Frequently Asked Questions //
I am very appreciative of your inquiry for services as a potential new client. As a way to show that appreciation, I offer this information to help you make the best decision for your own health and wellness needs.
Where is your office?
Currently, I am offering teletherapy through Zoom. At this point in time, Governor Wolfe recommends working remotely whenever possible. Because I could not ensure the safety of my clients in my small office space, I decided to leave my office of seven years, but when it is safer to counsel in person, I will see clients in Lower Bucks County and in Center City, Philadelphia and both offices will be accessible for those who have physical challenges.
The term "teletherapy" refers to mental health counseling over the phone or online. In my opinion, if it’s a matter of teletherapy vs. no therapy, get the help wherever you can. It may be a temporary arrangement given the state of the world, or you may find that it works better for you long-term. You really won't know until you try it. Many of my clients have found they enjoy the convenience and the comfort of their own home, but if you have concerns about technology, confidentiality, or difficulty connecting, talk to me first.
What are your hours?
I work by appointment only and am available during the day and in the evenings. My counseling availability is flexible and depends on the needs of my clientele, however my primary days are Wednesdays and Thursdays since I teach on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. I don’t teach during the summertime.
What are your fees? How do I pay?
My fee is $100.00 per clinical hour. I do offer a sliding scale fee and I’d be glad to discuss those details during our initial consultation. Payment is due at the beginning of each session, and each client is required to have a credit card on file. I charge through Square and I am able to accept HSA accounts.
A word about fees, insurance, etc. – It is important to recognize that when you undertake the expense of counseling, your first reaction might be, ‘I can’t afford this.’ I understand this. It is also possible that you think you can’t afford it when you can, because the idea of spending money on yourself is something you don’t feel good about. This is something we can look at more closely when we meet.
Do you take my insurance?
I am not on any insurance panels and do not work directly with insurance companies. This decision comes from a desire to give you the best treatment possible without being influenced by insurance companies and their policies. Some insurance plans cover telehealth and online counseling. During the COVID-19 quarantine most insurance plans are covering this service and I would be glad to give you the provider code when inquiring if you are covered. Please contact your insurance provider for more information. I’d recommend asking these questions to your insurance provider to help determine your benefits:
Does my health insurance plan include mental health benefits?
Do I have a deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
Does my plan limit how many sessions per calendar year I can have? If so, what is the limit?
Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for services to be covered?
I have worked with a lot of clients who, initially, are set on using insurance to pay for services. One of the first questions that people interested in therapy ask is, “Do you take my insurance?” Most of us don’t know all the ins and outs of our health insurance plans. When I tell folks I am an out of network provider, most don’t know if they even have out of network benefits. Although having mental health benefits give many more people access to therapy, it comes at a price. Given changes happening in health care law, it’s essential to know the long term costs of using insurance to pay for therapy. Once you learn what these risks are, you can decide if using your health insurance is worth it.
You will have a pre-existing condition on your insurance record:
In order to bill your insurance company, a therapist needs to diagnose you with a mental illness. This means that your insurance record will forever contain that information. Given expected changes in health care laws, this will make buying health, disability, and life insurance harder and more expensive for you and your family. You will only qualify for limited, high deductible plans with high co-pays. The first phase of these restrictions is already in place. You may be thinking, “Who cares? Everything is a pre-existing condition now.” Mental health diagnoses can be treated differently. If you don’t believe that, just ask someone who is considered uninsurable due to a diagnosis they received.
You might have to wait months for an appointment:
The average wait time for an appointment at an insurance practice is 2-4 months. By the time you can see someone, you’ll have lost the momentum that pushed you to call in the first place, and/or you’ll be worse than before. You may even require an intensive treatment program instead of weekly sessions by that point.
You lose control over the confidentiality of your information:
A mental health diagnosis goes on your permanent insurance record. This record can be accessed by any insurance company or government agency during background checks. If you need security clearance for work, want to join the military, are applying for jobs that require a criminal background check, or are involved in a Workman’s Comp case, or seeking child custody, all your mental health information can be accessed.
