Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Expect When I Make the First Call?
You may experience various and mixed feelings as you encounter this very important step. The first call can sometimes be difficult, and you may feel some discomfort as you make the call. At this point it will be important to remember the reasons for which you are seeking help, weigh your options, and decide if the potential positive outcomes outweigh your temporary discomfort. You may experience various and mixed feelings as you encounter this very important step. The first call can sometimes be difficult, and you may feel some discomfort as you make the call. At this point it will be important to remember the reasons for which you are seeking help, weigh your options, and decide if the potential positive outcomes outweigh your temporary discomfort.
Due to the nature of my work, I am often not immediately available by telephone. You may leave a voicemail message for me at (617) 299-9615; please your name, phone number, best day and times to reach you, and your reason for calling. I check my messages regularly on business days and I will return your call as soon as possible except for weekends and holidays. You may Email me, but please keep in mind that Emails should not be used for communication of sensitive infomration and that Emails may not be secure and it is possible that the confidentiality of such communication may be reached by a third party.
During our first conversation, we will spend a few minutes talking, if you have additional questions about my philosophy and approach to working with clients, and/or other professional background this may be the right time to ask. I will ask you to briefly state what is prompting you to seek therapy, if we both gage it is a good fit and you feel comfortable, the next step is to make the first appointment.
What Should I Expect on My First Visit?
On your first visit, I will want to get to know you and learn more about why you called, including what you think the problem is, and more about your life i.e. for example what you do, your strengths, etc. It is also common to be asked about your support system, including your family and friends. This information will help me assess your situation, and help you and I develop a plan for treatment. Counseling is an intimate process and feeling comfortable with your thearpist is very important to the success of your treatment, as such trust building is essential in the initial stages. If you do not feel comfortable after several visits it is important that we discuss this and work to find ways to work through this, whether by working through it together or recommending other resources.
What Happens in Therapy?
I want to get to know you and hear your concerns. We will decide together what you want to accomplish and how we will know if we are successful. Therapy will include talking, activities, and some homework.
Why Do You Call Yourself a Wellness Therapist?
I have a holistic perspective and believe that optimal health and wellbeing includes the ability to function over the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental domains of health. I incorporate alternative techniques and practices with more traditional approaches to therapy.
How Can You Help Me?
There is no perfect recipe to help, as “one size does not fit all”, but my job is to affirm and support you in your process and teach you skills known to help manage the problems you may be facing.
How Long Will Therapy Take?
This varies across clients, situations, and therapy goals. We will define and set to meet your identified goals and work towards meeting them; if we accomplish our goals, our work is finished. If we have more work to do, we will agree to another time frame.
The decision to end therapy may be initiated by you, by me, or by our mutual agreement that your purpose has been accomplished. My goal is to make this process as mutual as possible. It is as important as any other phase of treatment. The usual minimal termination for an ongoing treatment process is three sessions but a satisfying termination may take much longer. If you choose to leave treatment without my agreement a letter stating may be sent to you and kept on file. Please be aware that I may terminate treatment if a pattern of frequent cancellations and nonpayment should develop, or if some problem arises that is not within the scope of my competence.
What Makes You Different From Other Therapists?
Every therapist is unique, just as every client is. I am open, warm, compassionate, friendly, curious and have a straight forward style. My personal identity as a bicultural and bilingual individual with wide range of personal and professional experiences with various socio-economic, racial, cultural backgrounds informs my broad perspective. Additionally, I have unique training and experience. Please see About Me for more details.
Is There a Cost to My Initial Consultation?
Yes. Each session from the first will be billed to your insurance company (If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield) OR charged to you. Payment is due at the time of service by cash, check, or credit card unless we agree to other arrangements.
How Long Does a Therapy Session Last?
Typically, therapy appointments are 45 minutes long. Assessment/evaluation appointments vary in length, depending on the nature of the assessment or evaluation. Clients are typically seen for weekly therapy sessions and sometimes more than once a week. Sometimes if you are going through a crisis situation, a session can be longer, usually 60 minutes. As treatment progresses, and clients’ symptoms improve and treatment goals are met, we may agree to reduce session frequency to biweekly or monthly.
