• Dr. Cecilia Marin

The Difference Between Psychologist's and Other Therapist's When Dealing With Your Immigration Case


Here’s something to keep in mind. Social Workers, Marriage and Family therapists, Mental Health Clinicians, life coaches and other counselors can all provide therapy or “psychotherapy.” HOWEVER, the most distinct and most important differences between a psychologist and other therapists are the training requirements prior to and after the completion of their clinical degree. Additional differences are evidenced by the length of education, their ability to administer, score and interpret psychodiagnostic testing and evaluations, accumulation of clinical supervised hours, passing a national and state examination required for licensure, and a certain number of continued education credits in order to renew their license every two years. Psychologists usually require extensive training in the practice of Clinical psychology (i.e., How to treat the patient suffering from depression and anxiety , etc.) With that being said, the academic program usually takes about 6-7 years after a 4 year undergraduate degree. The total amount of clinical and supervised hours required for psychologist pre and post licensure does not come close to any other profession.


In terms of IMMIGRATION cases, you might be wondering …



“ Why use a psychologist instead of a clinical social worker, a mental health clinician ora marriage and family therapist? ”As mentioned above, psychologists go through extensive training, not just in treating patients one on one, but with psychodiagnostic testing as well. This testing component is what distinguishes Psychologists amongst other clinicians. Sure, other clinicians may also provide some brief testing, with screeners to identify anxiety, depression or other symptoms which may appear to make an immigration case stronger. However, it is important to also keep in mind that the psychological tests provided by psychologists which will assist with formulations and conclusions fortify an immigration case as evidenced by the level of reliability and validity established by the test used/preferred. These tests, have certain criteria and are categorized by levels, numbers and letters. The highest category signifies exclusivity, meaning — only psychologists may have access to administer such tests (i.e., MMPI-2) https://psychcentral.com/lib/minnesota-multiphasicpersonality-inventory-mmpi/ Sometimes these tests provide additional evidence usually solidifying the goal and purpose of a psychological immigration evaluation. These results are then interpreted and nestled into the patients history with statistical information, medical information (gathered through medical records) and interpreted at the highest clinical psychological and professional caliber.


Of importance, when deciding on a psychologist, please make sure the psychologist has extensive training and understanding with immigration evaluations and proceedings. It has been my experience (in Miami), that numerous clients have already undergone an evaluation with a psychologist (or other clinicians) but were denied waivers/or cases were denied in general. The first question I ask them is, “How long where you at the psychologists office?” Many of the clients respond “Less than 1 hour.” It is imperative to understand, no evaluation/psychodiagnostic testing, history gathering and reading of medical reports will take this long. As a matter of fact, the time frame for these evaluations, at a minimum, are 4-5 hours. Yes, this clearly means the price range for a psychological evaluation are pricey and can range from $1050 to $1,500. It was my hope to have explained and clarified numerous distinctions amongst clinicians, testing protocols, training and immigration evaluation procedures. If you found this useful, I urge you to implement and share this information with others that may benefit from this information. You will see and experience the difference.





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