Below are some commonly asked questions about psychotherapy. If you have questions that are not answered here, please email Scott at

What is Low Energy Neurofeedback Systems (LENS)?

LENS is a form of biofeedback that is used to treat a variety of symptoms. It is not a cure. It does help with relaxation and reducing symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction. LENS has been shown to be effective with symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress, AD/HD, traumatic brain injury, explosive disorders, anxiety, and depression. I received training from the man who developed this system, psychologist Len Ochs, Ph.D. If you want more information, go to his website, OchsLabs, Inc., or call me.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and a psychotherapist?

A psychiatrist has a medical degree (M.D.), a license to practice medicine, and has additional training in psycho-affective medicine. Psychiatrists prescribe medication for treating disorders. Due to managed care, most psychiatrists no longer practice traditional talk therapy because the reimbursement rates from insurance companies are lower. There are, however, some psychiatrists who practice talk therapy as well as medication management. A psychologist has a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology and has a license that designates her or him as a clinical psychologist. Psychologists provide testing for various purposes as well as practicing talk therapy. In some states, psychologists are licensed to prescribe medicine as well. This is not currently the case in Texas. A psychotherapist has at least a master's degree (M.A., M.S., M.Ed., or M.S.W.), although some psychotherapists also have doctorates. The difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist is the license and some aspects of training. Psychologists have more extensive training in testing and psychological measurements as well as additional training in psychopharmacology. Some psychotherapists also have this training but do not have the license for certain levels of testing. In Texas, neither a psychologist nor a psychotherapist has prescriptive privileges. A psychotherapist will have at least one of the following licenses, and sometimes more than one: An LMFT is a licensed marriage & family therapist, and focuses on family, relational, and systemic approaches to counseling; an LPC is a licensed professional counselor, which is more of a general practice license. Many LPC's specialize in areas, including relational and family counseling. Currently, LPC's are licensed to practice marriage and family therapy in Texas. An LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. LCSW's are trained as social workers and, somewhat like LMFT's, see their work through the lenses of social systems. Finally, an LCDC is a licensed chemical dependency counselor. This license now requires an associate's degree in Texas. LCDC's are not licensed to provide counseling except for chemical dependency.

How can I tell if I, or someone I know is depressed?

Depression is not to be taken lightly. While most people who deal with depression will probably not commit suicide, approximately 15% of those with depression do. This number increases sharply for people 55 years and older who deal with depression. Talk with a therapist or your doctor if you think you are depressed. If you or someone you know has at least five of the following signs, it may indicate depression.

  • Sad mood every day or almost everyday for at least 2 weeks. In children, only 1 week is necessary, and their mood may not be sad, but irritated. For many men, sad moods can be expressed as anger instead of sadness;
  • Losing interest in doing the things you used to enjoy—hobbies, work, even sex;
  • Weight loss or weight gain—at least 5% of your normal weight within a month. This does not include weight loss or gain due to dieting;
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep—waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble going back to sleep. Sleep problems can also be sleeping too much, that is, you sleep all the time or have more trouble than normal getting out of bed;
  • Feeling really slow in your movements;
  • Feeling tired or having little or no energy;
  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason;
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions;
  • Thoughts of death, thinking about suicide, having a specific plan to commit suicide, or attempting suicide.

Even if you have less than 5 of the above signs, it is a good idea to talk with a therapist or your doctor. You may also call the number at the bottom of this page for a referral to a psychiatrist for a medical consultation. There are different approaches to dealing with depression, from medication to talk therapy. Studies have shown that a combination of both antidepressants and talk therapy have the best results.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

For many, Bipolar Disorder can be a painful roller coaster ride. Bipolar is classified into two major groups: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar literally means 2 poles. In this case, the two poles are depression and manic. While most of us experience times when we feel depressed, and other times when we feel like we have some extra energy. What makes Bipolar Disorder a problem is the level and frequency of the swings. When the depressive or manic phase hits, it is severe enough to disrupt either your work, school, or home life. Sometimes we may not be aware of the mood swings, but our family members or co-workers do! Sadly, between 10 - 15% of people with Bipolar Disorder commit suicide, so it is a serious problem. Again, if you feel you may be bipolar, consult your physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist. It cannot be treated with psychotherapy alone! It is important you seek medical treatment as well as psychotherapy. People with Bipolar Disorder I have had at least one manic episode. A manic episode has the following symptoms:

  • At least a week where you felt unusually energized or irritated; and
  • At least 3 of the following symptoms—
    • you felt as if you could accomplish anything, an inflated self-esteem;
    • you had little need for sleep—such as feeling rested after 2 hours of sleep;
    • you were more talkative than normal, or you felt you had to keep talking to explain;
    • your thoughts seem jumbled, or you have a hard time keeping up with them;
    • you have trouble concentrating, or find you are easily distracted;
    • you seem more driven to accomplish things (socially, at work or school, or sexually)
    • you are taking more risks than normal—such as going on an unusually expensive spending spree, engaging in sexual indiscretions,or making foolish business investments.

It is also possible you may have experienced a depression and then a manic episode, or the manic episode and then a depression. Normally, these mood swings take place over a few days.

Bipolar II Disorder involves having what is called a hypomanic episode as well as a depressive episode. Hypomania means that the symptoms look a lot like a regular manic episode (see above), but only for at least 4 days. If you feel you may be suffering from either Bipolar I or II Disorders, consult your psychiatrist or your therapist. If you don't have a psychiatrist, call the number below for a referral.