Mental Health FAQs

The following questions are commonly asked about mental health services. If you are unable to find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer your question.

Why do people seek therapy?
What can I expect in a therapy session?
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?
Do you accept insurance?
How does insurance work?
Is therapy confidential?
What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker?
 

Why do people seek therapy?

People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as eating and substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. 

What can I expect in a therapy session?

During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. Sessions are 50 minutes. 

The frequency with which you will meet will be determined/based on your situation. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need to meet more often than a person who is in a more stable place.  During the time between sessions, it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include: 

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values 
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships 
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy 
  • Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety 
  • Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures 
  • Improving communication skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you 
  • Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and develop new ones 
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems 
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence 

What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?

If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.

Do you accept insurance?

The short answer is no, but I can provide you with a Super Bill that you can provide to your insurance company for reimbursement, if your plan allows (see question below, "How does insurance work?"). If you are interested in being reimbursed I can also assist by making phone calls to your insurance company to figure out what your co-pay is and obtain other information about your coverage.

I don't accept insurance directly because once I do, the insurance company can have access to your personal records, and this is not in line with my values as a therapist. 

Many clients are making the investment in their mental health without involving insurance companies. 

I do accept Flexible/Health Medical Spending funds from an account you have set up on a pre-tax basis with your employer. I also accept credit cards, cash and checks. 

How does insurance work?

There is a confusing array of insurance arrangements. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Below are some suggested questions you may wish to ask or I can assist you in finding out: 

  • 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 do you pay for an out-of-net provider? 
  • Is there a limitation on how much you will pay per session? 
  • Is primary care physician referral required? 
  • Are authorizations required for visits?
  • If different, what is my mental health deductible?

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 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. 

If a court of law issues a subpoena:

we are required to provide the information required by the subpoena. 

 

What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist
and Licensed Clinical Social Worker?

Basically all of the above practitioners provide mental health counseling and psychotherapy, the differences lie only in the type and length of training and whether they can prescribe medications.

A Psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor with a minimum of 8 additional years training. Psychiatry deals with prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of mental illness. They are qualified to order diagnostic laboratory tests and to prescribe medications, evaluate and treat psychological and interpersonal problems.

Clinical Psychologists have graduate and doctorate degrees with special training in mental health assessment and research in addition to psychotherapy. 

Licensed Clinical Social Workers have obtained a Master of Social Work degree and are licensed in their practicing state. In addition to psychotherapy services, they have special training linking patients to community and institutional resources such as government agencies. They are often seen as a patient advocate as they can help people ‘navigate the system’. LCSWs are not able to prescribe medication for treatment.