How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists 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 and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
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 about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I am in the Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO provider network. I do participate with the federal governments' traditional BCBS plan with subscribers/member ID beginning with an "R". I do not participate in any other insurance or HMO insurance plans. (including: the current BCBS' Blue Choice plan, the newest 2018/2019 Federal Governments' Blue Choice Plan with subscriber's/member ID beginning with "X", Anthem's BCBS' EAP, and other HMO products). I will be happy to assist by providing you a receipt for submission or reimbursement purposes. Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. 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?
- 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.
However, 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 threated to harm another person.
Frequently Asked Questions for Existing Clients
Cancellation Policy: If you fail to cancel a scheduled appointment, I cannot use this time for another client and you will be billed for the entire cost of your missed appointment. A full session fee is charged for missed appointments or cancellations with less than a 48-hour notice. It is important to note that insurance companies do not provide reimbursement for cancelled sessions. The full session fee will be automatically charged for missed sessions without such notification. Reasonable attempts shall be made to reschedule appointments, if given with 48-hour, or greater, notice.
Confidentiality of E- mail, Voice mail and Fax Communication: E-mail, voice mail, and fax communication can be easily accessed by unauthorized people, compromising the privacy and confidentiality of such communication. I do use Hushmail dedicated email, a service which promises secure, HIPAA compliant and encrypted email. Please note that psychiatric emergencies, schedule changes, administrative matters, consultative services, and other matters are not discussed via email or faxes due to confidentiality and to protect your privacy. You are encourage to call and leave a voice mail message as I typically respond quicker to phone messages. This safeguard serves as best practices for the dissemination of confidential communication and electronic transmission.
Late to an Appointment: If you are running late for your appointment, please call me as soon as you can to let me know you will be late. If I do not hear from you by 10 minutes into your session, periodically, and at my discretion, I will call to check on you and may assume you do not plan to attend your session. If you are late for your session, I will still end at our regular time so that I have time to prepare for my next appointments and I can be on time for them.
Balances: I do not permit clients to carry a balance of more than two sessions and if you are unable to pay this balance, I will discuss whether it makes sense to temporarily end future session and/or or develop another strategy so that you can avoid incurring additional debt. Please let me know if any problem arises during the course of therapy regarding your ability to make timely payments.
What is your Social Media Policy?: You can see my social media policy here.
After Hours Sessions: Some clients request sessions outside of my regular therapy hours (after hours or on a weekend). I am rarely able to accommodate such a request as I typically work with you on developing an individual emergency plan and using possible strategies during these times. Please note that I add a $100 fee to weekend or after-hour meetings.