What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
Compassion, respect and understanding
Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
Real strategies for enacting positive change
Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
What should I expect at my first appointment?
At your first appointment, my primary job is to listen to you. I will ask you to share your perspective on what your current concerns are. I wil ask about your life experiences, family background and current circumstances. Together, we'll discuss and create a tentative plan for your therapy sessions. For your convenience, I have included the Patient Registration Form. You may find it useful to fill out your information and bring it to the first appointment.
How many sessions will my therapy take?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Therefore the number of sessions is determined by each indivualds needs.
Is therapy right for me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn.
Some of the benefits available from therapy:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How much does therapy cost?
Please see Rates
Will my insurance cover my therapy?
It is strongly recommended that you check with your insurance provider, PRIOR TO YOUR APPOINTMENT, as each plan has different benefits. All clients are encouraged to call the “customer service” number on your insurance card before their first appointment and inquire about “outpatient mental health, counseling, and/or behavioral health benefits.”
Pre-authorizations: Some plans require that services be authorized in advance. It is important to have these authorizations secured BEFORE treatment starts in order to avoid denial of coverage. For your convenience, I have included the Insurance Verification Worksheet to assist you in comunicating with your insurance company.
Do I want to bill my insurance company?
Billing your insurance company for therapy sessions:
Insurance coverage is not guaranteed, you will usually have to pay some portion of the fee, in the form of a deductible and/or co-payment, and personal information about you and your diagnosis will be sent to the insurance company. To have therapy services covered under insurance, a mental health diagnosis must be made. This then becomes a part of your permanent health care record.
Most insurance companies do not cover marital therapy or any kind of relationship issues. Your treatment has to be considered "medically necessary".
Your insurance company has the right to determine the "type, frequency, extent, site, and duration" of treatment? They require the treatment to be "medically necessary", and some of them require a treatment plan so that they can "approve" additional treatment.
Reasons to pay privately or “Out of Pocket” for your therapy sessions:
Your diagnosis remains between you and your therapist. To have therapy services covered under insurance, a formal mental health diagnosis must be made. Many appropriate uses of counseling do not involve an actual pathological condition. Counseling for family problems, marital difficulties, adolescent angst and similar issues quite often are not covered by insurance, unless the behavior becomes serious or it is considered part of a more severe mental health disorder. Insurance companies require diagnosis and other treatment information in order to authorize payment for services. Once this information is provided, a therapist can no longer insure that the information will remain confidential. The insurance company can review all of your records at their discretion.
You and your therapist decide the length, frequency and duration of your sessions and are able to negotiate a fee. Your counseling is not restricted by the diagnosis, treatment plan or session limits that health insurance companies impose. You and your therapist do not have to spend precious time discussing treatment plans, insurance denials, and other administrative issues.
You and your therapist decide who, besides you, will be part of the therapy process. Most insurance companies do not cover marriage/couples counseling or family therapy unless it is part of a treatment plan for a more serious mental disorder.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality between you and your therapist begins the moment you schedule your first appointment. The only exceptions are those required by the State of Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Notice form clarifies the limited and rare circumstances that legally require our staff to disclose information without your explicit consent.
These circumstances include:
Legally mandated reporting of any form of child abuse or neglect
In the event that a person presents a serious risk of harm to themselves or others
Elder abuse situations
Certain court proceedings
If requested by the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing
You will need to sign a specific Release of Information Form before any information can be released to a third party.
Please Note: All insurance companies require clinical information to be released to them before they process claims. If you want to protect your privacy further, you may choose to pay out-of pocket for your session and not involve your insurance company.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.