Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between types of mental health professionals?

There are a few main difference between Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and Psychiatrist even though all types can provide therapy.

Training and licensing as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist ranges from 4 year undergraduate degree plus a 4 to 6 year doctorate program.  A PhD program has a strong focus on both research and clinical components and is usually provided in a university setting.  A PsyD have a strong focus on treatment. The requirements in order to practice as a clinical psychologist are the following: a degree from an approved educational program, a minimum amount of supervised clinical experience, and passing two exams with the board of California.  In addition, in order to renew a license California requires a certain number of continuing education credits per year. Clinical psychologist can provide assessment and testing as well.

Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships.  This type of therapy tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.  Family relationships are seen as a vital component in psychological health.

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker’s (LCSW) training emphasizes more on achieving productive social adjustments. They have special knowledge of social resources.

Psychiatrist prescribe medicine and some also provide therapy, although most do medical management and refer to a psychologist for therapy.

What are some of the different types of treatment modalities used?

Depending on what your therapy goals are, psychological theories from multiple perspective are used.  Either one approach or a combination of approaches can be implemented.  Therapy is a collaborative process and the ultimate goal is to reach psychological well-being.  The following are some common approaches used:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) CBT focuses on dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes.  A cognitive-behavioral therapist uses an active role to define realistic goals for you and to determine ways to achieve them.  This therapy approach helps you understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors.  The goal is to change the way we think in order to feel and act better in our daily lives. With CBT you can learn how to identify and change destructive thought patterns that have a negative influence on your behavior.  This treatment approach is used to treat many disorders such as phobias, addiction, depression, and anxiety.

Psychodynamic Therapy Psychodynamic therapy focuses on revealing your unconscious content in order to relieve psychic tension.  The goal of this therapy is for you to become self-aware and understand the influence that your past may have on your present behavior.  It views the interpersonal relationship between client and therapist as very important. 

Crisis Intervention Therapy Crisis Intervention Therapy focuses on assisting individual in a crisis situation in order to return them to their usual level of pre-crisis functioning.  This kind of therapy is used when a person is confronted by events he or she does not have adequate resources to cope with.  These events are sudden and unexpected usually such as sudden death, life-threatening situations, illness, trauma, divorce, loss of a loved one, or loss of a job. The goal of Crisis Intervention therapy is to provide immediate, short-term guidance to individuals experiencing distress.

Medication Vs. Psychotherapy?

In order to determine what’s in your best interest, working with your medical doctor and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Do you take insurance, and how does that work?

The first step is to check with your insurance carrier to determine if you have mental health coverage. Either you can do this on your own or I’m happy to have someone in my office do this for you. Some helpful questions you can ask them:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions will be covered per calendar year?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?