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Common Questions

Is psychotherapy effective?

Psychotherapy is a tool that can be used in a variety of circumstances, ranging from being unable to change or adapt while understanding that change is necessary to having a disorder that requires professional diagnosis and help. In a clinical setting psychotherapy can be compared to medication or other clinical options. Just like different kinds of medication there are different kinds of psychotherapy. For the most part, I practice psychodynamic psychotherapy and I will be happy to discuss with you if this is an appropriate choice for your specific circumstances. If it is, we will work together and if it is not, I will refer you to a provider who is most appropriate for your goals.

Rigorous studies were conducted to investigate the efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Just three examples of these studies are available here:

For a more complete list of research publications on this topic, please refer to:

When your goal is not necessarily clinical, for example when you wonder if you are on the right path professionally and personally, or if you would like to feel purpose and fulfillment in your life, it is somewhat more difficult to determine if psychotherapy is effective. What we will do together is try to establish clear and attainable goals of treatment that correspond to your life goals. During the course of our work we will be discussing if you find the treatment to be meaningful. We will make necessary changes as needed along the way, such as fine tuning the goals and formulating new ones when current goals are reached. I will need your feedback, both positive and negative, on how the work is going. I am hopeful that you find this experience useful.

Psychotherapy or Assessment?

Psychological assessment, including psycho-educational and neuropsychological evaluations, is a method of finding an answer to a question. There is a wide variety of possible questions from: “Why am I struggling at school academically?” and “Why do I have no friends?” to “I started to forget things and I’m not my usual self, I feel hopeless. Is this dementia, depression, or both?”

Your doctor, school, educational consultant, or a state agency might refer you. You might refer your child, or yourself. In all of these circumstances we will start by clarifying the questions and discussing the scope of the work, time required, outcome, and fees. When the work is completed, you will receive a detailed report. In addition, we will have a feedback session to discuss the findings.

Assessment can be used to guide treatment choices, including psychotherapy, it is more of a diagnostic/clarification instrument. Psychotherapy is a modality of treatment that can be helpful in reaching your goals. While many questions might come up when working in psychotherapy, finding the answers to these questions is not the primary focus of the work. Often, a person knows that certain behaviors or relational patterns are maladaptive and can name several good reasons for these behaviors, but is still unable to change. Psychotherapy can help with that.

If you need more information, we can talk more about this question at our first meeting.

What services are covered by insurance?

Insurance companies reimburse for services that they consider “medically necessary” according to the specific rules listed in each individual plan. Because there are a variety of plans with different deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance fees, specific conditions are widely variable. If you find this information overwhelming, I will help you clarify the details of your coverage.

Often, but not always, when there is a mental health diagnosis, insurance carriers will consider individual psychotherapy, as well as initial consultation to be routine services, not requiring pre-authorization.

Insurance companies typically do not cover psycho-educational assessments, as they consider such services not medically necessary. Psychological assessments with a clinical focus, such as diagnosis clarification, are often covered according to the specific rules of the individual plan. Neuropsychological assessments may be covered by insurance when there is a referral from a physician and when the neuropsychological assessment is a listed as “medically necessary” in insurance carriers’ documentation for a specific diagnostic code.

It is important to me that you feel comfortable with the financial arrangements. I will work with your insurance carrier to clarify as much as possible upfront. On some occasions insurance carriers will not provide reimbursement information upfront. We will discuss these circumstances and come up with plan that we both agree on.