If you or someone you know needs immediate professional care or assistance, please
call 911 or contact the EMERGENCY department of your local hospital.
What is a Psychologist?
Psychologists are providers of mental and behavioral health services who are trained at the doctoral level to help individuals, couples, families, groups, and
organizations recognize problematic behavior patterns, develop coping skills, and experiment with new ways of interacting with others in order to obtain desired goals. In New Jersey, only individuals
who have completed an accredited doctoral program, have obtained extensive supervised practice in the field, and have passed both a national and a state exam can obtain a license to practice
psychology. Psychologists are prepared to apply their training and education in a multitude of settings including hospitals and primary care facilities, university health clinics, the armed forces,
schools, courts, and traditional therapy offices. In addition to providing psychotherapy to patients, psychologists are uniquely trained to complete psychological evaluations.
When Should You See a Psychologist?
When you or your loved one(s) find that your normal coping strategies are not working or become harmful
When stressors exceed resources, impacting your ability to function as you normally do, and/or hurt those around you
When you have experienced an event that is too difficult for you to comprehend, process, and/or assimilate into your life story
When your loved ones notice changes in you that are distressing to them and suggest you may need professional help
When you or your loved ones experience:
• persistent symptoms of depression
• urges to hurt self or others
• intrusive thoughts
• avoidance of situations or places which impede your ability to pursue important goals
• unusual thoughts or feelings which scare you
• substance abuse and/or other compulsive behaviors
• flashbacks of a painful experience
• persistent anger
• repeated patterns in relationships which are harmful
• anxiety with life changes.
When you need an assessment to:
- identify the source of a problem behavior, emotional distress and/or psychological problem
- identify academic difficulties or learning problems
- determine personal resources and treatment needs
How does a psychologist protect your privacy?
Third-party payers recognize psychologists as medical professionals and plans that offer mental health benefits cover treatment of biologically-based disorders by
psychologists. With few exceptions, information shared by patients with psychologists is considered privileged communication and cannot be shared with others unless there is a danger to self or
others. In New Jersey, the Peer Review Law offers additional protection of privileged health information by limiting the information insurance companies can require for the reimbursement of services.
Psychologists adhere to strict ethical guidelines that encourage practice within defined areas of competency and respectful treatment of patients from all backgrounds. Psychologists are expected to
work with other medical and mental health professionals to address complex issues and be cognizant of the diverse needs of the different populations they serve.
What is Behavior Therapy?
Behavior Therapy is a particular type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings. It aids people in achieving specific changes or goals.
Goals might involve:
• a way of acting – like smoking less or being more outgoing
• a way of feeling – like helping a person be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious
• a way of thinking – like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts
• a way of dealing with physical or medical problems – like lessening back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions
• a way of coping – like training developmentally disabled people to care for themselves or hold a job
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive-Behavior Therapists usually focus on the current situation, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life, not on
personality traits. Behavior Therapists and Cognitive-Behavior Therapists treat individuals, parents, children, couples, and whole families.
Replacing ways of living that do not work well with ways of living that work, and giving people more control over their lives are common goals of behavior therapy.
What is Depression and How is it Treated?
Depression has often been called the number one public health problem. It interferes with the healthy functioning of the individual at work, with family, and social
Depression is more prolonged and intense than sadness and often results in symptoms such as sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, changes in eating habits, and sometimes suicidal
thoughts. But above all, depression is marked by a sense of hopelessness about the future and helplessness in being able to change things for the better.
As anyone knows who has suffered the pain of serious depression, it is not at all easy to overcome. Experimental and clinical research has indicated that a form of behavior therapy known as cognitive
therapy can be very successful in helping people to learn to overcome depressive thinking and behavior patterns.
Experience has shown that cognitive therapy, sometimes in conjunction with antidepressant medication, will not only elevate mood and motivation but will present people with methods of coping with
depressive thinking and behavioral patterns should they recur in the future.
What is Pain Management?
