Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
1. What is Therapy and can I benefit from it?
People have many ideas of what therapy is, due to how the television and movies have portrayed it. Unfortunately, therapy is often portrayed inaccurately and as a result, people are often turned away from it. The traditional idea of therapy was to lay on the couch and talk while the therapist just listens. This still occurs, but the more typical scenario is that the therapist and client have a more 50/50 involvement where the therapist tends to be more active and there are specific goals to work on. By keeping your information confidential and private, a trained professional works together, with you, using a range of techniques and methods. The first goal of therapy is merely to form a trusting and non-judgmental therapeutic relationship where you feel comfortable to talk about yourself.
The stereotype is that you need to be "crazy" or have serious problems to be in therapy. However, most people can benefit from some form of therapy as everyone has everyday problems and emotions. Please view some of the areas with which therapy can help. It's very difficult for people to admit they need help. Often, denial of problems or denial of needing help will keep people from getting help. Therapy tends to be more helpful for those that recognize they need some help and are ready to change.
2. What is the difference between a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), etc.?
There are many types of therapists which can make it difficult to choose who you want to work with. The terms therapist, psychotherapist, and counselor are used interchangeably as are the terms therapy, psychotherapy, and counseling.
Psychologists are doctorate level therapists. They spend an average of 5-7 years in graduate education training and research before receiving a doctoral degree. As part of their professional training, they must complete a one year supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting and at least one year of post-doctoral supervised experience before they can become licensed and practice independently. Psychologists must be licensed by the state in order to practice psychology independently.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who mostly prescribe medication. Psychiatrists will meet with their patients for approximately 15 minutes, usually once a month to evaluate any changes in their patient's symptoms and then modify their medications as needed. Psychiatrists typically do not provide psychotherapy, there may however be exceptions.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) are master's level therapists. They typically attend 2 year graduate programs to earn their Master's degree. After doing a 2 year supervised internship they become license eligible in the state of Florida.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) have a master's degree specializing in family and couple's therapy as well as other interpersonal dynamics. After doing a 2 year supervised internship they become license eligible in the state of Florida.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are master's level therapists. They typically attend 2 year graduate programs to earn their Master's degree. After doing a 2 year supervised internship they become license eligible in the state of Florida.
Psychotherapist is a general term used for the aforementioned licensed professionals who provide psychology services.
Drug and Alcohol Counselors, have their CAS, CAC, or CAP certification or CAP through licensure. Depending on which certification it is, these certifications require no degree at all or a least a Bachelor's degree, approximately 150-350 hours of training, and 2,000-6,000 hours of supervised work experience.
Life Coaches: Anyone can call themselves a life coach as they are not required to have a degree, any training, or a license. A life coach may have some mental health training, or may draw upon personal experiences to offer clients help with setting and reaching personal and professional goals. The State of Florida forbids the practice of psychology without a regulated degree and license.
Intern or Resident: These are terms used by those who are unlicensed and under supervision while in training for their profession.
3. Can you prescribe me medication?
NO. Research does show that the combination of medication along with therapy is the most effective treatment for most symptoms. Research suggests that therapy tends to produce more long-term improvements by addressing the underlying causes of your symptoms rather than just managing the symptoms which is what medication often does. For example, you can take a fever reducer pill when you have a fever, but this medication isn't really addressing the underlying cause (i.e., virus) of your fever. If your clinician feels medication may be helpful, then they can certainly discuss a referral to a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation.
4. How do I choose a good therapist?
Keep in mind that no single therapist will work for every person. Research and many therapists suggest a "trying out" period of 2-4 sessions to warm up and to build a relationship with your therapist just like starting any other relationship.
To find a "good" therapist you should consider how much education they have, how much experience they have, are they licensed and in good standings, do they listen and seem to understand you, do they seem trustworthy, and in general do you feel comfortable speaking with them.
5. What experience do you have?
Premier Psychological Services and Associates have over 90 years of experience combined in the psychology field and are Licensed Psychologists and therapists in the State of Florida. Please view each clinicians detailed experience for more information.
6. What is your specialty/ What services do you offer?
Our Associates provide individual, couples, and family therapy and psychological testing to children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. At times, we also provide group therapy on various topics. We provide a range of services from everyday difficulties to more specific or severe problems. Please view our Services Offered page. It's impossible to list every issue someone could experience, so if you don't see the reason for which you are seeking therapy, please contact us and ask.
