What can I expect when I contact you?
I respond within 24 hours to telephone calls and email contacts. I'm usually able to return your call within 8 hours or less as I believe it is very important to respond to you as soon as possible. I welcome questions so that you can determine if making an appointment with me is right for you. Some of the questions people have are: Do you have experience with the issues and problems I want to work on? What is your approach? How long is a session? How much does it cost? Will my insurance cover this service? Please see below for additional information about insurance. Because I maintain a small practice, you will find me very accessible and able to accommodate most requests for appointment and phone times.
What can I expect when we have the first appointment?
The waiting room at my office will be open, and you can come in and make yourself comfortable. There is hot water available for tea if you'd like to make yourself a cup, and there are reading materials. I will greet you in the waiting room at or very close to the appointment time we set. Our first session will give us both an opportunity to get to know each other. I will find out more about your strengths, concerns, your hopes and needs. You will get a sense of my style and how I work, and have opportunities to ask me any questions you have. I will get some background information and begin formulating some ideas for how we might best work together, and will help you formulate one or some goals if you are unsure. Goals are important so that we can both be held accountable for moving in the direction you have determined is right for you. Most people feel like they know enough at the end of the first session to decide if they have found a good working match.
What is the difference between talk therapy and yoga therapy?
Indeed, there are many paths to the top of the mountain. Either or both of these methods can support and guide you to your intentions and goals. Some people have experienced talk therapy and are no longer interested in that path, while others have found it useful, even life saving, and want to continue that route when new challenges present themselves. There is growing interest and research that support the value and efficacy of tapping into the wisdom of the body. Being in and with the body through breath, posture and guided meditative self-inquiry allows us to listen and learn in new ways. Yoga therapy will utilize LifeForce Yoga®, iRest Yoga Nidra®, meditation practices and yogic self inquiry techniques according to the work you want to do.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created". For those of us for whom the mind and our fear based thinking is the origin of many problems, yogic practices provide ways to "solve the problem" without relying on what caused the problem.
Will my insurance pay for outpatient mental health services?
Most insurance does pay for mental health services, however, depending upon your plan, there are certain limitations and restrictions. The best way to determine exactly what your plan will pay for is to speak with either a representative from your insurance company or the human resources or another person in charge of insurance matters from the business that provides the benefits. When the information is written, be certain that it is up to date.
What are in-network benefits?
Most insurance companies have in-network providers that they contract with to offer out patient mental health services. To utilize these services, they will provide you with either the names of groups to call, or individual therapists who are contracted to provide services for them. You are responsible for your co-pay. You may want to ask the following questions:
What if the therapist who was recommended to me is out of network?
- How do I access my in-network benefits?
- What is my co-pay for these benefits? Is there a deductible I must meet?
- How many sessions are allowed in a year?
If the therapist is licensed in the state of Pennsylvania, and your insurance company allows this benefit, you can be reimbursed at the ‘out of network’ provider rates. Typically you will be told that there is a deductible to be met, and that after it is met, you will be reimbursed at 50% of the charge. There is wide variation in what benefits are offered, not only from one insurance company to another, but within the same insurance company.
In order to determine what your payment responsibility is, it is important to get answers to the following questions:
What are the advantages of in-network versus out of network services?
- Do I have an ‘out of network’ mental health benefit?
- Is there a deductible, and if so, what is it?
- What is the reimbursement rate after the deductible is met? (It is important to ask if this rate is calculated on the therapist’s charge or what the insurance company thinks the therapist should charge. Some companies will be reimbursing at 50% of a much lower fee than your therapist charges. Some deductibles are calculated in this manner as well.)
- Is there a ceiling on how much money will be reimbursed in a year?
- Is there a limit on the number of sessions that are allowed in a year?
In-network services are more affordable for many people. Some out of network therapists have sliding fee scales, and some offer payment plans, however, their fees are typically higher than the co-pay for in-network services. When your physician or someone you know personally recommends an out of network therapist, you are often closer to getting the therapeutic relationship that will work well for you. However, if you are able to find a therapist who has the expertise you need and by whom you can be helped within your insurance network, you will also be well served.
Some therapists who work in networks limit the number of people from a network that they see; I have heard examples of people who have called a number of therapists who their insurance company told them to call, only to hear that they either don’t have openings for in-network clients, or that they are no longer an in-network provider.
I just can’t afford to go out of network. How can I increase my chances of getting what I need when using my network of providers?
Asking the following questions will help you get what you need if you are going to use the in-network services of either a group practice or an individual therapist.
- If it is a group, is the initial, or intake interview, done by the same person who would do the ongoing therapy, or would there be another therapist assigned?
- Depending upon the issues for which you are seeking help, i.e., depression, grief, addiction, trauma related problems, etc., what are the areas of expertise of the therapist(s) available to you? How long has s/he been in practice? Is s/he planning to be with this practice for a while? These types of questions are particularly relevant if you are seeking help for a child or adolescent. Working with children and/or adolescents is considered a specialty. It is your right to determine what factors are important for you in order to work well with someone. For example, it may be best for you to work with a woman versus a man, and the person’s age (life experience) and years of professional experience may also be important.