Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from the initial session?
The first session is an opportunity to address the concerns that are bringing you into therapy and for us to assess what it will feel like to work together. We will review the therapy process and talk about confidentiality, my cancellation policy, fees, and scheduling. Before we end, I will make some initial treatment recommendations, respond to any questions you might have, and help you decide on the appropriate next steps.
How long will therapy take?
The course of treatment will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the nature and severity of the issue that brought you into treatment, the treatment goals that we agree on, and your motivation and commitment to the process of therapy.
Longer-term psychotherapy is usually the most effective treatment when the reasons for treatment stem from firmly entrenched negative beliefs, deep-rooted relational patterns, or issues such as depression and anxiety. In other instances, such as during a time of acute crisis or to help one navigate through a specific life transition, it is possible to address a client's problems in a briefer, more time-limited manner. After an initial assessment period, I should be able to help evaluate an approximate course of treatment.
Can't I just solve my problems on my own or talk to friends?
The abilities to be self-sufficient and to have a healthy support system can be great sources of strength. Nevertheless, many people continue to encounter difficulties with the way they feel, think about, and experience themselves and their circumstances. Friends and family are often well meaning but may lack the skills that a trained professional can provide. In therapy clients find a professional, supportive, and confidential environment where they can safely experience their thoughts and feelings in a way they may not be able to do with others. In addition, a licensed therapist is trained to help you understand your behaviors and relational patterns with greater depth and sophistication.
What happens in couples counseling?
Unlike individual therapy, in couples counseling the focus is on the relationship and the ways in which the two individuals interact. The work entails helping the couple enhance their connection and intimacy without losing their individuality. It is important to note that the therapist's role is not to keep the couple together, but rather to build skills and foster awareness of the relational patterns that may be keeping the couple stuck. These patterns often involve communication, conflict, intimacy, boundary management, and stress.
How does insurance work?
Each insurance plan is different, depending on the insurance company and the type of plan your employer has chosen. If I am a provider for your insurance plan, I will submit the necessary paperwork for reimbursement. You will probably be responsible for a co-payment for each session. The insurance company will cover the remainder of the fee, up to the set rate (which they determine). If I am not a provider for your insurance plan, it may still be possible that your insurance company will cover a portion of the fee. When you have a PPO, for instance, there are different rates of coverage for in-network versus out-of-network providers. If I am not a covered provider, you are responsible for paying the full fee for each session. I will provide you with a monthly statement that you can send to your insurance company along with your claim forms so that you can be reimbursed directly by the insurance company. I will be happy to help you with this process; it usually is fairly straightforward and often only requires filling out one page of information.
Many insurance plans require that you meet a deductible before they start covering your treatment. If so, you are expected to pay the full fee until your deductible is met, at which time you will then start paying your co-payment.
It is always advisable to contact your insurance company ahead of time to verify your specific coverage for outpatient therapy. This treatment is often referred to by insurance companies as "behavioral health care" and either "outpatient" or "office visit." Please be advised that regardless of your insurance situation, payment is ultimately your responsibility. You are encouraged to talk with me about any questions or concerns you have regarding insurance and fees.
Will I require medication?
Medication is not for everyone and it is certainly not a "cure-all," but there are times when taking medication is either clinically indicated or an option for us to consider as part of your comprehensive treatment plan.
Depending on the nature and severity of the concerns addressed in therapy, together we may decide that medication is warranted as part of a comprehensive treatment approach. If, after sufficient assessment and discussion, we agree to consider medication as a supplement to the psychotherapy process, referrals will be made to one of the skilled and competent psychiatrists with whom I collaborate.