You’re less likely to be committed to the process:
Paying $100 for a therapy session can add up. However, there’s a lot of research showing that people value what they pay for. The more you pay, the more invested you are in making sure you get something out of it. Here’s a basic example. If you’re about to pay $100 for a meal, you’re more likely to research the restaurant, get dressed up, ask the server questions, and savor each bite. How often do you do this when you pay $15 for a meal? If your finances are so limited that using insurance is the only way you’ll get the therapy you need, then please do it. If your co-pay is too high, please contact community mental health centers or university training clinics that offer discounted therapy.
Getting treatment is always the priority.
Whenever possible, go with the provider that’s the best fit for your personality and needs. Some people choose a therapist and stay with them only because they take their insurance. Staying with a therapist who is a poor fit for what you need will significantly impact how successful you will be. This is especially important in therapy where treatment by someone who isn’t a good fit for your personality could make you worse and prolong your suffering.
- Thanks to Dr. Ronit Levy for the information
Can you help me file with my insurance?
I can provide receipts for my services, along with pertinent information as required by your carrier. You would then submit on your own. Your carrier will consider me to be an out-of-network outpatient mental health provider, and you may be reimbursed for a portion of the fee, depending on your specific plan. It is important to check with your provider to inquire about your out of network outpatient mental health benefits.
What is your cancellation policy?
During the pandemic, I have waived all cancellation fees.
Do you have forms to complete prior to the first session?
You will be getting an email from Hushmail, which is a secure way to email and send documents that require a signature. I appreciate you taking the time to fill out these important forms. Just follow the prompts and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 215-431-3111.
How long are your sessions?
Sessions usually last 50 minutes unless otherwise arranged. The time scheduled for your appointment is assigned to you and you alone. Sometimes young children need only a half hour session, and many of my clients who have entered a maintenance phase of therapy are seen for a half-hour every other week, or an hour a month. For those engaged in TF-CBT, we will discuss the format of sessions during our initial assessment.
How often would we meet?
During the beginning of therapy, I like to ‘front-load’ the system and see clients weekly for the first month, if time and cost are not prohibitive. Usually clients wish they would have made an appointment sooner and are eager to get to the work. I do not offer clients in the beginning of therapy monthly appointments – in the first month, once every other week is the minimum and we can assess progress based on your appointment schedule to help decide if weekly or every other week is meeting your needs.
How long does the process take?
Due to the varying nature and severity of problems and the individuality of each client, I am unable to predict the length of your therapy or to guarantee a specific outcome or result. Counseling is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for the therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things we talk about both during our sessions and at home.For mental health issues, the length of therapy depends on your symptoms and how bad they are. It also depends on your life situation, beliefs, values, expectations, and how much work you’re willing to do.
Many patients stick with therapy for a while because they like having a trusted and private adviser who understands what makes them tick. Many of my clients work on particular issues, feel better, and then return for ‘booster’ sessions if needed. Some of my clients enter a maintenance phase to keep accountable to their goals, and may continue to see me for more than a year, but therapy is finite, not forever.
With what ages do you work?
Children as young as 4 years old, especially for parenting support. I see school-age children, teens, and adults into their 60s.
How do I get the most out of working with you?
Show up consistently. Be open and honest, even if it does not feel comfortable. Try new things that we discuss. Do your homework. Let me support you.
I may be interested in working with you. Do you have any references?
Yes, I do! Please check them out here.
Will I have to take medication?
Not necessarily. It varies on a case by case basis. We will discuss your situation and develop a plan that makes sense. I cannot prescribe medication but I work closely with several psychiatrists in the community and can provide you with a referral.
How does the therapy process work? What do I do to get started?
Many people considering therapy are not sure what to expect. First call me at 215-431-3111 to schedule an appointment. Once you confirm the day and time, I will send you a Zoom link.
Therapy begins with an in-depth conversation of your background, needs, and what you are seeking to accomplish in our work together.
What would a successful outcome of our time be?
Using probing questions, we construct a shared understanding of your situation. This discussion may help you to think about your situation in a different way and further clarify your goals. At the end of that initial meeting, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work together might include, or I will notify you if I believe that I am not the right therapist for you, and, if so, I will give you referrals to other practitioners whom I believe are better suited to help you. If we decide to continue with therapy, goals will be set and periodically revisited.