Psychotherapy means taking care of the psyche; healing the human mind and spirit. Most people will benefit from therapy. Whether it is to get support through a breakup, life transition, finding identity, depression, anxiety, or traumatic stress, a therapist may help. They can bring a fresh perspective and a non-judgmental stance that you may not get from family/friends. It is totally confidential (there are some limits to this which your therapist will review). A therapist can help you to learn new coping skills to face life’s challenges. Together you will explore patterns of behavior that you are unable to see and prevent you from living the life you long for.
Talking to a therapist takes courage. You may feel worried about being judged or criticized. This should not happen in therapy. If this is your first time in therapy, here are a few tips for what therapy is NOT:
A place to vent and blame others
Your therapist being mysterious or “tricky” in their analysis
Your therapist fixing your problems or telling you what to do
As of August 1, 2021: My session rate is $140/hour or $175/80 minute session. EMDR sessions are $175 and sessions last between 60-90 minutes. I accept cash, check, HSA/FSA, credit cards. Every client I work with deserves to have the best from me. This means I work with a limited number of clients. It is essential that I stay balanced so I can offer my best professional self and have time for regular training to refine my skills.
I am in network with Aetna and United Healthcare. **Please be aware of the risks associated with using your insurance for payment of psychotherapy services. It is a medical model which is pathologizing and requires a psychiatric diagnosis. There are many limitations placed by insurance companies and it is often a disruption to services. For all other insurance providers, I am an out of network provider. I will gladly provide you with the paperwork (superbill) to submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. Questions to ask your insurance carrier about out-of-network benefits:
- Do I have out of network mental health benefits?
- What is my out of network deductible and has it been met?
- What is the coverage amount per session?
- How many sessions are covered per calendar year?
Yes. If you choose to use your insurance to pay for therapy services, your therapist will need to make a psychiatric diagnosis. The insurance company will need to know specifics about your treatment plan and goals for therapy. Insurance companies set limits on your treatment, such as session length and modalities used. Your therapist has to prove “medical necessity” to the insurance company who may or may not decide to cover the service. Soon enough, insurance companies are dictating your care versus the collaboration between you and your therapist. Confidentiality is lost. Unfortunately, your therapist will then work for the insurance company. Many of the clients I work with do not have a qualifying “mental disorder” thus insurance will not pay for services.
“Using medical insurance requires that you define your problem in terms of mental illness. But much of what people bring to therapy is about natural human suffering and growth, not about mental illness” (Kaiser, 2009). Using insurance can be very limiting and treatment may be disrupted if the insurance coverage changes/ends.
I will begin an assessment on your presenting concerns which is based on the information you give. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the therapy process, logistics, or my education/training and background. It is vital that you feel comfortable with the approaches that I use. There should be no mystery in the approach any therapist uses. There are many styles and it is not your job to know them all but do be informed. Knowledge is power! Here is a brief article on what to expect.
The first session is about understanding the reasons you are seeking therapy. The first couple of sessions are about treatment planning and identifying your goals which is a joint effort. You and I will work together to come up with a treatment plan that is individualized to your hopes and to address the issues you are most concerned about.
Many people find relief after a few sessions. The length of time in therapy varies based on individual preferences, needs, and complexity of your concerns/symptoms. Some clients seek short term therapy and for others it is a long-term endeavor. This is up to you. Often times, people enter in therapy at different periods of their lives, thus having multiple therapeutic encounters.
Remember, it takes time to build trust both with yourself and your therapist. You should not be expected to trust your therapist entirely right away. Therapy should go at a pace you are most comfortable. I generally work with clients for one year but we will talk about this in your plan of care. **Weekly sessions are recommended especially during the beginning phase.
Be open, curious, and courageous. The root word for courageous is COR which means TO SPEAK ONE’S MIND BY TELLING ALL ONE’S HEART. Of course you don’t have to do this at the first visit but eventually when you feel more at ease you will want to share more about yourself. The more you share, the more your therapist can help and understand.
It is important to have a general sense of what you would like to address in therapy. Remember, the therapist is not there to fix your problems, but to be a guide to help YOU to find resolution and peace within yourself. It is helpful to give a well-rounded overview of the following: current symptoms, length of time presenting concerns, medications, medical/health concerns, family of origin history, birth history, current support system, and past therapy experience (what did/did not work).
It is a normal worry to have. Therapy will go at a pace which is manageable to you. My role is to be alongside you, as a guide. I am never forceful in my approach, though I will encourage you to examine the thoughts, feelings, and blocks which hinder you from looking at the deeper issues. A big part of therapy is building resiliency to be able to better handle stress and emotional discomfort. The more resilient and empowered you feel, the easier it will be to step into vulnerability and face the more painful parts of life.