At our first meeting, you can expect that we will focus on what brings you to therapy, and to get acquainted. It is helpful for me to understand what is happening for you, what you feel stands in your way of accomplishing what you want, and your hopes and expectations for therapy. It will also be helpful for me to get to know you a little. Additionally, this is a time for you to ask me any questions you have about me, so that you can feel comfortable in our work together.
Should I bring anything special with me to my first appointment?
Prior to us meeting, you will need to complete the Intake Form and sign the Office Practice Form. These forms are available to download on our Therapy page if you want to bring them with you, or I can give them to you when you arrive to complete before we start our meeting. The typical amount of time needed to complete these forms is about 5 minutes.
If you are using insurance, you will need to bring your insurance card with you.
What if I am scared of you, or scared of therapy?
Most people are scared to begin therapy. We all have complex feelings around seeking help, and complicated emotions about making changes. Therapy is also a unique kind of relationship where you are asked to give personal and private information, and discover new aspects of yourself-all with someone whom you don't know very well. If you are scared or worried about meeting me, use our initial phone call to get a sense of who I am as I respond to your questions. Remember that you are the one in charge of your therapy, including what you decide you are ready to share and the pace at which you feel comfortable working. Although no one can make you feel totally safe as you enter therapy, you have a right to feel reasonably confident that I will treat you with respect, be open to listening to you, want the best for you, and have those rather undefined, human, qualities you are looking for. If you decide you want to work with me and continue to feel scared of me and therapy, I want to know that to help you find additional ways to feel more comfortable.
Do you take my insurance?
Insurance coverage is actually between you and what you have purchased for your insurance plan. My role is to help you use the insurance coverage you have purchased, and I do that in two ways. The first way I am of assistance to you is by being an “in-network” provider with most insurance companies. The second way I am of help to you is by filing your insurance claim for you and using the technology to do that so that your claim is processed as quickly as possible.
Are you an in-network provider of my insurance, and what if you are not?
I am an in-network provider of most major insurance companies. The best way for you to be assured that I am an in=network provider of your plan is to call and verify this with your plan. If I am not in-network with your plan, we can still file insurance and except for a very small percentage of plans, you will have coverage under your plan. Sometimes, the difference between utilizing in-network providers and those that are not in-network is very small.
What are the benefits to me that you are an "in-network" provider?
To be an in-network provider my credentials are scrutinized by a panel for the insurance companies to determine that my qualifications as a psychologist and therapist are at least at the standard for this industry. You are, therefore, guaranteed that I have undergone that scrutiny. Additionally, as an in-network provider, you get the most benefit your plan allows regarding deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.
What are the limitations of using my insurance?
When we use insurance we are both agreeing to all of the stipulations of the insurance company, including, but not limited to: how often we can meet, under what circumstances we can met, the amount of time we can meet for a standard session, and who can be included in our sessions. Additionally, insurance can only be used if you have a diagnosis. Like the diagnosis you receive at your doctor's office, any mental or behavioral health diagnosis is relayed to your insurance company on forms related to policy payment.
What should I ask my insurance company?
Ask them if you have a deductible for behavioral, or mental, health benefits. Sometimes this is a different deductible than that which is used for your medical benefits. Ask them what your co-pay is, and if you have co-insurance.
But I pay a co-pay. Do I have to pay both a co-pay and co-insurance?
If your policy demands co-insurance, you will most likely have both a co-pay and co-insurance. More and more policies are evoking co-insurance as a way to reduce their costs, without raising co-pays. The policy you purchased determines if you have a co-pay, a deductible, and/or co-insurance.
What is co-insurance?
Co-insurance may apply in your policy. If so, co-insurance is the percentage you pay for some services. As such, it is a cost to you, paid to me at the time of our session. Whether or not you have co-insurance and what amount the co-insurance is, is determined by the insurance policy which you purchased. Rather than being a set dollar amount per visit, co-insurance is a percentage of the sessions contracted rate.
If I have a deductible, how is that paid?
Deductibles for therapy work like deductibles for medical insurance or your car insurance. The amount of deductible your policy demands is paid by you for services rendered, before your policy begins to assume some of the cost. That means that you will pay me directly for the sessions until your deductible is met. You will pay me at the rate in which your insurance policy contracts with psychologists. For example, if you have a $500 deductible, when we met you are responsible for the amount your insurance company contracts with psychologists for that session. As we continue to meet, you will continue to pay for the sessions at the contracted rate until you have paid the deductible amount. After that time, your payment to me reduces to your copay, and any co-insurance that your policy demands.