Frequently Asked Questions

Is therapy for me?
Almost anyone could benefit from therapy, and the decision centers around both need and growth opportunity. Many people enter into psychotherapy because they are experiencing difficult and unwanted emotional and physical symptoms, often following difficult life events. Others choose to engage in psychotherapy for personal growth and/or to look at major life changes or decisions.

Is everything confidential?
As a psychologist I am both ethically and legally required to keep everything in confidence with several important exceptions that are described in the pamphlet that I provide to all new clients. The primary exceptions to confidentiality are as follows: the abuse of a minor or an elderly person; the intention to commit a crime (typically not a crime that has already occurred); the intent to seriously harm oneself or another person; a court order to release information; the right of an insurance provider to request information; you, as the client give me permission, in writing, to release confidential information.

My fees vary according to a number of circumstances. I don’t offer a traditional sliding scale, but provide a 20 percent discount for clients who pay entirely out-of-pocket. I accept most insurance that are designated as a PPO, POS or something comparable, and am a contracted Blue Cross provider. Insurance billing can be handled through my billing service or yourself. I allow clients to either pay at the time of service or will provide billing on a monthly basis. Each of these arrangements are clarified in the initial session.

How long is treatment?
This is a common, but very complex question. The best response is that it is highly individual. Some people seek very brief therapy to reduce symptoms or enter treatment with a specific goal and conclude once that has been accomplished, while others view it as an ongoing process to understand and resolve the issues underlying the presence of symptoms like depression and anxiety. Some view it as a long-term process to promote personal growth and choose to continue psychotherapy for several years.

Do you provide medications?
As a psychologist, I am not licensed to provide medications or advice regarding them. Some of my clients choose consider medications when their symptoms are overwhelming or impairing their overall life functioning, and sometimes elect to try this form of treatment. When that occurs we discuss the decision, including their hopes and fears. Since most symptoms improve, either over time or with psychotherapy, without medications, it is important to help them look at this choice. If you choose to take medications, or I believe it would be helpful, I typically will communicate with your primary care physician or refer you to a psychiatrist, depending upon the complexity of the particular circumstance.

Do I have to have symptoms?
Many people commence psychotherapy because they are experiencing emotional symptoms. However, it is just as common to come to therapy because you are facing a significant life event, or need to understand your thoughts and feelings better in order to make an important decision or to deal with an interpersonal challenge. Keep in mind that it is common for symptoms to diminish as therapy moves forward, but most people continue after that time. It is not unusual that the main focus of psychotherapy ends up being something other than what was initially identified as the primary symptom or issue.

How often do we meet?
It is important to meet at least on a weekly basis for the first couple of months, to allow us to establish a relationship and comfort. Sometimes clients are experiencing an acute crisis when they contact me, and it is valuable to meet more often until the situation is more stable. Many clients continue on a weekly basis and some eventually transition to twice a month. My practice history has shown that meeting less frequently than that isn’t usually productive.

Should I come in alone or with my partner if we’re having relationship problems?
If the primary purpose of coming to therapy is to deal with a relationship problem, then it would be ideal for your partner to join you at the outset. With that said, there are important exceptions: your partner may not be willing to come in; you may be experiencing distress or unhappiness that your partner doesn’t share; you may not be ready to begin couples therapy yet. One thing to keep in mind is that if you begin individual therapy and eventually want to do couples therapy your partner may not feel comfortable seeing your primary therapist for couples work. In that case, I can refer you to couples work and continue to work with you individually. 

Do I need a referral or authorization from my insurance company?
This is determined by your individual insurance plan for mental health coverage. Keep in mind that mental health coverage and policies may be different than those for physical health care, including co-pays, deductibles, allotted sessions per year, whether pre-authorization is required, etc. Refer to your policy or contact your provider either prior to meeting with me or after our first session. If authorization is required I may need to complete paperwork for your insurance provider.

(In the forms section of this website you will find a list of important questions you should clarify with your insurance carrier to fully understand your coverage).