...aka, How to Get Started in Therapy
Request an Appointment
- You'll be asked whether you plan to use insurance to pay and the name of your insurance company
- You'll be asked whether this is individual or couple counseling, adult or adolescent
- You'll be asked to briefly summarize the basic issue
Confirm Insurance and/or Rates
My assistant Sarah will call you, get your insurance information (if applicable), and verify your benefits, including info about deductibles, copays, coinsurance, etc. You'll know before your first appointment whether and to what extent insurance will cover you.
If you're paying cash, she'll verify rates with you.
Do Your Paperwork and Schedule Appointment
Once you have made the appointment request (we'll need your email address and the phone number you use most often), you'll be entered into my system as a new client. Here's what will happen next.
- You'll get an email from me (it may show up as being from SimplePractice.com) with your email address as user name and a temporary 4-digit password. Click on the link in that email and it will take you to my web portal.
- You will immediately be prompted to create a permanent password. Choose one you can remember because you may end up using the portal pretty often
- You will be asked to log in using your new password (and your email address), then you'll be in. Bookmark that page in your browser so you can always find the portal easily.
- You will be prompted to fill out your intake and some other paperwork. It will walk you right through it.
- From now on you'll be able to schedule all your own appointments, or else we can make an appointment at the end of every session for the next session, or you can always call . The portal is simple to use, but I find clients tend to be more consistent in therapy if we schedule before you leave the office.
The portal will be your hub while you're in counseling with me. All your invoices both due and paid will appear there, and statements will show up there every month. You'll be able to access the calendar to make and cancel appointments. I may sometimes send you documents and you'll access them through the portal. The portal is your friend.
How to Pay
All copays (or cash payments) are due at the time of service. I accept cash (no checks), Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and HSA cards.
Come to Your First Session Expecting to Spend Some Time on Formalities
Depending on the nature of your issue, we may spend most of the first session collecting background information. If you are in crisis, we'll try to get to your problem as quickly as possible but keep in mind that we'll almost certainly not be able to solve your problem in that first session. That session will last between 60-75 minutes.
What to Bring to Your First Session
Your driver's license and insurance card. If you're paying cash, you don't need to bring anything, other than your means of paying for the session.
If You're Using Insurance, Expect to be Diagnosed
If you elect to use your insurance to pay for your sessions,be aware that the only way I can be reimbursed by your insurance company is to provide them with a diagnosis. This diagnosis will become part of your permanent medical history. This will likely never be an issue but people with high-level jobs sometimes discover that someone at their insurance company was willing to sell their medical information for a high price. There are other ways that information can get out, most of them illegal, but it can still happen and you should know that before you elect to use your insurance for therapy.
Come to All Sessions Ready to Work
You might think each week about how you want to make the most of the time you are paying for.
Come to Sessions Consistently and on Time
You are paying for your time with me and that money is an investment in your own well-being. I urge you to be on time and to not miss sessions if you can possibly avoid it. I will tell you in the first session what kind of schedule we'll need to keep to deal best with your issue -- it will usually be weekly. Please comply with the needed treatment schedule as much as possible for your own well-being. Depending on your issue, I will often consider other meeting schedules if attending weekly places an impossible financial burden on you.
Expect to Pay for Missed Sessions not Cancelled Properly
I require a 24 hour minimum notice to cancel a session. Appointments not cancelled at least 24 hours in advance will incur a $50 cancellation fee. When a client doesn't show up and hasn't called at all, they are expected to pay my full session fee (around $120). Insurance does not cover these fees.
These fees are not punitive. It is not a judgment on you in any way. Emergencies happen, things come up last minute we have to attend to. You pay the fee and rest knowing that I don't judge you for missing in any way, and I recover something for the missed time.
Your first session will run 53-75 minutes, and all subsequent sessions will run 53 minutes.
Expect to Feel Better
Sometimes therapy works best when combined with medication. Sometimes it doesn't work at all, for all kinds of reasons. But there's a good chance that if you come to counseling consistently and make the most of your time there, you'll make substantial progress with your issue and find yourself feeling better.