What is a Clinical Psychologist or Neuropsychologist?
Keeping all of the types of mental health providers straight can be a challenge! We understand.
There can be a few paths to becoming a clinical psychologist, but the most common path is this:
4-year Bachelor's degree in Psychology (or mental health)
2-year Master's degree in Clinical Psychology
3- to 5-year Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology
1-Year Doctoral Residency in Clinical Psychology (or Neuropsychology)
1-Year Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology (or Neuropsychology)
As you can see, it takes approximately 10+ years to become a psychologist, and in most cases, 100% of that time is spent studying psychology and mental health. All clinical psychologists are trained in: case management, numerous forms of psychotherapy, complex diagnostic evaluation, psychological testing and report writing, research methods and statistics, and clinical supervision/leadership. Most are also required to teach college-level courses, but not all programs require this.
Neuropsychologists spend those last two years studying and evaluating mind/brain relationships. They are particularly interested in how behavior changes when certain areas of the brain are affected - either by trauma, lesions, or degeneration/age.
One primary difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists attend medical school and receive an M.D. or D.O. degree. They are physicians who specialize in psych-related illness. Psychologists attend graduate school and receive a Ph.D. or Psy.D. They are scientists who practice and specialize in a breadth of psych-related matters. As physicians, psychiatrists prescribe medication, while psychologists are only permitted to do so in certain states and only after another two years of advanced training in physical assessment, lab work, neurochemistry, neurobiology, pharmacology, psychopharmacology, etc.
What kind of testing do you do?
Our home page explains a lot about the various types of psychological testing and evaluation. However:
- Neuropsychological: Autism, ADHD, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Learning Disability, etc.
- Psychological: Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis, OCD, Trauma, Behavior, Conduct, etc.
- Forensic: Custody, Competency to Stand Trial, Juvenile Delinquency, etc.
- Medical: Weight Loss, Pre-/Post-Surgery, etc.
- Educational: Learning disorders, school performance, IQ, etc.
What ages do you test/evaluate?
We generally test at or above age six.
How much does testing cost?
The cost of testing is totally dependent on what we're testing for and how many tests we include in a battery. For example, neuropsychological testing usually requires more time-intensive testing. A safe estimate is somewhere from $800 at the low end, to over $7000 at the higher end. However, forensic (court-related) cases can go well above this amount since testing is only one small part of a full forensic/legal evaluation.
Do you take my insurance?
Our Texas office currently accepts some versions of Medicare and Medicaid (Texas and SoonerCare), as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Tricare West and East, Multiplan, and Humana.
Our Maine office currently accepts MaineCare, some versions of Medicare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
You cannot use insurance for any forensic/legal evaluation.
Cash options are available, with a payment plan.
Do I need a referral from my Primary Care Doc?
Probably not. However, we prefer that you discuss your decision to see a psychologist with her or him, regardless. We believe 100% in integrative care, and prefer to know that we can consult with and update your primary care provider after testing is complete (or throughout psychotherapy if needed). If you can obtain a referral from your PCP, that certainly wouldn't hurt anything, and we prefer that you do. However, we can likely get you in, even without it.
How long does an evaluation take?
You should expect to come to the clinic at least three times. The psychiatric intake takes anywhere from one hour (for psychological testing) to two hours (for neuropsychological testing). After the intake, you will return for an actual testing appointment, where you will spend a few hours, sometimes up to five hours doing testing. You may have to return for a second day of testing, depending on the circumstances. Finally, you will return for a follow-up session to go over your results. That appointment will usually take about an hour.
After all of these sessions, expect a week or two for the final report to be completed and returned to you (or whomever it is to be delivered to). The report-writing phase often takes the longest because dedicate a great deal of time to providing extremely thorough reports.
Does it hurt?
We only shock you when you get questions wrong. Kidding.
No, it does not hurt. Psychological testing is similar to the testing you might have done in school. Some folks compare it to completing puzzles or games.
The only time we use neurobiological testing is for certain ADHD evaluations. For these evaluations, we sometimes recommend an EEG to examine a child's beta/theta wave ratio. We have found this testing to be extremely accurate and helpful in complicated ADHD cases. EEG testing does not cause any pain. In fact, it's a bit boring.
Will you provide a final diagnosis?
Yes. One of the primary reasons physicians refer patients to us is to assist in sorting out a proper diagnosis or proper diagnoses if more than one is warranted. Clinical psychologists spend the bulk of their training learning to differentiate complex clinical diagnoses and provide dynamic psychotherapy for those diagnoses.
At the end of your report, we provide a definitive (in most cases) diagnosis and also help explain how that diagnosis was reached, and what diagnoses were ruled out, and why. We also provide several detailed recommendations based on our diagnosis/es.
Will you prescribe medications?
No. While some states permit clinical psychologists with advanced specialty training in psychopharmacology to prescribe, none of our state locations do. We will, however, provide you a referral to a qualified psychiatric professional.
Will you provide psychotherapy?
We will occasionally agree to accept patients for psychotherapy if the diagnosis and treatment are highly complex or involve a personality disorder. In most cases, however, we prefer to refer patients to a qualified counselor or clinical social worker. No worries; we can work with you to help determine what type of therapist is the best fit for your particular situation.
To whom can I turn if you don't take my insurance?
Although we do offer a sliding scale cash discount, that is still quite expensive. We recommend that before you reach into your savings account, you consider reaching out to some other excellent area psychologists. Please contact us so that we can help you find an option that fits your budgetary needs.
How do I get started?
Easy! Scroll up to the crazy-excited doctor picture (no, that isn't one of us).
Complete the "WELCOME" packet.
Then sit tight and wait for a call from our clinic.