Psychological Services

 

I understand that making an initial appointment to see a mental health professional can be daunting.  Here is some information about psychologists in general, and me in particular, that might make the process easier:

 

What is a psychologist?

In Colorado, the definition of a psychologist is a licensed professional holding a doctoral degree in psychology, who studies or treats the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects of human nature.  Psychologists differ from other therapists, such as social workers and counselors, both in the degree they hold and in their educational background.

 

In order to obtain a doctoral degree in psychology and become a psychologist, one must first earn a bachelor’s degree.  After that time, the candidate must spend another 4-6 years studying the theory and practice of psychology in a graduate program.  After completion of those years, the candidate then embarks on a one year, full time internship, followed by another post-doctoral year of training and supervision.  At that point, the candidate is qualified to take a licensing examination.  If all goes well, the candidate then becomes a psychologist!  Psychologists are regulated by DORA in the state of Colorado.

 

To take a look at my curriculum vitae, which includes information about my education, training, and work history, click here.

 

How do I make an appointment?

The easiest way to make an appointment is to email me at stephanie@drstephaniesmith.com.  I can also be reached by telephone at 303-828-3080.  My days and hours in the office vary, but I do aim to have both early morning and later afternoon appointments available.  Wait time for appointments also varies, but typically runs 1-2 weeks.  I do maintain a cancellation list, however, so can frequently get folks in even more quickly.

 

What is the first appointment like?

The first appointment goes surprisingly fast!  During that first hour, we will spend time outlining your biggest concerns, as well as your goals.  I will ask you to tell me a bit about your history (medical, family, work/school, relationship) and will also ask you about what treatments (if any) you have tried thus far.  During the first session we will also review how therapy works, and disclosure information mandated by the state.  Lastly, I leave time during the first session for you to ask questions, and will also give you my brief assessment of your situation and what I think the course of treatment might entail.

 

How often should I come in?

While I do not have any hard and fast rules about frequency of sessions, I have learned and observed that the folks who meet their goals most quickly, are typically the ones who come in most frequently.  As such, I prefer that people attend sessions every week for the first few appointments.  After that, more time between sessions may be OK, and even useful.  Coming in much less frequently than every 2-3 weeks is typically not recommended.

 

How long will I be in therapy?

I aim to work collaboratively with my patients.  As such, we will work together to determine what your goals are, and will check in periodically to determine if they have been met.  Sometimes I work with people who are able to meet their goals after a handful of sessions, other goals might take several months or longer to achieve.

 

What is your therapeutic approach?

Good question!  I have been trained in all of the most conventional theories, approaches, treatments, and interventions in psychology.  I also work at strengthening and improving my clinical skills through continuing education.  When I work with clients, I do not adhere to rigid treatment strategies or modalities.  Instead, I will work with you to discover your needs to determine which intervention style might be most clinically indicated for you.  I tailor your treatment plan to your specific needs, rather than applying a one size fits all approach.