1. When should I seek out a therapist?
I believe awareness is essential in identifying when someone needs to seek out therapy. When you begin to see or notice marked changes in behaviors, appearance, mood, sleeping habits, eating habits, activities, and/or friends, I suggest you seek out a therapist. If you are a parent/guardian, you know your child better than anyone. Be mindful of these changes and schedule an initial appointment for your child. Mental health and the field of psychology comes with a stigma that one must be “crazy” to be in therapy. However, according to the latest statistics with SAMHSA, around 20% of adults and 10% of youth meet criteria for a mental health diagnosis(es), yet only 39% of them entered treatment of some sort. You, your child, or significant other may be going through a tough transition, have lost a significant person in their life, or struggling to identify their life goals, which all makes for a perfect therapy candidate.
2. What is the duration and frequency of therapy?
That depends is the short answer! For adults (18+) Your first appointment, the intake, will last an hour. I will initially discuss patient rights, confidentiality, and gather initial information. Each ongoing session will last between 45-60 minutes. Frequency of therapy usually starts off at once a week. Symptom severity can guide how many sessions you need; however, insurance eligibility and benefits typically dictates the number of sessions per year.
For child and adolescent therapy, your first appointment, the intake, will last an hour. I will meet with the child/teen and guardian/parent first to discuss patient rights, confidentiality, and gather initial information. I will then meet with the child/teen individually, then the parent/guardian individually, and then bring everyone back together. Each ongoing session will last between 45-60 minutes. Frequency of therapy usually starts off at once a week. Symptom severity can guide how many sessions a teenager needs to see improvement. However, insurance eligibility and benefits typically dictates the number of sessions per year.
3. Why do I need a diagnosis and what is a treatment plan?
When we meet for the second session, I will discuss with you the symptoms that you are presenting with how they lead to a mental health diagnosis(es). In order for billing purposes, I must diagnose you based upon criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 th Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 is a clinical guide all mental and medical health providers use to formally diagnose patients and clients. I will engage in psycho-education around what the diagnosis(es) look like, etiology, and best course of action. Speaking of course of action, this is what our treatment plan is for. Based upon your presenting issues and concerns brought to light during your intake, I create goals for your therapeutic process. I will discuss these goals with you, identifying specific objectives we will work on in therapy to help you reach those goals. Treatment plans are like road maps. They help us get from Point A- where you currently are to Point B- where you want to go, staying on track the whole time. Just like a road map, there are several routes people can take to get from Point A to Point B, so it is a fluid document that can change as we progress through treatment.
4. What types of insurance do you accept, what is the cost of therapy, and do you have a sliding scale fee?
I am in-network with several private insurances including BCBS, AETNA, CBHA, MedCost, and CIGNA. Please check eligibility and benefits (what is your deductible, do you have co-insurance, do you have a copay?) prior to the session, as you will be required to enter this information into your intake paperwork for billing purposes. If you do not check ahead of time, you will be charged my full out of pocket rate until insurance reimburses me. If you do not see your insurance listed above, please contact your provider and inquire about out-of-network benefits, as I am able to provide you a monthly superbill to file with your provider directly. I am also paneled with several EAP providers, so inquire with your employer about additional benefits to you. If you choose not to use your insurance, you are responsible for full out of pocket cost. If you do not receive insurance through your employer, ineligible for Medicaid/Medicare, and cannot afford my out of pocket rate, please ask me about my pro-bono appointments.
5. For those -18 years old, what does parent involvement look like throughout the therapeutic process?
I understand that though the identified patient is the child/teen, this does not mean that the family should not participate or be made aware of the goings on while in therapy. My family-centered approach involves the parent(s)/guardians while safeguarding the patient’s rights. In the initial session, I will explain the terms of confidentiality and how they may break confidentiality if there are significant concerns of safety. As the parent(s)/guardian, you will understand what your teen has been diagnosed with, what their treatment plan looks like, as well as opportunities to discuss concerns with me on a consistently regular basis. In addition, I understand how the teen’s presenting issues may have a ripple effect to the rest of the family or the teen’s presenting issues may be a result of family discord.
6. What should I do if I or my child/teen is having suicidal or homicidal ideation?
If you are concerned about your or your child’s ability to remain safe, please go to CMC-Randolph Behavioral Health Center for an immediate psychiatric evaluation to assess risk and danger to self or others. You can also contact their 24/7 hour call center at (704)444-2400. You can also contact Mobile Crisis Team at (704)566-3410 and someone from the team will come to your home or other identified safe location to assess for risk and danger to self or others.
7. What is your cancellation, no show policy?
I require a 24 hour notification for it to be considered a cancellation of the appointment. If it is within the 24 hour period of your appointment, it is considered a no show and you will be charged the full price out of pocket cost for that session. If you cancel more than 3 appointments, then you may lose your requested time slot for future appointments, and I will want to discuss engagement at that time.