You've got questions.
I've got (some) answers.
What can I expect if I reach out?
To hear back! :)
Email tends to be the fastest way to reach me although you can also use the form on my website or pick up the phone for a free phone consultation. There is no wrong way to connect!
Before setting anything up, I like to hear a bit about what you're seeking support for to ensure that I am the right person to help. If not, I am generous in passing along resources or referrals to help you find a therapeutic home. It makes me feel really good to connect people to what they need - even if its not therapy with me! Talking beforehand also leaves space for answering practical questions and ensures that you feel informed before moving forward.
If we decide to make an initial appointment, I will send you an email to set up your online client portal where you'll take care of the paperwork before our session. These forms will provide information about therapy with me and my practice policies. Individuals seeking couples therapy will both be given paperwork to complete.
All paperwork and billing will be handled through this secure system. The system also has an easy HIPAA-compliant video option through which I provide telehealth which can be accessed on your computer or phone. If you ever need to connect with me outside of session, the system has a secure messaging function that is far more protected than regular email. It's really a one-stop shop!
Therapy is work. My practice is set up to be as easy as possible so you can focus on what is most important.
How do people afford therapy?
Money is also a measure of your values and it brings up a LOT for people clinically. Even unconsciously, people grapple with whether they "deserve" or "can afford" (often metaphorically) to prioritize themselves or give themselves what they need. Therapy is about setting aside the time and the money to VALUE yourself. That can be hard and sometimes it is the work of the therapy itself to explore and disentangle the ways in which clients make themselves smaller or less important.
The people with whom I work are not all wealthy but they all value therapy - good therapy - which means finding a provider that is best suited to help you and with whom you feel a genuine connection. Just like you wouldn't go to a podiatrist for a heart issue or keep going to a doctor with whom you feel uncomfortable asking questions, not all therapists provide amazing treatment for all problems or are the right therapist for you. It is important to find someone with whom you feel comfortable (as comfy as you can get in therapy) and who has the training and experience to help you make progress toward your goals. The people I work with are committed to their own work and their financial investment is an indication of that.
They also get creative. They use their FSA/HSA (flexible spending account/health savings account) cards. They submit superbills to get reimbursed. They ask loved ones to pitch in. They take a look at their expenses and see where they can make some concessions (daily coffee adds up!). After working together for a while and making significant progress, some clients transition to seeing me biweekly to maintain their growth and optimize their lives. Where there is a will, there is a way!
Do you take insurance?
I do not take insurance for many reasons. Most importantly, it gives me the freedom to be very intentional about the work I do. I only take on clients whom I believe I can truly help. Without the added administrative work, it frees up time for me to get continuing education, to consult with colleagues, and to read up on the latest research to ensure that I am providing the BEST care possible.
Many clients do not want to have their mental health managed by their insurance companies. They want to be in charge of who they see and for how long rather than having their insurance company dictate who they can see and to have to "prove" they need it because of a diagnosable mental health issue. While a confidential space, some clients like to keep the insurance company out of the therapy room altogether.
Just because I do not take insurance does not mean that you cannot use your coverage. Many PPO (preferred provider organization) or POS (point of service) plans have out-of-network coverage that reimburse you for a portion of our session costs. This is not usually true for HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) or Medicare.
Fine print: It's important to look into whether you have out-of-network coverage, whether you have a deductible, whether you have met this deductible, the time frame for coverage resets, whether you have an out-of-pocket maximum, and more. All of these nuances will influence whether you will be reimbursed and at what rate. See the next question and this form for more guidance.
What is therapy like?
It's like talking to a stranger about the intimate details of your life - which is nerve racking!
I get that. I was in your chair long before I ever sat in mine.
It takes courage to begin this process and I step into working with you knowing the sacred role I am being granted and not taking it for granted. I work to ensure that you get what you need while I am also able to work in the way I know how to work best offering warmth and genuine connection with honest feedback and active guidance.
Therapy sessions are around 50 minutes long. You bring in what is on your mind. I ask questions. I make comments and observations. I provide information and practical support. Some of these things happen more or less depending on the session. I firmly believe that regardless of where we start, we will end up where we need to.
Most people end up saying it is far less intimidating than they thought it would be and they wish they had started sooner.
We go back and forth in this intentional conversation and call it a session. Each conversation builds upon itself as I get to know you more and then I am able to make links and connections that might have been hard to see previously. The more I get to know you, the better I get to be at my work and the deeper our connection becomes - you trust me more, I can help more, so you trust me more, and on and on.
It's important to know that therapy is not a one-size-fits-all experience and sometimes it takes time to see if working with me is working, or anyone. Other times, you know it's not working and it's okay to listen to that too!
What is the process for out-of-network coverage?
First, ensure that you have out-of-network coverage. Here is a handy sheet on the 12 essential questions when checking coverage.
If you do, then the process goes like this: You pay for our sessions up front. I provide you with a superbill (essentially an invoice with some necessary additional information that insurance companies need). You submit this invoice to your insurance company along with a claim for out-of-network coverage (usually these can be found on their website). You are responsible for submitting the paperwork. Some of my clients use Reimburisfy to help them with this step.
Many plans reimburse (up to 70% even). I would *highly* recommend submitting paperwork as soon as possible after sessions to ensure that you have a good sense for what your coverage looks like. Some insurance companies will give you estimates beforehand but cannot guarantee how much you will get until they process a claim. Also, early submissions help uncover any practical issues rather than waiting a year to submit that paperwork and find out something is off (plus, there are some time restrictions on these claims).
While no one LOVES paperwork (ok, don't hate me, but I secretly kind of like it), this shouldn't be a barrier to receiving the care you need and most deserve. If you have a questions, ask me! Sometimes I can help you navigate the process and depending on your plan, can even suggest an insurance advocate. I have seen lots of people get some money back for therapy that is working for them.
How do you know if therapy is working?
If therapy is working, you definitely feel like its work!
A client once said, "it hurts so good." It's HARD to look at our own stuff but with the right support in the right way at the right time, it can feel rejuvenating and empowering alongside the difficulty.
While sometimes it can get worse before it gets better (often because we have avoided looking at something for a while), there is often an accompanying feeling of relief that you are doing something to address whatever is coming up rather than turning to usual defenses.
When therapy is working, YOU begin to change in subtle but deep ways - what you notice, what you feel, how you respond. If nothing is happening outside of session, that's something to talk with me about. I want to see you experience the changes you desire. And yet, it's important to remember that real change takes intentional effort and time so I encourage self-compassion, patience, and active self-care as you work on things.
Just like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I promise to do my part and show up as fully as I can but I cannot create change for you. That's an inside job. I can (and will) guide and facilitate and encourage. You can borrow my hope when you feel lost, but ultimately, I have the deepest respect for your autonomy and your choice to change if and when you want.
I also believe that you have within you the ingredients for change. It's my job to help you uncover and utilize them. While I own my areas of expertise, you are the expert of your experience and the ultimate decision-maker on what is right and best for you.