About My Practice
I practice brief, solution-focused psychotherapy for a variety of life's difficulties including:
You can find detailed information about my specialty areas by clicking on the links.
I am a licensed psychologist (License #PSY18892) with both a clinical and business background. You can find detailed information about my education, training, and experience here.
Most people are not sure exactly what psychotherapy is and who can benefit from it. In short, good therapy is:
Good psychotherapy is one of the best things you can do to improve your experience of life.
Even today, most people still think you have to be "crazy" to get therapy. There has always been a stigma associated with psychotherapy, but times are changing.
While the term "mentally ill" certainly applies to some people who need psychological help, for most people, the model of injury is a more appropriate conceptualization. There are differences between a medical illness and an injury, just as there are differences between a mental illness and a "mental injury."
Each of us experiences difficulties at some point in our life - usually after a major life event. Therapy can be very effective for basically healthy people who have experienced a major life event (a mental or emotional injury) - the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, a job or career change, etc.
Psychologists are experts at helping people find their way through life's difficulties, as well as creating new personal opportunities. We all face stress at some point in our lives, and it can be caused by things like relationship problems, physical illness, work stress, substance abuse or addiction, and career or family conflicts. Symptoms of anxiety and depression can often accompany these and other life challenges.
When you need to talk to someone who can help, you need an experienced, licensed psychologist. Therapy with a psychologist can help you get back on track, and can help you enhance your quality of life.
My Approach to Therapy
My approach to therapy is client-centered and humanistic. I affirm the dignity and worth of all people, regardless of any specific attribute they possess.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT begins with a careful and thorough assessment of your particular problem and is highly goal directed in nature. Specific remedies are developed for specific problems. Problems are improved by altering maladaptive thoughts and behaviors.
The present context is emphasized, rather than your past history. The goal of CBT is to prevent the recurrence of problematic thoughts and behaviors, allowing you new choices and different responses to life.
Brief, Solution-Focused Therapy
The basic premise of solution-focused therapy is to increase what is working and decrease what isn't working. Therapy usually focuses on the present situation, and only uses information from your past when it bears on your present problem.
One assumption in solution-focused therapy is that you bring a lot of personal strengths to coping in your life. The goal of solution-focused therapy is to increase and build on these strengths. The focus of therapy is on building workable solutions for the challenges you face.
Long-Term and Dynamic Psychotherapy
Longer-term psychotherapy has many variations. For people who wish to explore deeper levels of understanding and gain increased insight into their behavior and inner world, long-term therapy is an option.
My emphasis is psychodynamic and relational, which means that we explore early relationships, childhood and other significant life experiences, and your experience of how you relate to yourself and to me in the therapy room. I generally provide long-term therapy only for clients who have completed a course of brief or cognitive-behavioral therapy, or for clients who have a problem best treated by this method.
The goal of long-term therapy is to resolve early conflicts and develop a healthier relationship to yourself and others. This is achieved through an exploration of those conflicts, emotions, and relationships that have formed your world. Successful psychotherapy results in new psychological insight, additional choices, better expression and experience of feelings, positive behavior change, and improved satisfaction in relationships.
How Much Does It Cost?
For clients using insurance, your cost is usually a co-payment per visit. Insurance plans differ widely, so check with your insurance company to determine your specific benefit. I am also happy to work with you to determine your insurance coverage.
If your needs are outside my specialty area(s), I'll be happy to refer you to a qualified provider.
We can discuss my current standard fee during our consultation.If you have questions about fee arrangements, or concerns that you might not be able to afford therapy, please contact me to discuss whether an appropriate arrangement can be made, or for a referral.
Can I Use Insurance?
I am a network provider for some insurance plans. Once certified, you may use your benefits for my services. Usually, you will need to pay a co-payment for each visit. Contact me and I can help you determine your exact benefits.
If your insurance plan does not cover my services, you may apply for reimbursement from your insurance company (if available, depending upon your benefit plan), and I will help you by submitting paid claims. You may then be reimbursed directly by the insurance company for services you have received and paid for at my office.
If you elect to use insurance coverage for services, be sure to contact your insurance plan for specific benefit eligibility and instructions for seeking reimbursement. I'll be happy to help you with this, because it can be a complex and confusing process.
Concerns about using Insurance for Mental Health Services
Lack of Confidentiality
All Managed Care Plans (MCP's) involve direct clinical management by the plan's case managers. If you access therapy through your MCP, it makes it necessary for your therapist to disclose anything and everything related to your case to your MCP. The MCP uses this information to determine benefits, which they allocate at their own discretion. Your right of confidentiality is thus impacted, and it is possible that your information will be stored in a computer system which could be accessed by anyone.
The FBI and law enforcement officials can access your insurance information at any time. This information could be used to your disadvantage should a legal problem arise. Furthermore, this lack of confidentiality could impact your children even more negatively. Should they ever desire to apply for certain jobs or educational programs, such as law enforcement or the military, the information in their insurance files could be used against them.
Difficulty Getting Treatment Authorized
Due to the direct care management by MCP's and their desire to keep costs to a minimum, getting therapy sessions authorized often becomes cumbersome and time consuming. Every plan has different requirements and standards for authorizations. Usually they require many hours a week of paperwork and phone calls by the therapist in order to get authorizations. Some will deny therapy in lieu of taking prescription medications.
MCP's allow a certain number of therapy sessions per year. This does not mean that you can automatically access your benefits. Often you first have to be referred by a primary care physician, or you may have to go through a phone interview with a case manager at your MCP. You might have to contact several providers in order to find one who is accepting new clients. Once you have found a provider, there may be a long wait for an appointment due to pre-authorization requirements.
Then you are often given only 1-3 sessions to start, and may need to wait for more visits to be authorized, which can take weeks of phone calls and paperwork flow back and forth between the therapist and your MCP. Some MCP's want to control the treatment plan. Some will even dictate the specific treatment plan, and some plans will determine when it is time to terminate treatment, even when the client continues to need or want therapy. Some clients give up on their treatment due to these frustrations.Most of my clients have found that the direct pay option is best suited for their needs. There are several advantages to paying me directly, on an "as you go" basis. Cash and checks are accepted, though you may also pay with a credit or debit card at my office.
Benefits of Direct Pay
Most of my clients have found that the direct pay option is best suited for their needs. There are several advantages to paying me directly, on an "as you go" basis.
First, confidentiality is assured - only you and I have access to your records, not your insurance company. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of good therapy and professional practice. You need to be able to trust that your information is never disclosed without your consent. Your confidentiality can be limited when you elect to use insurance for payment of services.
Second, there are no restrictions on how you find the right psychologist or what services you decide to use. This flexibility is something you will not find if you elect to use insurance to pay for services. The plan of care and payment of services are discussed and set by mutual agreement between you and I, without third party involvement.