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Common Questions

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 an out-of-network provider for all insurance plans.  This means that I do not file a claim against your insurance, but you can file on your own behalf.  I can help you navigate through this process.  It is actually very easy.  The field of mental health is more and more going towards this model for good reason.  Here are several reasons I do not participate as an in-network provider. When your insurance pays out towards your care they have access to personal information regarding your treatment.  These may include, but are not limited to, your current symptoms, issues you are discussing, my subjective diagnosis of your case, your prognosis, and any other information that they may need to evaluate your case. It takes a great deal of time for me to communicate with your insurance provider.  Authorization is the process by which the company approves your ongoing care from any practitioner.  While physical health is a bit more easily determined, mental health benefits are up to the discretion of the case manager who reviews your information at the insurance company. In order to provide services to those in need many practitioners over diagnose a patient in order to provide, from the best motive, the care the practitioner believes is best. When the insurance company is eliminated I get to devote more time to your case rather than waiting on the phone for an hour to authorize your visits, your diagnosis is kept confidential for only you and for me, and I do not have to hire an additional staff person which would escalate my rates. Your insurance company is more interested in keeping you happy than keeping me happy.  Therefore the process of getting paid is completely different.  Given this situation it is not in my best interest to participate in this way.  However, I want you to get benefit from your insurance.

I will provide you a super bill which can be forwarded to your carrier with an additional form for processing.  You will then receive a check for the portion of my fee that is paid by your plan.  This amount will vary from around 40% up to 70% depending on your specific plan.  Any additional information to your carrier will be by your authorization only.  Just contact me for any assistance with this process.

Instructions for Submitting an Out-of-Network Claim

Call the customer service number for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Claims (NOT Medical Claims) and get information on where to send the information for processing and what they need to be included with the fee receipt we provided for you.  Generally you will have to give them your member number and group number.  Clarify what they need so that it does not delay the processing of your claim.  Any questions can be cleared up at this step.  This is a very common procedure for the insurance company and will be easy once you know where and how to send this in to your carrier.

Note that if you do not route your claim correctly through the Mental Health and Substance Abuse channel then you will have to correct this to get your claim covered.

I have provided everything on the fee receipt that is required of our office.  Most insurance companies have already dealt with my office and have it on file.  If a company does not have us on file then I can provide any additional information to them to expedite the processing of your claim.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you need my assistance.

If clinical information is to be shared with your insurance provider, outside of the fee receipt, I will ask for a release of information from you.  Please alert me to fill out a release of information form so that this can be on file should there be future questions.

Many of my patients use this coverage to pay for a portion of their therapy costs and it is my experience that these claims are paid quickly and as appropriately billed given your condition and the procedures performed.

If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

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. We will discuss this more during our first session.

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.