Frequently Asked Questions

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 accommodate your scheduling  needs, but I also want your counseling 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?
Please see the Rates and Insurance page for a more detailed answer to this question.  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.  The counseling  must address an individual's diagnosed condition. Due to these  restrictions many 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 $100 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 $100 which is $50 less than the full fee.