Frequently Asked Questions

Is psychotherapy for me?
If you are experiencing problems in your life that prevent you from being as happy or as effective as you can be, you may benefit from psychotherapy. There are many reasons people have for entering psychotherapy. These can include depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessions or compulsions, or problems adjusting to new circumstances in life. Another common reason people begin psychotherapy is because of difficulty coping with a medical illness — either their own or that of a loved one.

What is the difference between a psychologist, a psychoanalyst, a psychotherapist, and a psychiatrist, or a Ph.D., M.D., and a Psy.D.?
Psychologists and psychiatrists are both mental health professionals and typically receive between five and nine years of professional training. Psychologists who deliver psychotherapy and other mental health services are known as clinical psychologists and either have Psy.D. or Ph.D. degrees. Both Psy.D. and Ph.D. training usually involve between five and nine years of graduate training. Both degrees indicate that a clinical psychologist has been trained in psychotherapy. The distinction is that Ph.D. training also emphasizes clinical research in addition to training in psychotherapy.

Clinical psychologists are licensed by the state in which they practice. (To check on the licensure status of a New York State psychologist, go to http://www.op.nysed.gov/opsearches.htm and select “psychologist.”) In New York State, psychologists do not prescribe medication. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, can prescribe medication when appropriate. Psychiatrists have completed medical school and have earned M.D. degrees. Subsequently they receive specialized training in psychiatry, usually during a residency.

A psychotherapist is a term used for anyone who provides psychotherapy. Legally, it is not necessary to have any professional training to use the title “psychotherapist.” However, psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists can all function as psychotherapists if they are trained to do so.

A psychoanalyst is someone trained to deliver psychoanalysis, which can be thought of as a type of psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis typically involves several sessions per week, and often focuses on psychological conflicts that began in childhood. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers can choose to become psychoanalysts if they receive specific training.

Will I need to take medication?
As a psychologist I do not prescribe medication. Medication can be helpful for certain people at certain times, and sometimes I will recommend that a client have a consultation with a psychiatrist to determine whether medication would be useful. Research has demonstrated that for many people, cognitive-behavioral and other kinds of psychotherapy are at least as effective as medication for certain conditions. For other people, research indicates that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most effective.

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a word for the mental skill that was originally cultivated through ancient meditation techniques. Jon Kabat-Zinn described it well as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). You can think of it as a skill that can be cultivated. This can happen either through the formal practice of meditation techniques, or through other exercises developed by cognitive-behavioral psychologists. Mindfulness is an important concept is because it has been shown to be an effective way to cope with stress. This improved handling of stress can, in turn, improve the health of persons suffering from stress-related illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia.

Mindfulness-based approaches have also been demonstrated through research to be helpful for persons suffering from chronic worry, recurring depression, and panic attacks. Mindfulness is used in specific therapies including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

How much will it cost?
Please contact my office for current rates.

Does Dr. Greene take insurance?
I am an out-of-network provider for health insurance plans with outpatient mental health coverage.

Many insurance plans provide excellent out-of-network coverage. My office will provide you with documentation of any psychotherapy sessions, which you can then submit to your insurer for reimbursement.

Phone consultations:
I offer an initial phone consultation at no charge for people who would like to briefly discuss their situation, and who are unsure whether psychotherapy might be helpful. (Note: this is not a full psychotherapy session, but a brief, informal conversation typically lasting for five or ten minutes.)

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References

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full Catastrophe Living. New York: Delta.