The following list of questions have been answered by our psychologists:
I am an adult, and I think I might have ADD or ADHD. Can the ApaCenter do an evaluation for this?
Yes, the ApaCenter can conduct an evaluation to determine whether you meet the criteria for ADD (or ADHD). When trying to determine whether a person meets diagnostic criteria for ADD/ADHD, it is important to keep in mind that this is a clinical diagnosis, and there is no definitive test that can determine whether a person has ADD/ADHD. Also, many different problems and conditions can have a negative impact on attention, and these need to be ruled out in evaluations of ADD/ADHD. For example, depression, anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, memory problems, and slow processing speed can all have a negative impact on attention and might look like ADD/ADHD. So, a determination of whether ADD/ADHD is the appropriate diagnosis is actually rather tricky. A more comprehensive assessment can help ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made. A proper diagnosis leads to more effective treatment recommendations.
What is a psychological assessment?
A psychological assessment, which is performed by a Licensed Psychologist, is a process of gathering information and integrating this information to meet the needs of the client. It typically involves gathering information from various sources such as a review of history, interviews, observations, standardized tests, and projective tests. Information is obtained about the client’s strengths and weaknesses and often a determination is made as to whether a disability is present (e.g., dyslexia, depression, ADD/ADHD). Oftentimes, a psychological assessment is conducted to answer a specific referral question (e.g., “Why do I have so much difficulty concentrating?” or “Is Sarah eligible for any accommodations in school?”). In essence, a psychological assessment is used to better understand a client so that recommendations can be made to help that client reach his/her goals. The ApaCenter views recommendations as the heart of psychological assessments. Diagnoses are important insofar as they point to certain treatment recommendations.
Is there a difference between a “psychological assessment” and a “psychological evaluation”?
You might find some professionals who distinguish “psychological evaluations” from “psychological assessments,” but for the most part, the terms are used interchangeably. The ApaCenter usually uses the term “psychological assessments” but we are not differentiating them from “psychological evaluations.”
What is a psychoeducational assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment is a term that is sometimes used to describe an evaluation that primarily focuses on examining a person’s intellectual abilities and academic skills. Often, these types of assessments are used to determine whether a person has a learning disability, such as dyslexia. Psychoeducational assessments typically do not explore how emotional, psychological, and behavioral factors might be influencing a person’s academic functioning.
A psychologist is a person who specializes in the study of the human mind and behavior. Psychologists have earned a doctoral degree, usually in the form of a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. Psychologists typically receive extensive training in employing research methodologies and scientific approaches to better understand human behavior. In addition to the 4-6 years of graduate work required to obtain a doctoral degree, which includes writing and defending a dissertation, prospective psychologists who wish to deliver mental health services must then complete a one year supervised internship in their field of study, pass comprehensive written and oral exams from a state licensing board, and complete one year of supervised post-doctoral training.
Within the field of mental health, psychologists are able to provide therapy, consultation, and psychological assessments. By nature of their profession, psychologists are knowledgeable about how biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors impact behavior, relationships, and mental health functioning. Psychologists receive comprehensive scientific and clinical training so that they are able to choose effective, ethical, and safe psychotherapy and assessment approaches to help the unique needs of each client. Psychologists are not trained or licensed to prescribe medications except in certain areas of the country (not including Texas) after receiving specialized training.
What is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a physician (M.D. or D.O.) who also specializes in the treatment of mental illness or emotional distress. Psychiatrists are trained to understand the relationship between physical and emotional problems, and they are able to prescribe medication for the treatment of mental health problems. Training to become a psychiatrist is similar to the length of time after college required to become a psychologist (7 to 8 years after college). Psychiatrists complete medical school and a 4-year residency in psychiatry. Although psychiatrists are trained to deliver therapy/counseling services as well as pharmacotherapy (i.e., medication), most people choose to see psychiatrists if they want to have their mental health problems addressed through medication. Often psychiatrists and psychologists (or other mental health practitioners) work together, with consent from the client, to alleviate the distress of that client. In these situations, the psychiatrist addresses the mental health issues of the client through pharmacological treatments, and the mental health practitioner addresses the behavioral/emotional problems of the client through therapy.
What is a psychotherapist?
A psychotherapist refers to a type of therapist who focuses on improving a person’s mental health (as opposed to a massage therapist or a physical therapist). Psychotherapy typically involves some form of “talk” therapy.
What is the difference between a psychotherapist, therapist, and a counselor?
For the most part, the terms “therapist,” “psychotherapist,” and “counselor” are generic terms used interchangeably within the mental health field. Typically, a mental health practitioner using one of these titles is trained and licensed, although no licensing or credentialing agency regulates the use of these generic titles. So, whenever seeking mental health services it is important to ensure that the services are being delivered by a qualified professional.
What is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP)?
A Licensed Specialist in School Psychology is a mental health professional with a graduate degree (master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree) who specializes in the delivery of psychological services within school settings to improve the education, adjustment, and behavior of students. Typical skills include assessments of students to determine whether disabilities are having a negative impact on educational functioning, recommendations for school-based interventions for students, teacher consultation, parent consultation, and individual/group therapy. LSSPs are also knowledgeable about laws that affect the education of students such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 504 services (from the Rehabilitation Act 1973). This enables LSSPs to better advocate for the rights of students and families. A Licensed Specialist in School Psychology cannot use the title of “school psychologist” unless they are also a Licensed Psychologist. Although LSSPs have a strong background in assessment, they are not allowed to conduct private evaluations outside of a school setting unless they are also a Licensed Psychologist.
What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker is a mental health professional with a graduate degree (master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree) who is trained to use psychotherapy to assist clients with a variety of mental health and living problems. They are also skilled at interfacing with government and social agencies to support the physical and mental well-being of their clients. In general, Licensed Clinical Social Workers do not conduct psychological assessments and they cannot prescribe medication.
What is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?
A Licensed Professional Counselor is a designation for mental health professionals with a graduate degree (master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree) who are able to provide psychotherapy to improve the functioning of their clients. They are trained to employ a combination of mental health and human development principles to alleviate the distress of their clients. They are able to provide some evaluation/assessment services, but are more limited in their scope than psychologists. For instance, they are not permitted to use standardized projective testing methods or to diagnose physical conditions or disorders unless they are under the supervision of a Licensed Psychologist. Licensed Professional Counselors do not prescribe medication.
What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)?
A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) is a designation for mental health professional with a graduate degree (master’s, specialist, or doctorate degree) who specialize in understanding and treating clients with marital and family difficulties. They are trained in various psychotherapeutic approaches that are designed to improve marital and family functioning. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists do not conduct psychological evaluations or prescribe medication.
Do the psychologists at the ApaCenter provide therapy as well?
Yes, the psychologists at the ApaCenter all provide therapy in addition to psychological assessments. We have different areas of specialization in our therapy as well. If therapy is right for you, please contact our office at 512-891-1500 to discuss setting up a therapy appointment.