What can I expect when I decide I’m ready to start the process?
- First you will make contact to let me know that you would like to set an appointment.
- I do offer a free 10 minute consultation call. We can do that, or email to briefly review what you would like to work on so that we both feel that it’s a good fit and I can meet your needs, review my policies, and get the initial paperwork to you to complete prior to your first appointment.
- Then we will schedule and have your first appointment, where we will review your initial paperwork, further discuss what it is that you would like to work on, and begin developing goals for your treatment.
In Person vs. Virtual Sessions
I prefer in person sessions for several reasons.
- There are barriers with virtual sessions, like connection issues, glitches, screens freezing, sound difficulties.
- It is difficult to ensure privacy with virtual sessions if you do not live alone.
- There are many distractions in your environment that would not be present if you were in my office (all of the things in your space, your pets, other people, anything that you might see or hear that is going on around you).
- Doing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy for trauma over a screen is not my preference. I prefer to use eye movements when possible, over tapping, because research shows that they are slightly more effective, but they cannot be done over a screen. It is more difficult for me to track your affect over a screen to keep you from becoming overwhelmed. And, it would be detrimental to have a connection issue during a trauma session.
I do offer virtual sessions, but I use them as an exception rather than the norm. I have used them in the following situations.
- When the weather was very bad and travel was an issue for people.
- When someone is feeling ill and possibly contagious.
- When there is an occasional scheduling conflict.
**Please note that virtual sessions can only occur while you are in the state of Indiana since that is where I am licensed to practice.
How can I be sure my privacy is protected?
- All of your information will be treated with the strictest confidence and with compliance to HIPAA standards. Communication will be through a secure client portal and with secure voicemail. Documentation is completed in an electronic record that is secure and HIPAA compliant.
- There are a few instances where I am ethically and legally obligated to report information that is shared with me. This is in cases where there is a threat of harm to yourself or someone else. The purpose of this is for safety. If you have any questions, please ask.
- In order to protect your privacy, I will not approach you or acknowledge you if we see each other in the community. This is to protect your privacy and also to keep appropriate boundaries. While we are working together in a therapeutic alliance, we are also individuals living our lives in the community.
What about medication?
- I am not a prescriber. I have worked very closely with prescribers, mostly Psychiatrists, and some Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners in my 18 years of experience. I have a thorough knowledge of psychotropic medications. I would be happy to work with your prescriber if you would like. If you wish, you will need to sign a release of information.
What will it cost?
- Check my section about fees. If you are paying cash, that will tell you exactly what you will pay for each session. Insurance reimburses at a lower rate, so if you are using insurance, you will pay less than the prices listed. You are responsible to check with your insurance company and find out if you have a deductible to meet or a copay.
How often will my appointments be?
- Most people start out with weekly appointments. Some people come every other week. I do not see people less frequently than every other week. It is my feeling that meeting less than every 2 weeks would not be enough to actually do any significant therapeutic work. We will figure out what best meets your needs in terms of your symptoms and your finances.
- There is no certain prescribed length of time to be in therapy. It is completely up to you. Some people are in therapy for a short time, and some people are in therapy for a long time. It is really individualized. It will be an ongoing discussion about if we are working well together and if your needs are being met.
What happens if I’m not comfortable?
- Coming in to meet with a therapist for the first time is kind of uncomfortable. Many people feel nervous or intimidated. It takes a lot of courage. It is really important to feel like you are able to connect with your therapist. The therapeutic alliance is a key piece of having a successful outcome in therapy. It might take a session or two to know if you can open up to your therapist. You might know right away. If at any point you feel uncomfortable and get the sense that we don’t click, just let me know. We both want you to feel comfortable and able to talk about your issues. If you can’t do that, it won’t work out. It’s best for both of us if you let me know. I can even try to help you find someone who can better meet your needs. I know that might feel intimidating to say that you don’t want to come back, but it’s really okay. No hard feelings. You and I both have the same goal of you being in a place where you can heal.
How do I know when I am done with therapy?
- We discuss your personal goals in our first session, and develop a treatment plan based on those goals. We review your treatment plan at least every 90 days and look at what progress you have made. We can add new goals or modify existing goals at any time.
- When you feel like you have completed the goals that you set for yourself, and you no longer have anything that you want or need to work on, you can let me know. Then we can discuss plans for terminating treatment and remaining successful with your progress. This is different for every individual. One person may need one session to discuss their progress and have a plan in place before terminating, while another person may need to go from weekly sessions to every other week for a few sessions while preparing to terminate. We will figure out what works best for you.