FAQ

Will my health insurance cover your services?SUSAN FAQ PIC

It depends.

Couples counseling is generally not covered by health insurance as it is not considered treatment for a medical condition or in insurance company lingo, a “medical necessity.” A few insurance companies do actually cover couples work. To find out if yours does, call your insurance company and ask them if you are covered. If you want to know more about this, here’s a link to an article about couples counseling and insurance coverage.

If you are concerned about coverage, please talk directly with someone at your insurance company to check your status before you come to your initial consultation.

I am not an official in-network provider for any insurance companies for two reasons: confidentiality and privacy of your health record.

All insurance companies require some degree of personal information to process a claim. When clinical information is provided to the insurance company, it becomes part of your permanent record  and could be made available to anyone with authorized access, such as a future employer.

With a fee-for-service practice, I can protect your privacy and base treatment on your individual goals, not the financial decisions of the insurance companies. This requires payment at the time of service.

Also, for any health insurance to cover psychotherapy, you must be diagnosed with an “official” mental disorder, for example, depression or anxiety. Some individuals I work with do meet the criteria for a mental disorder; others do not.

If you meet the criteria, I will supply an invoice with all the necessary information and diagnosis codes so that you can apply for reimbursement from your insurance carrier.

Can you assure me that therapy is going to work?

You can be certain that many others have found help through therapy, and numerous research studies have shown that psychotherapy is very effective.

According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, research indicates that couples and family therapy is helpful for relationships. In one research study, more than 75% of couples were better off than those in the same situation who didn’t receive counseling. The couples attending therapy reported a “significant” improvement in satisfaction with their relationship.

blue couch clouds b wWhat can I expect to happen at my first session?

When you arrive, please have a seat in the waiting room. When it’s time to begin, I will greet you and invite you into my comfortable office, where I will ask you about yourself and what has brought you in to see me.

Ideally you will find enough comfort and safety to be able to do your emotional work. You will find me to be very active and empathetic in the sessions. I am not a traditional silent, “blank slate” therapist. I offer lots of feedback and ask lots of questions to make sure I understand your life and the context of your problems.

Therapy sessions can be emotional, but I will not allow you to become too overwhelmed. You are in control of your therapy. My office will be a safe place where you can work on your issues at your own pace with my support and guidance.

Do you work with other issues besides relationships?

I am here to help any adult who is struggling with issues that get in the way of having a meaningful safe and secure relationship — including anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, illness, or other life stressors. I have one goal:  I want to use my professional training and expertise to help you succeed in relationships.

How soon can I get in to see you?

Typically, I’m able to see new clients within a week of when they call for an appointment.

How can I decide if I want to start therapy with you?

Read the information on this website and see if it resonates with you. Request the free report, “Unfair Advantage: Uncommon Knowledge to Improve Your Relationship.” Reading that alone may inspire you to begin.

Look at the blog posts; they will give you a sense of who I am. Spend a few minutes a day alone, tuning in to what your body, brain, emotions, and spirit are telling you. Pay attention to your intuition. When you decide you are ready, contact me.

Can I meet you before deciding?

Good idea. We can first chat on the phone. Then, if you feel positive, you can schedule an appointment. By the end of the first or first few sessions, you should have a sense of whether or not you want to continue.

Is therapy confidential?

Yes. Our work together is confidential. Nothing can be revealed to anyone without your written permission. However, there are a couple of exceptions. I am legally required to report all incidents or suspicions of child or elder abuse or neglect, as well as if a client poses a danger to himself or others. Also, while I’ve never had it happen, my records could be subpoenaed by a court of law.

I’m thinking about starting therapy, but I am concerned not just about confidentiality but also about privacy.

I have worked with many people who have been concerned about privacy because of their security clearances or high profile careers.

For those needing complete privacy, I can offer you a session time when the office waiting room is clear or by making arrangements to come to your location. If this interests you, please call at 703-651-6626.

How long does each therapy session last?

The initial session lasts  at least 90 minutes for individuals, 2 1/2 hours for couples. After that, each session can last from 50 minutes to 3 hours. This time frame is flexible as some forms of therapy require longer sessions, or some people prefer longer sessions to make progress more quickly or because they can’t come to therapy often.

How often will I come for therapy?

Most people come for a weekly session.  Frequency can vary depending several factors, such as on the type of therapy, your emotional well-being, and your personal schedule. Some couples or individuals in crisis come in two or three times a week in the beginning. Later, some come in bi-weekly or monthly.

How long will therapy take?

It varies, depending on your goals and the complexity of the issues.  Some problems resolve themselves in a couple of sessions. Some clients have worked with me on and off for years, as new issues have appeared. The length of therapy also depends on your motivation, on how hard you’re willing to work, and how deeply you want to explore yourself and your relationship.

Are you comfortable with same sex couples and gay or lesbian individuals?

Yes. I am happy to work with gay and lesbian clients and have worked successfully with them before. I welcome clients of any sexual orientation.


Black vintage phone isolated on whiteHow do I make an appointment?

You can contact me by phone–703–651-6626–or via email here. I generally respond to all calls and emails within a few hours. We will set up an appointment for a mutually convenient time.

What if I need to cancel or change an appointment?

Your therapy session is time I have reserved just for you. I require 48 hours notice in advance by phone if you cannot keep your scheduled appointment in order to give me enough time to fill the session, if possible. You will not be charged for the session if the time can be filled with another client. If I cannot fill your time with another client, you will be charged the full fee.