Frequently Asked Questions

Psychologists

Psychologist Anywhere AnytimePsychologist Anywhere Anytime

This FAQ page address the following general questions about psychology, psychologists, and about me and my services:

What is psychology?
What does it mean to be a psychologist?
What does it mean to be Board Certified?
What are the major fields (specialties) of psychology?
What are the common problems for which people seek your help?
What are your areas of specialty?
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Are you a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?
How do I go about finding a competent psychologist?
Who can I contact to check on a therapist's reputation?

How do you determine my diagnosis (problem)?
What does it mean to be Board Certified in psychology?
How is mental illness different from a psychological problem?
How are counseling and psychotherapy different?
How often are therapy appointments scheduled?
How many treatment sessions will be needed?
Is the information discussed in psychotherapy confidential?
Will I have to sit in a waiting room with other clients?
Can you come to my home or office instead of your office?
Do you have evening and weekend appointments?
Where can I learn more about your fees and insurance issues?
Where can I learn more about you?

Questions and Answers

What is psychology?

There is no definition that will satisfy everyone.  In general, psychology is the study of human behavior, mental processes, and how they are affected and/or affect an individuals or group's physical state, mental state, and external environment.

What does it mean to be a psychologist?

Psychologist is a generic term that refers to a person who has trained in one of the many fields of psychology. A psychologist is a scientist and/or clinician who studies the human mind and human behavior.  For a more detailed answer visit the "What is a ..." section of this website.

What does it mean to be Board Certified?

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)  is one of the country's highly regarded professional associations.  The ABPP serves the public need by providing oversight certifying psychologists competent to deliver high quality services in various specialty areas of psychology. Board certification (awarding of a Diplomate) assures the public that specialists designated by the ABPP have successfully completed the educational, training, and experience requirements of the specialty, including an examination designed to assess the competencies required to provide quality services in that specialty.  I have received a Diplomate recognition.

What are the major fields (specialties) of psychology?

Clinical psychology, as well as educational and school psychology, and forensic psychology are often the most recognized fields.  In addition to these there are many other general and specialty areas.  Currently the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) recognizes 13 specialty areas.

What are the most common problems for which people seek your help?

The answer to this question would vary depending on which 5 year period you asked about since the emphasis shifts from time to tome.  Over the past few years the problems have had a wide range but the majority would be depression and its effects, stress and anxiety, problems with eating and weight as well as relationship problems and addictions

What are your areas of specialty?

I specialize in clinical psychology, forensic (legal) psychology and educational psychology and also provide life and executive coaching.  I provide psychotherapy, counseling, and coaching with a concentration on areas including:

  1. Combating stress as well as depression and anxiety
  2. Overcoming panic attacks and other emotional problems
  3. Handling male sexual concerns and female sexual concerns as well as fetishes
  4. Dealing with addictions
  5. Resolving fears and phobias and obsessive-compulsive behavior
  6. Providing communication skills
  7. Resolving co-dependent and marriage and family conflict
  8. Behavioral and adjustment problems
  9. Eating and food problems and weight concerns
  10. Improving self-confidence
  11. Relationship issues
  12. Infertility and adoption
    (For additional information visit the link Who I Can Help.)

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists and psychiatrists both provide treatment to individuals with emotional problems. Psychology is both a profession and an independent scientific discipline. Psychiatry is a specialization within the field of medicine.  Typically, a psychologist will have a Master or Doctorate degree  and a psychiatrist will have a Medical degree.  Psychologists help people control and change their behavior as a primary method of treating problems. Psychiatrists prescribe medication as a primary means of changing people’s behavior. Both psychologists and psychiatrists assume that complex emotional problems are likely to be the result of both biological and psychological causes.

Are you a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?

I am Psychologist with a Doctorate Degree in psychology. I earned my Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees in the fields of psychology with its emphasis on psychology, human behavior, and the treatment of psychological problems.  A psychiatrist is a M.D. or a D.O. who has earned a Doctorate in Medicine and then taken some specialized training in mental health issues.  For additional information about me visit the link About Dr Berger.

How do I go about finding a competent psychologist?

While selecting a psychologist is similar to selecting any other professional, the relationship you will have with the psychologist is very personal.  I advise you to  check the psychologist's credentials, including both training and experience.  Make sure to talk to the psychologist directly before making an appointment.   Ask questions about the services that will be provided, so you will not get something different from what you expected. See how comfortable you feel when you are talking with the psychologist. Finally, contact the state and national psychological associations to make sure the person is in good standing.  Please visit the link How I Can Help.

Who can I contact to check on a therapist's reputation?

