This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about psychologists and psychotherapy. 


Solutions Therapy, PLLC

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is a social scientist who uses knowledge about the human psyche to guide and direct interventions to improve emotional,
social and life functioning in a scientifically valid way.

Should I see a psychologist, clinical social worker or psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are trained in biological treatments such as medications. Although some psychiatrists provide psychotherapy and are very good at it, most tend to see patients for brief medication management sessions and do not work as much on exploring emotions, thoughts and behavior patterns in-depth.  There are many different types of clinical therapy providers; psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional therapists and pastoral counselors.  Each of these disciplines differs in how long they go to school, the emphasis of training and amount of clinical practice
necessary before practice at the independently level is permitted.  Although many providers from each discipline would disagree with me, I believe it is not as important what the individual provider’s degree is, but rather the match-up between their areas of expertise and personality and the need of the patient.  Scientific research suggests that the quality of the relationship between the provider and patient and the trust the patient has in the provider are much better predictors of therapy success than any other factors including age, gender, race or degree.  That being said, the length and breadth of training required to become a doctoral level clinical psychologist is greater than for other disciplines.  

What is CBT?

CBT is a collaborative form of therapy with the goal of learning useful and durable skills to improve ood and functioning.  The patient and psychologist work together to find solutions to distressing emotions and unhelpful behavior.   The psychologist and patient explore current
and past thoughts, feeling and behaviors to identify unhelpful patterns and ways to change those patterns.  CBT is very educational in nature and goal directed.  CBT utilizes not only in-session time, but also home based exercises to help solidify gains made.

CBT is identified as an evidenced based treatment for children.  Information on evidenced based treatments can be found here: 

What is ERP?

ERP or Exposure and Response Prevention is the best supported treatment for OCD.  Information on OCD treatment can be found on the OCD Foundation's Website at

Who is Dr. Jefferies, outside of the office?
Dr. Jefferies is a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend.  She enjoys horseback riding, softball, reading fantasy novels, sewing and football.  Dr. Jefferies personality is warm and friendly, with a tendency to use humor.  She is analytical and constantly seeking out new information.   

Do you accept insurance?
This is a small practice without the administrative  support to handle the complexities of filing
and managing insurance claims.  Due to the cost of managing insurance and to avoid the restrictions imposed by insurance companies on the frequency and duration of therapy we do not participate in insurance plans.  We want to be focused on you, not paperwork.  We do provide
invoices that can be submitted for reimbursement for out of network benefits from your insurance company if you have such benefits.  

Do I need to take medication?  Do you prescribe medication?
Psychologists are not permitted in the state of Virginia to prescribe medication; therefore we maintain close collaborative relationships with primary care doctors, pediatricians and psychiatrists who are able to prescribe medications if they are necessary.  Most patients who seek therapy are not on medication and there is no requirement that a patient take medication.  That being said, medication is very helpful in some cases to improve therapy outcomes or speed recovery.  If the psychologist believes that you would benefit from medication, this will be discussed openly and appropriate referrals will be made if necessary.

How long will I be in therapy?

This is not a question that can be easily answered.  Therapy duration depends on the specific goals, strengths and needs of the patient.  Therapy tends to progress more quickly when patients do their therapy homework diligently and are fully invested in the process.  CBT is a therapy that does have specific measureable goals and is designed to be shorter term in nature.  Once goals are achieved, therapy frequency is tapered to allow for the psychologist and patient to ensure maintenance of progress, then terminated based on mutual agreement.  It is not typical for a patient to be in CBT for years as it is with some other types of therapy.