Frequently asked questions about my practice, or about therapy in general
1. I have good insurance with a low co-pay. Why should I pay extra to work with someone who doesn’t take any insurance?
Maybe you shouldn’t. But you might want to consider it seriously first. Here are some possible reasons.
- You don’t want a diagnosis in your medical records. Insurance companies often require a therapist to make a diagnosis of a specific mental illness before you are treated. Then that diagnosis becomes part of your medical records with them. When you pay for your own therapy, I’m not allowed to share your information with anyone.
- You want me to be free to work with you using all my professional knowledge and skills. Once you’re “diagnosed”, the company may limit what kind of work and how many sessions they will pay for, and I can only use certain methods with you. That may keep us from addressing your concerns in the most productive ways. I prefer to work with you in whatever way is most helpful, focusing directly on the issues you want to address.
- You want to see me for a specific reason. It may be better for you to have the specific therapist you want, one you connect with or who has a specialty in working with your issue, or for other reasons. Having a therapist you don’t connect with is usually very unproductive, and might lengthen the time you need to spend in therapy, or not achieve the results that might be available. It may even be more cost-effective in the long run.
- You have a high deductible or a high co-pay. If you think you’re not going to meet your deductible, or if your co-pay is fairly high, it might not make as much difference as you think. I do have a sliding scale, so you might be able to afford it after all.
2. What do you offer that some other therapists might not? Well, you’ve seen my specialties (not many therapists specialize in video game addiction, for example). Additionally, I engage in a research-based activity known as deliberate practice. What that means is that I spend significant time reviewing my work with you and planning for sessions, rather than filling all my days with back-to-back clients. This includes hours of time spent each week reviewing notes, delving into research that might help, consulting with other therapists, and constantly upgrading my skills. Research shows that this makes for much more successful therapy. In short, when you pay for an hour of therapy, you’re getting much more than an hour of my attention.
3. Other people have told me I need therapy, but I’m not sure it will really help. How can just talking to someone fix my problems? First, 40 years of research shows that, overall, the vast majority of people who go are significantly helped by therapy. Second, therapy doesn’t fix problems–it helps you fix your own problems. There’s a big difference between just having a “paid friend” and actually developing the knowledge, capacities and tools that you need to move forward. Lastly, therapy with me is much more than just talk. It’s work. Of course, it’s work that’s done partly through talking. But I also teach you how to pay attention to your own bodily responses, manage challenges in your life, and help yourself heal from past distress.
4. Do you really have the experience and qualifications to help me? Only you can decide that, by coming to see me and judging for yourself. Although I am not (yet) a Licensed Professional Counselor, that doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to do what I do. I have an MA in Counseling (this is the same degree that many LPC’s have), experience addressing a wide variety of issues with clients, advanced training in a number of areas, many hours of supervised practice, and I am constantly upgrading my knowledge and skills. Research has shown that being good at medical and mental health care is largely about the commitment to constantly get better. Come to a few sessions and see if we connect and if it’s helpful. If it isn’t, I’m happy to help you find someone who might be a better fit.