Frequently Asked Questions
My fee is $200 for a 45 minute session. I ask that people who see me in ongoing therapy meet at least one time per week with the option to meet more often if that is necessary or desirable. These costs could be reduced with insurance coverage and in some cases I will negotiate a lower fee.
You must consider how to work these costs into your own budget. I consider it valuable to discuss this together in early meetings. If we cannot find a way to make treatment affordable for you, I can help you find a suitable therapist who charges less. But, you must remember this is a very valuable investment in your life and your well being.
Psychotherapy must be a confidential relationship so that you can speak freely about whatever is on your mind. I am committed to psychotherapy as a completely confidential relationship.
When you use health insurance you give permission to the insurance company to find out about what you say in therapy. Most of the time this is not a problem since the insurer is primarily interested in determining if the treatment is warranted, not in the details of what you are talking about. But sometimes the insurer wants to dig more deeply into what you say to your therapist, usually in an effort to limit treatment. The best way to avoid this is to pay for your therapy without using insurance.
In some other instances therapy is not private because the courts have an interest in what goes on in treatment. These instances include issues of child and elder abuse and serious threats to others or oneself. Among the clientele who consult me this is very rare.
Many insurance companies will reimburse a percentage of my fee for psychotherapy. In my practice you are responsible for the fee we agree upon. I ask for payment each month when I give you the statement. I will give you the information necessary to bill your insurance and your insurer will reimburse you in a short time.
You can determine your insurance benefits ahead of time by calling the insurance company and telling them who you are going to see for psychotherapy and asking what percentage of the fee they will pay, what the cap is on the fee and how many sessions or what total reimbursement available to you.
If possible, there are advantages to seeing a therapist and not using insurance. You will gain a greater degree of confidentiality and you will be in control of how often you meet and how long your treatment continues.
There are many good therapists in Portland who work in a wide variety of ways. You probably cannot evaluate all of the different theories as a means to choosing a therapist. A much better plan would be to get a recommendation from someone you trust who has had a good experience with a therapist. Today the internet provides many resources for looking into how a therapist thinks about psychotherapy and even how the therapist looks.
Some people run themselves ragged trying to find the best therapist – an impossible task; there is no best therapist and even if you were to interview many therapists you still would be saddled with a difficult decision that cannot be made with certainty.
Since it takes some time to get a clear sense of how it is to work with a therapist you can only rely on some early indicators in making a decision to enter ongoing treatment. The most important characteristic of a therapist is competence. Some indicators of competence include a professional demeanor, proper licensure and education and experience in the field and additional training after licensure. How it feels to speak with a therapist can only be determined by a conversation on the phone and a meeting or two of consultation before deciding to pursue treatment. Remember you are entering a professional relationship; this is not a friendship, it is not entertainment and it is a serious endeavor; but your therapist should feel welcoming and supportive.
The first meeting with a psychotherapist is a time of evaluation – you are evaluating if this is a person you can speak to openly and comfortably enough. And the therapist is evaluating you, trying to determine the nature of your needs and whether he or she can be helpful to you. You cannot tell everything to the therapist in the first session, but whatever you say and whatever the therapist says will give you both a chance to make your evaluations.
The first meeting is also a time to consider the practicalities of treatment, how much does it cost and how much time will it take, how often will you meet and how will the sessions feel. These matters are not resolved in a first session, but they are the beginning of discussions that will have much to do with all you want to accomplish in psychotherapy.
Talking to a friend or a partner or spouse is a very good thing and a good resource to have in one’s life. But, this is very different from talking to a psychotherapist. In psychotherapy you and your conflicts and emotions are the whole focus of the therapist’s attention for the entire course of the therapy. What you say to the therapist is confidential and never will be used against you. And the therapist is skilled at listening for and bringing to light what you do not know or understand about yourself. Sometimes this can happen with a friend, but it will never be as intense, directed and private as in therapy.
Please contact me to discuss your needs and questions about consultation.