What can I expect from our sessions?
In my approach, I use a combination of talk therapy and Brainspotting with somatic/mindfulness techniques. I generally tell clients that I use talk therapy for gaining insight into one’s patterns, while the Brainspotting is a method to help create deep shifts in our automatic emotional reactions. As I often tell people, the progress that can be made through Brainspotting is significantly faster and more efficient than by doing talk therapy alone.
For clients that like homework, I will also provide an activation/trigger worksheet where you will write down any moments throughout the week where you notice an emotional trigger. This helps to gain greater insight into one’s emotional, thought, behavioral and somatic (body-based) patterns that may have been otherwise unrecognized. This homework is particularly good for clients with anxiety and/or panic attacks, though it is a practice that everyone can benefit from.
When appropriate, I may reference the Enneagram, a personality typology, that can provide insight into your automatic patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings as well as how you relate to others. The benefit of Enneagram is that it isn’t a model that merely tells you “this is the box you’re in”, but it also provides insight into how you can improve and develop.
I am also skilled in working with dreams. So when I have clients who experience nightmares or reoccurring dreams, I will guide clients to explore all the meanings and associations of the different elements of the dream in order to gain greater insight and to help shift the emotional content that wants attention. Working with dreams can also help to provide insight into areas that we can do Brainspotting on.
Are sessions in person or online?
All of my sessions are done online via HIPAA compliant Zoom in order to ensure confidentiality and privacy. Therefore, I am able to see clients located anywhere in California. I generally recommend that clients meet with me via a computer or tablet, as sessions via cell phone tend to have more interruptions due to incoming calls and texts. However, I am flexible and able to accommodate if some weeks you can only meet via your phone for various reasons.
Will we meet every week or can we meet every other week?
In order to build momentum and gain the most out of therapy, I recommend meeting on a weekly basis. This helps me get to know you and it helps both of us gain insight into your habitual patterns.
Research shows that meeting less than weekly is less effective and that it is ultimately more costly in terms of money, time and energy spent overall.
When there is a longer break between sessions, the sessions become more of a summary of experiences rather than a focus on core issues. We ultimately end up spending the session attempting to “catch up” so we can try to get to the root of the issues, only to never really “catch up” and the core issues get overlooked.
How long will I be in therapy?
From an ethical standpoint, I don’t believe that I can (or should) state how many sessions would be required to meet goals. There are a lot of factors at play that impact the length of time that it takes for people to meet their goals — their history, the issues they’re wanting to work on, whether they’ve been to therapy before or not, and even the goals they’ve set for themselves. No two people are alike.
I have some clients who I see for 6 months and then end because they got what they came for. For other clients, I see them for 2 years before they feel ready to end.
Generally speaking, once clients reach a certain level of progress towards goals, we will begin fazing out by reducing our frequency of sessions from once a week to once every two weeks. This conversation to potentially reduce frequency can be brought up by either the client or myself.
What are your fees?
My fee is $180 per 50-minute session. If longer session times are requested, I would pro-rate the fee. Payments are made through a debit or credit card via IvyPay (a HIPAA compliant payment app for therapists). If you have an HSA or FSA, that can also work for payment.
I currently do not have any sliding scale availability. However, I am connected to other therapists who have different fees and sliding scale availability. So feel free to reach out if you would like a referral.
I do have a 48 hour cancellation policy. So if you have to cancel in less than 48 hours, you will be charged the full cost of the session. If it was an emergency or sickness-related, I give clients the opportunity to make up for the session within 1 week of the cancellation. Of course, this is contingent on my own availability of that week, though in most cases we are able to sort out a day and time for a makeup.
Do you take insurance?
I am considered an out-of-network provider and I do NOT bill insurance.
However, if you have a PPO, I can provide you with a superbill, which is essentially an invoice showing the amount of money you’ve paid for therapy. You can then submit the superbill to your insurance company for the amount to either go towards your deductible or to be reimbursed a percentage of the cost. This depends on your insurance plan and the insurance company.
Please note that all superbills require a mental health diagnosis.
For more information, contact your health insurance provider.
What are my options in using insurance for therapy? Do I want to use insurance for therapy?
Figuring out the maze of insurance when it comes to getting access to psychotherapy can be messy and stressful. Here’s an outline of all the options that are available to you so you can determine which avenue is the best fit for you:
(1) Do you have an HMO or PPO?
HMO: Insurance will only cover in-network therapists (this generally includes people who have coverage through Medi-Cal or Medicare)
- Low cost for you
- Finding a therapist is fairly straightforward. For this option, you will contact your insurance company and find out which therapists are in-network. You then contact the therapist, schedule and you’re good to go!
- * For those with Kaiser, patients used to receive a referral for Magellan or Beacon and then find a therapist in those networks. As of 2020, Kaiser is now directly paneled with therapists so the process should be easier and faster.
- You may not get to choose your therapist.
- Many therapists paneled with insurance companies are full, so there are limited options and you may be placed on a long waitlist.
- Your insurance company dictates the treatment. Your insurance company has say over which issues, which approaches and which therapists they will pay for and for how long.
- To receive coverage for therapy, you’ll be required to have a mental health diagnosis, which will go on your medical health record.
PPO: Out-of-Network Options
- You have more choice over what kind of therapist you want to work with. You can find someone specialized in your issues or who has an approach that wouldn’t be covered if in-network.
- More options for session times.
- Easier to change therapists if either you or the therapist determine it isn’t the right fit.
- A mental health diagnosis is required on your superbill.
- You will need to pay for sessions out of pocket initially and then submit the superbill to get reimbursed or have it go towards your deductible, depending on your plan.
- It may take a while for the health insurance company to reimburse you, IF they decide to reimburse you.
- Your insurance company may decide to delay or reject your request for reimbursement for any reason.
(2) Do you have an HSA or FSA card?
HSA and FSA cards are like debit cards that you can only use for medical expenses. Depending on your plan, therapy may be eligible. The benefit of using an HSA or FSA is that the accounts are pre-tax, so you save money over time. Here are the differences between the two:
- HSA (Health Savings Account) – It can be more difficult to apply for. However, it is not tied to your employment so you can take it wherever you go.
- FSA (Flexible Spending Account) – It is a “use it or lose it” system that is tied to your employment, but it is easier to apply for.
(3) Paying Out of Pocket (Private Pay)
- You can work with any therapist of your choosing.
- You can choose a therapist who is specialized in the issues you want support with.
- You can choose a therapist who uses modalities that are relatively new, alternative, or simply not covered by insurance (like Brainspotting).
- You don’t have a third party (ie, your insurance company) who is dictating your treatment, which makes it easier to collaborate with your therapist.
- No mental health diagnosis on your medical record, because no insurance company receives information about your therapy.
- Depending on your tax situation, you may be able to write off the money you spent on therapy as a medical expense at the end of the year.
- You’re the boss of your own treatment!
- It’s usually more expensive.