What kinds of problems do you help people with?
I help people who are experiencing depression, anxiety, relationship and marital problems, family conflict,
concerns aroundalcohol and drugs, and other kinds of life transitions. The people I see are generally doing
fairly well but may have an area or two in their lives that they would like to improve.
How do you work with people?
I think it's very important to know where you're going when you begin a journey. Therefore, I want to know
what your goal is. I'ma fairly straight forward counselor who steers clear of psychobable. I work with clients
to identify and change thinking patterns which may be getting in the way of their goals. Sometimes an
awareness of family dynamics also helps clients to promote change.Finally, I like to keep the focus on
potential solutions and not just problems.
What are some of the names for your approach to counseling?
My counseling orientation is a blend of 1) cognitive behavioral, 2) marriage and family systems, and 3) solution focused therapies.
What are the advantages of Cognitive Therapy?
First off Cognitive therapy tends to be a much more brief form of therapy than psychodynamic and other types of therapy. Many clients begin to see changes after just a couple of sessions. It is a therapy that is based in the here and now. The effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy has been empirically demonstrated in countless studies and is considered superior to other forms of treatment. It requires active involvement on your part, but is a life long skill that once you learn it can be applied to a variety of situations and circumstances.
How frequently do you see clients?
In the beginning I like to see clients for at least a couple of weeks in a row. This allows me to get to know you more quickly and for us to get working on your situation. Once we "get the ball rolling" we can go to a once every other week schedule or whatever works for you. However, please know that I am flexible and willing to accomadate your scheduling needs, but I also want your conseling to be productive and helpful to you.
How many sessions do you see people for?
Each situation is different and it's hard to know exactly how many sessions someone will need. Many clients are able to see improvement in their situations after just a few sessions, and then use additional sessions to reinforce the changes they've made. Frequently clients decide to continue in counseling working on other goals. As a rough estimate I see most of my clients between 6 to 12 sessions. However, the number of sessions you use is entirely up to you.
What's a counseling session like?
If you've never talked to a counselor before you might be wondering what goes on in a therapy session. Well, it looks like people having a conversation, which is after all, what it is.
My goal is to help you gain insights and make changes that will help you to become more fulfilled and happier. I think this is best done in an atmosphere that is relaxed and comfortable. I encourage you to bring yourself something to drink, but please don't bring food. Food can be a distraction.
In the first session I want to get to know you. I'm not necessesarily wanting to know all the details of your childhood, though some significant events may be important. I like to understand where you are now and what you'd like to get out of counseling. Generally, in the first session I do a lot of listening and then I might ask some questions to make sure I'm understanding your situation.
Sometimes at the end of the first session, and definitely in later sessions I make comments, and may give you some "food for thought." I believe that any guidance a therapist offers is definitely up for discussion. Sometimes we therapists are hitting the nail on the head and sometimes we might be missing the mark. My hope is that my clients feel comfortable enough with me to let me know what they're thinking.
Do you have evening appointments?
I offer appointments Monday through Friday 9am until 5pm and on Wednesday evenings until 7pm. Because evening appointments are in such high demand I do not generally offer those times to new clients. However, once I have seen a client for a couple of sessions I am then able to work them into my evening rotation.
Does insurance cover counseling?
In general insurance does cover some of the cost of counseling. However, it depends on your plan. Some plans have a deductable or a "high deductable" that needs to be met before insurance benefits "kick in." If you are uncertain if your insurance will cover the cost, the best thing to do is to call them directly and ask. Most likely if your insurance card says "Specialist Co-Pay" and is followed by a number, that is the amount that you will pay.
What insurance do you accept?
I accept most major insurances available in the Rochester, NY area, including Aetna, Excellus, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Blue Choice and Blue Point, United Behavioral Health and United Health Care, Cigna, Ceridian, MVP, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, and several EAP plans. There may also be other insurances which list me on their panels which I am not aware of.
Does insurance cover the costs of marriage counseling?
The short answer is "No," but here's why: Legitimate use of health insurance benefits is for diagnosable physical or mental health conditions within an individual. This "condition" is what justifies the insurance paying for the counseling. While insurance plans will allow for a couple to participate in some counseling sessions, the counseling must address an individual's diagnosed condition. Due to these restrictions most of the couples who see me do not use their insurance benefits for marriage counseling. In these cases they elect to self pay.
What is the fee for a counseling session?
If you are eligible to use your insurance for counseling your copay is often determined by what your insurance card indicates as your "specialist" copay. Typically it is between 15 and 30 dollars though individual plans vary. There are also some plans which have a 50% copay which is slightly higher. Since all insurances differ you should check what coverage you have for counseling. For people who wish to self-pay my fee is $95 for a fifty minute counseling session.
Is there a "discount" for self-payment?
Yes. Generally though, if you have insurance that will cover the costs of counseling I would recommend you use it because your co-pay is likely to be less. When insurance is being used the charged rate is $150 per session, with most insurances paying slightly less than that. However, for clients who either have a "High Deductable" plan or who self-pay the fee is $95 which is $55 less than the full fee.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, checks, credit and debit cards. Payment is due at the time of the appointment.