Major organizations are the American Psychological Association (APA), the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the American Psychiatric Association.  The page Psych Associations lists every state psychological association and many national and international organizations.

How do you determine my diagnosis (problem)?

The standard procedure is for the mental health professional to conduct one or more interviews with the client and the psychologist may also have the client complete one or more psychological test(s).  A diagnosis is then made from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).  I use mainly interviews and frequently do not finalize a diagnosis until the 2nd of 3rd appointment.

What does it mean to be Board Certified in psychology?

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)  is one of the highly regarded professional associations.  The ABPP serves the public need by providing oversight certifying psychologists competent to deliver high quality services in various specialty areas of psychology. Board certification (awarding of a Diploma in a specialty) assures the public that specialists designated by the ABPP have successfully completed the educational, training, and experience requirements of the specialty, including an examination designed to assess the competencies required to provide quality services in that specialty.  Currently there are 13 specialty areas of certification including Educational, Forensic, Clinical, and School Psychology.

How is mental illness different from a psychological problem?

The term mental illness is, historically, a medical term implying problems that may require medical treatment. The term mental illness can be used in reference to those psychological behavioral problems such as schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders, possibly bi-polar disorder, sometimes severe depression, and occasionally severe personality disturbances.

Psychologists tend to not use the term mental illness to describe psychological problems because there is confusion about what the label really means.  Some people have a false impression that psychologists only treat mentally ill individuals, and if you just have a problem with anxiety, an addiction, or "everyday problems" you should see someone else. As a consequence, some people may contact counselors, with much less training than a licensed psychologist, when they need help to resolve a psychological problem.

Rather than being concerned about the label, ask yourself if you have a problem that you are not able to deal with effectively.  A psychologist can help you identify the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are creating problems in your life and can help you resolve these problems.

How are counseling and psychotherapy different?

In reality there is little difference.  However, technically counseling is generally seen as more short term in nature and psychotherapy is viewed as more long term treatment.  Counseling is for life adjustment problems while psychotherapy is for psychiatric or psychological disorders.  Counselors are frequently less trained that psychotherapists and in many states counselors do not have to be licensed.  Note that many health insurance companies provide insurance reimbursement for "psychotherapy" but not for "counseling."

How often are therapy appointments scheduled?

It is not possible to answer this question without considering the person and the nature of the problem.  There are many approaches (or schools of) psychotherapy. The most frequently being cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, reality therapy and psychodynamic therapy.  The frequency of psychotherapy appointments depends somewhat on the theoretical approach of the therapist and on the nature and severity of the problem.  Frequency typically varies from 1-3 sessions per week, with the average being once per week. The length of treatment sessions varies with each therapist but is usually between 30-45 minutes long (mine are 60 minutes).

How many treatment sessions will be needed?

The length of treatment depends upon several variable including the nature and severity of the problem, the treatment goals selected, and the approach of the therapist.   A national research study found that 50% of psychotherapy clients had made improvement within 8 sessions of therapy, and 75% showed improvement after 6 months of therapy. However, remember that improvement is not the same as successfully completing treatment.  More serious problems, including recurring chronic depression, substance abuse, personality problems, and ongoing stress responses often require treatment for longer than 6 months.

Is the information discussed in psychotherapy confidential?

In most states communication between a psychologist and their client is protected by law, comparing it to attorney-client privilege. However, there are generally recognized exception to this confidentiality protection.  Psychologists have a "duty to warn" if they learn that a client plans to harm themselves or another person, and psychologists are also legally obligated to report child abuse. It is important to note that if you request insurance reimbursement for psychological services (or any other health service) confidential information is communicated to the company to process the claim and manage your account.

Will I have to sit in a waiting room with other clients?

I have a waiting room but we use it just to greet clients.  I do not schedule appointment back to back so no other clients should be around either when you arrive or when you leave.  Typically I greet all of my clients and begin our session within minutes of their arrival.

Can you come to my home or office instead of your office?

I can meet with you anywhere that gives us privacy and allows for a therapeutic environment.  It can be my office, your home or office, or other site.  If the need arises we can also have a phone consultation rather than meeting in person.

Do you have evening and weekend appointments?

I do not schedule regular appointments in the evening or weekends.  But for my regular clients, I will meet with them in the evening or on a weekend if the need arises.

Where can I learn more about your fees and insurance issues?

Please visit the link Fees.

Where can I learn more about you?

There are several pages on this website that will answer this question.  Visit each of the links to find out About my background and training, Who I Can Help and How I Can Help You, the Fees charged, and how to Contact me for an initial free consultation.

Psychologist Anywhere AnytimePsychologist Anywhere Anytime