I am a psychologist, licensed to practice in South Dakota. I have maintained a private practice in Rapid City since 1983. I work with adults and occasionally adolescents, dealing with a wide range of life problems. My primary interests lie in marriage therapy, and working with people struggling with anxiety, depression, or anger. I provide psychological evaluations for a variety of purposes.  

My Education, Training, and Experience

I received a BA degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a major in psychology, in 1971. I attended Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis for one year, where I studied theology and completed an internship in pastoral counseling. I attended Rosemead School of Psychology, a graduate school of Biola University in La Mirada, California, which provided a unique focus on the integration of Christian theology with a traditional program in professional psychology practice. I received a PhD from RSP in 1976.

I was employed by Bethany Christian Services in Sheldon, Iowa, and by Pine Rest Christian Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the first seven years of my career, before beginning a practice in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1983. I was first licensed to practice in Iowa, then Michigan, and finally in South Dakota up to the present time.

I have a strong interest in enabling people to preserve and nurture their marriages. The value that I place on marriage comes largely from my own experience, having been married since 1971. I view marriage as a privilege, a gift from God that requires cultivation, care, and conscious maintenance. Read More...

I also have a strong interest in helping people deal more effectively with their emotions, which are a much bigger factor in our lives than we often realize. Depression, chronic anger, and anxiety can result from the accumulation of emotions that are common to all of us. They can deprive people of pleasure and satisfaction, or hinder people from accomplishing what is most important to them.

What Kind of Problems Does a Psychologist Address?

Some clients seek help because they are discontent or unhappy with themselves or their life circumstances. Some have conflict or distance in their marriages. Some are in crisis. Some are referred for specific purposes, such as psychological evaluation. Therapy involves working toward change in emotions, behavior and thought patterns, or relationship conflicts. The role of the therapist varies, according to the goals determined. A therapist may function as a guide, coach, or instructor. The duration of therapy depends on the kind of problems being dealt with, and the individuals involved. Psychological evaluations are conducted for a specific purpose. They include a personal interview, and one or more psychological tests that measure cognitive or psychological factors. The results are summarized in a written report, usually required by a specific agency.

Appointments, Fees, Insurance

Appointments are scheduled in advance. The initial appointment is scheduled for seventy-five minutes, to provide adequate time to gather background information and begin to determine the direction of therapy. Subsequent sessions are fifty minutes in length. In unusual situations, if sessions are scheduled for longer periods of time, the fee is prorated based on the fifty minute fee.

It is important to clarify fee payment before therapy or evaluation begin. Fees may be paid by cash, check, or credit card. Charges for psychological evaluations are based on the total amount of time required, including interviews, testing, and composition of a report. If there is no third-party (private or government insurance) payment involved, payment is due immediately following the appointment. If third party payment is involved, the client is responsible to pay for the deductible amount, if applicable, and the copay at each session. You can check on current fees by calling (605)341-5436 or sending an e-mail to gregswensonphd@gmail.com.




What to Look For

Types of Care

Choosing a Therapist

In choosing a therapist, there are several things to consider. These include education and training, clinical experience, personality, the therapist's core values, and the focus of the therapist's work. A potential therapist should be willing to answer questions regarding these areas, to assist in your search for the appropriate person to work with. It is important to choose someone who you are comfortable with and who has the capacity to understand you. Your assessment may require one or more therapy sessions. You should feel free to raise any questions regarding the nature of the therapy process, or practical matters such as appointments, fees, and filing insurance. While the duration of therapy and rate of improvement vary considerably, it is reasonable to expect some sense of confidence in the process after three or four sessions.


Therapy, Personal Change, and Values

The values that are most influential in a therapist's life and approach to therapy are important, but often not immediately evident. One of my central beliefs is that all people are intricately crafted by their Creator, but have become faulty in many ways. While reconciliation with God is accomplished by accepting the incarnation and atonement of Jesus, the Messiah, improvement in life and marriage can be facilitated by the therapy process. Personal change starts with self-appraisal. A therapist can provide a more objective perspective in this process than family and friends. The therapist may raise questions that help you evaluate thought, emotion, and behavior patterns, and provide a strategy for change. Reconciliation and rebuilding of relationships is accomplished through development of the ability to listen and care for each other, and management of conflict within marriage. Personal change proves difficult to embrace and is a lifelong endeavor. The purpose of therapy is to assist in this process during critical times in a person's life or marriage, and provide ongoing direction.

Types of Therapists

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Clinical Social Workers (MSW) have masters degrees in counseling or social work. Chemical Dependency Counselors (CDC) have certification specifically in the field of drug and alcohol abuse. Psychiatrists (MD) have completed medical school and a residency in psychiatry. They are licensed to prescribe medication, and usually provide minimal personal counseling. Psychologists (PhD or PsyD) have a doctoral degree in psychology, and complete a minimum of a one year internship before becoming eligible for licensure.



Training and Licensure of Psychologists

Psychologists first complete a four-year degree. This is followed by four to five years of graduate training, culminating in the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. Graduate work consists of courses in various aspects of applied psychology, including studies in personality theories, assessment of intelligence and personality, psychopathology and diagnosis, techniques of psychotherapy, psychological research and measurement, biological bases of behavior, and neuropsychology. A dissertation, or clinical research paper, is required for a doctoral degree. Several practicums and an internship are completed under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Psychologists must be licensed to practice by the state in which they work. A state board of examiners functions as a government-appointed body to license and oversee the practice of psychology.


Dr. Greg Swenson PhD
Copyright 1997-2003 
All rights reserved.
Revised: 2017.