FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Many people have found relief from depression and other emotional difficulties through psychotherapy. Recent research has found that most people who have at least several sessions of psychotherapy are far better off than untreated individuals with emotional difficulties.  For more information related to the benefits of psychotherapy visit the website of the American Psychological Associations www.apa.org. 

Selecting a therapist and getting started in therapy can be an intimidating, anxiety provoking and confusing process.  I am glad to help you through the process and offer support by answering a few questions in advance.

How do I get started? First, contact me by telephone at (858) 314-3477. During our conversation we will spend a few minutes discussing your needs and I will answer any questions you have. Following this conversation, I will offer an assessment session or provide you with referrals to better suit your needs.

How much of my information is confidential? The law protects the privacy of communications between a patient and a psychologist. In most situations, a therapist can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written authorization form or for the purposes of third party payment. The following represent situations in which Psychologists are required to disclose information without your consent:

  • If a patient threatens to harm himself/herself or is otherwise unable to care for him/herself, Psychologists may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him or her, or to contact others who may help ensure safety.
  • If there is reason to suspect that a child is the victim of abuse or neglect, Psychologists may be required to file a report with the appropriate agency.
  • If there is reason to suspect physical or fiduciary abuse of an elder (or dependent adult), abandonment or abduction, Psychologists are required to report the abuse.
  • If a patient or family member communicates a threat of violence against a victim, Psychologists must take protective actions, including warning the potential victim and contacting law enforcement or any other person/agency deemed important for protecting the safety and well-being of the identified person.
  • Clinical records are occasionally subject to legal subpoena. In those unusual instances, Psychologists are not obligated to release the records and may claim confidentiality. If records are the subject of a legitimate Order of the Court, release of the records or summary of the records may be required whether or not consent is given.

Please be aware that the above circumstances are rare and that disclosures without your consent only take place in extreme situations.  Even when breaches of confidentiality take place the information disclosed may only pertain to the safety or legal concern at hand.    

What if I am a minor? If you are under eighteen years of age, please be aware that the law may provide your parents the right to examine your treatment records. My policy is to request an agreement from parents to give up access to minors records. If they agree, I provide them only with general information about the treatment; unless there is a high risk that the safety of the minor or someone else is at-risk. In this case, I may notify the parents of my concern. Before giving them any information, I discuss the matter with the minor, if possible, and do my best to handle any objections to what I am prepared to discuss.

What can I expect in a session / what is it like? Therapy is an ongoing dialogue between two people for the benefit of helping one person live a more satisfying and productive life.  Therapy is not easy! It can often be upsetting and difficult. However, it does offer moments of clarity and relief from troubling symptoms. Be aware that therapy is only effective if you are a willing participant and you feel included in the process. 

How much does it cost? Each psychotherapist sets their own fee schedule which is why fees vary among therapists. Generally a therapist will charge a per session fee with each session lasting 45-50 minutes. Occasionally, therapists will offer a reduced rate for people with limited income.  In these cases, reduced fees are only offered to a limited number of clients. 

Does my insurance cover psychotherapy? Some insurances cover psychotherapy but insurance companies often apply restrictions to their coverage. For instance, they may require co-pays, a shared cost amount and/or limit the number of sessions they will fund. Contact your insurance company for specifics on your coverage.  There are benefits and risks to using insurance.  These should be discussed carefully with your provider. For an excellent overview of risks/benefits of using insurance visit the following link www.sandiegotherapists.com/comparison.html.

How many sessions does it take? No specific formula exists to arrive at a number of sessions required for treatment. Each individual’s psychotherapy needs are different and the length of treatment can be influenced by the type and severity of challenges an individual client is facing. The client and psychotherapist generally work together to develop a treatment plan suited to the client’s individual needs and these needs can often change throughout the process.

I hope you found this information helpful! If you have any questions or want to take advantage of therapy to change your life, please contact me.