Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to questions we are frequently asked by current or prospective clients. If you cannot find the information you are looking for on this page, please feel free to contact us.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy, but they primarily provide medication. Psychologists are doctors who specialize in understanding mental health. They provide therapy, but do not prescribe medication.

My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual therapy or come together?

Sometimes when engaging in couple’s therapy, it may be important to also have individual therapy. If this happens, there are a few options. You can ask about doing individual therapy sessions with the therapist that you and your partner have for couple’s therapy. Another option is to get a different individual therapist. To determine which option may be best for you, please talk with your couple’s therapist, and then together, you both can come up with a plan that would work best for you.

I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

Gaining the most you can from therapy involves personal commitment. That is, you must be ready to put in the time and effort to actively participate in the process. You may be asked to learn and practice breathing strategies or grounding strategies (among others) to gather the tools you need to be able to navigate stressors on your own more successfully.

How long will it take?

It is not possible to accurately guess how long you may need to engage in therapy. Your circumstances will undoubtedly be unique to those of another individual (even if you both have anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc.), and because of this, therapy for you will be different from anyone else. This is a good question to present to your therapist, as you both could then have a detailed and meaningful discussion over your questions and curiosities.

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

As mentioned in question four, providing exact, absolute answers is not realistic with therapy. Your situation is unique from others; for this reason, actively advancing a prescribed, boxed-ready therapy is not effective for all clients. Thus, the specifics of what you might do in a therapy session cannot be stated. There are, however, some general truths for sessions. Sessions are typically between 45 and 53 minutes; however, sometimes it may be necessary to have a shorter session, just as it may be necessary to have a longer session. As with other aspects of therapy, the session length will largely depend on your specific needs. Additionally, you will need to be ready to discuss something. Your therapist is there to listen and guide; it is not your therapist’s session. Your therapist will likely ask questions to help you explore what you shared, present you with information on something you may have said or asked about, and/or help you learn and use different coping strategies.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

Medication can be effective, but it can rarely solve all issues. Medication is great to use to help with some symptoms, and it is also beneficial when there is a chemical imbalance that makes symptoms even worse. Medication and psychotherapy work best when they are teamed up. By taking medication while also engaging in therapy, you provide yourself with increased opportunities to bring about the changes you are wanting in your life.

I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?

Everyone needs help now and then. People who ask for help know when they need it, and they have the courage to reach out. As you engage in therapy, you will be aided (by your therapist) in identifying your strengths and reducing the influence of challenges you face in your daily life.

Meredith Psychological Testing