7. What type of therapy/modality do you use?
Our Associates offer a wide array of research based therapy techniques. Please view each therapist's profile to learn more. No matter what modality or technique your therapist uses, research shows that the relationship between you and your therapist is the most important element in meeting your goals.
8. Do you take insurance?
YES. We accept most major insurances including but not limited to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, United, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana. Your therapist may take your insurance and you may also get reimbursed by your insurance company by submitting a receipt to them.
Here are a few of the areas to consider when deciding whether to use your insurance or not:
Privacy and Confidentiality
• Your privacy and confidentiality are often compromised when using your insurance.
• Insurance companies often require information regarding your diagnosis which becomes a part of your permanent record.
• Insurance companies often require a review of your session notes which may contain very personal information about you.
Loss of Choice
• Your insurance company limits your freedom to choose from highly-qualified professionals with whom you feel comfortable.
• Your insurance company may limit the number of sessions you can use without ever meeting or speaking with you.
• You may not be allowed to use the types of therapy you may need or want for long-term improvements.
• You may be required by your insurance company to take medication in order to use your benefits.
• Your insurance may not cover your diagnosis and therefore you may not receive treatment.
Decreased Quality of Care
• Therapists who accept insurance may have less time to provide you with quality care as they typically have additional paperwork to complete for insurance companies and they usually have to spend a lot of their time dealing with insurance companies to get reimbursed.
• Since therapists who accept insurance may not get reimbursed right away or get their full reimbursement from the insurance company, they may need to schedule more sessions to meet their financial goals. This may lead to the therapist being overworked and potentially a lower quality of care.
9. What are your fees?
Each therapist charges a different fee. Ultimately, we strive to work our a fee that's affordable for you.
10. What if I'm running late, need to reschedule, or decide to cancel my appointment?
Unexpected situations arise in your daily life so you can certainly cancel or reschedule appointments based on the agreement you have with your therapist, but generally with 48 hour advanced notice, in other words, please contact your therapist 48 hours prior to your appointment time. Once an appointment hour is scheduled, typically your therapist will charge a late cancellation fee (usually $50) unless you provide 48 hour advance notice of cancellation unless you and your therapist both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. Please keep in mind that you are reserving a space in your therapist's appointment book, and without cancellation notice they are unable to refill this space.
11. Another therapist quoted me a lower fee. Will you match this fee?
No. In any business, someone will always do it cheaper but this doesn't mean it's better, it's just "cheaper". We set competitive fees for quality services.
12. How long do sessions last and how often do we talk?
Typically, your therapist would schedule one session per week, especially when you first start so that you and your therapist can build a good working relationship and so that you get the most benefit from your sessions. Every individual is different, therefore, frequency of sessions may be shorter or longer. Your therapist may offer a 30, 45, or 60-minute session depending on your needs. Your therapist will decide which option is best for you depending on their clinical recommendation, your financial situation, and how much time you have in your schedule.
13. How long does therapy last and when will I see changes?
This is a difficult question to answer since every individual is different. There is convincing research evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of psychotherapy are far better off than individuals with emotional difficulties who are untreated. A major research study showed that 50 percent of patients noticeably improved after eight sessions, while 75 percent of individuals in therapy improved by the end of six months. So, some individuals use a few sessions and can notice immediate improvements while others may utilize therapy for several years. Either way, your therapist will create initial goals for you to work towards and evaluate these goals periodically.
Often, clients don't feel completely comfortable with therapy at first, but don't fret, this is a common experience. Research and therapists suggest a "trying out" period of 2-4 sessions to warm up. The good news is that most clients report an improvement in their symptoms after their first session, despite some individuals feeling somewhat uncomfortable.
Please note that, each person is different, as such there is no definite time frame within which therapy will or will not show results for you.
14. What if I have an emergency?
If you have an emergency (i.e., thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, a medical emergency, or other emergency), then immediately call 911, go to your local emergency room, or call an emergency hotline (i.e., 800-Suicide, etc.). The Premier Psychological Services, P.L. website, it's e-mail address, it's phone number, and Skype therapy are not to be used for emergency situations. These services are not intended and are not appropriate for such situations, and these services lack the support and immediacy needed for emergency situations.
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