What is a Licensed Psychologist?

Psychologists are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior, mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and behavior change. Psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people better understand and change their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. 

Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience. Today, as the link between mind and body is well recognized, more and more psychologists are teaming with other health-care providers to provide whole-person health care for patients.

After graduation from college, psychologists spend an average of 7 years in graduate education training and research before receiving a doctoral degree. As part of their professional training they must complete a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting.  This is followed by at least 1 year of post-doctoral supervised work and then they must pass national and state licensing exams before they can practice independently in any health care arena.  This combination of rigorous doctoral-level academics, extensive supervised clinical training and demanding licensure requirements distinguishes psychologists from many other mental health care providers.

Psychologists must be licensed by the state or jurisdiction in which they practice. Licensure laws are intended to protect the public by limiting licensure to those persons qualified to practice psychology as defined by state law. In Georgia, renewal of this license depends upon the demonstration of continued competence and requires continuing education. 

What can I expect at my first appointment?

Our first appointment is 60 minutes long and is considered a “diagnostic interview.” It is designed for me to learn what has brought you in, your history, what your needs are and what you want to get out of our work together. I use a structured and comprehensive interview process to gather as much information as I can in that short period of time. I use this information to give you immediate feedback about what I recommend the type and focus of our work together to be. If we decide I am not the right person to work with you, I will offer you referrals.

Is Everything Confidential?

Patient privacy is extremely important to me. Psychologists are required to follow high ethical and legal standards to protect your confidentiality. Prior to our first session, I provide you with all of these in writing. In order to further protect your privacy, I do not use administrative staff. I handle every new patient inquiry and all administrative matters myself.

Do You Take My Insurance?

Health insurance does usually cover my services.  Payment is due in full at the time of service. I will provide you with a receipt that you can file to your insurance company and they will reimburse you directly for covered services. This gives each patient the choice of deciding whether or not to file to insurance.

I do not do insurance “panel” work. I believe that decisions regarding medical care should be made by the doctor and the patient, not the insurance company. This means that I am an “out-of-network” provider for your insurance company. This lessens the chance that your insurance company will request your records from me and, overall, they are less likely to intrude upon our work together.

Methods of payment include: personal check, debit card, FSA/Healthcare Debit Card, Mastercard, Visa or cash.

Can You Explain More About How This Works?

When Psychologists agree to be on an insurance panels (called an  “in-network provider",) the Psychologist is paid directly by the insurance company. This may result in these companies auditing and reviewing the information in a patient’s file. They may also determine the type of treatment or the number and the length of sessions they will pay for. These decisions are not always based on what is clinically most appropriate for the patient, but may be based on cost-containment for the insurance company.

In-network providers must also agree to accept a set fee for services provided. These fees are usually far below standard rates. This may result in a provider needing to see a higher-volume of patients in order to meet their overhead and costs.  Instead, I prefer to limit the number of patients I see each week so that I may focus more time on staying current on contemporary developments, research and practices.  I do so through professional development activities such as continuing education, reviewing research, professional journals and writings and peer consultation. 

 Do You Offer Video Sessions?

Yes. I use a secure HIPAA-compliant video platform for remote sessions. This mode of therapy is not appropriate for every client. If you’re interested in doing some or all of your sessions remotely, please let me know and we can talk more about this and how it works. There is no extra charge for remote sessions.

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