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A Brief Word On Medication. Not everyone will want or need to take medication to help manage symptoms. However, if you and your clinician decide to try medication, become knowledgeable and responsible! Learn the names of your medication(s), purpose of your medication(s), appropriate times to be taken, and potential side effects. Follow the label directions unless otherwise directed by your personal clinician. Never abruptly stop your medication regimen, but contact your clinician if there are problems or questions and you will be correctly directed. Never share your medications with anyone or take the prescription medication of another individual, even if you share similar symptoms or diagnoses!

Research suggests that symptoms/issues respond better with medication (if necessary) and psychotherapy in combination, rather than medication alone.

Never be afraid to ask questions such as:

  • Are you in my insurance plan?
  • If not in my plan do you have a sliding scale?
  • How long will I need to see you?
  • What are your emergency procedures?
  • If I need a psychotherapist can you give me resources?
  • How long do I need to wait for an appointment?
  • Will I see you each visit or your assistant?
  • What type of therapy do you practice?
  • If I don't feel we are a good fit how can I find another clinician?
  • Who gets information about my treatment?
  • Develop additional questions on your own

Here is a chart to help you know who to select. You need to know how to select your clinician/practitioner based on your needs. Do your homework and ask questions to ensure you have selected the appropriate professional.

Type of Clinician/Practitioner Typical Level of Education* Typical Service*
Psychiatrist (MD, DO) Medical degree; referred to as doctor Performs biopsychosocial evaluations, psychotropic medication management (PRESCRIBES MEDICATIONS); and occasionally does psychotherapy.
Psychologist (e.g., PhD, PsyD, EdD) Doctoral degree in clinical psychology or a variety of other fields; referred to as doctor Often does psychological testing, IQ testing, neuropsychological testing and educational testing. May do psychotherapy. CANNOT PRESCRIBE MEDICATIONS
Psychotherapist/Counselor (e.g., MA , MS, MEd, LPC , LCSW, LMFT) Masters degree in clinical psychology or a variety of other fields Does counseling and psychotherapy. Usually utilizes talk - therapy, play therapy and other forms of therapy based on training and therapeutic orientation (e.g., Cognitive/Behavioral therapy). CANNOT PRESCRIBE MEDICATIONS
Nurse Practitioner Nursing degree (Psych) Prescribes psychotropic medication (CAN PRESCRIBE MEDICATIONS); typically does not do psychotherapy

*Definitions, educational requirements and services may differ from state to state.

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