How will I know that therapy is working?
Change may look different for each person. You should begin to notice that longstanding behavioral patterns are changing, you are feeling better in terms of your overall mood, and that you get stressed to a lesser degree than you did prior to therapy. You may notice your work and personal relationships improving, or find that you are no longer triggered by events from your past. You may stop engaging in self-destructive behavior, such as compulsive overeating or drinking. Dr. Gretchen will candidly discuss your progress in therapy with you, and adjust your therapy goals periodically.
How long does therapy last?
Everyone’s treatment differs in length. You may come in to address a specific, time-limited problem where we work together for eight to ten sessions. Or, you may have more complex issues going back to your childhood. Usually, therapy is a process that takes some time. You should be aware that you might actually feel worse before you begin to feel better, and that this is a normal part of the process as you begin to address painful memories, experiences, and feelings. In working through the discomfort, you will learn how to create healthier ways of dealing with life’s stressors and develop stronger relationships.
How does medication fit into a treatment plan?
If your problems are of mild to moderate severity, most often, medication is not indicated. However, medication may be very helpful and absolutely necessary for some people who have chronic, severe anxiety or depression. If Dr. Gretchen thinks medication would be helpful in your situation, she will discuss the pros and cons of medication with you, assist you in finding a psychiatrist, and coordinate your care with the psychiatrist.
What is expected of me in therapy?
The higher your level of commitment and motivation, the greater the likelihood that you will achieve your treatment goals. Speaking openly about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences helps set the stage for change. Dr. Gretchen asks you to continue thinking about the work you do with her between sessions. Occasionally, she may ask you to do homework, such as keeping a log or journal. Consistent attendance to scheduled appointments is very important for achieving progress. She will also ask you to be patient with yourself and the process.
How do you handle fees and payments?
Services are provided on a fee-for-service or out-of-network insurance provider basis. Dr. Gretchen accepts cash, checks, and credit cards. Payment in full is expected at the beginning of each session, or you may pay monthly in advance, if desired.
As a community service, Dr. Gretchen maintains a few sliding scale spots in her practice. If you are interested in utilizing one of these spots, please inquire about availability. If she is unable to assist you, she can provide you with the names of other therapists or community mental health clinics that might be a good match.
Do you accept insurance?
If you have insurance, please understand that Dr. Gretchen’s professional services are rendered and charged to you, not to the insurance company. If you request, Dr. Gretchen will provide you with a SuperBill that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. It will include your diagnosis, the procedure code, the number of sessions, and the amount you have paid.
The maximum number of sessions you are allowed is determined by your benefit plan. It is your responsibility to obtain pre-authorization, if required. Dr. Gretchen will assist you by submitting responses to billing inquiries from your insurance company that are directed to her. Please be aware that your provider may request or require periodic additional authorizations, and may request clinical information from Dr. Gretchen as your psychologist, in order to evaluate your claims.
Please note that using your insurance will require that Dr. Gretchen give you a diagnosis and may limit confidentiality and sessions allowed. There are potential advantages to not using your insurance, which include:
- No limitation on the number or length of sessions.
- Increased confidentiality, since there is no case manager or utilization review board reviewing your diagnosis or clinical information.
If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can submit the SuperBill or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company for reimbursement.
Please consult with your tax and/or financial advisor about potential tax deductions for psychotherapy services.
What are your office policies?
If you fail to keep an appointment without 24 hour advance notification, you are responsible for payment of the entire fee. Dr. Gretchen will discuss other office policies at your first meeting, or as needed.