Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
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How long does it take for you to respond to my message?

I typically respond to voicemails within 24 hours.  I prefer to use voicemail rather than email, although if you are a current patient I will answer emails related to scheduling.

How long does it take to get an initial appointment with you?

I will try to see you as soon as possible.  Usually I can schedule a first appointment within two weeks from the time you contact me.  Daytimes are easier for first appointments.

What is your appointments schedule?                

My earliest appointment is 8:30 am and my latest is 6 pm most days.  I see patients on Saturday morning from 9 to 12.

 

How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?

Therapist-client “fit” can best be determined by your coming for an initial visit.  While I can guarantee my training, only our spending a session together can tell  us if this is a good match.  If you have specific questions in advance of a session I will be happy to discuss them over the phone.

How do I decide whether I should come in for individual or couples therapy?

Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to come in first with a partner or by yourself.  I will be happy to discuss this with you over the phone.  If you are clear that this is a couples’ problem and your partner is willing, I prefer to schedule a couples session first.

Do you see children or adolescents?

I will see young children or adolescents as part of a family group, but I do not see clients under 18 for individual therapy or medications.

How often do you see clients?

Most frequently I meet with clients once a week.  As therapy continues we may meet less often.  For people who travel frequently and cannot keep appointments on a consistent basis, I am willing to schedule around travel plans.  Financial issues may also impact frequency.

 

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How long does therapy last? 

Therapy may be brief (a few sessions) or may last for months
or longer.  What is important is that the therapy feels alive and you believe you are making continued progress.

Do you take insurance?

I am not on any insurance panels, but provide a monthly receipt which many clients use to obtain reimbursement from their insurance company for non-network provider services.  The amount they receive varies greatly from policy to policy.

What if I am in crisis and need to talk to you immediately? 

For people currently in therapy, I am consistently available unless I am out of town. In those cases coverage is provided.  If you are not already my patient, I cannot respond to you in a crisis.  It is best to contact a health professional with whom you have a relationship or contact your county’s mental health emergency services.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MY PRACTICE

My goal is to provide you with the best, most thoughtful and most efficient care possible. 

Evaluation:  A standard individual evaluation usually takes one or two sessions.  If you are considering medication, that decision can be made immediately or over time.  I do not do medication management unless you are also in therapy with me.

 A standard couple evaluation involves a joint session, an individual session each and a followup joint session at which therapy is begun.  These individual sessions as part of couples therapy are confidential.

Scheduling: My work hours are 8:30 am to 7 pm.  I can be reached by phone until 9:30 at night and  on weekends, and I check email frequently as well.

You may cancel an appointment by email, but scheduling must be done in session or by phone. 

I have a 24 hour cancellation fee; you will be charged for the session if you do not leave me a voicemail or email earlier than 24 hours prior to the session.

If I am away for more than 24 hours a colleague will cover for emergencies.

 If you need more rapid attention for your own or someone else’s safety, do not delay while waiting for me to return your telephone call;  call 9-1-1 or report to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Record keeping/Confidentiality: I am completely independent in providing you with clinical services,. My professional records are separately maintained and secured.  I will, whenever possible, provide a brief summary of your care rather than full records to an insurance company or lawyer.  I will not provide records for one person if the therapy has been primarily for couples and only one person has given consent.

Services you receive in this office are confidential. I request consent to talk to other therapists who you are seeing, or have seen.  If, as an individual patient, you give consent for me to talk to a family member, that consent remains in force unless you specifically cancel it. You may request that certain information not be shared. 

Confidentiality becomes complex when a couple or family is seen.  If I am seeing several family members I will accept a phone call from a family member as long as others know the call is being made.  HIPAA permits psychiatrists to notify family members without consent if there is a reasonable certainty that the patient is at risk for self harm or harm to others.  

Circumstances in which confidentiality rules do not apply: 1. Threats of harm to self or others 2. Abuse of a child, vulnerable adult, or developmentally disabled person 3. A court order to release information 4. Subpoena of treatment records by an attorney. If I receive a subpoena and  you do not want this information released, you must obtain a protective order from the court within fourteen (14) days. 

If you will be applying for  health insurance benefits, we may be required to provide information to your health plan, including some or all of your record of treatment, in order for your carrier to pay for services. Psychotherapy notes are handled separately under HIPAA and have additional protections.. If you are party to child custody litigation at any time in the future, the court may order release of information about your treatment in this office.  In some instances, as provided by the state law of Pennsylvania, information about your healthcare may be exchanged with other healthcare professionals involved in your treatment. In circumstances other than these, I will not release information about your treatment without your authorization.

Billing:  I am an out of network and out of Medicare provider.  Iwill provide a statement with appropriate codes for you to submit to your insurance company.

Professional Fees:

Payment in full is due either at time of service or within two weeks of receiving a bill.  Payments may be made with cash or check.  I do not accept credit cards.  

$25 processing fee will apply for any returned check.

Fees may include charges for other professional services such as report writing, extended telephone conversations or complex consultation with other professionals.

If you will be billed for any of these you will be notified in advance.