Frequently Asked Questions
What are your fees?
- Our initial brief phone consultation is free.
- Once you are ready to get started, the first intake appointment is $150 and subsequent therapy appointments are $130.
- In order to remain respectful of your time, and so that I may be as “on time” as possible for our sessions, we will generally meet for 50-55 minutes, which includes approximately 45 minutes of therapy, then spend the last 5-10 minutes wrapping up and scheduling our next session.
- For your convenience and to save time during our sessions, I will collect your credit card, debit card or FSA/HSA card in your initial paperwork, which I keep on file in my secure encrypted client portal and fees will automatically be charged the evening of our session.
Do you take insurance?
If your insurer provides out-of-network mental health coverage, we can work together for you to file for reimbursement. I will collect the fees directly from you and then I can provide a receipt for you called a “Superbill” to file with your insurer. In order to make the best decision about filing insurance, check your coverage carefully by calling your health insurance representative and asking the following questions:
- Do I have out of network mental health coverage?
- What is my deductible, is mental health coverage subject to the deductible and has it been met?
- Is there a limit or cap on how many sessions per year my insurance will cover?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session for an out-of-network provider? Insurance companies base the reimbursement rate on the service code (CPT code) used and what they consider “reasonable and customary” rates for the geographical area where services are provided. The CPT codes that I most commonly bill under are:
- 90791 (Initial Assessment)
- 90837 (Individual Psychotherapy 53-60 minutes)
- *90834 (Individual Psychotherapy up to 52 minutes)
- 90847 (Family psychotherapy)
- 90846 (Family psychotherapy, without patient present)
- * Note: I generally don’t use this code as I provide 55’ish minute sessions but many insurance companies will only reimburse for shorter sessions so you should find out that reimbursement rate if they don’t reimburse for 90837
- Is telehealth covered for mental health services?
- If so, find out what the “modifier” code your insurance company requires. The most common are -GT and -20. Though some companies use other modifiers.
Keep in mind that insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis in order to consider reimbursement. Once you submit a Superbill to them, this diagnosis is filed with the Medical Information Bureau. It will remain on file as part of your medical records for the rest of your life. At any time, your current or a future insurance company can request that I release your mental health records to them. In some cases, a mental health diagnosis can affect benefits or your premium.
If you prefer to use to use your in-network benefits, your insurance company can provide a list of in-network providers for you.
Fortunately, tax laws have created new programs that may help you pay for your therapy, even if you pay out of pocket. These include Medical Savings Accounts and Pre-Tax Flexible Spending Medical Accounts. You can also deduct the cost of therapy from your taxes if you itemize. It is a medical expense. Ask your Accountant or Compensation and Benefits Administrator if you qualify for either program.
What is your cancellation policy?
In general, I have a 24-hour cancellation policy. Appointments can be cancelled through my client portal (for established clients), by voicemail, email or by text. I charge the full session fee if the appointment is cancelled in less than 24-hours or if a client no-shows. I will set clients up to receive email/text reminders 24 and 48 hours before appointments, but ultimately it is the client’s responsibility to keep track of when appointments are scheduled. Of course, life can be unpredictable, and while I do make exceptions for emergencies and sudden illnesses, I encourage clients to be mindful of their schedule when making appointments, look at their schedule for the upcoming week to see if any potential conflicts might arise and plan accordingly.
For telehealth appointments, the convenience of being able to do a session from wherever you have an internet connection (and a private space) is helpful for avoiding cancellations, and we can even do a phone session if you are having trouble connecting. If you do need to cancel, you can avoid the fee by rescheduling later that day or week. If you are experiencing financial difficulties and are concerned about being able to pay for your next session, please reach out and discuss this with me so we can work together on coming up with a plan. I will avoid allowing clients to build up a balance, and after one unpaid invoice, I will reach out and arrange for payment, but I cannot book further sessions with an unpaid balance.
I’m interested, how do I get started?
Let’s book a free consultation so we can discuss your needs, see if we are a good fit and I can answer any questions you have. If/when you are ready to meet, we will book our first appointment and I will send you a link via email to my client portal to complete intake forms. If you are seeking help for your child, we will talk about the best way to plan the first appointment, sometimes a parent-only appointment is better, sometimes including the child in the first session works best. We will decide what to do based on your child’s age and your specific needs.
What can I expect at my first session?
Your first session starts before your first session! When you book your first appointment, I will get some basic contact information and send you an email with a link to my client portal for you to fill out/sign intake paperwork. This is all done paperless online. The forms will include my practice policies, informed consent, HIPAA policies, a new client questionnaire, telehealth consent, and payment information. I do this so we can make the best use of our time together.
You will receive appointment reminders at the time we make our appointment, 48 hours before, 24 hours before and 15 minutes before (for telehealth). During our initial intake appointment, I will take a few minutes to review the forms you signed, and discuss my confidentiality policy more in depth. Then, we will discuss the reasons why you are seeking therapy, get some background information and history, and set goals and expectations for therapy. You are free to ask me any questions about how I work, my experience or how I treat your particular presenting concerns. I am a partner in your path to healing and we will always work together to plan your therapy.
Toward the end of the session, we will review your goals and look at our schedules to plan the next session or find a time that works for a regular weekly appointment.
How does telehealth work? Can we really do effective therapy on a screen?
When COVID first came around and we were suddenly under stay-at-home orders, I was forced to quickly switch over to telehealth. At first, I was dubious, thinking it would be so difficult to connect and communicate over the screen, that it seemed so impersonal. Of course, I’d much rather see everyone in person, but for now, I want to continue to safeguard my and my clients’ health and I have embraced this new platform. I look forward to the time when I can enjoy seeing my clients in person again and will always offer telehealth as an option for any appointment, where it is clinically appropriate.
In the meantime, I have found that the convenience of not having to battle traffic, only needing to set aside the one hour for therapy versus additional time for driving to and from the office, having the option to keep an appointment even if you’re not feeling up to coming into the office, being able to sign in from wherever you are (as long as you have privacy), enjoying the comfort and familiarity of your home while getting the help you need, are all benefits of telehealth. Also, with so many parents working from home, your child can sign in for their appointment from home without parents having to interrupt their work day to drive them to therapy. For kids in online school, they can easily hop on to a telehealth appointment and hop back onto school when we’re done. For kids in face-to-face school, we can arrange for after school appointments when available, or some teens will even run home in between classes, or take their appointment in their car, or we can arrange for them to meet virtually with me in the counselor’s office at school. There are many options.
I use a couple of different telehealth platforms which require no special software or downloads (unless you use your phone, there’s an app for that!), they are HIPAA compliant and have very stable connections. You just click on a link in my email appointment reminder, and the website lets me know you’re there and I’ll pop up on the screen! It’s pretty much just like Zoom or FaceTime.