What is mental health counseling?
According to the New York State Office of the Professions, mental health counseling sometimes referred to as “therapy” or “psychotherapy” is a professional service provided by mental health counselors who are “trained in counseling and psychotherapy to treat individuals with mental and emotional disorders and other behavioral challenges. Mental health counselors address mental health, human relationship, educational and career concerns within ethical, developmental, preventative and treatment contexts”. From: The New York State Department Of Education, Office Of The Professions http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/mhcbroch.htm
What the heck does that mean?
This means that your therapist (me, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor) has been through a Master’s degree program or higher specializing in mental health counseling, has completed a supervised practicum or internship, has had 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience and had to pass a State approved licensing exam before being fully licensed. Also, therapists need to abide by a strict code of ethics and confidentiality according to the American Counseling Association and State laws. Therapists learn reliable, effective and valid theories, practices and interventions to assist you with your problems. Therapists are also expected to have ongoing training such as continuing education and certifications.
What are the benefits of counseling?
Counseling has many benefits. These may include, but are not limited to: greater insight and awareness into your bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings and behaviors, relief from depression and anxiety, working through grief and loss, greater self-confidence, better relationships, trauma resolution, regaining emotional balance, increased self-esteem, stress relief, increased intimacy with others, ability to set boundaries, learning effective communication skills, increased creativity, increased assertiveness, gaining coping and problem solving skills, becoming “unstuck” through breaking destructive thoughts and patterns, feeling better and increasing independence and overall quality of life. I must note that counseling is individualized and the path is different for each person. There is not an absolute guarantee towards all of the above being resolved. For some, change is swift, for others it can be a long stretch. Counseling is also private and confidential. Seeing a therapist provides a more objective, non-judgmental approach as opposed to talking to friends or family who may mean well but are “too close to the issue” to step back and give a more neutral perspective.
Do you take insurance?
Yes, I do take some insurances! I am a proud provider under the Beacon Health Strategies Network. So, I take plans such as Independent Health Essential Plans 1-4, Independent Health Medisource, MVP and Your Care. Additionally, I am a member of Carebridge EAP. If I do not take your insurance, I can provide you with what is known as a “superbill”. This type of receipt is something that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement or monies towards your deductible. The “superbill “will have details such as my information, the type of session we had (ex. 60 minute psychotherapy session) and cost of the session. In addition, I must give the insurance company a diagnosis in order for you to possibly be reimbursed or for funding to go to your deductible. This means that it is required for me to state a diagnosis regarding your condition (ex. Major Depressive Disorder, Social Phobia, etc.). I recommend that you contact your insurance company regarding specifics related to your insurance and mental health coverage as all insurance companies and plan options are different. In addition, I can assist and will verify your benefits before your first session. The best number regarding mental health services is usually on the back of your insurance card.
How much are your fees and how long are your sessions?
The initial intake session is $100 and is 60 minutes long. Additional sessions are $80 and are 60 minutes long. I do offer a few sliding scale spots based on need. Please contact me regarding this feature. If I take your insurance, each plan and option is different. I would verify your plan’s benefits and be able to tell you if you have a co-pay, no co-pay, etc before your first visit. In addition, please click on the “Services” tab to find out more information about having an intake and getting started with therapy.
Are you able to prescribe medication? Do I have to take medication?
No, I am not able to prescribe medication. Only those with a medical degree such as a Primary Care Doctor, Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner are able to prescribe medications for you. Taking medication is a very personal decision between you and your doctor. I am not able to give you this type of medical advice. Some people find medication to be helpful in conjunction with therapy. Please talk to your doctor concerning this. If you give me permission, I will be able to consult with your doctor as well. In addition, if you need suggestions or referrals to a doctor, I can provide this for you.
Does going to therapy mean I am “weak”?
Absolutely not! Realizing that you need help and reaching out is a strength! Life can be stressful and difficult at times. We can all use some extra support now and again. In addition, being in recovery/counseling is nothing to be ashamed of. Good for you for taking care of yourself! More and more people from all walks of life, dealing with all different situations are coming in for therapy. Think of it this way: If you had a heart condition, would you consider it weak to get medical attention for your heart? What about a broken bone? Well, the brain is an organ, like any other organ in your body and sometimes it needs a little TLC. Your brain is a part of you and your overall health. Mind, body and spirit are all connected to your overall wellbeing.
If I have not answered your question or concern, please feel free to contact me via e-mail, telephone or by using the contact forms throughout the website.