What Do the Terms Counseling, Therapy, Clinical Social Work, and Psychotherapy Mean? Therapists, counselors, clinical social workers, and psychotherapists are trained and licensed mental health professionals who are committed to collaborating with their clients and are comfortable in a variety of therapeutic approaches. They all provide a nonjudgmental and supportive environment for clients where they can identify ways to improve their quality of life. They may differ in terms of their training and education but are able to provide the same supports. I use the terms interchangeably in my work with clients.
What Happens in Individual Counseling? Support! Most sessions are 45-50 minutes in length and are grounded in supportive listening. Counseling can be short-term and very specifically focused or it can be more long-term, particularly when there are a variety of issues, concerns, and areas of interest. The decision of how often and how long to participate in counseling is driven by the client themselves. Sometimes counseling sessions may involve activities or assignments such as readings, questionnaires, or worksheets for clients to complete between sessions as a way to maximize growth, learning, and insight. Clients in counseling who are more actively engaged in the therapeutic process often report more significant success.
Do I Need Counseling? I am of the belief that everyone should have a counselor that they at least check in with from time to time. I have one for myself! Life can be a challenge and we all can benefit from the supports of a counselor. While caring individuals in your life such as friends and family can provide helpful strategies and support, sometimes the professional, non-judgmental, and unbiased support and insights offered by a counselor are what clients need to more effectively increase their quality of life and ability to overcome challenges.
Is Medication an Option? For some individuals, there are a number of medications available to assist with biologically based diagnoses such as anxiety and depression. Often, clients report greatest mood stability and management of concerns when counseling is included as part of their treatment plan. While I cannot prescribe medication, I can work with you to find an appropriate medical professional to help you decide if medication is an option for you.
Is Therapy Confidential? In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and counselor. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, including when there is suspected abuse of a child, elder, or disabled adult or threats of harm to self or someone else. Another exception exists for clients utilizing insurance to pay for their sessions. In order for you to use your insurance, I will be required to submit to the insurance company a mental health diagnosis which may become part of your permanent record. Additionally, the insurance company may request copies of your therapy notes to determine medical necessity for services.
What Can I Expect At My First Session? Our first session together will be an opportunity for us to get to know each other and determine if we are a good therapeutic fit. In that session, I will help you to decide what goals you would like to work on in your time in therapy. Many clients report feeling nervous before their first session. That is totally normal. You are meeting a stranger and are going to open up and tell them about you, your concerns, and your goals. I understand how intimidating and nerve-wracking that can be so I am sure to be completely supportive of you. Almost every client tells me at the end of their first session that they feel "so much better already!" It's amazing what sitting with a supportive listener can do!
Does Attending Counseling Mean Something Is Wrong With Me? No!! Everyone needs support at different times during their lives. There are life events, transitions, or emotions that can feel too big to handle on your own. Counseling is here to help support you through those times, and to help you realize your best life.
How Much Does Counseling Cost? Initial 45-minute psychotherapy sessions are $175 while subsequent 45-minute psychotherapy sessions are $130. Session fees are payable via cash, check, credit card, Health Flex Spending Account card, Paypal, and Venmo. If you are interested in not utilizing your insurance for your sessions, please be sure to ask about the 6-session starter package.
Do you see Couples and Families? At this time, I have chosen to focus my efforts on working solely with individuals. During our sessions, we can certainly focus on familial and relationship issues but my work will be with you directly on a one to one basis.
Can I Use Insurance For My Sessions? Absolutely. I am credentialed with a number of health insurance plans (Aetna, Beacon, Cigna, Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Medicare, Tufts, and United) for your convenience. Please verify coverage with your insurance company. There are many factors to consider when utilizing your insurance benefit for therapy. In order for me to bill your insurance company for your session, I will have to diagnose you with a major mental health diagnosis and that diagnosis may become part of your permanent medical record. Additionally, the insurance company may request, at any time, copies of my notes from our sessions in order for them to deem the services medically necessary. Each insurance company also imposes limits on how often you are allowed to have them cover your sessions. We can talk about whether using your insurance is the best option for you.
What If I Need To Cancel? Life happens and I totally understand! As long as you cancel at least 24 hours prior to your appointment, we can simply find you another appointment time. However, if you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, you will be charged a late cancellation fee of $85.
Where Are You Located? At this time I am only offering sessions via a secure online telehealth platform.