Frequently Asked Questions
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Still have a few more questions? No problem…read on!
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I accept PPO insurance as an out of network provider. What that means is you pay me directly after each session and then I submit a receipt for services (called a superbill) to your insurance for you at the end of every month. Once the claim is accepted, your insurance will mail you a check for the amount they agree to reimburse.
I submit the superbill for you as a courtesy when allowed but some plans will request that you submit it yourself. I’ll save you the hassle whenever I can!
Most PPO plans will reimburse you for some portion of the session fee (30-60%) but every plan is different so call your insurance to ask about your coverage.
Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What is the maximum allowable rate my insurance will pay for an out-of-network provider for this code? If you’re doing individual therapy, ask about reimbursement for procedural code 90834. For couples therapy, ask about code 90847.
- Is there a deductible that has to be met before you reimburse for out-of-network therapy sessions? If so, what is it and how close am I to meeting that?
- Is there a limit to how many sessions you will reimburse for?
The other option is that you can use your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to save by paying for therapy with pre-tax dollars.
Do you offer in person sessions?
I do not offer in-person services. All sessions are completed online via a secure encrypted video chat. My clients love the convenience of being able to connect from work or from their own home where they feel most comfortable. Online sessions allow you to avoid traffic and parking and are less of a time commitment than if you had to schedule time to get to and from an office. They’re also more discreet.
Online therapy has been thoroughly researched and all the studies show it is just as effective as in person therapy. I would never practice in a way that is not effective and backed by research as I am very committed to providing the highest level of service to my clients. If you or your partner have concerns about whether online sessions are for you, my advice is to book a free 30 min consult on my website and try it for yourself. Most people are pleasantly surprised by the experience. Since it’s free, you really have nothing to lose!
What services do you provide?
I provide individual and couples therapy and coaching via an online service called Zoom. Sessions with me are typically once per week with the option to reduce to bi-weekly or monthly as we resolve some of the issues you are experiencing. I will also be launching online self study programs and master classes presented through webinars in the near future so join my mailing list to be the first to know when they are released!
What is the cost of working with you?
My session rates are comparable with doctoral level specialist psychologists in Los Angeles. Please setup a free consultation to learn more about the rates for the specific services you are seeking.
I do not offer a sliding scale due to the limited number of client hours available. However, I know that not everyone is in a place to invest in individual therapy during certain life seasons. Although nothing can replace the value of personalized one-on-one or couples therapy, I do offer opportunities to learn and engage via blogs, videos, workshops, community events, and speaking engagements.
Join my social media pages or newsletter list for upcoming events and opportunities. If you’d like to inquire about availability to speak at your event please contact me at [email protected] and we can discuss.
Are online sessions just as good as being in person?
Yes! Online therapy is just as effective as meeting in person. All the nuances of facial expressions and body language can be seen through video just as they can in person. Many of my clients have commented that they prefer Zoom because they do not have to allocate additional time to travel to and from an office, deal with traffic, parking, etc. and they enjoy having their sessions from the convenience of their home or office.
Benefits of telehealth
Here are a few of the research-based benefits of telehealth services:
- Increased access. Approximately 123 million Americans live in an area with limited access to healthcare. Telehealth can play an important role in these communities by increasing accessibility.
- Reduced costs for clients. Nearly all research suggests that telehealth saves money when compared with traditional approaches to providing care. For clients, this often means lower transportation costs, less time missed from work, and less money spent on child care expenses.
- Same-level client care. No client outcome difference was found between telehealth appointments and face-to-face office visits across multiple studies.
- Better client experience. Telehealth eliminates the wasted time traveling and sitting in the waiting room.
All major counseling, psychology and social work associations have endorsed telemental health services. As the industry continues to progress and become more widely used by clients and practitioners, online counseling is on course to become as mainstream as face-to-face counseling. The use of online counseling has been validated by the US Federal government and most states, as illustrated by the billions of dollars dedicated to setting up and delivering telemental health services and the installment of the federal and regional offices advancing telehealth. http://www.telehealth.va.gov/, http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/about/telehealth/.
What are the sessions like?
Because each person has different issues and goals, sessions will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous session. Depending on your specific needs, our work together can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. It is most common to schedule regular weekly sessions in the beginning and many clients choose to move into a bi-weekly or monthly schedule as they progress. It is important to understand that you will get the best results from our work together if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy/coaching is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of sessions to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
What qualifies you to do this?
This is a great question because there are a lot of people in the marketplace today branding themselves as life coaches with very little formal training or experience. It is important to know what qualifies someone to be working as a coach or therapist so you can make an informed decision as a consumer.
I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist which means that I have my Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.), have completed over 3500 hours of supervised work with clients pre-licensure, and passed both the national and state exams to get licensed as a Psychologist by the state of California. I have over 9 years of experience working with couples and individuals and many many success stories under my belt.
In California, therapists can be licensed to practice at both the Masters and Doctoral level. A Masters Degree is typically 2 years of schooling whereas Doctoral programs range in length from 5-8+ years. I have a Doctorate which means I have received the highest level of training.
Most life coaches are not regulated by a board and do not have to undergo any sort of supervision or certification process to practice. They also are not required to complete any ongoing education (which we as licensed professionals are) to ensure that they stay up to date with changes and developments in the field.
While many life coaches are wonderful, it’s important to do your due diligence when hiring someone that is not regulated by a licensing board. In reality, it’s important that you do your due diligence no matter who you are hiring!
What is the difference between therapy and life coaching?
Both therapy and life coaching are great alternatives for someone looking to make a change in their lives. Therapy is typically better suited for someone with a diagnosed mental illness such as severe depression or anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. Therapists have different modalities they work from but therapy will generally be less directive than life coaching and more focused on feelings, gentle support, and exploration of past issues. Life coaching tends to be a more directive approach where the coach helps the client define and achieve goals, develop a plan and structure for creating the desired results in their life, and holds the client to a high level of accountability to their goals. Life coaching is typically better suited for a client that is already functioning relatively well but would like some guidance or motivation to enhance specific areas of their life. I use a blend of both of these depending on the needs and desires of my clients.
How can therapy/coaching help me?
A number of benefits are available from seeking the services of a therapist or coach. Therapists/coaches provide support, problem-solving skills, motivation, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as insecurity, relationship troubles, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. Therapists/coaches can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the challenges of daily life. Therapists/coaches can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy/coaching depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available include:
- 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 guidance
- Learning new ways to reframe and 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
Do I really need a therapist or a life coach? 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, coaching and therapy are sought out by people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need support, and that is something to be admired. Often working with a coach or therapist helps you learn things about yourself and your capabilities you would never have seen on your own. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking help. Therapy/coaching provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to overcome whatever challenges you face and lead a happy, successful, life.
Why do people hire a therapist/life coach and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for consulting a therapist/coach. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not happy with their current circumstances and know there must be something more available to them. Some people need assistance finding their passion in life or finding the courage to go after it and create a life they love. A therapist/coach can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them on track. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking therapy/coaching are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Does what we talk about in session remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist/coach. Successful therapy/coaching requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but in session. What you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone as outlined in my Informed Consent form that all clients sign before working with me. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require me to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.