Q:WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PSYCHOLOGIST AND A PSYCHIATRIST?
A: People often wonder what the difference is between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Some have stereotyped ideas of a pyschiatrist taking notes while a patient lays on a couch. Modern psychological services have changed over the years.
Psychiatrists are physicians with medical degrees – either M.D. or D.O. – therefore they can prescribe medications. Most pyschiatrists conduct an initial interview with a patient that lasts a 50 minute hour, they formulate a diagnosis, and begin prescribing psychiatric medications. Subsequent visits last only 15 minutes with the aim of determining how well the medications are working while trying to avoid side effects.
Psychologists are also doctors (the fully licensed ones) with many years of advanced education (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D.) in the study of human behavior, the workings of the mind, and the management of emotions. They also conduct an initial interview that lasts an hour, they formulate a diagnosis, and they prescribe a course of action, or treatement goals, for the patient to work toward. Subsequent visits continue to last 50 minutes each, so there is ample time to talk about the problems that brought you in for treatment. Additionally, psychologists may perform specialized psychological testing to further assess mental disorders, intellectual functions, and personality. During the course of a typical psychotherapy hour, feedback, encouragement and suggestions are typically given, along with ideas for new ways of thinking and relating to others. Over the course of several sessions, people often begin to feel better because TALKING HELPS.
In Michigan, we have Master’s degree psychologists called Limited Licensed Psychologists or LLP’s for short. They also have advanced education, training and experience but must work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Master’s degree social workers have similar training and experience, except in the area of psychological testing. Both Masters prepared clinicians work in similar ways to the above description of a psychologist.
Here at Chris Jansen-Yee, Psy.D. & Associates, we have psychologists of both the fully licensed and limited licensed type. We also endeavor to maintain good working relationships with area psychiatrists.
Modern psychiatric care utilizes both types of mental health professionals. A psychiatrist may diagnose mental illness and manage medications carefully, while at the same time, psychologists may provide ongoing counseling or psychotherapy.
Progress and benefit are usually enhanced by taking advantage of both types of treatment: medications and psychotherapy. Medications can only do a limited amount to bring about changes of mood, attitude and behavior. Psychotherapy can enhance the effectiveness of medications to bring about meaningful personal change. But the most important factor which brings about positive changes will always be a motivated YOU!
Q:HOW DOES “THERAPY” WORK?
A: Psychotherapy or “therapy” for short, works by helping you objectively look at behaviors, feelings and thoughts in situations which you find problematic. It helps you to learn more effective ways in dealing with those situations.
Therapy is a collaborative effort. You and your psychologist will identify your goals – what you want to have happen, and agree on how you’ll know when you’re making progress. Your psychologist will talk to you about the length of time it may take to help you see changes.
Progress, and change, can happen. Nine out of ten Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports said that psychotherapy had helped them. And in another recent major national study, half of the patients studied were making improvements after eight sessions of therapy, 75 percent after six months of therapy.
(Excerpts from American Psychological Association)
Q: WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
A: Your privacy is important to you and will be important to your psychologist. All members of the American Psychological Association subscribe to a Code of Ethics that requires strict efforts to maintain patient confidentiality. At Chris Jansen-Yee, PsyD & Associates, all members of our staff, including our clerical and support staff maintain strict confidentiality that complies with HIPAA requirements.
As a patient, information about your treatment is released only to those that you give us written permission to communicate with, and only the kind of information that you give your permission to release. There are certain limits to confidentiality that involve danger to yourself or others, suspected child or elder abuse, and certain court situations. Discuss any concerns about your privacy and confidentiatlity with any member of our staff.