Psychologists are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior, mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and behavior change. Psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people change their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
After graduation from college, psychologists spend an average of 7 years in graduate education training and research before receiving a doctoral degree. As part of their professional training they must complete a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting and at least 1 year of post-doctoral supervised experience before they can practice independently in any health care arena. It's this combination of doctoral-level training and clinical internship that distinguishes psychologists from many other mental health care providers.
Psychologists must be licensed by the state or jurisdiction in which they practice. Licensure laws are intended to protect the public by limiting licensure to those persons qualified to practice psychology as defined by state law. In Georgia, renewal of this license depends upon the demonstration of continued competence and requires continuing education. Psychologists listed in the AAPA member directory are trained to help individuals, couples, and families with a wide range of problems. The major ones are marital/couple difficulties, depression, parent/adolescent issues, sexual disorders and substance abuse along with many others too numerous to list.
If you plan to use your insurance benefits, check with your insurance company prior to your appointment to see which psychologists are participating providers within your plan.
Some consumers choose to self pay for services when they consider the privacy advantages.
When you interview the psychologist you have chosen, ask about fees for the services that will be provided. Many psychologists will work with you to find an affordable solution so that you may receive care.