*** Disclaimer- if this is a crisis situation or you are having active thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or someone else, please call 911, go to your nearest ER, Text Crisisline at “741741”, or call the Suicide Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255***
Considering therapy or counseling? It’s a difficult decision to come to. And can be even more challenging to follow through with it. We get it, on a professional level and personal level. Hopefully this information can make the process seem a little less daunting.
Psychologists Are Mental Health Professionals that have a doctoral degree in Psychology, which is no small feat! This means educationally they have a bachelor degree, master degree, and doctorate degree. Which technically makes them a Doctor, but a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a PHD in Psychology. Thus it’s very common for Psychologists to be called “Dr. XYZ.” Although they did not go to medical school… keeping up with me still?
Even more interesting, a fairly new trend in Psychology is the move to a certification in “Medical Psychology.” Which is post PHD education that focuses on training Psychologists in being able to prescribe Medication for Mental Health Disorders. So despite a full medical training, some Psychologists can now prescribe mental health related medication, with the appropriate training.
So what exactly do Psychologists do? It’s a very versatile profession. Because of their extensive training and education they are found teaching, providing training seminars, statistical work, studies and research, in schools, in psychology focused clinical settings, mental health testing centers, and more. And as previously stated certified Medical Psychologists are able to prescribe psychotropic medication.
How will I know if someone is a Psychologist? They will have a PHD or Doctorate in Psychology. They will also be currently licensed in the state that they are practicing. There are several different types of Psychology Degrees, which is an entirely different subject. If you’re interested in learning more about Psychology, refer to the American Psychological Association.
Do they provide therapy? Some do, absolutely. It depends in what field of practice they choose.
How are they different from other counseling providers? Its definitely an evolving field. They do generally cost more a session, compared to other licensed therapists, but they also have a higher level of education. Psychologists tend to have a specific “school of thought” or a practice modality that they were trained in clinically. Such as a Behavioral Psychologist. Psychology education tends to focus greatly on the human brain and its development. And thus outside factors like the environment are not always considered in treatment.
Psychologists are well respected for their ability to test for specific mental health issues and to give extensive reports and treatment recommendations. Psychologists are well trained and have access to administer and give the outcome of these specific psychological tests that are frequently desired by schools, the disability office, or for legal issues, etc.
Also as stated before, some Psychologists are beginning to provide medication management. Which is an obvious benefit as the challenges of seeing a psychiatrist can be high.
How do I find a Psychologist? It depends on your financial situation, where you live, and a their availability. The first step is to consider your insurance or lack of. If you have insurance, call the number on the back of your card under Behavioral Health. And they can assist you with finding a Psychologist or give you a list of Psychologists that are covered by your plan. Then you may likely have a long list of Doctors to choose from. So things to consider are recommendations from friends, family, or social media. Referrals from other patients or providers who know the Psychologist is often the best way to go. However other options for finding a local Psychologist is research through the website Psychology Today (will link below).
If you are interested in finding a Prescribing Psychologist in Louisiana click on the link below for the Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists.
If you do not have health insurance: your State has local mental health clinics that provide Mental Health Care at no charge. For example in St . Tammany Parish, Louisiana, the “Florida Parishes Human Resources Department” has several clinics like this where you can receive free or low cost treatment. They even have walk in hours (meaning you can walk in when they are open). If you need help finding one call Vialink or 211. I have included direct links to some websites for free treatment.
I hope that you find this helpful and I will continue providing information on how to navigate mental health care. Thanks! Angie