Do You Take My Insurance?
Many of my patients use their insurance to help them pay for their sessions with me. I am eligible under most plans as an “Out-of-Network” provider. That means you need to contact your insurance company before our first face-to-face meeting and ask them how much they reimburse you if you choose to see an Out-of-Network licensed psychologist.
Insurance companies offer different coverage based on your particular plan, as well as what license category I fall into (licensed Ph.D. psychologist). Believe it or not, most insurance companies care about my location and zip code (06880) in a big way. Luckily, Westport, CT seems to have the highest reimbursement rate I have ever experienced but it all really depends on your plan.
As an Out-of-Network provider, I give you a Superbill, which you then submit directly to your insurance company. When the reimbursement check comes, it goes to you, not to me.
What Can I Expect During My First Session?
Although you may feel a bit uneasy coming to a therapist or even making that first phone call, I want to assure you that I am super easy to talk to.
You may have seen my introductory sentence on other internet sites I belong to. It starts out like this:
“Here’s the scoop. I’m not the kind of psychologist that quietly takes notes and now and then asks you ‘how does that make you feel?’ Nope. That’s not the way I do it.”
I wrote that to offer you a quick first impression of the kind of therapist I am NOT. Due to popular media or previous bad experiences you may have had with other therapists/counselors, I want to emphasize that coming to me is going to be different. I am interpersonally trained, which means I actually talk with you, about YOU. The first few sessions, my goal is to get a solid idea of the foremost obstacles you are struggling with and a sketch of what it is like to be you. Things like:
- What are your important relationships?
- What is causing you distress?
- What do you wish for?
It goes sort of like that.
How Long Will Therapy Take With You?
I am aware the answer I give to this question is predictable, but it is true. It depends on several factors:
- What are your goals?
- How long will it take for you to feel like you are once again standing stable ground?
- Is the reason you came to me in the first place resolved to your satisfaction?
- It takes as long as it takes; sometimes a few months, but sometimes longer. I consider my methods to be short-term. You will not be coming to me for years and years. Everyone’s life has a different trajectory. Every patient is unique. As you start feeling better, we will start winding down. We might see each other less frequently until we inevitably say goodbye.
How Will I Know If You Are The Right Therapist For Me?
You really need to meet me face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what I’m like as a person and as a professional. In the first session, you should keep these questions in mind:
- “Is she really listening to me?”
- “Does she seem to know what she is doing?”
- “Does she seem confident?”
- “Do I feel comfortable or squirmy?”
- “Could I ever show this person the deepest, ugliest parts of myself and does she seem to have the capacity to handle me?”- a very complicated person.
- Mostly, “Do I like her?”
Hard research has proven that it is the quality of the relationship, more so than the theoretical orientation of the therapist, when all is said and done.
Can You Give Me Any Medicine?
No, but here’s the way it works: After evaluating your situation, we will decide if you need to speak with a psychiatrist. As a Ph.D., not an MD, I am not allowed to prescribe medicine. If it seems to me or to you that medicine might be beneficial, I have some very competent psychiatrists I work with. It’s always a good idea for someone who is taking medication to have their therapist (that’s me) in contact with the doctor who is prescribing medicine. That way you have a team working together on your behalf. Of course, this communication between psychologist and psychiatrist only happens if you give written permission for it to happen.
Why do I need a therapist? Why can’t I just talk to a friend or a family member?
Your best friend is not going to tell you this, but… they can only listen to your problems for so long until they get bored or overwhelmed. They want to maintain your friendship so they usually tell you what you want to hear.
When you speak with a therapist, the relationship is definitely one-sided. It’s supposed to be. Energy spent in a therapy session is focused on you, not me. We sit down to explore your life, problems, relationships, concerns, fears, thoughts, feelings, and future. A friendship requires a mutual back-and-forth dialogue so that both you and your friend feel equally-heard. You take turns being the focus of attention, and this is what makes it a friendship.
Oh, one more thing! Your friend most likely does not have a degree in mental health, and even if they do, they don’t want to feel talking to you is like being at work.
What Ages Do You Work With?