Chronic pain accompanies a variety of illnesses and traumatic incidents. Such pain often leads to feelings of hopelessness and despair while the limitations such
discomfort imposes on an individual’s normal activities may lead to feelings of helplessness and depression. Often, these typical emotional reactions to very real discomfort are more problematic than
the physical condition itself.
Learning the skills of managing pain, in addition to appropriate medical treatment, may aid many people in feeling less physical discomfort while becoming more hopeful and in greater control of their
own bodies and lives.
The techniques of pain management are taught to clients by skilled therapists, including behavioral psychologists, nursing specialists, and physical therapists. Procedures utilized and taught include
relaxation therapy, self-hypnosis, biofeedback, depression management, life-planning and goal-setting procedures, priority setting, and personal energy conservation guidelines. All treatment is
coordinated with the client’s personal physician.
What is Chronic Illness Adjustment Counseling?
Coping with a chronic illness in addition to handling the every day problems and chores of modern life can often be overwhelming. The effects of living with a chronic
illness are pervasive, affecting not only the patient, but the family as well. The impact of the loss of health may also promote a variety of reactions in all concerned, causing feelings of
depression, anger, shock, helplessness, and hopelessness.
Obtaining quality medical care from a competent and caring physician is, of course, essential. However, many people with a chronic illness may need support and help in understanding the psychological
effects of the stress they are feeling. They may also need help in adjusting to the many changes that they and their families must make.
Counseling, whether done on an individual or family basis or in small groups, can help to make one aware of the complex issues involved in these changes in lifestyle, future goals, and daily
activities. Counseling can also help to develop new skills in assertiveness, self-relaxation, parenting, pain management, and coping with depression. This help must be given by professionals who not
only care but have the experience to offer realistic alternatives.
Therapy has been helpful for people with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, ileitis, colitis, and heart disease. A positive adjustment and a productive life is possible.
What is Sexual Dysfunction and How is it Treated?
For many people, the enjoyment of sexual activity has been curtailed by a number of functional difficulties. Many of these problems can be helped by a variety of
relatively new techniques. Included in these problems are some limited to men such as impotence and retarded ejaculation, some limited to females such as vaginismus and orgastic insufficiency, and
some common to both such as pain on intercourse and lack of desire. Many of these difficulties may be organic in origin, and many are problems resulting from various psychological dysfunctions.
There are several medical facilities for the complete evaluation of the organic components of these problems. Psychologists are skilled in the application of sex therapy techniques. In many
instances, dramatic improvements in function are produced.
What is Biofeedback Training?
Biofeedback is a process by which a person learns to voluntarily control bodily processes that are not ordinarily under conscious control. For many years it had been
assumed that bodily functions such as temperature, heart rate, muscular tension, and brain waves were not affected by learning, but were automatic reactions of our bodies. Had we but looked to the
experiences of people of other cultures, such as African, Asian, and American Indian, we would have known that these functions could indeed be altered through meditation, prayer, dancing, and other
rituals. It has taken many years, but Western culture, based upon scientific investigation and research, has “discovered” techniques to alter such processes that are more compatible with our own
thinking and culture. Biofeedback is one such method.
Biofeedback training allows the client to obtain information (feedback) about a bodily function such as the amount of tension in a particular muscle, the temperature of a finger or toe, or how
generally anxious or relaxed he/she is at the time. With this information, which is given in the form of sound or a reading on a dial, the person learns to modify the functioning of this system. In
many ways, learning to control such functions is similar to learning other skills such as perfecting a golf swing, drawing, and typing. In each of these skills, we learn by adjusting our behavior to
instances of error or success. Thus, clients with tension headache can learn to lower the amount of muscular tension in their neck and forehead and relieve their discomfort. Clients with migraine
headaches will often be relieved by learning to raise the temperature of their fingers (actually increasing blood flow), as can clients with Raynaud’s disease. Clients with high levels of stress can
learn to lower blood pressure and take a calmer attitude.
Biofeedback training usually occurs over a series of sessions and is supplemented with structured practice both at home and in the environment.