What happens during the consultation?
During the consultation we will discuss the issues your are facing and what your needs are, along with how I can help you. It's very important that you feel comfortable and secure in order to open up and be honest.
What can I expect on the first session?
Prior to the first session you will complete all the Initial Session paperwork. I usually take extra time for the first session so that we can calmly go through the paperwork and your issues. It can be a little overwhelming to start counseling and I want to make it as easy and comfortable for you as possible. We will discuss the session length details when we schedule the first session.
During the first session we will discuss all the policies and procedures that are critical to the therapeutic process and I will answer all your questions. The therapeutic relationship doesn’t begin until you are fully comfortable and we complete the full intake process.
Then we will discuss in-depth your current issues and concerns that brought you to therapy. We will also discuss your personal history and all information that is pertinent to therapy. Don’t worry that you have to cover every single little thing in the first session; therapy is a process that takes time.
It often takes a few sessions for me to gather all the information in order to complete a full assessment and create your treatment plan. You will share your goals and desires for the outcome of therapy and then I will create a personalized, custom integrative treatment plan.
What are some of the benefits available from therapy?
- Improve your own sense of wellbeing and mental health
- Improving your interpersonal relationships
- Learn how to manage chronic pain, chronic illness, cancer or other life changing diagnosis
- Learn how to better cope with stress and anxiety
- Learn how and when to set appropriate boundaries
- Improve and reduce the symptoms of anger, grief or loss, and other emotional pressures
- Adjust to life changes due to health and medical problems
- Improving symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Learn better communication and listening skills
- Address and change maladaptive behavior patterns
- Examine alternative ways to address your current issues
- Overcome problems that are common for women
- Address trauma and PTSD in a helpful manner
- Increase your self-esteem and self-confidence
How long do the therapeutic process take?
You are in charge of the length of therapy based on your specific needs, unique circumstances and goals you want to achieve. The reality is that most people don’t set a time frame for results, but rather come to therapy as long as needed in order to address whatever issues they want to work on. Each person works at their own pace and it’s best not to rush the process.
Some people have a simple issue they are looking to get help with and therefore it can be addressed within 3-6 months. Again, there is no reason to rush the therapeutic process, but rather let it lead you based on your needs. Most commonly, people have complicated or chronic issues and it takes a while to work through them; often this may take a year or more.
In order to achieve the best results, it is recommended to schedule at least one regular, weekly session. It usually takes at least 12 sessions to make any lasting difference. There are some situations that may require more frequent sessions. It is also common toward the end of therapy to reduce the frequency rather than stop abruptly.
I also offer concierge services for complicated, on-going (chronic) or crisis situations, which may include increased length or frequency of sessions.
Will you be telling me what do? (I don't want someone telling me what to do?)
The answer is simple; no, I do not tell you what to do. I find what works best is to help you figure out the various options that are available to you in any particular situation and then together, we discuss the pros and cons (in depth) of each alternative and you ultimately decide the best course of action that will work for your personal and unique situation.
As a therapist I can help you distinguish certain things because I’m not influenced or emotionally tied to others in your life, my goal is what is best for you. You are the best authority on your life and are always in control.
This allows you the freedom to live your life the way you want and also grow your skill set in determining the best options. Not everything will turn out the way you would like it, unfortunately that’s just a part of life for everyone. However, when you know that you made the best decision with the information you had at the time (not hindsight), you will feel secure in moving forward regardless of how it turns out. You will build confidence to be able to adjust to any life circumstances that occur in the future.
What about medication vs. therapy?
Some cases require medication and by working in an integrative manner with your medical doctor or psychiatrist, you can achieve the best possible results. Therapy can address the cause of your distress and the behavior patterns that may delay your progress.
For those who have chronic pain or illness, it’s also common that medications themselves may cause mental and emotional side effects; therefore an integrative approach can help you achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being.
Will you work with my other doctors, school counselors, or other professionals?
Yes, absolutely. So just a few notes about integrating therapeutic services with other health professionals:
1) All therapy is confidential therefore in order to speak with other specialists there is a release form that you will sign which will allow me to discuss and work with whomever you designate. I will never contact or discuss your confidential information without your express, written authorization.
2) It can be very beneficial to integrate other specialists with your therapy. It allows me to work with your other care providers on a professional level and work to provide you with the best possible care in an integrated manner.
3) Examples of specialists which are helpful to integrate are: school psychologists, psychiatrists (especially if you are on medication), doctors, oncologists, social workers, or any specialist who has performed testing or assessment in which the information will help your therapy. If in doubt just discuss it during your session and we can determine if it will be helpful to integrate services.
Do I have to come into the office? Do you offer online sessions?
Sessions in the office are very common but with new technology, online sessions are also very effective. We all have times when work, health or other situations come up and you can’t come in to the office. Actually, very often if you are facing health challenges, especially chronic pain or illness, getting into a car, driving, etc. just isn’t possible, however that’s usually when you need counseling the most and online sessions are a great alternative.
Some people choose online therapy due to time saving and ease of access benefits. You can do online sessions from work, home or school. I offer office and online sessions, and you can choose what fits your best or ‘mix and match’ as necessary as long we agree in advance of the session.
If you are ever sick with the flu or contagious illness, my preference for the sake of your wellness, mine and other clients, is that you do your session online.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I am considered an out-of-network provider but will provide you a Super Bill in order for you to get reimbursement from your insurance company. You will pay for sessions and I will provide a Super Bill that has the proper codes and basic (minimal) information. You will then submit the Super Bill to your insurance to receive reimbursement for what you have paid, if you have out of network coverage. Check your health insurance coverage carefully and make sure you understand their policies and answers.
One thing to consider when using insurance is that they require information on your diagnosis, clinical notes and continued updates on your progress. Sometimes people decide that they want to protect their privacy and prefer not to provide a Super Bill to their insurance.
Is therapy confidential?
Confidentiality is an important aspect of therapy and is protected by law and ethics.
You will be provided a written copy of my Confidential Disclosure and Informed Consent agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. That means that anyone (even family) who calls or inquires about your treatment will not receive any information. Exceptions to confidentiality are only as State law permits, mandated requirement, court action or signed release of information.
Sometimes you may want to integrate and share information with someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Psychiatrist, Teacher / School Counselor), however by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. By signing a Release of Information you can decide exactly who and what is shared and disclosed.
State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm him or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.