Commonly Asked Questions
What is counseling?
Counseling is a little bit different for each individual, and we will discuss what success will look like for you in our work together. We will meet either one or two times a week, depending on your needs, and discuss current difficulties in your life, your personal history as it relevant to your current issue, and we will discuss insights gained as we progress. Depending on your needs, the length of therapy can vary from short-term for a specific issue, or longer-term in order to tackle more persistent patterns or your desire for personal growth.
Another important part of counseling is confidentially. What we say and discuss in the room will stay between us. I will never judge or criticize your thoughts, feelings, or decisions. We will work together to create a safe space for you to express yourself fully knowing that what you say will not be discussed with others.
Why do people come to counseling?
There are a variety of reasons that people might seek counseling. There is sometimes a misconception that there has to be something “wrong” with you. On the contrary, one of the major benefits of counseling is self-exploration and a deeper understanding of your history and patterns so that you can lead a more fulfilling and happy life. As part of my strengths-based approach, I do not like to label people with disorders, but rather focus on building their skills and give them new tools with which they can handle their current struggles. Common reasons someone might seek therapy include: feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, unemployment, changes in relationship status, feelings of depression or sadness, and wanting to feel more fulfilled personally or professionally. In short, people who seek counseling are interested in making changes in their lives and meeting their personal and professional goals.
I can generally handle my problems on my own, how can counseling help me?
Everyone goes through challenging situations at some point in their lives, and while you have successfully handled many situations in your life thus far, there is nothing wrong with reaching out for a bit of support and help. On the contrary, seeking support through counseling is a sign of strength and something to be admired because it means that you had the awareness and courage to ask for help. By seeking counseling, you are making a commitment to yourself to change a harmful situation, and taking an active role in achieving happiness. Counseling is about helping you build more resources and coping skills, and provides long-lasting benefits and gives you new tools and ways of thinking.
What is a typical session like?
A typical session is 50 minutes in length but the content will vary depending on you. We might talk about how you are feeling and what you have been thinking about. We might explore past experiences to help us shed light on your current struggles or focus more on the present situation depending on your needs. I will ask you some questions and help you make new connections and achieve lasting changes that will increase your feelings of happiness and satisfaction in your life. If you have more specific questions, please feel free to call or email me and I would be happy to answer them!
There are a number of benefits that can be attained by participating in counseling. Some of these might include
- Deeper understanding of yourself, and increased feelings of self-esteem and self-worth
- Better understanding your values, goals and how to achieve them
- Expanding and developing your tool kit of skills to improve your relationships and communication
- Learning new ways to cope with stress
- Managing emotional pressures such as grief, anxiety and depression
Why don't I directly participate with most insurance companies?
- Confidentiality -an insurance company can require the submission of sensitive treatment information from in-network providers, and I have no assurance that this information will be protected with the utmost of confidentiality once it is received by that company. By working out-of-network, I can better protect your privacy.
- Treatment Management -an insurance company has the option of restricting treatment due to directives that may not match the client's needs. Examples would include the length of treatment or the type of treatment used. By taking the insurance company out as the middleman, I am able to work with you collaboratively in setting the direction of your treatment.
- Time - Because psychologists are unlike doctors in that they see only one patient per clinical hour (e.g. a 45 minute session), and the visits are one-on-one, those who choose to work as in-network providers with multiple companies must cram their schedules with large patient loads in order to compensate for the low provider reimbursement rates which are part of being an in-network participating provider. In order to provide my clients with the best care, I believe that it is clinically and ethically important to be thoroughly prepared and "fresh" for each client that I see and not rushing from one person to the next. This allows me to offer the highest-quality services possible. I can also save the time that would be used for insurance company calls and paperwork and instead devote it to client care.
More information on my rates and insurance participation is offered below.
Payment Information for Individual Psychotherapy
Out-of-Network (self-pay): My standard fee is $150 for a 50-minute session, which is payable by credit card, cash or check. In addition, I have a sliding fee scale for clients who qualify. This sliding scale is based on household income, number of persons in the household, and supplemental income. I maintain several sliding scale time slots on my schedule per week. My ability to offer a sliding scale to potential clients is based on meeting the above factors, as well as availability in the schedule. Please contact me for more information if you are interested in exploring whether you qualify for the sliding scale.
Carefirst Blue Cross: I participate Blue Cross Blue Shield’s PPO program, often called Blue Preferred plans. I am in-network with carefirst and other affiliated Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plans. This includes Federal and some out-of-area BCBS PPOs. It does NOT include POS or HMO plans. Please check directly with your plan to determine benefits and coverage (e.g. co-pay, pre-authorization, session limits).Please note: It is important to check directly with your Blue plan regarding my participation. Some Blue plans may have "carve outs" of mental health benefits to another independent company. In such instances, I may not participate with the company managing the mental health benefits for your Blue plan, effectively rendering me as a non-participating out-of-network provider. This may exist for specific plans within a Blue company, so it is important to check. Some Blue Cross plans outsource all of their mental health benefits to a company, Magellan, with whom I do NOT participate. Therefore, If you have one of these plans, I am considered an out-of-network provider. You can see me as a self-pay client (see above), and then submit your claims for reimbursement from your insurance company. This is contingent upon your out-of-network benefits. Please call 240-498-9282 for more information and scheduling.