Here are some nuts and bolts to help you get started.
What is the average session like?
Sessions are 50 minutes long. In this time, our work can move in a lot of different directions. After getting to know each other, weshould have a sense of your concerns and what you’d like to accomplish.
How often do we meet?
Lasting change works only with consistency. My expectation is that we’ll be meeting a minimum of once a week. Without consistency, we’ll be repeating discussions or re-creating earlier efforts. There may be times when you’d prefer not to come. Therapy doesn’t always feel good. These more difficult moments are every bit as important as the more enjoyable times. Consistency provides the best chance of a positive outcome.
What is your cancellation policy?
I take our work together seriously, and that starts with taking our time commitment seriously. In order to get the results you want out of counseling, consistent weekly attendance is essential. If it’s difficult for you to find continuity in our weekly meetings, we can explore why that might be.
When you need to take time for a vacation or work-related trip, please provide me as much advance notice as possible. I’ll do the same for you. I require at least 48 hours notice for cancellations. With less than 48 hours notice, I ask full payment for the session. Please be aware that insurance will not reimburse payment for missed sessions. If there is no way to avoid canceling within that 48 hour period, we can attempt to reschedule for another time that works for both of us, and apply your fee to that rescheduled meeting. This is an option only when we are both able to accommodate an alternate appointment time within a reasonable time frame.
What is the fee?
The initial phone consultation is free. My regular fee is $150 per 50-minute session. I offer a limited number of appointment times at sliding scale rates. If you seek a sliding scale, let me know during our phone consult. I’ll tell you whether I have any openings at the lower fee. As our work progresses, I’ll check in along the way about the possibility of bringing that sliding scale rate closer to the regular fee, thereby opening up a slot for those needing the most financial help.
Can I use my insurance?
I am happy to provide the invoice you’ll need for completing an out-of-network insurance claim with your insurance provider. If you have established a Flexible Spending Health Care Account, my invoice can also be used for reimbursement from your FSA. If you belong to an HMO or plan to use Medicare, you will not be covered for out-of-network services. Those programs will only cover professionals on their list of service providers.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is not only the law, it’s the right thing to do. We wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t have that agreement from the start. So yes, everything we discuss in our sessions, and even the fact that we know each another, is kept confidential. You can discuss our work with whomever you choose. But my obligation is to protect your privacy.
There are times when it’s in your best interest that I consult other professionals, like your doctor, psychiatrist, former therapist, or other care provider. I would arrange this consultation only with your consent.
Also, if you’re using health insurance, your insurance company may contact me for further information. I would discuss your treatment only as much as is necessary to fulfill insurance requirements.
There are rare circumstances in which I’m legally required to breech confidentiality. In these situations, it’s imperative I take immediate action in the interest of keeping you safe, including:
• If you tell me or lead me to believe you intend to physically harm yourself.
• If you tell me or lead me to believe you intend to physically harm another person or people.
• If you tell me or lead me to believe child abuse or elder abuse is taking place, regardless of whether the perpetrator or victim is part of our sessions.
• If there is disclosure of a sexual nature involving minors that meets the criteria for a report.
• If I am served with a court order from a judge, to share information about our sessions.
• In the event of a valid medical emergency during our session.
Should any of these exceptions occur, it would be important for us to discuss what happened.
I have a policy of not taking part in legal proceedings involving a client and their lawyer, even with the client’s permission. Please know this policy is in place because I’m convinced confidentiality is key to good psychotherapy. I will fight hard to protect your privacy.