Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect during my first appointment?

Your initial appointment is a time of information gathering and goal setting. You can expect me to review your intake paperwork and ask many questions. I will want to know why you are seeking treatment at this time, how long the problem(s) has been bothering you, any symptoms you are experiencing, as well as background information about you and your family of origin. By the end of the assessment we will have a general direction for your therapy.

Can you prescribe medication?

No. Psychiatric medications can only be prescribed by an MD. However, I will do a thorough assessment and if I think medication may be helpful to you, I will go over your options for seeking medical care. I will also coordinate treatment with your physician if you give me permission to do so.

What if my child needs “testing”?

Parents are often told to have their child “tested” for ADHD or learning disabilities. Only Clinical Psychologists are trained to perform in-depth psychological testing. However, psychological testing is not necessarily needed to identify ADHD in a child. I can assess your child for ADHD by comparing reported behaviors to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s criteria for ADHD. This is done through clinical interviews and behavioral checklists filled out by parents and teachers. I do not assess for learning disorders.

How long does therapy take?

This depends on a number of factors, the most important being the severity of the problem and the motivation of the client to improve. In my experience, clients tend to fall into two categories. First are clients who come with a clearly defined and specific problem they want to solve. These clients generally work with me for 5 to 10 sessions and have a successful outcome. In the second category are clients with more complicated problems where change must occur on multiple fronts before a solution is reached. These clients tend to work in therapy for nine months to a year, and sometimes longer.

How often are the sessions?

I recommend weekly sessions to start. Once the problem is clearly defined and treatment goals are specified, some clients prefer to come every two weeks. Some clients prefer to start therapy with twice-weekly sessions. You will know what frequency is right for you once you begin the process.

Will insurance pay for my sessions?

I do not participate in any insurance panels, therefore I am considered an “out of network” provider.  Some insurance plans will cover out of network visits, but typically at a lower rate than if you use a provider who is contracted in their network.  However, it may also depend on whether or not treatment is deemed “medically necessary” by the insurer. For example, some plans do not cover marital counseling or treatment for ADHD. It is always wise to check with your insurance company before committing to treatment. Please keep reading to learn why I do not contract with insurance companies.

Why aren’t you in network with my insurance company?

Years ago I participated in insurance networks.  Ultimately, I made a personal and professional decision to opt out of the insurance system.  I believe my clients should be in charge of their therapy.  Insurance companies can place restrictions on care or discontinue coverage when they decide the medical necessity has been met.  That may not be when the client feels ready to discontinue the therapeutic relationship.  In an effort to reduce costs, insurance companies may provide treatment recommendations without direct contact with the client, as evidenced by the time it was recommended I consider drug testing and psychiatric hospitalization for a two year old! Insurance companies also determine what they believe to be a reasonable rate for reimbursement without regard to experience or expertise.  A newly licensed therapist is paid the same as a seasoned professional with advanced training.  To be successful within the Managed Care model, I would have to shorten my sessions and add 10 to 15 patients per week. I don’t want to practice that way. I limit my caseload to 25 or fewer clients each week. This way I can give each client the individualized care he or she deserves. I believe this level of care is worth the extra money it costs my clients to go “out-of-network”.