Frequently Asked Questions
I value and understand the courage it takes to explore the possibility of entering counseling. For that reason, I’ve put together a set of answers to questions many of my clients have asked me in the past.
How much do sessions cost?
Initial intake appointment: $220
45-50 minute therapy session: $160
60 minute therapy session: $200
Do you take insurance?
Yes, I am in-network with PacificSource and First Choice Health. I am also in-network for people with Kaiser plans that have a PPO option (using the First Choice Health network).
Can I use other insurance?
Yes, in a different way. If you have an insurance that I’m not in-network with, you will use your out-of-network benefits, whatever they might be.
Many insurance companies pay a portion of services from providers who are out of their networks. You pay me directly at our session and then send a “superbill” (basically an invoice with some codes indicating what was done and who I am) to your insurance company. They then pay you back a portion of what you paid.
It is important to know that every insurance pays a different amount, so it is best for you to call them ahead of time to see how much they will pay so you’re not surprised.
Do you take health savings account cards?
Yes! A number of insurance plans provide a credit card that you can use to pay for non-covered expenses. I can charge this directly, just like a regular credit card. My billing system lists me as a healthcare provider so the claims get accepted.
If you don’t have a card but do have a different type of health savings account, I can provide an invoice that you can use for reimbursement.
Isn’t it just about brain chemistry – how can therapy help a chemical imbalance?
Yes, and no. Everything that happens in the brain is both chemical and electrical.
For a long time people did not consider depression, anxiety and other emotional problems “real” because they weren’t obvious like many physical problems. One message that was meant to overcome that (and, to be honest, sell medications) was that these issues are the result of a chemical imbalance – and it helped.
Unfortunately, it’s a little too simple of a message.
You see, every thought that you have changes your brain chemistry. So, since therapy is all about thinking differently, it has been shown through extensive research to result in long term changes to your brain chemistry. Pills are one way to correct a chemical imbalance (as long as you take the pills), and therapy is another.
Does therapy ever end? I don’t want to be in therapy forever
I don’t want you to be in therapy forever either.
Therapy, as I practice it, is all about helping you deal with the problems you are facing and fixing the roots of the problems in the long term. Depending on what you are dealing with, therapy can be very brief or it can take longer.
Once you are living well you no longer need the help of a therapist.
Some people do choose to remain in therapy for personal growth reasons, but that is their choice.
You are in charge of when you think you are ready to graduate from therapy.
Will I just lay on a couch and talk about my parents? What is therapy like?
Therapy, as I practice it, is a very active process. I often say it should feel more like driver’s ed class than history class – it’s about doing hard work to get better.
First, you tell your story and ask your questions, we agree on a focus of treatment and then we get to work.
Often that work involves going into your painful emotions and processing them in a new way so we can release the pain and you can use the information to move your life forward.
Isn’t therapy only for weak people?
I hear this a lot and I actually think the opposite – I think asking for help is a sign of strength. It certainly is very hard to do – and weakness usually means doing the easy thing, not the hard one.
Things aren’t that bad, do I even need professional help?
There is no “minimum amount of suffering” that a person needs to have to decide to enter therapy.
Any time you are struggling to deal with something you could benefit from meeting with a therapist. Sometimes talking with someone who is not involved in your life is the most helpful thing.
Sometimes you may also need some additional skills to deal with the barriers you are facing. Therapy is great for that too.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.