Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Clinical Psychologist and what is the difference between a Psychologist and other mental health professionals?

Psychologists (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) are highly trained professionals in the area of mental health. They are trained specifically in observing behavior, evaluating thoughts and feelings, and helping individuals develop new patterns of behavior that enhance personal growth. Psychologists, after graduating from college, spend an average of five to seven years in training before receiving a doctorate. Psychologists additionally must complete a clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting before graduation. After receiving their doctorate they must have a year of supervised training before being licensed to practice independently. Psychologists have specialty areas of expertise, such as children, families, education, neuropsychology, and many others. Psychologists are licensed by states. Renewal of this license depends upon holding to the ethics of the profession, demonstration of competence and requires continuing education.
Psychologists are unique in the mental health field in their training and use of psycho-diagnostic instruments. These instruments are beneficial for evaluating symptoms and disorders such as ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, etc

A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor (MD or DO) who specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Training includes an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and at least four years of psychiatric residency (five years for child, geriatric and other specialty psychiatrists). This intensive medical training prepares psychiatrists to attend to the biological, psychological and social aspects of mental disorders. Psychiatrists treat a broad range of mental health problems across the life cycle from children to senior citizens. Treatment may include hospital or clinic work with individuals, their families, groups and consulting to primary care or other physicians.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) have a master's level degree and must be licensed by the state-licensing agency. They are trained in both psychotherapy and social interventions aimed at helping the individual cope with problems in his or her environment, or dealing with government or social agencies. They cannot do psychological testing, nor prescribe medications.

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) have a master's degree in counseling or a related field and have completed a supervised internship post-graduation. They must be licensed by the state to provide psychotherapy and must receive continuing education to maintain their professional license. They can provide psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and/or children depending upon their specialty. They can also administer some psychological tests depending upon their specific educational training.

Marriage, Family and Child Counselors (MFCCs or MFTs) have received a master's level advanced degree and are licensed by the state. They are trained in psychotherapy, working primarily with individuals and/or their families to ameliorate problems.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a type of counseling where an individual talks to a trained mental health professional in order to resolve personal and emotional conflicts. It is a type of "talk therapy" that is helpful for many individuals. The goal of psychotherapy is to help an individual gain insight into his or her problems, change behaviors, and/or learn to cope with a variety of feelings such as anger, grief, sadness, stress, and fear. As human beings we often have multiple feelings about people and situations in our lives, and these conflicted feelings can be a source of stress and confusion. Talking with a trained mental health professional can help to resolve ambivalent feelings, emotional conflicts, reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, grief, and loss.

What is Mental Health Therapy?

Mental health treatment is often referred to as behavioral health services, therapy, or counseling. Whatever name is used, mental health services means that we can help with life's problems.

What problems can you help me with?

We have therapists who know how to help with problems such as depression, anxiety, conflict at home or work, ADHD, school problems, family or couple conflict, trauma, grief and loss, substance abuse, and many other specific problems, which affect individuals, couples, children or families in everyday life.

Who will be helping me?

Therapy is provided by specially trained and licensed professionals, who are experts in different areas of problems and in different forms of talk-therapy. The experts at Willamette Valley Family Center,LLC are psychologists and psychiatrists.

How does therapy work?

Our therapists offer weekly 45 minute appointments, involving an initial assessment of the problem and then on-going meetings for a course of short-term treatment, usually between 8 to 25 sessions depending on the focus of treatment.

What do you mean by "treatment"?

Some forms of treatment are: Looking at the way you think about things and considering how your thoughts are affecting your mood or creating anxiety, learning new ways of thinking about things, skill building around communication, stress management etc. Therapy can mean looking at your behavior and life choices or life style, for areas of change, which will improve how you function at home, school or work. Therapy sometimes offers support, guidance and learning how to deal with bad things that have happened to you in your life.

Can you work with my doctor?

You may also be helped through coordination with your primary care physician, a referral to our psychiatric services or a referral for support services in your community.

Is therapy like talking to a friend?

Talking with a therapist is different from getting help from friends or relatives. Therapists have special skills for helping you and they are more objective. But therapy is an opportunity for growth and change and is accomplished by the gentle help of caring professionals

How do psychiatric visits work?

You would see a psychiatrist for a one-session, 45-minute consultation appointment, called a Psychiatric Evaluation (PE). If you are prescribed a medication, you would then be monitored by the psychiatrist to see how you are doing. These monitoring appointments are in addition to your regular therapy sessions, are usually at monthly or bi-monthly intervals; they are called Medication Review appointments, and take about 15 minutes