Why a Psychologist


Psychologists: An Overview

Psychologist in the Health Care System:



Psychologists: An Overview

Psychologists are on the forefront of research studies on depression, stress reduction, pain control, substance abuse treatment, anxiety, and phobias. Their work has led to monumental advances in diagnosing and treating psychological problems and Americans' achieving good psychological and physical health.

Health means different things to different people. Generally speaking, however, psychologically healthy people enjoy life and feel good about themselves, are comfortable with other people, have satisfying relationships, meet most of life's challenges, and enjoy their jobs or school. However, coping with the stress of modern life can sometimes be too much to handle. This is one of the instances where psychological services can help.

One of the most important services psychologists provide is therapy, which objectively looks at behaviors, feelings, and thoughts in different situations and helps develop solutions to deal with those situations.
Therapy is a collaborative effort, where the psychologist and his or her client identify goals-- what they want to happen--and agree on how they will know when progress is being made.

Psychologists are active in nearly every sector of our society, from health to law, and sports to art.
One of the areas where psychologists are increasingly visible is in the workplace. They extend their expertise in human behavior to corporate, business, and organizational settings, and provide assistance to individuals and groups on the psychological aspects of their work.

Clearly, psychology is working. Nine out often Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports said that therapy helped them. In another major national study half the patients studied were making improvement after eight sessions of therapy, three-quarters after six months of therapy. Through a scientific base of knowledge, psychologists have contributed to understanding human behavior and alleviating pain and suffering.

California psychologists spend an average of 7.2 years on their doctoral degrees in addition to their undergraduate education. A year of supervised post-doctoral psychological training is required before taking a national written proficiency test and a state-administered oral exam to acquire a license to practice as a psychologist in the state. Psychologists help millions of Americans of all ages find solutions to the challenges of everyday life.




The Training and Credentialing of Psychologists

No other mental health profession requires as high a degree of education and training in mental health as psychology. Accredited doctoral programs in clinical psychology, including practicums and internships at clinics and hospitals, includes an average of 6.82 years of training beyond an undergraduate degree.

Licensure is required for independent practice for more than 60,000 psychologists in all 50 states. Licensure requirements for psychologists are generally uniform across states, authorizing the psychologist to independently diagnose and treat mental and nervous disorders upon completion of both doctoral degree in psychology and minimum of two years of supervised experience in direct clinical service. To further ensure quality of care, an ethical code has been adopted as a part of all state licensing laws.

Psychologists Provide Valuable and Effective Therapy and Testing Services

Practicing psychologists are uniquely trained to provide psychotherapy and testing services, services which have been proven to be effective in the diagnosis and treatment of the full range of mental disorders. Psychotherapy offers individuals a treatment approach which in many cases is equally, if not more, effective than drug therapies. Such behavioral interventions are effective in treating a range of mental and physical disorders. Cognitive and interpersonal psychotherapies are well-suited and effective treatments for depression. Psychotherapy treatments are know to be effective in reducing factors contributing to illness and in enhancing coping strategies and healthy behaviors. Psychotherapy can help people control high blood pressure and manage chronic pain or headaches. These treatments can help people change habits to reduce their risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer and HIV. Breast cancer patients who participate in group psychotherapy are known to survive longer than those who do not Diabetic adolescents can be helped to maintain the discipline of diet and insulin treatments through psychotherapy. Alternatives to drug therapies are particularly valuable to elderly populations, who are often suffering from overdrugging and the numerous side effects of various drugs and drug interactions. This is a problem of such magnitude that the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services called it "our nation's other drug problem."

Diagnostic tests performed by psychologists and neruopsychologists are state-of-the-art tools,
usually designed and developed by psychologists. Increasingly, physicians and other health care professionals turn to psychologists for their diagnostic capabilities. These diagnostic services can establish the presence of brain damage, brain disease or developmental abnormality. They can identify the specific area or areas of cerebral dysfunction and assess the prognosis for improvement or deterioration in functioning. Psychologists and neruopsychologists then apply these results toward the development of rehabilitative services for patients, working to assist the patient in becoming as functionally independent as possible and providing treatment recommendations to facilitate the greatest recovery of neuropsychological functioning.

Since the mid-1980s, psychologists have provided more outpatient psychotherapy and psychological diagnostic evaluations than any other doctorally-trained mental health professional. Psychology has been in the forefront of the leading psychological and biological research on the mind/body interface, including the diagnosis and treatment of stress disorders, neurological impairments, brain disease and psychosomatic illness.

Psychologists are Found in all Settings, but Emphasize Treatment in the Least Restrictive Setting

Psychologists' focus on the least restrictive setting of treatment, believing that this is the best clinical response to many psychological disorders. Additionally, outpatient treatment, while equally or more effective than inpatient treatment for most individuals, is much more cost-effective.

In addition to outpatient psychotherapy and testing, psychologists are playing an increasing role in other settings, such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and partial hospital settings.
Psychologists contribute to patient care in a variety of ways, such as: pain management; treatment for sleep and eating disorders; emergency room care/crisis intervention; biofeedback; behavior therapies, including applying behavioral techniques in helping chemotherapy patients better deal with the emotional effects of chemotherapy treatments; and assisting with pre-and post-surgical preparations, including interventions to inform and support patients who have had a heart attack or are facing surgery.

Psychologists are currently recognized as independent providers in federal programs including Medicare, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), the Veterans Administration, the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), HMOs and Medicaid plans.


Wilmes-Reitz Psychological

23632 Calabasas Rd., Suite 202

 Calabasas, California  91302

(818) 591-8270


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