the medication is helpful.


How long will my therapy last?
The length of treatment varies depending on the type of problem you have.  Some people have problems that they are able to work through and solve fairly quickly, in five or six sessions, while others may have much more complex problems that have lasted many years and take much longer to work out.  Some people choose to work on their personal growth and work for some time on these issues.  Psychotherapy is a resource available throughout life, to help with problems in living as they occur.


Will what I say be confidential?
Yes, what is said in a therapy session is usually confidential and no one other than your therapist will know what you have said.  However, there are a few exceptions to that rule.  If you are a  threat to your safety or the safety of someone else, your therapist is required by law to notify the appropriate people to try to prevent any harm from occurring.  Your therapist is also required to report any incidences of child abuse to the Department of Human Resources.  In addition, there are some legal proceedings where your mental health is an issue, and the court may subpoena your records.


Will insurance cover my visits to a psychologist?
Most health insurance policies do have some provision to pay for part of your psychotherapy.  This varies greatly from policy to policy.  It is important for you to check with your health insurance company before coming to see your therapist if you plan to use your insurance.  A guide to aid you in this process is provided in the Insurance section of our web site.