Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a psychotherapist?
A. A psychiatrist is a physician or M.D. who specializes in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, addictive, and emotional disorders. They are licensed and approved to prescribe medications and other forms of treatment for their patients. Their services may or may not include talk therapy.
A psychologist is also involved in the treatment of the above described disorders but is not a M.D. The requirements to become a psychologist vary depending upon the specific discipline, and may vary by state, but in all cases a masters degree in psychology at minimum is required.
The definition of a psychotherapist is less specific than that of a psychiatrist or psychologist. While many psychotherapists hold some formal education in psychology, it is not necessarily required. Many psychotherapists receive training that is less focused on formal education and is more focused on participation in, and observation of, the actual talk therapy process. Psychotherapists may learn their practice from a wide variety of educational sources and life experiences.
Q. Why does MAIP exist?
A. MAIP was formed to provide a transparent organization with information about, and high level oversight for member psychotherapists who may not be otherwise affiliated with a governing body. MAIP therapists do not necessarily hold graduate degrees in psychology and are more specifically trained in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of talk therapy sessions. MAIP provides a framework by which independent psychotherapists can adhere to specific membership requirements and a documented code of ethics. It is meant to educate consumers about the activities and experience of member psychotherapists so they may thoughtfully make a choice about their psychotherapy/counseling options.
Q. How do I choose what kind of therapy is right for me?
A. There is no easy answer to this complicated question. Individuals with emotional and psychological problems have made an important first step when they decide they need help. Many people need to explore a number of options before they choose the best course of action for themselves- both short-term and long-term. In a crisis, where someone may be experiencing thoughts and feelings of harming themselves or others, a visit to a hospital emergency room with a psychiatrist is the appropriate course of action. On the other hand, if a couple is experiencing difficulty in their relationship, or an individual is feeling depressed or anxious, or maybe drinking too much, other options may be more suitable. Perhaps the most important choice is the one to take first step, no matter what that is. Ask a lot of questions, be skeptical, and advocate for yourself. With that formula you will certainly increase your likelihood of success.
Q. Does insurance pay for all my psychological care?
A. This depends completely upon your insurer and the course of action you pursue. This is something that any mental-health practitioner will be able to help you with. The answers are available but must be pursued with the service provider and insurance provider.
Q. How long do most people need to be in psychotherapy before they are better?
A. This is also a difficult question to answer as it is dependent upon so many different variables. Some people only need help working through a difficult period or situation, and may feel they are satisfied after a handful of sessions. Having said that, many people who find themselves experiencing psychological or emotional distress are experiencing the results of problematic thoughts or feelings whose groundwork may have been laid many years before. These situations may call for long-term treatment to achieve the desired results.