I'm not sure if therapy is right for me (us). What do I do?
Call me with your questions! I will give you my best assessment as to whether or not therapy would be beneficial. It is always up to you to decide whether to continue to make an initial appointment. If you do, I will try to find the best fit between you and a therapist with whom you would work well.
How do I begin? What happens in therapy?
You begin with an initial appointment. The first few sessions will involve evaluating your needs and developing some goals and a plan for achieving them. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue , or longer term, addressing more complex issues or whed deeper fundamental change is desired.
For children and teenagers, I belieeve it is also essential to include parents in their treatment. Typically, we establish regularly scheduled family sessions in addition to individual sessions for the child or teenager. Sessions last 50-55 minutes, typically, although sometimes an initial session is scheduled for longer.
What about medication? Do you provide it?
I do not prescribe medication, A psychiatrist or family doctor would do that. We are comfortable working with people on medication and will refer patients for medication when necessary. However, medicine is NOT a substitute for therapy! I believe that medication can provide an extremely useful tool to assist with the work of psychotherapy.
What is your approach to therapy?
Successful therapy..."real" therapy...can be an intensely emotional and personal process. While it is different for every person, the basis for a successful treatment is the relationship between therapist and patient(s). First and foremost, you and/or your children must feel comfortable with your therapist. It is within the context of this therapeutic relationship that the work is done. There may be times when you feel hurt, angry, frustrated or misunderstood and it is important that the relationship be strong enough to openly discuss and resolve such feelings. Trust is a key factor, as well. You and your therapist need to be able to trust one another to be honest and open.
How do you work with children? Do you work with ADHD issues? What about testing?
Depending on the age of the child, we typically combine play therapy with talk therapy. Parents are always involved. Sometimes "homework" is given. Resolving issues with kids is often an ongoing and changing process. We keep trying until we find a solution that works!
ADHD can be a frustrating and ifficult set of behaviors to address. I am experienced and comfortable both in evaluating youngsters for ADHD (psychological testing) and treatment them. I work closely with pediatricians and medical personnel when medication is utilized, as well.
What about psychological testing? Does insurance pay for it?
Psychological testing is often helpful when there are school and/or behavioral issues. We can also test for giftedness. Typically, we only provide full testing for children between 6 and 16 years old. Some testing for older teens and adults is also available. Sometimes, insurance pays for some of the testing. Please call if you have specific questions or concerns.
Do you accept insurance?
We do accept many insurance plans. However, differerent therapists can accept different plans. It is your responsibility to check with your insurance carrier to find out if I am in-network or out-of-network for your particular carrier, and what your mental health benefits will cover.
As a network provider, we have agreed to acept the fee scale offered by your insurance company, which is at a discounted rate. However, deductibles and co-pays do apply and they are your financial responsibility. Payment is typically expected at the time of service.
If I am not a provider for your insurance, do NOT let that stop you from contacting me! We set aside appointment slots for reduced-fee patients. PLEASE don't let money issues prevent your from seeking the hep that you need and want!
Currently, we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Blue Cross Complete, Aetna, Cofinity, Value Options, HAP, Magellan, Medicare and some others.
As with most therapists, we do bill for missed sessions or sessions cancelled in less than 24 hours that cannot be rescheduled. The reason for this is pretty simple. When you make an appointment with us, you have exclusive access to that time slot. No one else can use it. Physicians or other professionals do not work this way. For example, a physician may have a full waiting room and several exam rooms. If someone is late or doesn'tt show, they just move on to the next patient, Attorneys have many "billable" actions they can perform while waiting for a client. Psychologists can't do that.
Of course, we do understand that emergencies do happy and that people (especially children) do get sick! If you must cancel with less than 24 hours notice, we will try to reschedule your appointment within a couple of days. If we can't find a mutually agreeable time, you will be billed for the missed session. Please note that insurance companies do not pay for missed sessions and if you utilize your insurance you will receive a full-fee bill for a missed appointment.
In general, the law protects the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist. No information is disclosed without written permission from the patient or guardian. However, there are some exceptions required by law. These situations are unusual in my practice, however. They include:
1. Suspected child abuse or neglect mus be reported to the appropriate authorities.
2. Suspected "elder abuse" or "criminal abuse" of an adult patient must be reported to the appropriate authorities.
3. If a patient is threating physical violence toward another person, police must be notified, as well as possibly the intended victim to take protective action, or it the intended victim is a minor, his or her parents.
In recognition of the fact that privacy in therapy is particularly important to teenagers, for minor children over the age of 14, it is usually our practice to request permission to share general information about therapy with parents, as patients over the age of 14 can consent to and control access to informaiton about their own treatment. This had never been an issues, however, as parents are always included in thier child's treatment. Exceptions are that if we feel that the child is in danger, or is a danger to someone else, we will notify the parents of our concerns.