What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
As a physician, I can prescribe medication and order lab tests (such as thyroid or B12 levels) in addition to doing psychotherapy, whereas a psychologist cannot.
It’s helpful to understand what is entailed in becoming a psychiatrist. As a psychiatrist, after completing my undergraduate studies (as a psychology major in addition to taking a pre-med track), I went to medical school and graduated as a physician. After graduating from medical school, physicians then do further specialty training in the area in which they intend to practice. This can be internal medicine, ophthalmology, surgery, psychiatry, etc. During medical school, I did intensive coursework and clinical rotations in psychiatry, both in general psychiatry and specialty areas, in addition to my education in the other medical disciplines. After medical school, I then did a 4-year residency in psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. The bulk of my first year of residency (the first year of residency is sometimes referred to as the internship year) was actually in internal medicine (9 months) even including as a doctor in the ICU, with psychiatry comprising the remainder of that year. The next 3 years were all exclusively in psychiatry. After completing my residency, I became Board-eligible in psychiatry, and, indeed, passed my Board examinations to become a Board-Certified Psychiatrist. I then went on to do additional training consisting of a yearlong fellowship at Hopkins in Neuropsychiatry to achieve an even deeper understanding of the underpinnings of psychiatric conditions, such as brain pathways and brain chemistry. Although my practice is focused on general adult psychiatry (depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, etc.), because of my expertise in neuropsychiatry and other specialized experience in the elderly, I became Board Certified in both General and Geriatric Psychiatry (I remain Board-Certified in both of these areas). So, as a psychiatrist, I am fully licensed as a physician (technically my license reads that I’m licensed as a Physician and Surgeon) who specialized in psychiatry. Altogether, my training to become a psychiatrist spanned 13 years between undergraduate, medical school, residency, and fellowship. This is the most extensive amount of combined overall education and training required by any mental health professional. I believe this provides a deep understanding of the human condition and human physiology. The body is so interconnected such that an understanding of how our bodies holistically affect the brain and our mental state is invaluable.
What insurances does your office accept?
As I don’t participate in insurance plans, my office will provide you with the insurance-preferred receipt, called an HCFA, for you to submit to obtain any out-of-network reimbursement you may be entitled to. Many patients see a good portion of the visits covered, others less so; it all depends on your plan.
However, Medicare and Medicaid plans will not cover out-of-network providers – because of Medicare’s unique rules, and that I have fully opted out of Medicare, if you do have Medicare you will not be able to submit, and we would be unable to provide, an HCFA receipt for reimbursement.
Do psychiatrists only treat with medication?
Some do but I do not only treat with medication. I may consider a variety of different approaches for your symptoms that may include the targeted, customized use of medication, therapy, supplements, and holistic/wellness approaches.
Some individuals seek care from me primarily for medication management and this is perfectly appropriate too. I am an expert in psychopharmacology and remain on the cutting edge of evidence-based medication options. For example, I recently completed the Harvard Psychopharmacology Master Class.
Do psychiatrists ever work with psychologists?
Yes, many psychiatrists, myself included, work with psychologists as well as other therapists. You may be seeing a psychologist but seek care from me as well for diagnostic clarification and medication management. No formal referral is needed; you can call and set up an appointment with me directly, although many psychologists will also specifically recommend me to their clients.