What happens during the free 15-minute phone consultation?
The initial phone consult gives you an opportunity to ask questions and decide if you’d like to work with me. It also helps me get a sense of what you’re looking for. If we’re a good fit, then I will ask for basic information (name, phone number, email) to schedule our first session. You have the option to schedule online and fill out the new client forms electronically or we can schedule by email, phone or text and do the forms in the office 10 minutes prior to the appointment. My goal is to always make it as easy as possible to schedule or re-schedule appointments.
What happens in the first session?
I prepare for our first session by reviewing your answers to the initial paperwork you completed online. I will have questions to jumpstart the conversation, and we’ll get deeper into your story and your goals for our time together. At the same time, you’ll be getting a clearer sense of my style and recommendations, and whether you’d like to keep working with me or you’d like to explore some other alternatives. If needed, I may refer you for a more extended neuropsychological evaluation before we start our work together. I rely a lot on evaluation and assessment results because I don’t want to waste your time or money and I want you to see some significant progress the fastest way possible. Counseling without test data could be like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, which is not my favorite way to practice.
How often will we meet?
After our first session together, I can give you my recommendations, but ultimately, you’ll decide how often we will meet and for how long. Committing to the process and prioritizing a specific time (weekly or monthly) is what makes a difference. Occasionally, people attend therapy more often. Others may reduce frequency once things improve. In addition, we offer shorter, booster sessions (30 min) or longer sessions (90 minutes). The longer sessions are an option for those looking to get a jump start or if there’s a need for more intensive work for a set period of time. Extended sessions can be helpful for busy clients or couples who have trouble coming in weekly or who need intensive work.
How long will counseling take?
There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to this. It entirely depends on what brought you to seek help, your goals, and your effort to practice what you’re working on in your daily life. I generally recommend 6 sessions before you can see some sizable progress. Some clients come for a few months until they get back on track. This is considered shorter term counseling or coaching. Some clients use therapy for a period of time, take a break, and return when they are ready or need to do more work. Some may benefit from longer-term counseling. They may have long-standing issues, difficult childhood or recent experiences, on-going stressors in their career, relationships, health, recovery, or families, or multiple issues that require a lengthier counseling process.
I’ve been to therapy before, but it didn’t work. What makes you different from other therapists I’ve been to?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Many things will impact progress in therapy but two important ones are the fit between the client and the therapist and the client’s readiness to work and change. My style is not for everyone either. I’m very much solution-focused. I use a direct style of communication, honesty, and humor. I’m a big believer in psychoeducation as I think the correct knowledge gives people better options, so I will encourage reading articles and books and taking courses in between sessions. I don’t foster dependence. I want to give you the tools to become your own therapist. This applies, even more, when it comes to your children. Although I may do a few sessions with the children alone or partial sessions, I spend the bulk of the time working with the parents to give them the tools to help their children at home.
Practitioners on both sides have many definitions and opinions on this. The truth is that a licensed therapist completes a master or doctoral graduate school and needs to pass a tough license exam and state board qualifications to earn a license in a particular state. On the other hand, anyone can become a coach after taking a few online classes.
From a more practical perspective, therapy includes assessment and evaluations, formal diagnosis, and a course of treatment that’s evidence-based (that pretty much means there’s research to back it up and you are not winging it to see if it works). Coaching does not include any clinical terminology or clinical work; it’s primarily focused on setting goals and becoming a support system and an accountability partner for the client.
I do a limited amount of coaching for executive leaders, managers, and their organizations because that does not require a clinical diagnosis or treatment plan. That work is founded on my 15 years of corporate world experience.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Yes. We ask for a minimum of 24-hour notice if you need to cancel a session. A cancellation fee will be charged to the credit card on file if you fail to attend a scheduled session or give less than 24-hour notice of cancellation.
Can someone else pay for my therapy?
Sure, but if you’re age 18 or older, we’ll need to get their written authorization to charge their credit card and their signed acknowledgment of understanding that they will not have written or verbal access to any of the content of your therapy without your written consent.
How much does therapy with you cost?
- Full Session (50 min, individual, couples, or family) $125
- Booster Session (30 min) $70 Extended Session (90 min) $225
We accept cash, checks, and all major credits cards. We do not accept insurance, but certain types of sessions (ADHD, anxiety) could be eligible for reimbursement by your insurance company as an out of network provider. Full payment is due at the time of service and you can also pay it through our secure online portal. Due to legal and ethical requirements, clients are not allowed to carry account balances as doing so can muddy the waters of clinical work.
Do you take insurance?
No, we don’t accept insurance. The reason could turn into a very long answer, but the short answer is that I am in the field of psychology to take care of people and offer the best mental health care options for you, not the insurance companies.
Insurance companies’ regulations often interfere with my ability to do this. Their goal is to protect their bottom line and not to find you the best-customized care. Filling out paperwork and trying to keep up with all the bureaucratic rules take too much time and energy that I would rather spend looking for the best resources for you and your family.
I would rather work directly for you than any insurance company or bureaucrat. You can rest assured that the choices I make for you about your care are not influenced by your insurance company or any other organization that could gain from you not getting what you need. I will be able to respond to your needs, not the demands of the insurance companies. Your care can never be rationed if you are paying for it yourself.
In addition, insurance companies often require a diagnosis in order to pay for services, even if a diagnosis is not necessary or appropriate. Furthermore, when using insurance, any diagnosis given will become a part of your medical record. While that might not be such a big deal right now, it may become one later on if you want to get life insurance, work in the financial sector managing other’s assets, regularly handle firearms, or seek employment in any field in which your decision-making might be questioned due to your emotional state. I strongly feel that people should get the help they need without fear or shame for making their mental health and personal growth a priority.
Do you provide a statement that I could use my out-of-network coverage for?
Absolutely! Indeed, your insurance plan may have out-of-network (OON) coverage. Here’s how that would work: you pay us directly and we provide you with a monthly statement of services (called a superbill). Then, you submit (e-mail, fax, or snail mail) it to your insurance company if you decide to seek reimbursement through your insurance company’s out-of-network coverage. Your insurance company will process the superbill and will either apply the amount you’ve paid to chip away at your deductible or reimburse you a percentage if you’ve already met the deductible. We don’t guarantee that you’ll receive reimbursement (or how much reimbursement) from your insurance company, but it’s definitely worth trying.