What should I expect during the first session?
You will need to arrive 15 minutes early for your first appointment. Paperwork can be emailed to you in advance by request; however, if you choose, paperwork can be completed prior to your appointment in the waiting room. The first session is a little bit different in that I will need to gather a thorough history from you. I will allow you time to ask any questions you may have and I will ask you many questions about various aspects of your life. We will also spend time talking about your chief concerns and setting goals for therapy.
How much does a session cost? Do you take insurance?
An initial assessment is $150 followed by $100 for subsequent therapy sessions. In addition, I accept Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna. You are responsible for contacting your insurance company to verify your benefits prior to the first appointment and you will be responsible for any deductible, copay, or coinsurance applicable to your plan. I am considered out-of-network with all other insurance panels but I am able to provide you with a receipt that can be submitted to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Generally, the expenses of therapy can also be applied to a Flex Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).
How do I pay?
Cash, Check, HSA and FSA cards, and all major credit cards are accepted.
Should I pay out-of-pocket or use my insurance benefits?
Amanda accepts private pay, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using your insurance benefits, as well as choosing to pay out-of-pocket:
- Heightened confidentiality between you and your therapist, as third-party payers are eliminated.
- It is not necessary that a diagnosis be given. You can receive therapy for a multitude of issues that do not necessarily indicate a psychiatric diagnosis.
- You and your therapist will determine the course of treatment, frequency and number of sessions, and treatment modalities that are used.
- Paying out-of-pocket is sometimes more expensive than utilizing your insurance benefits and could be cost-prohibitive.
- If you have coverage to see the provider you choose, using your insurance may be the most cost-effective option for you. It is important to know your deductible, copay, and coinsurance for outpatient therapy in order to gauge whether or not this is the most economical choice.
- Whether you are self-employed or receive insurance through your provider, you are already paying a lot for your healthcare benefits, and it may make the most sense to use those available benefits.
- There may be circumstances where you want to keep the fact that you are seeing a therapist, as well as any information about that treatment, completely confidential. In order to qualify for and use your insurance benefits, you must give up a degree of confidentiality to your insurance company that would otherwise be contained to you and your therapist
- Treatment must be deemed medically necessary which means you will receive a psychiatric diagnosis that remains on your permanent medical record in order for your sessions to be covered. This is important to know, as with any medical diagnosis, it is important to know that this diagnosis will be accessible in certain circumstances, i.e. applying for life insurance or disability insurance
- Medical insurance will not cover therapy centered around personal growth, grief and loss, adjustments to life situations that do not meet criteria for a diagnosis, some marital and family issues, and career counseling
- Some insurance plans may limit who you can see for therapy, how many sessions you are allowed, and the type of therapy received.
- Sometimes companies switch insurance providers to save money. This can be frustrating if you form a strong therapeutic bond with your therapist, only to find he or she is not a provider with your new insurance plan.
How long is each session?
Each session is approximately 50 minutes long.
How many sessions will I need?
The average person will come to therapy between 12 and 25 times. Depending on your goals for therapy, we could be finished before 12 sessions or decide to meet for far longer than 25 sessions.
How often will we meet?
I prefer to see new clients weekly or bi-weekly for the first several sessions to gain positive momentum in reaching your goals. Regular meetings at the start of therapy will help us stay focused on therapy goals, maintain motivation, and remain accountable regarding any action items. Once we are both comfortable with the progress being made, we will begin meeting every three to four weeks.
Will my sessions be confidential?
Psychotherapists make every effort to ensure that the information shared in session will remain confidential, unless you give your therapist signed permission to share information about your treatment. As mentioned above, if you choose to utilize your insurance benefits a diagnosis must be submitted to you insurance company to determine medical necessity. If the insurance company wants additional information in order to process a claim or authorize additional sessions, you will need to decide whether or not you want your therapist to submit additional information. Otherwise, your therapist will maintain your confidentiality, with the exception of the following:
- You express any thoughts of harming yourself or others.
You report suspected child or elder abuse to your therapist. Therapists are required by law to report suspected cases of abuse.
Your therapist receives a court order requiring him or her to submit records or appear in court regarding a legal case