Do you remember when you were a kid and you lived, loved, and laughed with reckless abandon? You can be that happy, again! Today, you landed on this site which means you're one step closer to feeling like your old self, again. A place where you felt strong, positive, and a general sense of well-being.
As a strength-based, solution-focusedmedical psychologist, my goal is to help you unleash your true potential and lead a life that is truly exhilarating! While we can't change the past, we will work together to understand and resolve challenges for the future. By applying complementary therapeutic approaches, techniques and medication (if needed) we will unearth long-standing, maladaptive behavioral patterns and negative perceptions that might be holding you back from experiencing true happiness.
If you're ready to gain the support needed to navigate a challenging situation, or want to move in a new direction in life, I look forward to working with you to achieve your goals.
I want to see you...
Frequently Asked Questions:
What about medication vs. therapy?
It is well-researched and established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional issues and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead, studies suggest the best course of treatment for moderate to severe distress is combination therapy = therapy + medication. This is why a medical psychologistcan be the perfect solution for you to get medication and therapy from one provider, in one visit.
While medication focuses on minimizing and treating your symptoms, therapy addresses the underlying cause of your distress and the behavioral patterns that have developed as a result. You can achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with this kind of integrative approach to your overall wellness. Work with your medical psychologist to determine what's best for you. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the best course of action.
What is a medical psychologist? Or medical psychology?
A medical psychologist is a highly trained, licensed clinical psychologist who can also prescribe psychotropic medications. Since 2004, the state of Louisiana has allowed psychologists with specialized training and education to prescribe medications.
According to Drs. Mark Muse and Brett Moore who (literally) wrote the: Handbook on Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists:
Medical Psychology is a postdoctoral specialty within applied psychology that integrates evidence-based psychological principles with medical science for the purpose of diagnosing and treating emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosomatic disorders.
The definition goes on to state that:
Pharmacologically trained medical psychologists can prescribe, in concert with psychobiosocial interventions, psychotropic medications or advise patients and other professionals about the use of such medication, (loc 777-778).
A medical psychologist (in Louisiana) has:
Upon completion of requirements above: can become an Advanced Practice Medical Psychologist (MPAP).
For more information re: licensure as a Medical Psychologist and how to obtain Advanced Practice, click here.
What's the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and medical psychologist?
There has to be a joke in there somewhere!! LOL
But, for real, this is a very common question. The simple answer is: not very much... and a whole lot. Read on.
The complicated answer is:
A psychologist has a minimum of the following:
In the United States, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or EPPP
In California, the California Psychology Supplemental Examination, or CPSE
All states have slightly different requirements.
Click here to verify a Psychologist's license in the state of Louisiana
Accepted application and initial fee to State of licensure
California Board of Psychology, or CA BOP
Click here to see the requirements for Louisiana PsychologistsOr, head over to my blog discussing the requirements a licensed psychologist must meet prior to licensure.
A psychiatrist has a minimum of the following:
BA, or BS in psychology, sociology, or a related field
MD from medical school completion
Passing score on The United States Medical Licensing Examination USMLE a multi-part professional exam sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
Passing score on the State medical board
Accepted application and initial fee to State of licensure
With me so far? Because, here is where it gets a bit confusing?
A Medical Psychologist can be a:
1-highly trained Licensed Psychologist
WHO CAN PRESCRIBE PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATIONS:
Postdoctoral Master of Science in Psychopharmacology
Licensed psychologist by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
Passed the PEP
Licensed Medical Psychologist from the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners
Consultation for the 1st 3 years (in Louisiana)
2-highly trained Licensed Psychologist (see above for requirements)
WHO CANNOT PRESCRIBE ANY MEDICATIONS
A Division of the American College of Forensic Examiners
The lines between psychiatry and medical psychology are becoming more and more blurred. Though, they are admittedly VERY different fields with unique qualifications and degrees, I believe the blur developed from a variety of sources: depictions on television and other media outlets, misinformation, miseducation, interpretation and perception. But, the most important blur is occurring due to the nation-wide scarcity of prescribers, in general! You may have noticed the increasing amount of Nurse Practitioners, Physician?s Assistants and dun-dun-dun-dun-duuuuun? Medical Psychologists!
Some people prefer to call psychologists who can prescribe a prescribing psychologist in Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, (the newest additions!) Guam, Native American territories, and some state and Federal departments (currently the only places MPs can prescribe.) Makes sense, but in Louisiana many entities, (including the ones who license folks) call a psychologist who can prescribe psychotropic medications a "medical psychologist" even using the suffix "MP"
For example-Jon Chandler, PsyD, MP.
Other names have popped up over the years, including:
psychologist prescriber, psychopharmacologist, pharmacopsychologist, pharmacotherapist, pharmacology psychologist, psychology pharmacologist, prescribing psychologist, RxP, and as discussed medical psychologist. In my opinion, the varying names for this practice may highlight the general disorganization within the field of psychology. Historically, we have not been our own best advocates.
How does therapy help?
Working with a licensed professional can help you in a variety of ways:
Psychologists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, life transitions, creative and professional blocks. Many people also find that psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, relational issues, and the hassles of every day life. Psychologists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem, or point you in the direction of a particular solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you engage in the process and practice what you learn.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Gaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and core values
Developing strategies for improving (all of) your relationships
Finding solutions to the issues that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with anxiety and stress
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other psychological pressures
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavioral patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Boosting your self-esteem and confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle problems on my own.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much-needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What should I expect from therapy?
