The benefits of psychotherapy have solid empirical support. These benefits can include more satisfying relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reduction in feelings of distress. On the other hand, a small percentage of people can have their problems worsen during or after participation in psychotherapy (e.g., more anxiety, increased doubts about overcoming personal problems).
In general, the confidentiality of all communications between a patient and a psychologist are protected by law, and information about the work between you and your therapist can only be released with your written authorization. However, there are a few exceptions. In some legal proceedings in which your emotional condition is an important issue, a judge may order clinical records if she/he determines that the issues demand it. There are some situations in which a licensed psychologist is legally obligated to take protective actions. If a patient is threatening to harm herself/himself, a therapist may be obligated to seek hospitalization for the patient or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection. If a patient is hreatening to harm others, obligatory actions may include notifying the potential victim(s), contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the patient. If your therapist believes that a child, elderly person, or disabled person is being abused, your therapist must file a report with the appropriate state agency. Typically, these situations rarely occur in your therapist’s treatments.
If a similar situation occurs, your therapist will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action. Your therapist may occasionally find it helpful to consult other professionals about a case. During a consultation, your therapist will make every effort to avoid revealing the patient’s identity. The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. While this written summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you about potential problems, it is important for you to discuss with your therapist any questions or concerns that you may have about confidentiality arrangements or any other aspects of your treatment.
The laws and standards regulating the private practice of clinical psychology require keeping treatment records. You are entitled to receive a copy of your clinical records, or a summary can be prepared. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. If you wish to see your records, it is recommended that you review them with your therapist so that the contents can be discussed. You will be charged $50.00 per 15 minutes for professional time spent in responding to information requests.
Contacting Your Therapist
Your therapist may not be immediately available by telephone. When your therapist is unavailable, your therapist’s telephone is answered by voice mail that she/he monitors frequently. Your therapist will make every effort to return your call on the same day you make it, with the exceptions of weekends and holidays. If you are unable to reach your therapist and feel that you can’t wait for a return call, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If your therapist is unavailable for an extended time, she/he will provide you with the name of a colleague to contact, if necessary.
Appointments & Fees
In order to set realistic treatment goals and priorities, it is important to evaluate what resources you have available to pay for your treatment. Appointments typically are 50 minutes in length. A session of individual treatment is $200; a session of couples treatment is $225. Payment is due at the time of service and is done by credit card, using a virtual credit card device. Except for medical emergencies, you will be charged for a missed appointment unless canceled with at least 24 hours notice.
You have the right to a “Good Faith Estimate” explaining how much your mental health care will cost. Under the law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the expected charges for psychotherapy services. You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected charges for psychotherapy services. You can ask me for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule a service.
For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit www.cms.gove/nosurprises.