When to See a Clinical Psychologist?: July 14, 2019
Whether you’re here for new or ongoing symptoms, a doctor’s visit will go over questions related to your medical history. “A lot of the behavioral medicine concerns do come first through primary care,” said Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo, a clinical psychologist with Lee Health.
Dr. Hidalgo works closely with family medicine physicians. “It’s basically a psychologist that is focused on working with the doctors in the same environment where they see their patient for any sort of PCP visit, and then you can get connected right away with behavioral health services,” said Dr. Hidalgo.
Clinical psychologists can meet with the patient if the family medicine doctor suspects there may be symptoms related to a behavioral health concern. “We meet them sometimes just so they can put a face to the name, with the hope of increasing the chance that they will actually come see us. Sometimes mental health is difficult to get patients to come,” she said.
Giving patients access to a clinical psychologist during their primary care visit can give patients the opportunity to receive the physical and emotional treatment they need. “By us being here if we can reduce some of the gaps of having to go somewhere else that makes it better,” said Dr. Hidalgo.
Patients experiencing things like depression, anxiety, or sudden behavioral changes may benefit from speaking to a clinical psychologist. “We try to focus a lot of weight management, smoking cessation, better sleeping habits; we can work with chronic pain as well,” she said.
Unlike psychiatrists who can prescribe medication, psychologists use counseling and exercises to help patients. Collaborative care that can fully evaluate and treat patients, giving them a better quality of life.