Therapy, or psychotherapy is a chance to deal with the deeper underlying issues in your life, placing the focus solely on your needs, wants and strengths. Dr. Chandler tends to work from a multicultural, strength-based framework and has substantial experience working with people of all "differences."
In fact, Dr. Chandler has written and presented on "Minority Identity Development," "People with Differences," and Cultural Competency many times as it is a passion to educate and unite ALL people using:
Chandler's RAINBOW Model (2016-2023):
Race, ethnicity, culture
Age and generational influences
Inherent and acquired Disabilities, Disorders, and Diseases
National origin/Indigenous heritage-country of origin/background/heritage
Beliefs: religious, spiritual affiliation, political ideology, views on world, self and others
Orientation: Chandler's Complete Sexual Identity-a spectrum of: attractions, relationships, experiences, expressions, and sexual and gender identities (see chart)
Work status: socioeconomic status, including but not limited to: education, career, income, housing and food security.
*It is also important to understand that Sexual and Gender Identities occur on a spectrum and are not fixed. In other words, they are fluid, or evolve over time and can look differently over the course of a lifetime depending on a variety of factors. Therefore, utilize the chart above as a snapshot in time. Additionally, just because someone's identity, attractions and expressions change over time does not mean a person can forcefully change their sexual orientation just to assimilate to mainstream culture. In fact, based on extensive research of Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts (SOCE) has proven to be harmful, cause psychological pain, and damage to the individual. Therefore, the American Psychological Association has banned "Conversion, or Reparative" so-called therapy and released the following statement.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year?
What is my co-pay/responsibility per session?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent.” Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information, or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
Additionally, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse, or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself, or has threatened to harm another person.
What if I don't need individual therapy?
That's okay, maybe there is a specific issue with which you would like help. This can be achieved in many different ways. If you are having marital, or relational problems, you might benefit from Couple's therapy.
All partnerships experience some "rocky" times. Whether your relationship requires a little fine tuning, or some major reconstruction, Dr. Chandler can help restore the balance. He has experience with alternative partnerships, including open (polyamorous), closed (committed), LGBT partnerships, and heterosexually married couples, etc. One of the first questions Dr. Chandler asks couples, is "do you both want this to work?" Surprisingly, not all couples answer "yes." Thus, he has experience working with couples who want to amicably split, as well.
Sometimes, the group experience can be the catalyst for change in an individual's life. Dr. Chandler works from a humanistic & existential point of view focusing on the interactions between members involved. Group therapy can work well in conjunction with individual therapy, it can provide a chance to try out the new changes an individual is making in their life. Some people think group therapy is more validating because they know the other people in the group are having similar issues. Dr. Chandler has experience running several types of groups and will be adding them to his practice as the need arises.
Family/System Consultation & Therapy
At times, it is necessary to pull members of the: family of origin (FOO), family of choice (FOC), or system into session with the individual client. Prior to this meeting, Dr. Chandler ensures all parties involved are comfortable, namely the individual client. This process may only require a few consultations/sessions. Other times, from a system's theory frame of reference, the balance may be interrupted by a process that is taking place between several members of a family/system and may require continued family/system therapy. Dr. Chandler defines "family" as both people who are related to you by birth, marriage, etc. and those you choose to be in your life.
My particular treatment specializations include but are not limited to:
Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Grief and Loss Work
Work and Career issues
Life Coaching and Mentoring
Addiction & Recovery Treatment
LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy
I work with a wide range of behavioral and psychological issues. In a supportive atmosphere and collaborative environment, I offer an individualized treatment plan. With your outlined goals, we can work towards real, achievable goals. Whether it's just for personal growth, or you're struggling with a life transition, I'm here to help.
What do you mean by "strength-based"?
Strength-based therapy focuses on the inherent strengths and skills you already have. It uses those building blocks for future success and problem-solving. Instead focusing solely on the problem, or using language that stigmatizes, victimizes, or pathologizes you. A strength-based approach empowers you by drawing attention to the positives that already exist within and around you. This technique demonstrates that people are not defined by their problem, diagnosis, or illness. But, are defined by their capacity for growth, change and overcoming life's obstacles.
"It's not in the fall... it's in the recovery." -Dr. Chandler
Utilizing a strength-focused approach can be particularly useful if you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of your problems. We will work to reframe your perception from focusing on everything that is wrong to one that recognizes what is right. By implementing this technique, you will begin to develop positive, realistic, and attainable goals.
What is solution-focused treatment?
Solution-focused therapy, or brief therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach based on building rather than problem-solving. It serves to focus on and utilize current resources and future goals instead of present problems, or past causes of issues. This course of treatment typically takes 3-5 sessions for mild issues.
Maladaptive Behavioral Patterns
Normal coping strategies help to reduce problems or lessen the feelings associated with certain emotional disturbances. Sometimes, through the course of a mental illness, people develop negative habits, otherwise known as Maladaptive Behavioral Patterns. These patterns serve to interfere with a person's ability to unlearn the association between the situation and the negative symptoms. The reason they are maladaptive is that they do not allow progress and perpetuate the disorder.