Frequently Asked Questions

What if I'm not a Christian?  No problem!  I treat people of varied faiths as well as those who do not profess any faith.  Treatment is tailored to the  needs of the individual.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and other types of therapists?  As a psychiatrist, I am licensed medical doctor who has then completed an additional four years of residency training in psychiatry.  A psychologist has completed a non-medical doctoral program, performs psychological tests and does therapy.  The term "therapist" can describe practitioners with various types of training.  Generally they do not diagnose mental illness, but will work with individuals or families around specific issues.

What if I already have a therapist?  You may continue your therapy, and I will act as a consultant to you and your therapist.  If you give consent, I will discuss my findings with your primary therapist.  

Can you refer me to a therapist?  Certainly!  Although I provide some psychotherapy services, I can also help you find a therapist that provides a good 'fit', as research has consistently shown that the best progress in therapy is predicted by a good 'fit' between the patient and therapist.

I am a therapist.  Will you work in collaboration with me in providing the best possible care for my patients?  Yes.  A psychiatric evaluation may be indicated in someone who is showing a worsening of symptoms or greater struggles.  Addressing the biological factors can often make the underlying issues more accessible in therapy.  There are also times when a consultation is useful in clarifying issues that may be impeding progress.

Can a family member or loved one be involved in my treatment?  
Absolutely.  I work with individuals, couples, and families.  Given the relational nature of many of the problems that we struggle with, some issues are hard to deal with solely on an individual basis.  Consent is required to share information among parties however.

I have concerns about privacy issues.  As noted elsewhere, my services are paid for directly by you as the patient.  It is up to you whether or not to file with your insurance company.  Some patients choose not to involve their insurance as a way of maintaining privacy.  Your records remain fully confidential in our work together.  Even the setting has been designed to offer you optimal privacy.

Do I have to have a "diagnosis"?  Your clinical problems may or may not meet specific diagnostic criteria (and some of the criteria are quite broad and general).  In order for you to file for insurance reimbursement, you must have a clinical disorder ("diagnosis").  On the other hand, a consultation and even ongoing therapy can be provided without someone having a formal "diagnosis " on a self-pay basis.  Having "issues" to discuss and resolve in therapy is not unusual.  During your evaluation, we will examine this.

What if I need to go into a hospital?  I do not currently provide inpatient services, but can help you gain admission for inpatient stabilization if needed.  After you are stable and return home, you can resume your outpatient care with me.  If your condition requires frequent inpatient care, I will help you find another psychiatrist who can provide both inpatient and outpatient care, and thus maintain better continuity of care.

Do I have to take medications?  No.  Some of my patients find that their symptoms can be treated without specific medications, although for many disorders, a combined approach seems to work best.  We may spend two or three sessions developing a plan and discussing our options together.  This is a partnership for your effective treatment, not a set process.

What about insurance?  My services are provided on a self-pay basis, and you are given paperwork that you can file with your insurance carrier.  There are several reasons for this.  Insurance coverage varies tremendously for mental health services, and may place constraints on your care.  If you choose to file with your insurance carrier, they have access to your clinical information.  Many patients choose to keep their reasons for seeking care private, and keep their insurance carrier out of their treatment.

Do you see patients with Medicare or Medicaid?  No I do not.

Where are you located?  My office is located in Office Park on Highway 280 in Mountain Brook.