Frequently Asked Questions
Email Policies and Confidentiality Statement
For the sake of the confidentiality and security of any who come to this site looking for help, the following points need to be made: E-mail is not a secure or confidential medium.
I cannot guarantee that any e-mail that you may send to me will remain confidential.
E-mail names, including my own, can be copied and used to misrepresent the identity of the sender. This is a very easy thing to do. Do not assume that any unsolicited e-mail you receive from me is authentic unless we have previously had contact or correspondence.
I will never send you an e-mail with an attachment, unless this is something we have discussed beforehand.
I have adopted the policies discussed on this web page to prevent risk to clients, breach of security, breach of confidentiality, and to assure compliance with ethical and legal standards of health care delivery.
How long will therapy take?
The estimated length of treatment is often affected by several variables. Two of the most important variables include the reason for treatment and the client’s level of motivation. Length of treatment often varies from client to client. Because of these variables, I can make no guarantees about treatment length or success.
Will therapy work for me?
Therapy (both Psychotherapy as well as Cognitive/Behavioral) has been reported to help many individuals suffering from mental or relational distress or disorders. For further statistical information please look at the American Psychological Association (APA) website. Please keep in mind that no mental health provider will be able to help everyone they meet and if a therapist cannot help you, then they should provide you with a referral to someone who can. You should be aware that, although I anticipate otherwise, despite treatment you may not improve at all, you might not improve as quickly as you might like, or you may start to improve only after treatment has ended. You should also be aware that treatment is intended to induce change in your life, and sometimes when this change occurs it can directly or indirectly affect your accustomed manner of living and your relationships with others.
Do you take insurance?
While I believe third-party payers, such as insurance companies, can potentially interfere with effective treatment and raise issues around confidentiality, I am also a Preferred Provider on a few PPO panels, but it is best to call me to see if your insurance coverage is applicable or accepted by me. If I am not a provider on your insurance panel, then services are rendered on a fee-for-service basis and I can provide a standardized super bill that most insurance companies accept for reimbursement. If you plan on submitting a super bill to your insurance company, please be aware that each individual's coverage is different, and it is advisable to check with your insurance company prior to seeking reimbursement.
Also, each insurance company provides different degrees of coverage. Please be aware that most managed care organizations employ a case manager to control the cost to the organization. Although the literature provided by the insurance company may imply you are entitled to a specific number of mental health treatment sessions, it is up to the individual case manager to decide whether or not the reason you are seeking treatment is justifiable. If you are approved for treatment, you will be given a limited number of sessions that will specify the type of treatment that case manager feels you should have. Often, a case manager will have little, if any, professional training in the field of psychology. This unfortunately dictates the type of treatment, the duration of treatment, the manner in which the treatment will be implemented, as well as the desired outcome. This treatment plan may not necessarily coincide with the wishes and the judgment of the mental-health professional or patient.
When seeking reimbursement for mental health services, please be aware of the following concerns regarding confidentiality. The State of California has rightfully enacted stringent rules governing the privacy of any individual who seeks treatment from a licensed mental-health professional. Any information shared with a therapist MUST be kept strictly confidential. However, insurance companies require that this privacy be broached in order for them to provide reimbursement. Managed-care organizations require detailed information regarding the reasons the client has sought treatment, the diagnosis, treatment planning and the progress of the patient throughout treatment. Therefore, the patient must sign a release in order for the clinician to share detailed information regarding the treatment to the insurance company. This information is then logged and maintained in The Medical Insurance Database. Although this information has received some additional level of protection (due to the new HIPPA regulations), this information is permanently recorded and can follow you if any individual or entity has legal reasons to assess your medical records.
How do I choose a therapist?
This is a very personal decision. I suggest checking out the APA's Help Center website, which has information about how talking to a psychologist can help someone, and how to choose a psychologist. From my standpoint, a therapist should be professional, honest, easy to understand, non-judgmental, and non-punitive. There may be some special quality or characteristic you desire in a therapist. Try to give the new therapy relationship a little time before you make up your mind about whether it's for you or not. Give feedback to your therapist, and see how you feel about the dialogue that ensues. Listen to your feelings. Therapy can be challenging and even at times seem threatening. The quality of the feedback from the therapist, the safety he or she provides, will probably go a long way in helping you decide whether that therapist is right for you or not.
How do I know if I need therapy?
Therapy and counseling are sought for numerous reasons. Do you feel like you have “lost control” over certain situations in your life and you’re not sure how they got that way or if they will ever get better? I have noticed that people will wait until they are in a lot of pain before they seek help from someone. Going to see a therapist is a sign of personal strength and wisdom, a recognition of the importance you give to yourself and your well-being.
The stigma of seeking psychological help is unfortunately part of what we are typically taught in this society, but in therapy you will find acceptance, strength, as well as, hopefully, the help you desire. The bottom line is that if you are bothered by problems with emotions or behaviors, if you feel like those problems are affecting your daily life and that you are losing control, then now may be the time to look at getting some help. You are not alone and millions of people are either in therapy or have seen a therapist and have achieved very positive results.