The following are some of most frequently asked questions concerning both my practice and psychotherapy in general. If, after reading these, you have any other questions whatsoever, no matter how trivial, please don't hesitate to contact me. There's no such thing as a silly question.
Sessions last for 50 minutes. Most clients see me once or twice a week. The number of sessions depends on what your current needs are. Together we will develop a plan that works for you.
The length of time individuals are in therapy depends very much on the nature of the problem they are addressing and what their goals are. Some clients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a course of brief therapy lasting only a few months. Other individuals see therapy as an on-going learning process and choose to be involved in therapy for a longer period.
As a psychotherapist I am not legally allowed to prescribe medications. However, based on a joint assessment of problems you are facing, it may be advisable to consult with a psychiatrist to determine whether medication is warranted. Typically, clients see someone under their health insurance coverage or I can refer you to a psychiatrist. If you do begin taking medication, I will, with your permission, collaborate with your psychiatrist to design a plan of treatment most appropriate for you.
Insurance plans vary considerably so it is difficult to know in advance whether a particular policy will cover psychotherapy with you. It all depends on the requirements of a particular policy. Some of my clients do have insurance and it does cover the psychotherapy I provide. The best way to determine whether I am covered by your health plan is to submit an invoice for reimbursement. If for some reason I am not covered, I am willing to work with you to set a fee that you can afford to pay.
The best way to know if a therapist is the right one for you, is to meet that therapist and ask yourself whether you feel comfortable in working with this individual. If, after a few sessions with me, you should find you would prefer to work with someone else, I would be willing to make a referral to another therapist.
When I am on vacation, in case of an emergency I can refer you to a therapist "on call" if necessary. While I'm gone, I monitor the landline number listed on my Contact page. After receiving your phone message, I will return your call to to determine whether you can be assisted through a special phone session with me or whether a vacation referral to the "on call" therapist is most appropriate.
Many of the individuals I see have never been in therapy before. In such instances, I spend considerable time helping you understand how the therapeutic process can work for you.
I believe psychotherapy is most helpful when it focuses on what you are having the deepest feelings about. I ask clients to talk about whatever comes to mind, even if it sounds trivial, because from apparently random thoughts themes can emerge which can provide you with deeper insights into yourself.
Our psychotherapy sessions will be confidential within the confines of the law. Confidentiality is a critical part of the therapeutic process. In order to make the most progress possible, it is essential that you can trust your therapist and feel comfortable in freely talking about the most intimate and personal parts of your life, without concern that those details will be revealed to anyone else. The law in Illinois provides that the rule of confidentiality can only be broken in the most extreme circumstances, e.g. if a person is currently involved in acts of child abuse, if you are clearly likely to cause bodily harm to yourself or others, or if you waive in writing your right to confidentiality.
The first session is a chance for us to become acquainted and for me to learn about your background and history. I will usually ask more questions than usual during this session so I can gain some perspective on whatever problems or issues you are wanting to consider.
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