Frequently Asked Questions
How can psychotherapy help?
Approximately 1 in 5 adults experienced a common mental disorder (i.e., mood, anxiety, and substance use) in the past year, and approximately 30% will suffer from one in their lifetime.
Most people who seek psychological services are looking for a trained and unbiased person who can help overcome an important issue or problem. It is common for clients to look for symptom relief, improved functioning in daily life, adjustment to a life transition, or coping with intense emotions. Almost everyone wants new skills to think and behave more adaptively.
Fortunately, scientific research indicates that psychotherapy leads to significant reductions in a range of behavioral health symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, stress, eating & body image concerns, addiction, and many other emotional and behavioral difficulties. Psychotherapy is often equally, and sometimes more, effective than psychiatric medications.
A growing body of research also suggests that mental and physical health are highly interrelated. Psychotherapy has been shown to improve numerous mind-body health issues, such as sleep quality, immune functioning, medication adherence, fatigue, pain, and post-heart attack and cancer survival.
Why work with a clinical psychologist?
A “clinical psychologist” has completed a doctoral degree in psychology and has met rigorous educational and training requirements set forth by state governmental jurisdictions and the American Psychological Association. In addition to completing a median of 7 years of graduate education (beyond their undergraduate degrees), the extensive training includes completing thousands of hours in supervised practica, a year-long internship year in a hospital or other health setting, passing a national exam, and completing multiple years of supervised post-doctoral training and service.
By the time clinical psychologists are licensed to practice independently, they are extraordinarily well-trained with expertise in providing psychological assessment and treatment for a range of mental and physical health conditions.
What is evidence-based practice?
There are hundreds of different types of psychotherapy. Some approaches lack scientific evidence that they significantly help individuals with specific conditions and diagnoses. The goal of evidence-based practice is to match each person’s unique presenting problems and personality with the type(s) of treatment that psychotherapy research has verified as most likely to help. In other words, using a data-driven approach, the therapeutic approach is personalized to your specific concerns in a highly collaborative manner.
Clinical psychology leads the way in developing and validating the effectiveness of various psychological services.
The American Psychological Association’s Society of Clinical Psychology has created a listing-research-supported-psychological-treatments.
Should I pursue medication or psychotherapy for mental health concerns?
Although psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants, are often prescribed to treat mental health conditions, they do not address the underlying causes of distress and related difficulties with functioning in daily life. The repetitive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving associated with mental and emotional problems often return if medication is discontinued.
Psychotropic medicines may take up to six weeks or more to lead to improvement, and do not work for some individuals at all.
Medication may cause a wide range of unpleasant side effects (e.g., fatigue, insomnia, drowsiness, increased appetite & weight gain, loss of sex drive and functioning, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, suicidal thinking, mania, etc.).
A combination of medication and psychotherapy is the optimal approach in many cases. If so, clinical psychologists often collaborate with medical professionals (i.e., psychiatrists, primary care physicians, psychiatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants) to determine the best course of action.
Finally, it is important to note that research indicates that psychotherapy alone is superior than medication for certain mental disorders.
Do clinical psychologists also provide coaching?
Presently, there are no legal standards required to become a “coach,” so anyone is free to offer these services without any government regulation or professional oversight. Most coaches attempt to apply techniques developed by clinical psychology researchers for non-clinical issues. However, they are not required to have earned a relevant degree, received supervision, or pass a licensing examination.
Although clinical psychologists are specialists in treating diagnosable mental health conditions, they are also extremely well-qualified and suited to perform masterful coaching for individuals needing assistance with achieving life or professional goals, reaching peak performance, adapting to life transitions, and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Importantly, clinical psychologists are required by law and professional standards to adhere to the highest level of moral and ethical conduct when performing coaching services. New York State licensed psychologists work under the rigorous requirements of the New York State Board of Psychology, a branch of the Department of Education’s Office of the Professions. The Board considers coaching to be one of the primary services offered by licensed psychologists.
What are the costs of treatment or coaching?
If your psychologist is classified as an “in-network” provider, health insurance plans will usually provide coverage for clinically significant mental health concerns. In order to be eligible, insurers typically require that clients are experiencing a current psychological disorder that is designated on a list of acceptable diagnoses. Depending on the health insurance plan, copayment or coinsurance is usually required for services.
Some insurers will reimburse for behavioral medicine sessions, especially if the client is experieincing co-existing physical and mental health diagnosable conditions.
Coaching is not covered by health insurance, so this requires fee-for-service payment (i.e., similar to paying for an attorney or accountant).
After submitting your Contact Form, additional information about fees will be provided. However, confirmed coverage for mental health treatment may only be available after an assessment and communication with the specific health insurance provider.
What are the pros and cons of using insurance to pay for psychologist's fees?
The Mental Health Parity Act was the first in a series of federal legislative bills passed by Congress between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s that require health insurance providers to provide mental health benefits on par with the dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits. As a result, over the past 25 years, millions of Americans have gained access to mental health services who would not have been able to otherwise. A significant proportion of Americans have improved their mental health status and functioning, and the stigma associated with psychological disorders has declined significantly.
Unfortunately, insurers and employers have consistently found ways to circumvant the intent of the legislation. For instance, some insurers set limits on the number of sessions per year, and many restrict the type and amount of treatment covered. Moreover, almost all insurance companies require that the insured individual has a diagnosable psychiatric disorder in order to be eligible for coverage. Insurers also necessitate that practitioners submit personal information about their clients, including psychiatric history, the nature of treatment, and the degree of progress in psychotherapy.
As a result, some clients prefer to pay their psychologist directly and avoid involving their insurance provider. This decision provides added privacy and control over the psychotherapy process, including selecting their psychologist independent of the provider’s status as in- or out-of-network, and the course of treatment.