A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Finding resolution to the concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning methods to cope effectively with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Discovering new ways to solve problems at work, home or school
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. It is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist--usually every 1-2 weeks--depending on the type of work you want to do. See counseling vs. personal coaching.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
I am not currently credentialed with any insurance companies. This means I do not file insurance claims and instead get paid directly from you. As an out-of-network provider, I will provide a Super Bill which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
I recommend that the first thing you should do is call your insurance company to decide what is best for you. Find out if you have mental health benefits and check your coverage carefully--make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them are:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
I want you to feel empowered and informed when making important decisions about your mental health care. Before using your benefits, I encourage you to investigate all options and arrive at an informed decision regarding your health care. You can always decide to use your benefits, but you can’t reverse many of the negative consequences after using them.
Required Diagnosis of a Mental Illness
The rule is that insurance companies only pay for services that are considered “medically necessary” (more on this below). This means that in order to utilize your medical insurance for mental health treatment, you must be diagnosed with a mental illness disorder and determined that your mental health condition is affecting your health and overall functioning on a daily basis.
The problem is that many of life’s difficulties, and the reasons why people seek mental health treatment, are not mental illness disorders and are not diagnosable. When this is the case, your medical insurance is not going to cover the treatment. Many of the clients that I see do not have a diagnosable disorder, so any intentions they had of ever using their medical insurance (in-network or not) to cover treatment becomes irrelevant. You may be thinking, “so just diagnose me,” but equally important is that any ethical therapist will not simply diagnose you for the sake of using your insurance for treatment. In the long run, this may be a very good thing.
Other Problems with Using Insurance for Payment:
- “Medical Necessity”
- Pre-existing Conditions on your Record
- Loss of Control of Treatment
- Loss of Confidentiality
- Privacy of your medical record
- Unexpected costs
How Payment at my Office Works
You can either pay out of pocket without informing your insurance provider at all. Another option is for you pay the my office directly but submit a statement to your insurance for direct reimbursement to you. However, the statement you submit (called a superbill) still must contain a mental illness diagnosis and the date, type and length of session attended. This option does not resolve issues concerning confidentiality and your medical record, but allows you to maintain more control of your treatment than when using an in-network provider. You will want to call your insurance company ahead of time to confirm they will reimburse you.
What is Confidentiality and what are Exceptions to Confidentiality?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. As outlined in my Mandatory Informed Consent and Disclosure Agreement, what you talk about in sessions is private and confidential, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders is mandated to be reported to persons, agencies or authorities, including Dept of Human Services and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources, to protect whomever is in danger.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is in serious and imminent danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm another person.