Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Ph.D. vs Psy.D. vs M.D.?

Clients often ask me about the string of letters behind my name and how it is different from other mental health professionals or treatment providers. Simply put, the letters denote the level of education the therapist has received and the process to become licensed varies based on these letters.

Ph.D. (Doctorate in Philosophy) – individuals with a Ph.D. in psychology typically have conducted research and often work in academia (eg professors who teach psychology in a university)

Psy.D. (Doctorate of Psychology) – individuals with a Psy.D. completed a curriculum that is more focused on the practice of psychology in the real world (eg psychologists providing mental health services to patients in the community)

M.D. (Doctorate in Medicine) – individuals with an M.D. have completed medical school and additional training (eg psychiatrists). Because of their training in medicine, they can prescribe medications, whereas most Ph.D. and Psy.D. clinicians cannot (some exceptions in certain states).

I received my Psy.D. from Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology. If you would like to learn about my experiences and educational background, please contact me.

2. What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a broad term that encapsulates the process of a clinician helping an individual resolve difficulties in their life by meeting with them on a regular basis. Because it is such a broad term, psychotherapy can look very different for each person. Some individuals may have multiple sessions in a week, some once a week, and others, once a month. Depending on the level of distress and treatment goals, psychotherapy can last a few months to several years. Each meeting, or session, can look very different as well, depending on what the individual brings in to the sessions and would like to work on.

A clinician may employ various interventions as part of the psychotherapy. In my work with clients, I utilize interventions that stem from a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) and mindfulness approach. If you would like to learn more about how CBT and mindfulness can improve the quality of your life, please contact me to schedule an appointment today.

3. Am I crazy if I need therapy?

The short answer is absolutely not. People seek out therapy for all kinds of reasons. “Crazy” is a label we put on someone when we do not understand them. In my practice, I do not believe in labels as it blocks empathy, compassion, and true understanding. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and I hope to harness your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.

4. Aren’t there medications for mental health issues? Why can’t I just take those?

Whether or not you choose to take medication is completely up to you. Yes, there are medications that address the symptoms of some mental health diagnoses and medications can be effective. At the same time, research has shown that for some diagnoses with mild to moderate severity, therapy is just as, if not more effective, than medications. In other cases, therapy can improve the efficacy of medications when used in combination. Therapy does not have side effects and improvements from therapy often last longer than gains made from medications. If you are already taking medications and are still feeling stuck, or would like to try therapy before using medications, please contact me to schedule an appointment today.

5. What is a psychoeducational or psychological evaluation?

In addition to psychotherapy, South Jersey Mental Health, LLC also provides testing services to address specific concerns. A psychoeducational evaluation usually involves cognitive measures to assess an individual’s functioning in an educational environment. Common questions that can be answered from a psychoeducational battery are:

1) Does my child have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? Learning disability?

2) Why am I struggling in school?

3) What are my cognitive strengths and weaknesses?

A psychological evaluation typically uses objective and subjective measures to assess an individual’s functioning in various aspects of their life. Common questions that can be addressed through a psychological evaluation are:

1) Do I have a mental health diagnosis?

2) How can I benefit from psychotherapy?

3) What is my personality style?

If you are interested in testing services or would like to know whether testing can answer a specific question, please contact me today.

6. Do you take insurance?

While I do not accept insurance, I am happy to provide clients with an invoice so that they can claim out-of-network benefits from their insurance company. I am also open to discussing rates on a sliding scale in the event of financial hardship.