Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you take insurance?
A: I do not accept insurance. I am a fee-for-service provider and my rates can be found on the button above labeled "Session Rates"
Q: Why don't you take insurance?
A: This comes down to numerous factors such as: insurances only paying a fraction of what session fees are, length of time involved insurance carriers take to pay a clinician for services provided (30, 60 and in some cases 90 days or longer for any number of reasons).
Secondly, insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis (a mental disorder) to process payment. This means they won't process payment for a client who does not have a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder.
Here's a good example, insurance companies typically do not reimburse for Z-codes in the DSM-5, because these codes are not classified as mental health disorders. An example of a Z-code is "Z63.0: Problems in relationship with spouse or partner." Now most of my clients are couples and sure they might struggle with relationship issues but that doesn't necessarily mean they are all going to be clinically diagnosable with a mental health disorder.
Let's take it a step further and ask, does this mean that everyone under the sun who comes to seek help is now going to suffer from a clinically diagnosable mental health disorder of some sort so an insurance company can process payment?
Additionally, there are also Privacy Concerns to seriously consider when using insurance:
Whenever insurance is used, personal information such as your diagnosis (a mental health disorder) which insurance companies (as mentioned above) require for processing payment, as well as; treatment plans, reports of progress and other personal information becomes available to your insurance company and at times to employers. This information may be passed on even without your consent. The diagnosis and your mental health records will now become a part of your overall medical records and the information contained therefore becomes a permanent part of your records.
A diagnosis requirement is one that meets "medical necessity" (a term used to describe whether or not a procedure / treatment is needed to ensure a person's health). The burden of proof whether counseling is a medical necessity may be then on the client or clinician. I am then required to provide them with a report of your progress and they may expect a treatment plan and influence that plan.
Managed care organizations often ask and require detailed information about patients in order to make payment decisions, disability benefits, and for some career opportunities. Although having a mental health diagnosis may not be of concern for many individuals it is important to realize that any diagnosis becomes part of your permanent medical record and could have an adverse affect on obtaining future medical coverage, life insurance, disability benefits and again for some career opportunities.
Paying for therapy directly assures that confidentiality is not compromised and that insurance companies are not influencing your therapy.
The processes above in my opinion are highly unethical and unnecessarily put the client at risk to be diagnosed just so an insurance company can process payment; this action interferes in the therapist client relationship by way of determining what they will or won't pay for, and gives them a certain amount of leverage in the therapist client relationship. I do not take insurance to protect my client(s).
Q: Why are your rates so much?
A: The truth here is it's not cheap to become or to be a therapist in private practice. You first need an undergraduate degree, then you need a graduate degree, over 3,000 hours of supervised internship, several hundred hours in a practicum setting, a fingerprint scan background check in addition background checks from the FBI and the DOJ, you also have to take and pass a law and ethics test and a clinical license state exam. You will incur countless student loans plus interest (unless you have a benefactor), while ensuring all of these requirements are met and approved by the State.
Lastly, in reference to my rates, I assess and determine current market rates from other individuals in private practice and take into consideration I don't receive funding, stipends, grant money, or compensation from Federal/State, or County Institutions, Insurance Carriers, or from Special Interest Groups. This means all of my operating expenses for marketing, business and/or state licenses, lease agreements, utilities, internet access, association fees, websites, insurance costs, continuing education units, and legal fees come directly out of my budget.
Q: Are their benefits to working with a clinician who doesn't take insurance or state or government funding?
A: Absolutely, some of the biggest benefits include: I'm very responsive to and for my clients, and I work harder for you. Also, because I don't take insurance or government related agency funding your confidentiality, treatment plan, is not reviewed or influenced by a third party. I intentionally set my business up this way to ensure it reinforces my clients best interests are being served as per their directive as opposed to a multi-billion dollar insurance panel or a government related agency.
Additionally, because I'm not contracted with an insurance panel or government agency I'm not complacent in my work (again by design) to ensure my client gets the best bang for their buck when they work with me as opposed to an individual who has 30 plus clients a week with a majority of them from coming an insurance carrier or government agency. After decades of this type of "old-school" practice human nature takes over and clients become a number with this mindset; which is another reason why when people call a clinician they report no one calls them back.
Lastly, because everything is riding on me figuratively and literally I sink or swim based on my merit in the eyes of the client. That means if I do right by you chances are you'll refer others to me by virtue of the experience you had in working with me again ensuring I work hard for you and not the other way around.
Q: How would you describe your approach to working with a client in session?
A: When I agree to take on a case and a client decides to hire me, I take time and determine and assess from the client's point of view what they want to accomplish in their work with me and then work with the client to achieve those goals and/or objectives. My approach and style in session is largely driven by what's going on in the session, where they are, and where we are in the therapist client relationship, when it's situationally-approporiate there are times when I will be direct and to the point, hold my client accountable for their actions or lack thereof, I can also be empathetic, compassionate, validating, understanding, nurturing, and reassuring again when it's appropriate. In essence, when I work with a client the client welfare/safety and client advocacy is my priority; this also includes when it looks like your work is done, I don't hang on to your case to line my pockets. I let you go so you can get back to thriving in your life experience and if needed you can always contact me in the future to resume services as needed.
Q: Are their specific types of cases you generally take on?
A: Yes, I generally work with couples or individual clients for a wide range of issues. If you have a specific need that I don't have listed you want to do yourself a favor and do an internet search to find someone who specializes in what you want to get help with.
Q: What is the difference between life coaching and psychotherapy?
A: According to (Teplitsky), "Coaches meet their clients in the present moment and focus on the future. They clarify goals, identify obstacles, and create action plans. Coaching is a stream of positive psychology. In my coaching practice, I have adopted a future oriented coaching philosophy. Though I believe that the past has contributed greatly to where we are today including the difficulties we have today, I do not linger on the past and very much focus on moving forward.
Therapy, also called counseling or psychotherapy, is a long-term process in which a client works with a healthcare professional to resolve problematic beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, feelings and physical responses as well as sometimes diagnose mental illness. Therapy is introspective and often less goal-oriented than coaching. Therapists work through emotions, behaviors, and thought patterns with their clients.
The main way that a coach vs. therapist works is that the life coach takes the client’s current starting point as an acceptable neutral ground and is more action-based from that point onward.
Therapy will focus on your thoughts and feelings and how they are informed by your past. Life coaching may touch on these concepts as you break down your limiting beliefs and examine your blueprint, but its ultimate focus is always on the present and the future."
Teplitsky, P. (n.d.). Life coach vs. therapist. Pripo. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.pripo.com/life-coach-vs-therapist