Frequently Asked Questions
What is a clincial psychologist?
Clinical psychologists have doctoral degrees, either Ph.D (a combined academic/practitioner degree required to become a clinical psycholgist in America) or a PsyD (a practitioner doctoral degree that is usually the degree of entry in the United Kingdom). Some older UK trained psychologists may have Masters degrees from British Psychological Society approved programs
Clincial psychologists have studied human development and learning, biological,emotional, cognitive and social apsects of mind and behaviour, personality and individual differences, research methods, psychometiric and qualitative assessment, and psychopathology. Their psychological specialty is in mental health: assessment, diagnosis, individual formulation of mental health problems, treatment, and promotion of healthy behaviours.
What is the difference between therapy and counseling?
Counsellors help people heal themselves by providing a safe place for them to express their feelings and explore their problems with an attentive and empathic listener. Counseling is a specfic intervention, and it can be offered by clinical psychologists. However, clinical psychologists specialise in more active therapies. Empathic listening and self exploration is an important aspect of these therapies, but the clinical psychologist goes on to actively offer way to understand problems and specific strategies for breaking the cycles that maintain them
How long is a course of therapy?
Therapy varies in length. Many people get signficiant help from 4 to 8 sessions - sometimes even fewer. Others want or need more time to reach their goals; therapy can continue for one or two years. Problems that have affected many areas of a person's life for a long time and are difficult to define usually take longer to work out than problems that are easy to define and had a clear onset. However, when a person has many problems, sometimes focusing short term on just one can have a big impact on his or her life. Your psychologist will discuss length of treatment with you in the context of your financial and time constraints as you decide a treatment plan together.
If you find therapy isn't helping you, you can leave at any time.
Does therapy work?
A recent review of many research studies by the Standford University School of Medicine found that psychotherapy (the generall terms for all kinds of therapy including CBT) provides signifcant help to many people with common problems. Therapy helps some people more than others. It doesn't help everyone.
How will I know if therapy is working?
You and the psychologist will agree on personal goals. You will know if you are making progress towards these. The psychologist may also ask you to complete some questionnaires to assess the severity of your problems or symptoms. She will ask you to repeat the questionnaire later in treatment to see if things are improving.
How can I tell if a therapist is right for me?
Psychotherapy is a collaboration. Change is challenging work. You need to find someone you feel you can work with, someone who is well qualified, but also someone you feel you can trust.
Please don't hesistate to contact me with other questions!
For information about psychology and psychologists see the following websites:
American Psychological Society
British Psychological Society