How Do I Find The Right Therapist?
There is no straightforward, simple formula for identifying the “right” therapist because the right therapist may be right for you but not for someone else.
Decades of research on the psychotherapy process show the quality of the therapist-patient relationship to be most strongly associated with progress in treatment.
So consider first whether you would prefer to work with a male or female therapist. Then schedule a few consultation appointments with different therapists and work with the one who feels “right” to you and who has the qualifications to treat your condition.
What Can I Expect in the First Session?
The first session is a consultation session – a time for you to tell me what troubles you and what you would like to change. I will tell you if I think I could be helpful or if I know another therapist or another professional who would prove more helpful. It is also a time for you to ask me questions about my work and my training and for you to see if you’d like for us to work together. We will also discuss fees, insurance, and confidentiality.
Do You Take Insurance?
My payment policy is fee-for-service only, and I am thus considered an “out of network provider” under insurance plans. Depending on the kind of insurance plan you have, your plan may reimburse my fees in part of in full. With your consent, I can submit claims electronically to your insurance provider on your behalf. I will also give you a monthly statement for your records.
Will My Insurance Plan Cover Therapy Sessions?
Insurance plans come with different kinds and levels of coverage – some cover mental health treatment, while others do not. The easiest way to find out if mental health care is covered under your plan is for you to contact your insurance company. Below are some questions that are helpful to ask:
- Does my insurance plan cover mental health services?
- Does my plan cover out of network mental health providers?
- Is “pre-authorization” required before I meet with the provider?
- Is there a limit on the number of sessions that my plan will cover on an annual basis?
- What is the annual deductible and what is the co-insurance under my plan?
The deductible is what you pay out of pocket before your insurance starts paying. The co-insurance is the percentage amount of my fee that the plan will cover. Typically, after the deductible is met, a plan will cover 60%-75% of my fee.
Is Therapy Confidential?
Yes, with some exceptions. In general, communications between a client and a psychotherapist is confidential and may only be disclosed with the patient’s written consent. The principal exceptions to this rules are in cases of:
- In the case of suspected child abuse and dependent adult or elder abuse, I am required by law to report this to the applicable authorities.
- If a patient has a plan and currently intends to physically hurt another person, I must notify the police and the intended victim.
- If a client has a plan and currently intends to kill himself or herself, I am obligated to take steps to keep that client safe.
If you submit claims to your insurance company or if you authorize me to do so on your behalf, some information about the treatment, such as your diagnosis and the procedures, is disclosed to the insurance company.
How Often Should I Come To Therapy?
Most patients attend one 45 minute session per week. The recommendation for frequency of sessions may vary depending on your schedule, your goals, and your condition. Maintaining a regular, weekly appointment time facilitates progress in therapy.
How Long Does Therapy Last?
That depends on your goals and the kind of therapy we have agreed upon. During the course of treatment, we would track progress towards the treatment goals and reassess the time frame for treatment accordingly. Research finds that treatment typically lasts 6 months to 2 years, with most people achieving their goals in about 6 months.
What Is The Difference Between A Psychologist and A Psychiatrist?
A Psychologist has received a doctorate degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and is state-licensed to practice psychology, including clinical procedures such as psychotherapy and diagnostic assessment.
A Psychiatrist has a medical degree (usually an M.D.) and has completed a psychiatric residency in a hospital setting. Psychiatrists are state licensed as medical doctors and can prescribe medications.
How Do I Know If A Psychologist Is Licensed?
Psychologists and other mental health professionals must be licensed by the State. In New York State, you can find out if a psychotherapist is licensed by checking with New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions. This State office maintains an online list of licensed professionals.