Andrew D. Reichert, PhD, PLLC
Licensed Psychologist
Port Aransas, TX
P.O. Box 1706, Port Aransas, TX 78373
Andrew@AndrewDReichert.com
(210) 708-5909                                   

Frequently Asked Questions


1.

What, exactly, is counseling or therapy?

Counseling is hard to explain.  It takes courage just to pick up the phone and make the appointment – to realize that you want help.  But that call is a first and brave step toward getting better.  And unlike going to see other doctors, where maybe they can clearly give you an X-ray to diagnose a broken bone and then treat it with a cast that will help heal it within a certain amount of time, counseling is more like a journey that you take within the safe space of the counseling session.  My role is to offer you all that I can in terms of my training, experience, and expertise, though where the journey ultimately goes is up to you, as you come to better understand your life, how you got to where you are now, and what changes you may want to make to help you get to where you want to go.


2.

What about confidentiality and any limits to confidentiality?

Generally, almost anything you tell a psychologist is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else without your consent.  However, there are a few legal exceptions to confidentiality that you should know: (1) The law requires that any known or suspected abuse of children, elderly people, disabled people, or any other "vulnerable population" must be reported; this only applies when a vulnerable person, such as a child, may currently be in danger, not adults who were abused as children unless a child may still be in danger, as could be the case if an abusive relative or neighbor might still have access to children.  (2) In emergency situations, a psychologist can break confidentiality if there is concern for the immediate safety of someone, such as situations involving suicide or homicide; this only applies in situations that need immediate safety measures, not past suicidal or homicidal thoughts or attempts.  If you are feeling like you might harm yourself or another, or if you are engaging in risky behaviors, such as cutting, burning, or abuse of alcohol or drugs, then please let me know so that we can begin to develop safety plans and ways to reduce your harm. (3) Should there be any litigation, psychologists must obey court orders (e.g., a court's request for records); and (4) Abuse by other mental health practitioners must be reported; this is to help protect the public from further harm.

Additionally, parents and legal guardians must consent to the treatment of their minor children and have a right to know what is being discussed in treatment.  And I may consult from time-to-time with other professionals which is good practice, as it can be helpful to have a second opinion about a situation.  When I consult, I may discuss relevant concerns or demographic information, such as a person's age, but I do not disclose specific names of clients unless I have their permission to do so.  I may also release a client's name and limited information in routine business transactions, such as when making routine credit card or banking deposit transactions, or when submitting insurance claims.    


3.

Do you practice a certain type of “theory” or approach to counseling?

I tend to be “integrative” in my work, meaning that I generally draw from a variety of theories, depending on the client and their concerns.  I like to encourage a holistic approach to life (i.e., mind, body, spirit), and I often use mindfulness, cognitive, and pragmatic approaches to counseling that are known to be effective, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Solution Focused Therapy.  I am also drawn to the classical work of Carl Jung, an early pioneer in the field of mental health, but I am not trained as a Jungian analyst.  And I am completing a 200 hour level class to become a Registered Yoga Teacher, with plans to then offer private yoga sessions and light body movement and stretches for therapy clients who wish to have this, as there is a known mind/body connection.  It is believed that trauma can be stored in the body and released with some yoga movements.  The research is clear, however, that it does not really matter which theory one uses; what matters most is the working relationship of trust that a client has with their counselor and whether both the client and counselor feel that the approach taken can be helpful.


4.

 What about self-help?

I love self-help!  And, frankly, it can be a good and more economical way to start addressing concerns you may have in your life and changes you may want to make.  From twelve step programs to memoirs to self-help books, there is a wealth of self-help resources available at just about any local library or bookstore.  A few of my favorites include Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron, The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, and Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  The movie Peaceful Warrior (based on a true story and Dan Millman’s book by the same title) is also excellent, as is Sandra Bullock’s comedy, 28 Days, which takes a humorous look inside a serious subject: a drug and alcohol treatment center, as Bullock’s character transforms herself from alcoholic to new woman. 

