How does therapy work?
Therapy works by helping you to identify, address, and resolve issues that are negatively affecting your life. The primary means of doing this work is through talk therapy. Most therapists also focus on helping you make behavioral changes. Therapy focuses on changing those behaviors that are causing you or significant others pain and distress.
How long do the sessions last?
The initial evaluation session runs about 75 minutes. Individual sessions are 50 minutes. Couples sessions may run 50-90 minutes long, depending on what we together decide will be most productive way to utilize your time.
Will my insurance pay for the therapy?
The answer to this differs depending upon the benefits allocated by your insurance plan as well as what problems are being treated in the therapy. I have an Insurance Coverage Inquiry form on the Insurance Coverage Inquiry page that you can use to obtain all the pertinent information from your insurance company. That way, you can be adequately informed as to what part, if any, your insurance will pay, and for what part you will be responsible.
Will my privacy be protected?
You have the right to expect total privacy and confidentiality in your psychotherapy. The law requires that it is only with your explicit consent that the therapist is permitted to discuss with anyone any details of your therapy, including the fact of your participation in therapy. It is important to note, however, that under certain circumstances the law permits or requires disclosure of specific information including the following;
- Third party payments: If you are using insurance, you are giving the therapist permission to disclose diagnosis, dates of sessions, and type of therapy provided.
- Danger to self or others: Texas law allows a therapist to contact the police or the person being threatened if there is an immediate danger of suicide or homicide.
- Abuse of children, elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons: Texas law requires mental health professionals to report any suspected incidents of past or current abuse.
- Defense of malpractice or professional complaint: If you were to make a formal complaint against your therapist accusing him or her of unethical behavior or malpractice, the therapist would have the right to reveal information from therapy in order to defend him or herself.
- Uncollected debt: If you fail to meet your financial obligations to your therapist, he or she may reveal your name and the amount owed to a collection agency.
- Court subpoena: A court can subpoena medical records, including psychological and psychiatric records. The most common reason for a court subpoena is in child custody or children’s welfare issues. In divorce cases, with or without children, the court may issue a subpoena to examine the records to determine if any issue pertains to the case. Please inform your therapist immediately if you have any reason to believe that you may be involved in a legal proceeding.
How can I maximize the protection of my privacy and confidentiality?
If you would like to minimize the likelihood that anyone will know of your participation in therapy, it is recommended that you consider not using the mental health benefits provided by your insurance company. You might also consider paying in cash. I encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have about your privacy and confidentiality when we first meet.
Will I need to take medication?
That depends on how you are experiencing the problem that brings you into therapy. If you are not experiencing a great degree of distress, most likely medication will not be necessary. If, however, you are experiencing significant distress that is impairing your capacity to function at your full potential at your job, or at home, or a degree of upset that may also impair your ability to work in the therapy, I may recommend that you consider medication. While I am not licensed physicians, and therefore cannot prescribe medication, I collaborate with psychiatrists and physicians who can. If needed we will discuss this issue and make a decision as how to proceed.
What if the person with the problem doesn’t want therapy?
On occasion, a person may feel that their spouse, child, or friend is having serious emotional or behavioral problems, but finds that other person is resistant to seeking help. If you are the concerned party, you may find it helpful to meet individually with me and together we may be able to determine the best course of action. A family member can still work on issues even when his or her partner or loved one is not willing to attend.
How often will I meet with my therapist?
Usually, we will meet once a week. Sometimes we will agree that a more intensive course of therapy is required and I may suggest that we meet two or three times a week. As you approach the completion of your therapy, the sessions may be extended every two, three or four weeks. Sometimes we may agree for you to come back in a couple of months for a “tune-up” session.
How long will it take to resolve my problem?
That depends on a couple of factors: if your problem is focused and is not affecting many areas of your life, brief therapy may be all that is required. For moderate to severe problems that are more deeply ingrained or affect many areas of your life, more time and more effort will be required.