How can therapy benefit me?
Therapy is a way to help cope with stressful events in life, and a great way to learn how to better deal with anger, stress, depression, and whatever life can throw at you. Everyone goes through difficult situations and challenges in life, and therapy is a healthy way of dealing with these challenges. Whether you have just had a life-changing event and are having trouble processing it, want to learn how to better manage your anger and other emotions, or just want someone to talk to, therapy is right for you. There are some misconceptions about therapy, such as saying that if you need therapy that you “can’t handle” your own problems. This is just not true! Everyone needs help from time to time, and therapy is some of the best help that you can get in terms of learning new skills, learning how to cope with your emotions, and learning stress management. Therapy isn’t a last-resort option for psychological problems, but rather it is a tool that is used to live a healthier life.
What can I expect therapy to be like?
Psychotherapy has many benefits, particularly when you are willing to build upon our work together in your everyday life. Generally, therapy is most successful when people are motivated and willing to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an open manner. Despite the benefits of therapy, sometimes it has potential risks that arise during our processing of painful aspects of your life. It is possible for feelings of sadness, guilt, frustration, anger or other negative emotions to be generated. It is my goal to assist you with processing such emotions but it can often catch people by surprise.
During our first few sessions, I will evaluate your needs and develop a treatment plan which we will discuss together. I frequently ask clients to work on key aspects of the therapy outside of the session, in specific ‘homework’ assignments. I tend to view a client’s life from a Systemic perspective, meaning I see your psychological complaints in terms of how it affects those around you and how they in turn also affect you. My psychological perspective also encompasses Cognitive-Behavioral therapy techniques and other various theoretical orientations. If you have any questions about my procedures or feel that I am not the best fit for you, then please feel free to discuss this with me. The goal is for improvement in your mental health and sometimes that means finding a therapist that is a better fit for your personality. You may discontinue therapy at any time. If you feel a need to discontinue therapy services prior to our anticipated termination, I would like the opportunity to discuss this with you.
Do you prescribe medications? What is the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist?
A psychologist has a doctorate degree, or in some states such as Kansas, a master’s degree in psychology. Psychologists may have specialties in different areas, such as child psychology, forensics, or industrial/organizational to name a few. A psychiatrists has earned a medical degree and completes special training in the area of psychiatry. Psychologists are trained to conduct psychological evaluations and do psychotherapy. Although they have education in medications, they do not prescribe them. A regular part of their work does involve communicating with a client’s physician to consult about medication if needed. Psychiatrists prescribe medication and manage the overseeing the client’s psychotropic medication while considering their overall physical health.
Can I use health insurance for the appointment?
I am a provider for multiple insurance panels and EAP services but not all. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to verify coverage of benefits and if I am an approved provider for your plan. If I am not an in-network provider for your specific insurance, you may have out-of-network coverage for mental health treatment. I will fill out the necessary forms and provide whatever assistance I can in helping you receive those benefits to which you are entitled; HOWEVER, you (not your insurance company) are responsible for full payment of my fees. If you have questions about the coverage, call your plan administrator.
You will need to call the mental health benefits phone number on your insurance card to verify outpatient mental health treatment and determine if prior authorization is required. If your insurance does require authorization, you will need to obtain that number from the company and bring it to your appointment.
Is therapy confidential? What information will be shared with others?
In general, the privacy of all communications between a client and a psychologist is protected by law, and I can only release information about our work to others with your written permission. There are a few exceptions. Your signature on the Services Agreement provides consent that you are aware of the following situations:
- If I believe that a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I may be required to take protective actions. These actions include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
- If the client threatens to harm himself/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her or to contact family members or other who can help provide protection.
- If information is revealed indicating that a child or elderly person is being abused, I may be required to file a report with the appropriate state agency.
- If you file a worker’s compensation claim, and I have examined or treated you in regard to such claim, I must, upon appropriate request, provide a report to the patient’s employer or the employer’s insurance company.
- In most legal proceedings you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment. In some proceedings involving child custody and those in which your emotional condition is an important issue, a judge may order my testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it.
- If a client files a complaint or lawsuit against me, I may disclose relevant information regarding that patient in order to defend myself.