PSYCHOLOGISTS AS HEALTH CARE
PROVIDERS IN ALABAMA
Answers About How They Serve You…
What is Psychology?
What is a Psychologist?
What training does a Psychologist have?
What problems might a Psychologist help with?
What methods do Psychologists use?
What is the length of treatment?
What is the cost of the treatment?
What about confidentiality?
What are my rights when seeing a Psychologist?
What can I do if I have questions about the care I received
from a Psychologist?
is both a science and a profession.
Psychology is dedicated to the understanding of how people function and
helping people cope with life’s problems.
The field of psychology brings together science, theory, and practice to
help people change their thoughts, feelings, and behavior and to promote
psychologist is a highly trained profession with expertise in the areas of
human behavior, assessment and diagnosis of problems, and behavior change. Psychologists apply this knowledge in a
variety of settings to help resolve individual, family, group, organizational,
and societal problems. Psychologists are
involved in research, teaching and supervision, program development and
evaluation, consultation, development of public policy, professional practice,
and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, couples,
families, groups, and organizations.
Their work can range from prevention and early intervention with more
minor problems of adjustment to diagnosis and intervention with very serious
problems that significantly interfere with daily life.
psychologist holds a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited
institution. After four years in college
typically majoring in psychology, a psychologist attends graduate or
professional school for five years or more.
Psychologists then must complete a one-year supervised internship in a
hospital or other clinical setting. They study a core curriculum that includes
biological, mental, emotional, and social bases for human behavior. They are trained in research, diagnosis and
assessment, as well as intervention and treatment techniques. Among these techniques are individual, child,
family, and group therapies. Before
being licensed, psychologists must pass national and state licensing
examinations. In order to maintain their
license, psychologists must also obtain regular continuing education to keep up
to date with the latest developments in the field of psychology.
are no set rules about how much anxiety, frustration, or conflict a person
should experience before seeking help.
In moderation, these unpleasant feelings can contribute to personal
growth, but as they increase they contribute to psychological problems ranging
from mild adjustment reactions to severe mental disturbance. They also contribute to major health
provide treatment for a full range of problems.
These may include depression, anxiety, shyness, and difficulty managing
assist people through difficult transitions such as divorce, loss of a loved
adjustment, and work-related problems.
They teach family skills for parenting, communication, and
problem-solving. They help improve
marriages and other relationships. They
also help people cope with and resolve the problems associated with physical,
sexual, and emotional abuse.
assist the mentally retarded, aged, and physically disabled in life
management. They are often asked to
evaluate the intellectual, emotional, educational, and social functioning of
adults and children. Psychologists
identify problems such as alcoholism and drug abuse and help people reduce
addictive behavior. Psychologists often
work with a parent’s physician when heart attacks, ulcers, surgery, pain, accidents,
and other physical problems lead to emotional upset or when psychological
difficulties contribute to medical problems.
psychologists work in performance enhancement areas such as sports psychology
or assisting with anxiety associated with public speaking and musical
performance. Psychologists also apply
their knowledge of human behavior to help individuals who are interested in
use a variety of intervention methods, depending mainly on the nature of the
problem. Examples of intervention
techniques include psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, cognitive
therapy, marital and family therapy, group therapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, assertiveness
training, cognitive retraining and rehabilitation, and others. Psychologists are trained to select
approaches designed to provide optimal results.
A psychologist will explain any method you do not understand.
many problems, the goals of treatment can be reached within ten to fifteen
appointments or less. For more complex
problems or when problems have existed for a long time, longer term treatment
is likely. Length of treatment is a
decision mutually arrived by the psychologist and the client. Appointments are typically once per week for
slightly less than an hour.
by a psychologist is usually based on an hourly rate, although psychological
evaluation is sometimes billed at a fixed rate per test or battery of
tests. When you call for an appointment,
you should ask about fees or other charges you might be expected to pay. The psychologist will explain all costs to
you prior to any evaluation or treatment unless a service is provided under
emergency conditions. A large percentage
of group health insurance plans cover part of the cost of treatment provided by
a psychologist, so it is advisable to bring your insurance card and insurance
forms to the first appointment. Some
psychologists are able to provide service on a sliding scale based on income or
can assist you with finding affordable services.
the licensing law for psychologists in Alabama,
information you give to a licensed psychologists is "privileged
communication.” Before giving any
information about you to others, a licensed psychologist must have your
permission. There are some exceptions to
this that should be discussed with your psychologist. For example, all health care professionals
are required to report suspected child abuse.
Due to the sensitivity of information you share with a psychologist,
great efforts will be made to secure your privacy and the privacy of your
records. If you have concerns about
confidentially, please address them when you call for an appointment, during
your first session, or at any time a questions arises.
ARE MY RIGHTS WITH SEEING A PSYCHOLOGIST?
following are some of your rights when seeing a psychologist:
right to understand and question any treatment being provided, as well as the right to know the
treatment goals and methods to be used.
right to know the cost of treatment "up front.”
Ψ the right to have your personal information treated
confidentially in line with "privileged communication.”
Ψ the right to be treated in a respectful manner.
Ψ the right to change to another psychologist or
psychotherapist if you become dissatisfied with your treatment.
CAN I DO IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CARE I RECEIVED FROM A PSYCHOLOGIST?
your concerns with your psychologist. If
you still have questions, request an outside consultant or a second
opinion. If your concerns are still not
resolved, contact the Alabama Psychological Association, the Alabama Board of
Examiners in Psychology, or the American Psychological Association.
I HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, WHO CAN I CONTACT?
Alabama Psychological Association
P. O. Box 97
Montgomery, AL 36101
Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology
660 Adams Ave., Ste. 360
Montgomery, AL 36104
American Psychological Association
750 First Street N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242