Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Behavioral Health
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists often work together to provide you with the overall best care experience. However, many people can be confused regarding the differences between the care these professionals offer.
A psychologist is a doctor who provides therapy services. Psychologists have completed an undergraduate degree, and four years or more of graduate training to earn a Doctorate (PsyD or PhD) in areas such as clinical or counseling psychology. Psychologists receive specialized training in understanding how the mind operates, and can assist you in identifying and working toward resolving the root causes of emotional and behavioral issues. In order to do so, a psychologist may work with you in therapy, or administer psychological testing to help identify issues. By law, anyone known as a psychologist must be licensed by the state to provide you with these services.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who has completed training in medical school and specialized training in the area of psychiatry. In general, psychiatrists will help you understand emotional and behavioral issues from a medical perspective. This often includes prescription medications to help you feel better. By law, anyone known as a psychiatrist must be a medical doctor trained in this specific area.
How do I know which doctor I should see at the Behavioral Health Center?
Because of the different roles that psychiatrists and psychologists serve, it can sometimes be difficult to know which doctor to see. If you have been referred to our services by another physician, it would be helpful for you to ask your doctor for clarification of the referral – does your doctor recommend you see a psychiatrist or psychologist?
If you have sought our services on your own, the most important thing to consider is your objective. If you would like an evaluation to see if medication would be beneficial for you, then a psychiatrist would be the best person to see. Are you interested in engaging in therapy to work on issues, without a medication evaluation? Then a psychologist would be the most appropriate person to see. If you still have questions about this, you can contact us and a doctor will help you decide.
Since our doctors collaborate closely with one another, you really cannot make the wrong decision in seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. The doctor that you meet with will make sure you are seeing the professional who can best meet your needs and help you achieve your goals. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy may be the best course of treatment, and our doctors will help you if this is the recommendation as well.
What can I expect when I arrive for my appointment? How long will it take?
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be greeted by someone at our front desk who will notify your doctor that you have arrived. When he or she is ready for your appointment, you will meet with your doctor in a private and comfortable office. At your initial appointment, you and your doctor will discuss what led you to seek services. Your doctor may have some questions for you about your history. You should expect to collaborate with your doctor to develop a plan to help you.
Your initial appointment will likely last between an hour and an hour and a half. Follow up appointments will depend upon the plan that you and your doctor have agreed upon. When meeting with a psychologist, subsequent appointments are typically 45 minutes. Follow-up appointments with a psychiatrist may be longer or shorter, depending upon your plan. Whether meeting with a psychologist or psychiatrist, you are an integral part of the treatment process.
More FAQs coming soon...check back often!