About Dr. Gail Karafin 

Dr. Karafin is a graduate of Temple University, a licensed psychologist and a certified school psychologist. She has been in private practice in the Doylestown community since 1982, and she has been affiliated with the Bensalem Township School District as a school psychologist since 1989.

Dr. Karafin participates in many regional and national professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association (APA), the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA), the Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists (PSCP) now known as PSCP: The Psychology Network, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP). She has held several elected governance positions in these organizations, including Secretary of the Human Services Center for PSCP, Chair of the School Psychology Board for PPA, Secretary of PPA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and President of PSCP.

Dr. Karafin has prepared presentations for both the public and for professionals on topics, such as Depression, Winter Blues, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety, Assessments for Gifted students, Parenting a Teenager, Helping Your Child With Homework, Sleep Disorders, Bullying and Cyberbullying, Life’s Transitions, Women’s Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention, and Staying Positive After Divorce. She is a frequent author and contributor to the Pennsylvania Psychologist Quarterly. She has written extensively on pediatric sleep needs and school start times and is State Leader for Start School Later (SSL), a national nonprofit organization, advocating for later school start times for adolescents. Dr. Karafin was appointed to the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Advisory Committee on Secondary School Start Times (2019).


What Is A Licensed Psychologist?

Licensed Psychologists are professionals who study human thoughts, feelings and behavior. They most typically practice in health and mental health care facilities or in private offices. Practitioners apply scientifically-based psychological knowledge and techniques to everyday human problems to improve one's functioning and relationships, and to improve one's sense of well-being. They also provide support and guidance through adversity and traumas. They can conduct psychological assessments to determine one's strengths and needs.

Psychologists who deliver patient care must meet certification and licensing requirements in their state, which most often includes an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. in psychology or in one of the psychological specialties; an internship; a thesis or dissertation; one to two years of supervised professional, post-doctoral experience; and completion of licensing exams. In addition, continuing professional education credits are required annually for license renewal.

Licensed Psychologists Are Different From Psychiatrists. Although licensed psychologists and psychiatrists share a similar goal (the alleviation of mental distress), the training, perspective and methodologies are often quite different. Psychiatrists are physicians. They use the medical model to assess mental health problems and they rely on psychotropic medications as the chief method of addressing those problems. Psychologists, on the other hand, generally do not prescribe medication. The predominant intervention technique of psychologists is psychotherapy, and can include behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, existential, psychodynamic, and/or systemic approaches.


What is a School Psychologist?

School Psychologists most often work in schools and help children and teens succeed academically, socially and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents and other professionals to create supportive learning environments and strengthen connections between home and schools. School psychologists advocate for the welfare of children, adolescents and families, and promote the education process. They disseminate information and educate the public and professional community. They perform comprehensive psychoeducational assessments of children to determine individual strengths and needs.

School Psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a specialist-level degree program that includes a training internship and emphasizes preparation in data-based decision-making, consultation and collaboration with parents and teachers, and recommending effective instruction techniques. School Psychologists are also knowledgeable about student diversity, child and adolescent development, school organization, academic and behavioral interventions, positive mental health practices, different learning styles, student behavior needs, educational research, and program evaluations. In addition to graduate level training, in Pennsylvania School Psychologists must be certified by the Department of Education.