Is There a Cancellation Fee?
Yes. Insurance companies will not pay for a missed or cancelled appointment. Your appointment time is set aside exclusively for you, and I cannot fill that time slot without sufficient notice. If you must cancel an appointment, please make sure that you get in touch with me at least 48 hours in advance or you will be billed the full session fee (unless we both agree that the appointment was unable to be kept due to circumstances beyond your control). If you arrive late, you will be billed the full fee for your session, and your session will end on time, even if you arrive late.
Can You Prescribe Medications Like My Doctor?
No. If I feel that medications could help, I could help you find a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation.
Why Can’t I Just Go See My Doctor About My Problem?
You may, however, doctors are for medical problems and psychotherapists are for behavioral health problems. A medical doctor usually focuses on physical issues whereas in therapy we will talk through issues.
What Should I Bring to The Appointment?
Typically I will send you forms to review and fill out. It would be helpful if you bring in the completed paperwork with you, this will help me complete the assessment part of the therapy more readily. If you plan to use your Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance coverage, bring your insurance cards.
Do you take insurance?
Yes. I am only contracted (“in network”) with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance company. If you have another insurance and would like to utilize out-of-network health benefits, I am happy to provide you with the appropriate superbill to submit to your insurance company on a monthly basis. Depending on your out-of-network health benefits, some clients will receive a portion of mental health services fees reimbursed to them from their insurance companies and some clients will not receive any reimbursement. If you decide to submit claims to insurance for reimbursement, you will need to find out information such as: whether you have mental health benefits, need prior authorization, need a referral from your primary care physician, have a deductible, if your deductible has been met, number of sessions covered, types of problems covered, types of sessions or evaluations covered, and at what rate your insurance company will reimburse you for my services. This information will help you to understand your out-of-network health benefits.
What questions should I consider if I plan to use my health insurance?
(Your insurance company will be able to answer these questions)
- Whether you have mental health benefits
- Need prior authorization/a referral from your primary care physician
- Have a deductible, if your deductible has been met
- Number of sessions covered
- Types of problems covered
***If you have another insurance and have “Out of Network Benefits”, you will be responsible for making payments for each session, and asking your insurance for a reimbursement. If you choose to do this, you will need to know:
At what rate your insurance company will reimburse you psychotherapy services.
Why do some people choose to pay "out of pocket"?
Clients who choose to not use their insurance generally do so to take additional measures to protect their confidentiality, or wish to meet for longer sessions or more frequently than their health plan may allow.
Can I share with others about my psychotherapy treatment?
Will the things I discuss in therapy be kept private?
When you engage in psychotherapy, two individuals know everything that happens in each session: you and your therapist. I take your privacy very seriously, what we discuss in my office is strictly confidential, as such information is not disclosed without your written permission. I understand that to feel comfortable talking about private and revealing information, you need a safe place to talk.
There are laws in place to protect your privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains a privacy rule that creates standards to protect medical records and personal health information, including information about psychotherapy and mental health. The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, where the law requires psychotherapists to disclose information without consent to protect the client or the public from serious harm — if, for example, a client discusses plans to attempt suicide or harm another person. If there is violence, abuse, or neglect of children, elderly or people with disabilities. The disclosure happens with the goal of protecting you and others from serious harm and often includes us working together to locate necessary resources.
For more information see: Section 1.07 c of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers states, “Social workers should protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of professional service, except for compelling professional reasons. The general expectation that social workers will keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is necessary to prevent serious, foreseeable, and imminent harm to a client or other identifiable person. In all instances, social workers should disclose the least amount of confidential information necessary to achieve the desired purpose; only information that is directly relevant to the purpose for which the disclosure is made should be revealed.”
Is there a Risk to Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. It can be an emotional process, as you examine difficult emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. You may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. However, psychotherapy has been shown to have many benefits, as it can lead to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in symptoms and feelings of distress. Each experince is unique and personal as such there are no guarantees of what you will experience.
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“This is an important step and you may feel some discomfort as you make the call. At this point it will be important to remember the reasons leading you to seek help, weigh your options, and decide if the potential positive outcomes outweigh your current discomfort”.