Frequently Asked Questions
What are your fees?
Introductory call (15 minutes) - free
Standard session (45 minutes) - $190
Intake appointment (45 - 75 minutes) - $300
Payment accepted by check, credit card, HSA/FSA card
Additional info on fees available in my practice policies
Do you take my insurance?
Like most private practices in San Francisco, I am an out-of-network provider. That means I don't accept your insurance directly. But, many of my clients use their out-of-network benefits for their child's therapy. If you would like to this, I encourage you to contact your insurance provider before getting started as coverage varies.
You may want to ask your provider:
Do I have out-of-network mental health benefits?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
What is the amount I would be reimbursed for an out-of-network therapy session?
Do I need pre-authorization before I start therapy?
Insurance companies require a diagnosis in order to process your request for reimbursement. They do not cover all of the concerns that may bring a child to therapy, or all of the services psychologists typically provide. For example, phone consults, whether with you, your child's teacher, pediatrician, psychiatrist or other professionals, are a common part of child therapy and are not typically reimbursable.
How does the payment process work?
Your credit card will be billed following each session. You will receive an insurance-ready statement of services monthly via email, making it easy to submit. You will then submit your claim for reimbursement to your insurance company.
What if I need to cancel or change the date/time of my child's appointment?
If you need to change or cancel your child's appointment, notify me by email or phone within 24 hours of your appointment to avoid being charged the regular session fee.
How do you work with parents?
I meet regularly with a parent or parents to discuss their child's progress and their concerns. For example, I typically meet monthly with a parent or parents of children who are in elementary school. Speaking with a parent or parents between sessions is common. Sometimes a parent or parents may join in a child's therapy session or part of a session.
For young children, counseling usually involves a lot of collaboration with parents - checking in with one another, comparing notes, sharing ideas and progress updates. The amount and form of the parent consultation piece of counseling changes as children develop. It is individualized for each client.
As children leave elementary school and enter middle school and beyond, issues of privacy change developmentally. The parent consultation part of my work adapts accordingly. If your child is in middle school or older we will speak about how developmental considerations, including children's evolving sense of privacy and autonomy, impact the parent role in counseling.
Therapy with teens usually involves less parental involvement, although parents are still kept informed about their child's progress and are welcome to share feedback and concerns. With adolescents, it often works best if they play an active part in the therapist selection process. Parents may select a handful of options and go over with them with their adolescent, giving them the options to meet with a few to see who they feel most comfortable with. This can help a lot of with buy-in and is age appropriate as well.
It is my goal to establish a safe therapeutic environment for my young clients while also developing collaborative relationships with their parents. As a parent, you can expect that you will be informed of the treatment plan, progress toward goals, and situations regarding risk or harm. I will speak with your child about this (as age and developmentally appropriate) and encourage you to discuss it with him or her as well.
If you have scheduling constraints that impact your availability such as frequent work travel, a long commute or extensive work hours, please raise this with me. We can try our best to try figure how to structure and time our conversations in a way that works for both of us. For example, we may decide to have some parent meetings over the phone. Ultimately, it will be important for me to have access to you. Effectiveness of treatment can be compromised without adequate access to parents.
How do you work with schools or child care programs?
If your child is having issues at school or child care, I will want to try to understand what is going on there. Links between social/emotional or behavioral concerns and learning/school-related issues are common.
As appropriate, with your written permission and depending upon the age of your child, I may ask to:
View your child's report card/school records/test results
Speak with your child's teacher(s), school counselor, school psychologist and/or principal
Observe in your child's classroom or child care program (with younger kids)
I regularly consult with child care program and school staff in a range of roles including teachers, program directors, after school program staff, counselors, school psychologists and principals.
Do you do play therapy?
I do not consider the therapy I provide to be play therapy per se. But, my approach with young children certainly does involve play.
With younger children, sessions often involve activities or therapeutic play. It could be games, drawing, imaginative play, therapy exercises, writing or art work. Play is an important, healthy and natural part of life for children. When I set up the therapy experience to include play, it is a way of offering a respectful and developmentally sensitive experience for a child.
Activities make children comfortable, facilitate communication, give a window into their thought processes and make therapy more fun. Counseling needs to be engaging to children. An element of play helps with that.
What is the purpose of play in therapy?
Child therapy looks different than adult therapy. As children are still developing cognitively, emotionally, socially and in their use of language, therapy techniques are adapted to suit their needs. Young children often learn best by doing, engaging in hands-on activities and experiences.
The child therapy I provide often includes the use of activities, play, children's books, workbooks, games, art or writing projects. When we meet, I will ask you about your child's interests to get ideas on how to set up the therapy environment to be comfortable and engaging for him or her.
Play serves a number of functions in child therapy. I am not just playing with your child. Play can help a child feel more comfortable in the unfamiliar therapy setting. Through play, I demonstrate respect for a child and his or her interests.
Young children have not yet developed the verbal skills to express themselves completely through words. Their play can serve as a window to their experience and an opportunity to understand them better. Often, children feel more comfortable talking while doing something.
Play also allows me to do a kind of informal clinical assessment. Through play, I can typically get a rough idea of a child's social skills, cognitive level/strengths/challenges, interests, attention, problem-solving skills, developmental level and mood. If you are confused or have questions about the play component of your child's therapy, just let me know.