Is therapy right for me?
Seeking therapy is an individual choice and a courageous one at that! There are many reasons why someone would choose to begin therapy. Sometimes it is to focus on a long-standing issue, such as anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in life that are causing difficulties in daily functioning. Many people think therapy is “advice giving” when really it is a form of collaborative exploration where you learn techniques and tools to become your own therapist. Working with a psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy is designed to address any number of concerns ranging from depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, relationship difficulties, sexual functioning, work stress, psychosis, loss, and general life functioning. Therapy is right for anyone interested in learning about themselves, working hard, and making changes in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
Every therapy session is unique and tailored to each individual and their specific goals. During therapy it is common to talk about a specific concern in your life. Of note, psychologists do not provide medication as that is out of their scope of practice. Typically, sessions are conducted once per week and can last anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes depending on the type of treatment. This may continue for 8 to 16 weeks or longer when indicated. Sometimes it is necessary to attend sessions more frequently than once per week, but that is where the personalized treatment plan comes into play! Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There will often be times where you will have “homework” such as reading related material, tracking moods, recording thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, relaxation techniques, and even doing things that might make you anxious. Therapy out of the room is as good (if not better than) therapy in the room, because between sessions it is important to integrate what you learn and blend these new ways of thinking and acting into your daily life. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a psychologist?
Therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life's challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. Many people find that working with a psychologist can enhance personal development, improve relationships and family dynamics, and ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen impartially is helpful. Overall, people in therapy tend to have lower levels of anxiety and stress, decreased conflict, and improved quality of life.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Developing new skills for handling stress and anxiety
- Modifying unhealthy behavior and long-standing patterns
- Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior
- Increasing confidence, peace, vitality, and well-being
- Improving ways to manage anger, depression and moods
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Navigating life’s obstacles more effectively
- Improving listening and communication skills
- Enhancing the overall quality of life
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between you and your psychologist. Information is not disclosed without written permission from you. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The psychologist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The psychologist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The psychologist will make every effort to enlist the client’s cooperation in insuring their safety. If the client does not cooperate, further measures may be taken without permission in order to ensure safety.
Should confidentiality need to be broken, this is something that you and your psychologist would discuss prior to a report being made. Overall, confidentiality is designed to keep you and your records private, while keeping your safety a priority.
What about insurance?
I am currently considered an “out of network” provider. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot use your insurance or that services will not be reimbursed to you. I will help you file paperwork to have your insurance reimburse you directly, and often, insurances are willing to reimburse most of your cost. Because interventions are evidence-based and proven to effective in a timely manner, I hope to help you achieve your goals rapidly, allowing you to save time and money. Full payment for services is due at the beginning of each appointment.
If you need assistance concerning your coverage and benefits, please contact your insurance company. Some of the following questions might be useful to get answers:
- Does my plan cover outpatient mental health benefits?
- Do I need precertification or authorization prior to my first visit?
- Do I need a referral from my primary care physician to see a mental health professional?
- How much is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- What is my co-payment or the percentage co-pay for sessions?
- What is my deductible and has my deductible been met?
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
- Do I have an out-of-network option?
- How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider?
What is the benefit of an “out of network” provider?
Private pay allows for us to design a course of treatment tailored to you, not a one size fits all standard mandated by an insurance company. Many clients elect not to use insurance to pay for psychotherapy and prefer private pay. This is the only way to ensure absolute confidentiality between you and I, as no third party is required to be made aware of your decision to seek psychotherapy. This can be of great importance to high profile individuals such as active duty military, individuals working in sectors that require security clearances, or those in public office.
Another benefit to private pay is that your therapy will not be bound to a diagnosis or dictated in any way by a third party, affording you greater control and flexibility in how you structure the length and duration of your treatment sessions. Most insurance plans will only reimburse for a limited number of sessions or type of therapy based on the client's diagnosis.
For insurance to cover psychotherapy services, you are required to receive a diagnosis which is then permanently attached to your health care record even though a diagnosis may change over time. This not only gives the health insurance company access to a great deal of information about you that they can review at their discretion, but also could lead to difficulties with insurance later on such as denial for quality life or health insurance.
In addition to affording you the greatest degree of privacy in regard to your mental health record, private pay may be something you would do at first anyway as most insurance companies require you to meet a deductible as a prerequisite for reimbursement.
“It is possible to commit no errors and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life”
-Captain Jean-Luc Picard