Our first meeting is a consultation. It is an opportunity for us to talk about your needs and concerns. I may ask you some questions as your story unfolds… but there is no need for you to prepare in advance for our appointment. We will each gain an opportunity to experience what it is like to interact with one another. Sometimes, depending on the nature of a person’s history and concerns, it may be that one 50-minute session is not enough time for one or both of us to feel that we have an adequate understanding of what it would be like to work together. In such a case, it may be necessary to meet again before a consensus to move forward in regular psychotherapy can be reached. Additionally, should I feel that your concerns are such that another clinician or model of therapy would be better for you, I will make a recommendation about what I think would be most helpful to you and assist you with identifying possible referral sources.
The answer to this question depends on so many variables that it is almost impossible to give a meaningful answer. Some people have an idea of what they are seeking when they start therapy, but discover that what they thought going into the process is different than what they come to understand. Overall, however, the longer a person has been struggling with an issue or problem, the longer it may take for therapy to have an impact. Additionally, even when some relief of troubling symptoms has been achieved, lasting change may be best facilitated by taking a more open-ended view of the process and seeing what unfolds over time in the absence of a fixed expectation.
There is a paradox embedded in the therapy process. Although it may be best approached as an open-ended process, short of independent wealth, the financial commitment to therapy sometimes requires real-world trade-offs to sustain the process over the vissitutudes of an unfolding life. As important as it is to consider the financial commitment, it is equally important to consider what will happen if you don’t pursue the help you need. Investment in therapy is similar to an investment in education or training; it may open the door to a life that is more congruent with your authentic self that you might otherwise experience.
If we decide to work together, it will be important to meet at least once a week. This could be at the same time each week, but if that is not possible we can work out appointments on another schedule. Meeting less frequently than once a week makes it difficult to build a relationship that can sustain the mutual effort needed to address your concerns. Meeting more than once a week is especially effective in achieving a deeper level of understanding and change, when such a schedule is possible. Regardless of frequency during a week, consistency of appointments is important in terms of carving out a time in which we both commit to seeing what comes up between us and in your thoughts, feelings and reactions without assuming that we know exactly what that might turn out to be.
I am not a provider on any insurance panels, by choice. If your insurance provides out-of-network mental health benefits, then I would be considered an out-of-network provider. I do provide statements that show what you have paid directly to me; such statements contain all the information that is needed for you to file a claim with your insurance plan for reimbursement of out-of-network benefits, if you choose to do so.
Although some insurance plans will reimburse their insureds a percentage of out-of-pocket costs once a deductible has been met, every plan is different. If knowing what your level of reimbursement may be is important to you before you start therapy, you should check with your provider to find out what your out-of-network benefits are for psychotherapy.
Some people choose to forego filing for reimbursement from their insurance company for psychotherapy, even when they have out-of-network benefits. Because a psychiatric/mental health diagnosis is required for insurance reimbursement (even for out-of-network benefits), filing a claim with your insurance company means that diagnostic information becomes part of your permanent record with your insurer and could be shared with other insurance companies and/or your employer if your insurance is provided as an employee benefit.
At this time, I accept checks and cash. Payment at the time of services is expected for consultation sessions. If we begin regularly scheduled work together, payment is generally due at the time we meet, although I am also open to working out a different schedule for payments that is mutually agreeable. Regardless of payment frequency, I provide statements at the end of each month.