Some other self-help suggestions include journaling, taking deep breaths, eating healthy, getting plenty of rest (but not oversleeping), "doing what you can, not what you can't," and avoiding drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy behaviors.  Research shows that exercise, including yoga, assuming you are medically and physically able to do so, is also good for both physical and mental health, as is being outside in nature, including being in, on, or near water.  

There are also numerous organizations which provide support and local groups for people to meet up and discuss common concerns, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other twelve step programs for addictions (www.AA.org, www.NA.org); Al-Anon and Al-Ateen, for family and friends who have a loved one coping with addiction (www.Al-Anon.org); and Refuge Recovery, which takes a Buddhist approach to all addictions (www.RefugeRecovery.org). 

Other wonderful organizations include The Trevor Project, which provides crisis services and other resources for GLBT people (www.TheTrevorProject.org), PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, www.pflag.org), and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a consumer driven and led organization by and for people who are coping with serious mental health concerns (www.nami.org).  


5.

Are you licensed?

Yes, I am licensed to practice psychology in the State of Texas.  I am also a platinum member of the Texas Psychological Association (whose ethical guidelines, along with the American Psychological Association, I adhere to), and I am a retired United Methodist minister, affiliated with the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church (my first career).  Though I am no longer in active pastoral ministry, I can offer a spiritual or Biblical perspective for those clients who wish, and I am open to working with people from all faith traditions, including those who may not have any religious or spiritual beliefs.


6.

What if I'm not religious or don't want to do yoga?

You don't have to be religious, and we don't have to talk about God in therapy if you don't want to, nor do any yoga postures.  I often think of myself as "more spiritual than religious."  While I am ordained in The United Methodist Church, I actually grew up in the Episcopal Church and am gravitating back to it, for I love the richness of its history, liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer.  And while I consider myself to be a Christian, I find that my faith is broad and includes appreciation for other traditions, including many Buddhist, Native American, and metaphysical perspectives (e.g., being grateful and putting one's intentions "out there to the Universe").  I do not, however, force my personal views on clients, nor would I ask anyone to do a yoga posture they did not wish to do.  As an ethical psychologist, my job is to try to understand and respect your beliefs, not impose my beliefs on you. 


7.

What’s psychological testing and assessment?

Psychological testing and assessment is a way to measure a person’s characteristics on any number of variables, such as attention, IQ, or personality. Psychological testing and assessment tends to be the purview of psychologists because they are the ones who have historically developed psychological tests and are trained to administer, score, and interpret them.  Psychological testing can often be helpful to confirm or rule out a diagnostic impression.  When needed, I can offer psychological testing, though there is generally additional fees for this service, to cover the cost of the test materials and the time it takes to score and interpret the test results.  


8.

Do you personally see a therapist?

Yes, I think it's important for therapists to also be in therapy -- to experience sitting in the client's chair from time to time.  I have a Jungian analyst in Austin that I go to when needed to work on my own personal thoughts, feelings, and dreams, and I regularly attend twelve step and other recovery groups (e.g., Refuge Recovery), as well as participate in personal growth retreats throughout the year.  Though an over-simplification, I think of therapy as going to the gym.  I go to the gym to work on my physical health, and when needed, I go see my analyst or drop in on a recovery meeting to work on my mental health.  I think this helps me be a better therapist.  


9.

Do you offer emergency services?

While I can generally return calls within 24 hours and often within the hour, I am not available 24/7 for crisis calls.  If you happen to experience a medical or mental health emergency and cannot reach me, then please call 911.  Some people might hesitate to call 911 for a mental health concern, but if you were having a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, you would likely try to call 911.  Well, the brain is also an organ and if it is in crisis, such as feeling suicidal or homicidal, then that needs to be treated as a life and death emergency, for which a call to 911 is appropriate and needed.  You can also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and LGBT people in crisis can reach the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.  Additional fees may apply for lengthy crisis services, but brief crisis calls that can be quickly resolved are generally comped.     


10.

What if I’m unhappy with your services?

Then please let me know so that we can make an adjustment and take a different approach that might be more helpful.  Or, if for some reason, it is just not working out, then let me help you get connected with another mental health provider who might be able to better meet your needs.  Complaints can also be filed with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists at 1-800-821-3205.