Frequently Asked Questions
Taking the first step on your journey to healing can be a bit overwhelming and you’re likely to have LOTS of questions. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions (and included some I think are important).
The first session is used to go over any necessary paperwork to begin the therapy process. This includes reviewing and signing the necessary documents to begin therapy, including but not limited to: the Therapy Agreement, Policies and Consent, HIPAA, and any other documents we might need, like an Authorization to Release Information.
We’ll go over confidentiality and its limits and spend some time exploring what brings you to therapy. This first session is also used as an information-gathering session for me, so I can fully understand your history, so I'll be asking a lot of important questions, even though they might seem irrelevant to you. By asking these questions, this helps me get to know all the ins and outs of your life.
You’ll get the chance to ask any questions you have and together, we'll start brainstorming some goals for our time together.
Yes! To an extent. There are some limits to confidentiality, and they are as follows:
Under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) law, all sessions between therapist and client are confidential except in the following circumstances:
- If you pose a serious threat to yourself or others
- Suspected child, elder, or disabled adult abuse or neglect
- A court order, such as a subpoena from a judge
Additionally, from time to time our paths may cross out in the “real world”; in the event this happens, I won’t approach you or say “Hi”.
It isn’t to be rude, it’s simply to protect your confidentiality as a client. You are more than welcome to approach me, just please keep in mind that if you or I are with someone, they may question how we know one another and this may feel awkward for you or me.
My fees for sessions are outlined below. If you have any questions regarding these fees, we can discuss them during our first phone call.
Initial 90-minute intake sessions are $150.00.
Individual 50-minute sessions are $120.00.
Individual 90-minute sessions are $180.00.
Payment is due at the end of each session. Accepted payments include: cash, check, or credit card.
This is a wonderful question! Insurance is such a wonderful way for individuals to access therapy and other mental health services.
Having said that, I DO NOT take insurance, and I’ve decided this for several reasons.
- Using insurance may dictate how many therapy sessions are available to you, and how long they last; for example, your insurance may only cover 6 50-minute therapy sessions, which could impact your treatment, depending on your therapy goals.
- Additionally, it leaves little flexibility for you and the therapist if you want to pursue more sessions, or longer, intensive sessions, like a 90-minute EMDR session.
- In order for a therapist to be reimbursed for therapy sessions, they may also be required to submit a diagnosis to your insurance company, which will be recorded on your medical record.
- I find that many times a formal diagnosis isn’t entirely necessary for our work together (although there are times when it may be, I don’t rule anything out). And while not always, but sometimes, a mental health diagnosis on your medical record may negatively impact your future, perhaps with certain employment, custody arrangements, or even future insurance rates and coverage.
Having said ALL of that, I encourage individuals who want to use their insurance and are comfortable using their insurance to do exactly that. After all, it’s why you have insurance!
If you are wanting to use a therapist who takes your insurance, I recommend the following:
- Go to your insurance company first. They should be able to provide you a list of therapists, psychologists, etc. who accept your insurance. This may take a little longer to find a therapist who is a good fit, because you will have to individually research each one, although you can be almost positive they accept your insurance.
If you use Psychology Today, an online directory of therapists, many will include which insurances they accept and you can narrow your search by zip code, specialty, even which insurance!
Most therapy sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes in length.
Initial intake sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes to allow for enough time to go over the necessary paper needed to begin therapy, including but not limited to: Therapy Agreement, Policies and Consent and HIPAA. Other paperwork, such as an Authorization to Release Information may also be needed in the event you are working with a family or couples therapist, a psychiatrist, or would like to include anyone else as part of your treatment. Additionally, the initial session is used for a history gathering and allows you to discuss any questions or concerns you have with me.
It may also be determined throughout the course of therapy that a 90-minute session may be beneficial; these can be scheduled at your request or I may recommend them for sessions like EMDR.
Although emergencies happen and we can't predict when we'll get sick or our kids get sick, all sessions require 24 hours notice for a cancellation.
If 24 hours-notice is not given for a cancellation, a $75.00 cancellation fee is charged to the credit card on file.
That's entirely up to you! Some people choose to spend a longer time in therapy than others and some come back after ending therapy when they feel like they need a refresher on all they learned.
One thing is certain, though: practicing the new skills, behaviors, and ways of thinking that you learn OUTSIDE of the therapy session will help you achieve your goals more than any amount of time you spend in therapy.
I believe you can! It will require dedication and openness on your part to make changes, even when they feel hard or uncomfortable. I'll teach you the skills you'll need to make those changes and be with you throughout the process so you don’t have to go through it alone.
There may also be times when you’re so used to doing something a certain way, and people are so used to you acting and responding in a certain way, that it can feel a little scary to actually be feeling better and setting boundaries with others. I recommend you read my blog “When Others Won’t Let You Grow” for more information on that. It’s just the tip of the iceberg although it may answer some questions you have and provide some insight on why it can feel so hard to change.
I do use text message and Email, solely for the purpose of quick communication. I may send you a text message to remind you of an appointment, confirm I received an Email, provide referrals to other resources/therapists, or ask if it’s okay that I call you. I may also send Emails with similar information.
You’re welcome to send me a text message or an Email about the above information as well, but please do not substitute text messages and Email for an actual therapy session.
If I can’t get reach you via telephone and need to communicate important information about my practice (emergency closing, vacation, etc.) I may send an Email or a letter in the US mail (without identifying information) with such information.
If I sense the topic of a text message or Email may require further discussion over the phone or in person, I may say so in my reply or simply give you a call.
Although I do my best to protect your confidentiality, it cannot be guaranteed with text message and Email communication, which is why it’s best to keep the contents simple in nature.
I also may not be able to respond to text messages or Emails in a timely manner (such after 6 pm or on weekends), so if your message is about an emergency, I must request that you call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.