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Common Questions


QUESTIONS ABOUT PAYMENT


Do you take insurance?

I am credentialed as an in-network provider with the following insurance plans:
-Aetna
-Blue Cross/Blue Shield
-Regence
-Premera
-TRICARE
-First Choice
-Uniform Medical Plan
-Group Health
-PHCS
-LifeWise
-MultiPlan
-Labor & Industry
-Medicare
-United Behavioral Health
-Pacific Behavioral Health

With insurance companies not listed, I may be able to see you as an out-of-network provider, or the insurance company may grant a single case agreement. To find out, you should call the customer service # listed on the back of your insurance card and ask about your mental health "out-of-network benefits." Generally, insurance companies that offer out-of-network benefits will reimburse anywhere from 50% to 100% percent depending on your plan and deductible. 

How does insurance work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

 

  • Do I have mental health benefits?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
  • How much does my plan cover for an in-network versus out-of-network provider?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?


Do you have a sliding scale?

Under some circumstances, such as financial hardship, I may be able to see a limited number of clients for less than my normal fee.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions or would like to discuss any of the above issues in greater detail.


TREATMENT QUESTIONS


Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.


What can I expect in a therapy session?

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. During therapy sessions it is standard to talk about the primary issues and concerns in your life. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions. Sessions last approximately 55 minutes. Sometimes individuals who are going through a particularly difficult challenge may request more time per session or more than one session per week. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. Between sessions it is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.


What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?

Therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life's challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. Many people find that working with a therapist can enhance personal development, improve relationships and family dynamics, and can ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen is helpful. Overall, people in therapy tend to have lower levels of anxiety and stress, decreased conflict, and improved quality of life.

Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Developing new skills for handling stress and anxiety
  • Modifying unhealthy behavior and long-standing patterns
  • Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior
  • Increasing confidence, peace, vitality, and well-being
  • Improving ways to manage anger, depression and moods
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems
  • Navigating life’s obstacles more effectively
  • Improving listening and communication skills
  • Enhancing the overall quality of life

 
Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety

 
What will my first appointment consist of?

Your first appointment will be a consultation visit lasting approximately 75 minutes. You and I will discuss the problems you are having. Together with your input I will propose a treatment plan at the end of the consultation.


How long are all subsequent sessions?

Each following session is approximately 55 minutes long. Most patients attend sessions on a weekly basis, but others opt to attend sessions twice a month. Briefer sessions are available (e.g. 30 minutes).

 
How long will I need to be in therapy?

Some people report benefiting from even a single session. However, most people attend a minimum of four to six sessions. Keep in mind that if you would like to change some life-long patterns, you may need several months or more of weekly psychotherapy to make headway. The length of your treatment depends on the issues that you need to address. After our first meeting, I will assess and offer a suggested length for your therapy. As you make progress you and I can discuss the option of maintenance sessions. These can be conducted monthly or even every other month and are designed to monitor the changes and continue the growth and progress you will have made.


Is what I share with my therapist confidential?

Your confidentiality is protected by state law and by the rules of my profession. All information concerning patients is held confidential and is released only through procedures consistent with the law and professional ethics. 


How will I know if I'm getting better?

After our first session together we will identify the goals that you would like to accomplish during therapy. We will continue to measure your progress by evaluating these goals. We may decide to add additional goals throughout the course of therapy if and when appropriate.


What if I think I need to be evaluated for medications or I am already prescribed medications?


I am licensed and trained to practice psychology, not medicine. However, I often consult with physicians who prescribe medications to provide you with a medication consultation and/or continued medication management. There are independent nurse practioners and psychiatrists at Bay Psychiatric I can consult with and to whom I can refer you if we together decided medication might be helpful.


I heard the cognitive-behavioral component to your approach emphasizes homework, can you describe what exactly homework is?

Therapy is not a process that takes place solely during our time together. It is important that you transition what you learn in therapy to your everyday life. Therefore, we will decide on "homework" assignments that you can work on between sessions. Homework consists of activities such as reading assignments, tracking your moods, thoughts, behaviors, changing the way you communicate with others and more.


Do you do psychological testing and other types of assessments?

At present I do not do extensive assessment batteries. However, I do psychological testing to gain insight into an individual's personality, but testing is not, at present, a major part of my practice. I work with other clinicians who specialize in neuropsychological assessments and other types of testing and I will gladly refer you to them if the need arises.


Who will answer my phone call or email message?


I will personally respond to all phone calls and emails within 24 hours.


Where can I go to learn more about psychotherapy?


Here is an overview of types of psychotherapy:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psychotherapy/home/ovc-20197188



Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions or would like to discuss any of the above issues in greater detail.

 


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