Q: What kind of psychotherapy do you practice/what is evidence based treatment?
“Evidence based treatment” refers to treatment that is based on research, clinical expertise, and patient characteristics (American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006). In formulating treatment plans, in collaboration with you, I take account of relevant research in combination with my clinical expertise and clinical experience, and your unique needs and wishes. I have experience with a wide range of psychotherapeutic and diagnostic procedures to draw on in developing a treatment plan that is solidly based in the available evidence as to efficacy.

Q: How do I know if I’m ready to pursue psychotherapy?
The best way to answer this question is to try it out! Some people know they are ready to pursue psychotherapy because they wish to be rid of the burden of high levels of anxiety, depression, or stress. Others are ready for psychotherapy because they feel ready to make life changes, to enter or leave or deepen an intimate relationship, to make a career change, for example, that will likely be stressful even though the change promises to be productive. On the other hand, when you feel stuck, that may be precisely the time when self-reflection in psychotherapy may make the difference in daring to make a move.

Q: What kind of therapy is right for me?
One of the major purposes of the first few meetings with a therapist is to assess which kind of therapy is right for you. There are a variety of therapeutic modalities, depending on each person’s needs and wishes. I draw on my experience with a number of therapeutic modalities, in collaboration with you, to select an approach that is best suited to your particular situation.

Q: What is the first session like?
The first session or two is an opportunity for us to get to know each other, for you to let me know what brings you to seek therapy, for you to get a sense of how I work, to ask me questions, for me to get some basic background information, and for both of us to assess whether our working together promises to be helpful. This is a lot to accomplish in one or two consultation sessions; working together with sensitivity and efficiency from the beginning sets a tone for the work that is to come.

Q: How long does treatment generally last?
The duration of treatment varies according to your goals, the type of therapy we have jointly agreed upon, and regular assessment of progress toward your goals. I believe strongly in collaborative and regular assessment of progress, with consideration and reconsideration of the time frame for the treatment.

Q: Do you accept insurance?
My payment policy is fee-for-service only. I do not accept payment directly from insurance companies and therefore I am not on any managed care or preferred provider plans. However, as a licensed Clinical Psychologist, my services for evaluation and psychotherapy are partially reimbursable to you under many health insurance plans. I will provide you with statements to submit to your insurance to obtain out-of network reimbursement. Most commercial major medical plans cover outpatient psychological services with independent psychological practitioners.

Q: What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist or social worker?
A Clinical Psychologist has received a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree and is state-licensed to practice psychology, including clinical procedures such as psychotherapy and diagnostic assessment. Clinical Psychologists have completed a one-year internship and generally a one-year post-doctoral fellowship, in addition to obtaining various other yearlong clinical experiences (externships) during training.

A Psychiatrist has a medical degree (usually an M.D.) and has completed a four year Psychiatric Residency in a hospital setting. Some psychiatrists do specialized fellowships after completion of their residencies. Psychiatrists are state licensed as Medical Doctors; as such they may prescribe medications. Psychologists in New York State, where they are not licensed to prescribe medications, often partner, as do I, with one or more psychiatrists for medication referrals.

New York State licenses a wide array of other mental health professionals to practice psychotherapy and other procedures. Clinical Social Workers must have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and obtained a state license to practice Clinical Social Work. Licensed Mental Health Counselors must have a Masters in a mental health field and receive a state license to practice counseling. You may consult the website of the New York State Education Department’s office of the professions for more detailed descriptions of the various licensed mental health professions. http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/psych/psychbroch.htm

Q: Do I need to tell other people I am seeing a psychologist? Can they find out?
You do not need to tell anyone you are in psychotherapy. The fact that you are seeing me and the details of what we talk about are privileged communications, not accessible to anyone with a few, mostly rare, exceptions. If you submit claims to an insurance company, details of your treatment such as your diagnosis and the procedures, or form of psychotherapy, that we use, is disclosed to the insurance company, which may then share this information with other insurance providers. Courts of law may subpoena my records, though in all cases I will seek to have the subpoena quashed unless you request that I release those records. In principle, the government may demand your records when it invokes considerations of national security. There are cases in which a patient threatens to kill someone in which the intended victim must be informed. Finally, child welfare agencies must be informed by psychologists if there is a suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Please see my statement of HIPAA privacy for details about my privacy policy, and always feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Q: How do I find out if a therapist is qualified?
Psychologists and other mental health professionals must be licensed by the state. In New York State, you can find out if a psychotherapist is licensed by checking with New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions. This office maintains an online list of licensed professionals. You can also search for history of professional misconduct here http://www.op.nysed.gov/opd/rasearch.htm.