What kind of therapy do you practice?
I use a goal-driven approach to therapy in which the patient collaborates with me to set the agenda and choose the solutions. Based on the concepts of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and positive psychology, I help patients to maximize their strengths while targeting thinking and behavior patterns that may be creating obstacles for them. CBT is very structured and, depending on the problems and goals, may involve homework or exercises that I ask patients to practice in between our sessions.
How do I know you are the right therapist for me?
There is no way to be sure at this point. I have done my best to provide as much information about my philosophy, specialties and experience on this website. I suggest you read through all of the information here before deciding to make an appointment. If you like what you see, then I might be the right therapist for you, but you will need to meet me and talk with me at least once before you can assess the match. I will be honest with you if, after our initial meeting, I don’t think I am suited to address your issues. It is crucial for your success in therapy to feel comfortable with your therapist and to know that your therapist shares your goals. I am not the right therapist for every person who contacts me, and I always strongly encourage open dialogue about this issue during the initial meeting. It can sometimes take up to 3-4 sessions before we can make a mutual decision about our ability to work together. I will support you if you decide not to commit to ongoing therapy with me and I will help you find another therapist who will be a better match.
How many sessions will it take before I see improvement?
Because CBT is goal-oriented, it can often be short term, with the meetings occurring weekly for several months. However, the number of sessions necessary to address your concerns and goals will vary depending on the complexity of the problem for which you are seeking help. After the first 3-4 sessions, I will make a treatment plan with you which will specifies a clear goal(s) and estimated number of sessions needed to address that goal.
How will we know when it is time to end therapy?
Once therapy is underway, we will frequently evaluate the progress and discuss whether we are moving toward goal achievement. When you feel you have met the goal, we may end treatment, or you may choose to work on a new goal. If we are not making progress, we may need to modify the treatment plan in some way, or I may refer you to another professional if I feel different approach is necessary.
Are you a participating provider in any health insurance plans?
I participate in Medicare. If you are a Medicare member, you will be responsible for only part of the fee for each office visit. You are advised to contact Medicare before making an appointment with me so that you can fully understand what charges you will be responsible for in your specific case. I do not participate in any other network and do not direct-bill any other insurer. Patients are expected to pay the fee at the time of each visit. If you have a health insurance plan that allows you to get reimbursed for visits to out-of-network mental health providers, I will provide you with a receipt for your payment which has all of the proper insurance codes printed on it. You may submit that to your insurer so that they can pay you directly for part of the costs. It is best to call your insurance company before making an appointment so that you can fully understand what the cost will be to you.
How can I be sure my therapy is confidential?
The law protects the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist. In most situations, I can only release information about your treatment to others if you give me your written and signed authorization. Before your initial appointment with me, you will be given documents which describe, in detail, the confidentiality and privacy laws surrounding psychotherapy, and the procedures that I have in place to ensure compliance with those laws. Also detailed there are the limits to confidentiality which include, for example, a requirement for me to contact others without patient authorization if a patient threatens to harm himself/herself, I learn of a situation where I a child is being abused or neglected or if a patient communicates an immediate threat of serious physical harm to an identifiable victim. Such situations are extremely rare in my practice, but if one arose during your treatment, I would make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action and I would limit my disclosure to only necessary information.
If I refer my son or daughter to you, can I talk to you about the therapy once it is underway?
If you refer an adult child to me, he or she is protected under the laws mentioned in my answer to the previous question. Therefore, I could not discuss any aspect of treatment with you unless your child wants me to. Your child can then sign an authorization to release information and/or invite you to participate in one of our sessions. I encourage my patients to periodically involve their family members in sessions, especially when they are key figures in the patient’s support system. If your child is an adolescent under 18 and becomes my patient, I will request that your child and you sign an agreement allowing me to share general information about progress and attendance in treatment. Privacy is important for the process of therapy to be effective, and adolescents can be particularly sensitive to that issue. I make every effort to preserve an adolescent’s privacy, while also keeping parents informed about the general plan and prognosis. Of course, as with adult patients, confidentiality rules to not apply when a situation is reported to me that leads me to believe the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else. In that case, I will notify you of my concern and any other notifications I am required to make.