What to Expect
Making that first phone call and starting therapy can be very scary. It is sometimes difficult to tell your story and talk with someone openly, especially if there are past hurts from others whom you trusted. Change can be scary as well. Knowing what to expect can help.
Calling for an Appointment
When you call to make an appointment, I will gather some basic information. I will typically schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you and mail you some paperwork to complete before the first session.
Information I will ask you when you call:
Your Date of Birth
The Reason You are Seeking Counseling
Your Insurance Information (if you would like to use your insurance)
The First Session
When you come to your first appointment, we will review your paperwork that I sent you and begin to talk in more detail about why you are coming in as well as more about your personal history. You will be asked a lot of questions about yourself. This helps me get to know you and for us to decide together if I can help you. At the end of this process, which can take between 1-3 sessions, we will typically make a treatment plan (an agreement about what you want to work on in therapy) and then begin to work toward your goals. On rare occasion, you may be referred for other services that better fit your needs.
Therapy sessions are usually weekly at first, between 45-60 minutes. However, depending on your needs, I may agree to meet with you more or less frequently. I do often give "homework", with your consent, designed to help you make progress toward your goals between sessions.
Things to bring to your first session include:
Your Insurance Card
Any Information You Think Would Be Helpful
For more information on what to expect, you can review my Consent for Treatment Form here:
Maintaining confidentiality is one of the most important factors in therapy services. You can be assured that I take your privacy and right to confidentiality seriously. Except for a few circumstances in which I am required by law and ethics to break confidentiality, I will not release any information about you without your written authorization. For more information regarding my privacy policies, you may review my HIPAA Policy here or my Consent for Treatment form that includes Client Rights information above:
Some people decide that they would rather not use their insurance to pay for sessions. Should you decide to choose to pay for sessions out-of-pocket, I can give you a receipt that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please call for current fee information.
I do participate with a limited number of insurance companies. I will submit claims on your behalf with those companies. As the client, however, it is your responsibility to pay any deductible, copay, or co-insurance as required by your insurance carrier. If I am out of network with your insurance company, I can typically still see you and provide therapy. I may also agree to bill your insurance for you. However, you may have a higher out-of-pocket expense. All payments, including copays and deductibles are due at the time of service unless prior arrangements have been made.
As a courtesy, I will, in most cases, obtain outpatient mental health benefits from your insurance carrier. I also request that you call and obtain this information as well. The information I obtain is an estimate and not a guaranteed payment amount. It is your responsibility to ensure that any required authorization for treatment is provided to me prior to your visit. If the required authorization is not obtained, you will be responsible for the cost of the visit. Specific coverage issues should be directed to your insurance company’s member services department.
Some questions that are helpful to ask your insurance company are:
Is my provider IN or OUT of network?
What is my deductible for IN and OUT of network & how much has been met this year?
Do I have a coinsurance or copayment for outpatient mental health visits?
Is there a maximum number of visits allowed per calendar year?
Does my plan require preauthorization for services?
Insurance companies I currently participate with include: Blue Cross and Blue Shield; HAP; Blue Cross Complete; Medicare Part B; PPO, POS, and Traditional Insurance Plans that are out of network for other insurances
I additionally offer scholarships for those who do not have insurance or who have insurance but their insurance does not pay for my services and who financially cannot pay for services. Proof of financial hardship is required, and I do not offer more than two scholarships at any one time.