WHY SEE A PSYCHOLOGIST?
Clinical Psychologists are highly trained professionals who help diagnose and treat a variety of human problems. Some of these problems, such as depression, anxiety and relationship difficulties, are clearly psychological in origin. Other problems seem more physical, but may be caused or made worse by psychological factors. These include chronic pain, high blood pressure, and sexual dysfunction. The third group of problems that may be helped with psychological interventions is health-threatening behaviors such as smoking and overeating.
WHAT SERVICES DO PSYCHOLOGISTS PROVIDE?
Psychodiagnostic services refer to the types of assessments made by Clinical Psychologists for the purpose of diagnosing a psychological problem. These assessments involve detailed interviewing of the client and, when appropriate, the client's family and significant others. In addition, the client may be given formal, standardized psychological tests. These services are generally concluded with a complete reporting of findings and recommendations to the client and authorized professionals.
Psychotherapeutic services are treatments given by Clinical Psychologists that involve various forms of talking therapy or psychotherapy. Clinical Psychologists typically conduct an assessment before getting started in psychotherapy to help establish the suitability of this treatment. If other kinds of treatment are indicated, the appropriate referrals are made.
HOW DO YOU FIND A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST?
Probably the best way to find a competent Psychologist is to ask friends and family members who may have had a positive experience with someone. Secondly, you can ask your physician or insurance carrier for the names of network Psychologists in your area.
In Connecticut, you may call the Connecticut Psychological Association at 1-860-586-7522. Staff will take your call and provide the names of three Psychologists from your area that are likely to be able to provide the kind of help you are seeking. Any one of these Psychologists will in turn assist you by providing names of additional health care professionals as needed.
In addition to the search you are now doing on the internet, you may also search the directory of the Yellow Pages under "Psychologists".
HOW CAN YOU BE ASSURED YOU WILL RECEIVE COMPETENT CARE?
All Psychologists in the United States must be licensed by the respective public health agency in the state in which they practice before they can legally call themselves licensed Psychologists. In order to become licensed, candidates must first possess a doctoral degree in psychology, have received supervised post-doctoral training, and pass a written examination. Most important, they must agree to abide by certain ethical principles and standards of practice. If you have concerns about the services you are receiving and you are unable to resolve these concerns with your Psychologist, you may contact your state's Psychological Association or the American Psychological Association.
HOW DO YOU PAY FOR THE SERVICES OF A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST?
Clinical Psychologists may be thought of as working in either public institutions or private practice. Those employed in public institutions such as universities, hospitals or agencies are generally paid a salary and do not charge their clients. In contrast, Clinical Psychologists in private practice are paid an hourly rate (a clinical hour is usually considered to be between 45-50 minutes), and in most cases collect payment directly from their clients. Most often, your medical insurance policy will pay most of the fee except for a specialist copayment. When all else fails, Psychologists will sometimes agree to either reduce their fee or waive it altogether.