Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get reimbursed by my insurance?
If your insurance plan has out-of-network benefits, you are likely to be able to get reimbursed for your child's therapy. Check with your provider to find out the specifics. Here are some questions to ask:
- Do I need pre-authorization before my child starts therapy?
- 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 for my child?
If you decide to use your insurance, I will give you a monthly statement to submit. 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 person to therapy, or all of the services therapists typically provide. For example, phone consults and school visits are not typically covered.
What are your fees?
- Initial appointment/consult: $290
- Therapy: 45 minute session/consult: $175, 60 minute session/consult: $230
- Phone calls: No charge for calls 15 minutes or less. Calls longer than 15 minutes are charged a prorated fee.
- Cancellations and missed appointments with less than 24 hours notice are charged the regular fee.
How does the first appointment work?
The first appointment is a parent meeting, without your child. It is typically longer than regular therapy sessions. It gives us a chance to have a candid, private conversation about your child. It serves as a sort of orientation.
Before the meeting please read my practice welcome packet to get oriented. I will ask you to fill out a form that provides some background information.
When we meet, we will speak about your child, your questions, concerns and hopes for him or her. I will gather some history and give you an idea of possible next steps.
At the end of the meeting, we will talk about whether it seems to make sense to schedule a follow up appointment with your child. I usually meet a child or teen in the second appointment.
What happens after the first appointment?
The next 2-3 sessions are a period of initial assessment. They are devoted to getting know your child and his or her needs better so we can decide on where to go from there.
I may ask you to bring in previous testing, evaluations or reports related to your child. When concerns are school related, I may ask to see copies of report cards. After the initial assessment, I set up a parent meeting to share impressions and recommendations.
As I'm sure you know, goodness of fit is an important contributor to helpful therapy is. I encourage you to take the time you need to select a therapist for your child. It is a mutual process, with all of us (including your child) trying to determine if we seem to be a good fit to work together.
My hope is for you to work with someone who is right for you and your child. Therapy often gets off to a stronger start when young people feel they are involved in therapist selection process. I can often help with referrals to other providers if we decide not to work together.
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.
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 there are books or articles related to parenting, child development and/or the concern at hand that you like or have found helpful, please let me know about them. Sometimes a parent will copy a chapter of a book and share it with me, which I appreciate.
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
I regularly consult with child care program and school staff in a range of roles including teachers, program directors, after school program staff, school psychologists and principals. Along the way, I have worked in a variety of school and child care settings, serving children with needs ranging from mild to severe.
What is your time frame for child therapy?
My services are flexible in terms of time frame. Some issues are resolved quickly. Others take more time. After meeting with you and your child we will talk about what time frame seems to make sense in his or her case. If you have time or financial constraints, please let me know.
Although each situation is different and there are no guarantees, often mild concerns are very responsive to child therapy and can be addressed through a shorter course of treatment. With concerns that are in the moderate or more serious ranges, of course we want to clarify the nature of the issues and get supports in place sooner rather than later.
Therapy is a form of learning. Behavior change and implementation of new patterns takes their own time. Consider learning a musical instrument, getting in physical shape or fine-tuning other skills. Interestingly, with children development can at times advance quickly relative to adults.
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.
Play is an important, healthy and natural part of life for children. When I set up the therapy experience to include play, it is my attempt to offer a respectful and developmentally sensitive experience for a child.
Each child is unique, but up until age 12 or so child therapy often takes place while involved in some kind of activity, whether it be play, a board game, an art project, a writing project or something else.
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, please let me know.