Your Questions Answered

Just click on a question to open up the answer. For questions not answered here, please contact me or give me call. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Payment and Insurance

    Payment
    Payment for services is generally due at the time services are rendered, unless other arrangements have been made. Payment may be made by cash, check, or major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

    Insurance Plans
    I can prepare and submit claims for you to any insurance plan that permits you to chose "any willing provider." I am a contracting (assigned) Psychologist for Medicare Part B, but not for Medi-Cal (Medicaid). I accept payment through the Victim Witness Program (for California and other states) for established claims. I do not accept Workers Compensation. I do not participate in any HMO or PPO provider panels, but many PPO (and some HMO) members have benefits through a "point of service" (out-of-network) option.

    Advance verification of benefits
    If you would like to know what your insurance benefits would likely be for psychotherapy services with me, please contact my office. Once you provide a copy of your evidence of coverage, my office staff will obtain eligibility and benefits information to help you make an informed decision.

    Fees
    For a confidential discussion about my fees, please contact me.

  • How can I get help for myself, a family member or a friend?

    The first step is to contact me by phone or email. With a brief phone call, we can generally find out whether I can meet with you directly or whether I can assist you with referral information for other psychotherapists or resources in our community.

    In some cases, before I can let you know what steps I recommend, I will need to meet with you to assess your situation during an intake visit.

  • What three things happen in the first session of psychotherapy?

    Before we start, you will read my practice policies and fill out a simple intake form listing any medications you are taking, any medical issues or past psychotherapy.

    1) In your first session, we will have an opportunity to discuss the reasons you are interested in working with me at this time. We will begin identifying the significant experiences that brought you to this point in your life, your primary goals for therapy, and any specific concerns you have.

    2) You will be able to ask me any questions you have about the process of psychotherapy, my background and my approach to working with you.

    3) Before we finish our first session, I will let you know if I believe you could benefit from psychotherapy and how we could work together to achieve your goals.

  • What questions should I ask?

    You should ask:

    How much experience I have working with people with issues similar to yours.

    If you want me to prepare insurance statements for you, what diagnosis code I will use.

    Any questions you have about my professional fees, payment policies, and fees for cancelled appointments.

    Any questions you have about the psychotherapy process, my practice policies, the records I keep, and how I protect your confidentiality.

  • What are your areas of specialization?

    My primary area of specialization is related to the treatment of traumatic stress responses, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, specific phobias, depression, and dissociative disorders.

    I work with a wide range of survivors of traumatic experiences including crime victims, industrial injuries, motor vehicle crashes, natural and man-made disasters, critical incident and cumulative stress in police, fire and other emergency responders, adults who were abused or neglected as children.

    I also have extensive experience in alcohol and substance abuse recovery. I work with individuals with co-occuring posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol or substance abuse.

    My original training was in marriage and family therapy and I have continued to work with couples over the last three decades. I work with couples at all phases of life. I help couples learn to communicate and work through issues with blended families, infidelity, infertility, and adoption.

    I support loving relationships by helping couples learn to communicate more effectively, develop trust and intimacy, work through areas of conflict, and resolve their issues.

  • Previous therapy helped me, but did not resolve my issues. How can you help me go further?

    The field of psychotherapy is filled with a diverse range of methods and schools of thought. All psychotherapists follow their own philosophies and use the specific methods in which they have been trained.

    Some people's issues can be resolved with almost any approach. Others require a specialized approach or methods that not all psychotherapists use.

    I have training in a number of methods and approaches, so I can sometimes offer a more flexible approach that fits the method to the person rather than the person to the method.

    Some of the approaches I use, such as EMDR, have been shown in scientific studies to be capable of helping people resolve long-standing issues where other approaches have not.

    Finally, because I have practiced for over 40 years, I understand and work with issues from a different perspective that comes from the depth of my clinical experience.

  • Do you work with couples?

    My original training was in marriage and family therapy. I have continued to work with couples over the last four decades.

    I work with couples at all phases of life. I help couples learn to communicate and work through issues with parenting, blended families, infidelity, infertility, and adoption

    I support loving relationships by helping couples learn to communicate more effectively, develop trust and intimacy, work through areas of conflict, and resolve their issues.

  • Do you work with adolescents or children?

    I work with adolescents and children 12 years and older.

  • Do you prescribe medication?

    As a Psychologist licensed to practice in California I cannot prescribe medication.

    Psychologists do not have the legal authority to prescribe medication in the USA, except in Louisiana and New Mexico. Psychologists in California are encouraged to discuss medication issues and make referrals to an MD for a medication evaluation when appropriate.

    Medication is prescribed by medical doctors. This includes Psychiatrists who are trained in the medical model. Most psychiatric medication is actually prescribed by general practice MDs.

    Most Psychiatrists provide medication management and little if any psychotherapy. Most Psychiatrists have one year or less of specialized training in providing psychotherapy.

    Psychologists are specialists in psychotherapy who have a PhD not an MD. Psychologists generally have five to six years of postgraduate education and training in psychotherapy.

  • How long will I need to be in therapy?

    The length of therapy is hard to predict without understanding your issues and goals. I work with people across a range of issues and goals. Some people achieve their treatment goals in a handful of sessions. Some in a few months. Some work with me over longer periods of time.

    Every person's circumstances are different. Sometimes, during an initial telephone call I can give you an idea about how long others with similar issues and goals needed.

    Generally, it takes at least one to two sessions before I can offer guidelines about how long you might need to be in therapy to achieve your goals. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide when therapy is helping and how long to continue.