I know that therapy can be filled with questions. Let me try to answer some as you are making the decision on finding the right therapist:
What is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist?
A licensed psychologist is a mental health professional who typically holds a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) focusing on clinical psychology. There are many different kinds of psychologists. For example, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists work with individuals within a variety of therapeutic settings and contexts. There are also organizational psychologists, psychologists who focus more on research, and psychologists who work in academic settings. I am a Clinical Psychologist, meaning I received my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) which focuses more on applied clinical work instead of research. A clinical psychologist who has a Doctorate is able to conduct therapy and research, teach at the university level, and conduct various types of psychological evaluations and assessments. A Licensed Clinical Psychologist is a psychologist who has a Doctorate degree and has a clinical license to practice as a psychologist (one who has met and maintains the state's requirements for licensure, including passing a national licensing examination and completing an extensive number of required training hours). A psychologist is also different from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) who typically hold Masters degrees versus Doctorate degrees. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, meaning I hold a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) and I am currently licensed to practice psychology in Virginia and Illinois.
How is a psychologist different from a psychiatrist? Can a psychologist prescribe medication since they are called "doctor?"
A psychologist, as described above, holds a Doctorate degree in psychology. They do not possess a medical license, and therefore are not able to prescribe medication (although this may be changing in the field as is the case in certain states). A psychiatrist holds a medical degree and they are able to prescribe medication. I would not be able to prescribe medication. If it was discussed with a client that a referral for medication might be helpful, and the client agrees, I could refer you to a psychiatrist or your medical doctor who would then potentially be able to prescribe medication while I would continue to see you for therapy.
What do I do if I have additional questions that I want answered before starting therapy? Will I be charged if I contact Allison to answer my questions?
I am happy to offer a free initial consultation that can be done either via phone or in-person (up to 30 minutes). It is very important to have all of your questions answered before starting therapy, and it is important to be able to speak with me to be sure that I would be a good fit for you. It is important to discuss your needs in seeking out therapy so I can also be sure that my areas of practice would match your needs. If it is determined that your needs are beyond the scope of my practice, I would attempt to assist in making an appropriate referral. However, if you speak with me and we both determine that starting therapy would be a good fit, then the process of starting sessions can begin. Clients are always encouraged to contact me to have your questions answered and there is no fee for this initial contact, nor would there be a fee for an initial face-to-face consultation (up to 30 minutes) if you would feel more comfortable with meeting and initially talking in person versus over the phone.
How do I contact Allison to schedule either a free initial consultation, to have my questions answered, or to schedule my first session?
I can be reached directly by calling (815) 793-3787. If I am unavailable when you call, please leave a message and I will typically call you back within 24 hours. You can also email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org