FAQ

Where are you located?

I have two office locations in downtown Chicago with easy access to parking and public transportation:
111 W. Jackson Street Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60611
&
605 N. Michigan Ave. 4th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60611

What are your office hours?

Currently, I provide day, evening, and Saturday appointments to accommodate various schedules.

Can I benefit from therapy?

Like everything else in life, your results equal your investment. If you are motivated and invested in your therapy you will definitely benefit. Sometimes the benefit feels immediate. Other times, it will take time. Reason’s to seek therapy can include feeling overwhelmed or depressed, struggling in relationships, low self-worth, needing support through life transition or to manage symptoms. Therapy can also be beneficial if you need an objective voice and sounding board to assist in furthering personal growth.

Why should I see a therapist? Why not just talk to friends or family?

A friend or family member is not professionally trained to help you grow, heal and change. It’s likely that your friends and family have been giving you their best advice, but friends often give advice that is based on their life’s experience. Therapists are trained to listen in order to understand their clients; encourage independent thinking and self-reflection; and highlight their blind spots. Therapy, in its best sense, is a process of unfolding our inherent wisdom that is oftentimes trapped beneath layers of conditioning, fear and reactivity. Our friends are oftentimes either happy for us or afraid for us but typically are not engineering their feedback to support long-term growth and change. Friends aren’t objective or neutral, they have something at stake in your life and their views, needs, and opinions are going to color their interaction whether they are aware of it or not. While therapists care for their clients, they don’t have a stake in your life. They’re also trained to be aware of their biases and reactions and work through them. Therapy is confidential. Though friendships allow for safety in many ways, there are things most all of us would disclose in therapy that we may be uncomfortable sharing with a friend, this means that we’re more likely to dig deeper and unravel the layers of ourselves when we know that we can spill our secrets in a safe space.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

Medication by itself, without proper coping mechanisms or without addressing the underlying not enough. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root cause of the issue, dig deep into your interior world and behavior and learn strategies that can help you accomplish your personal or relational goals. Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.

How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?

Choosing a therapist is a very personal decision. Therapy is only as effective as the relationship between therapist and client and because of this I believe the best way to determine if a psychotherapist is right for you is to schedule a session and simply meet with me and to trust your instincts when you are with me. Ask yourself: “Can I see myself feeling safe and comfortable with this person? Does it seem like they *get* me?” You can also ask yourself this question during and after our initial phone consult before you book that first session.

How long is the length and frequency of sessions?

It would be so handy for me to have an exact answer to this question. But unfortunately, I don’t. There are many factors to consider, such as: What sort of life have you had before coming to therapy? Why are you deciding now to come to therapy? How long has the problem been in the making? How have you coped with the problem up until now? How have your ways of coping compromised your deeper sense of aliveness and well-being? What are your goals or hopes for therapy? How will we know when they have been met?

I know, lots of considerations here. Some of these questions cannot be answered right away; they are answered during treatment through discovery and understanding.
Here’s how you will gain the most benefit from therapy:

  • Look at the money and time you spend on therapy as an investment in your future. The benefits you experience will justify the expense.
  • Be an active participant to your fullest capacity. Your therapy will take work – on your part and on mine. If you don’t put honest effort forward you won’t feel as if you are getting your money’s worth and you will likely resent the cost.

I’m very private and it is important to me that issues I talk about are confidential. Is my confidentiality completely protected?

Yes. By law I am bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse, a threat to harm another person or if you are in danger of self- harm. If you want to use a third- party payer to pay for therapy it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case I will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer.

Will you give me advice and then get upset if I don’t follow it?

Therapy is not giving advice, so, no I will not. If simply telling you what I believe you should do worked, then the advice given by friends, family, or self-help books would suffice. Therapy works by trusting that, at the deepest level, you really do know what you need to bring joy and contentment to your own life if you would only take the time to listen. Therapy gives you the opportunity to slow down and to reflect upon feelings and behavior patterns that you didn’t know you had. Just this recognition alone is half the battle in the process of change. The therapist’s role is to make the space as safe as possible for you to do just that, to lift up patterns of behavior, feelings and inner conflicts that may be causing you pain and impeding your ability to function and enjoy life. The therapist’s role is to make the space as safe as possible for you to do just that, to lift up patterns of behavior, feelings and inner conflicts that may be causing you pain and impeding your ability to function and enjoy life.

Will you be upset or judgmental about who I date, to whom I’m married or with whom I associate?

I once had an African American male client who took months to explore issues (about which he was very concerned) regarding his relationship with his white girlfriend. He told me that he was afraid that I might be as angry as his mother had been when she learned that he was dating a white woman, so he didn’t bring those issues to therapy. I like to tell people up front that I won’t judge you for who you are or for who it is that you love. I work with people from all walks of life with many different concerns. I am honored to be on the journey with people from all ethnicities, faiths, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations.

How do I prepare for my first visit?

Show up with the intention to be as open and honest about yourself as you can be. I will want to learn about what is bringing you to therapy at this time in your life and hopefully you will be interested in filling me in. In this session I will ask lots of questions, some of which may feel somewhat intrusive, but it is with the intention of gathering a clearer understanding of those things you’re coping with. The likelihood is that there is much you will want to tell me and I’ll be listening carefully and giving you my full attention.

At the same time, I am learning about you, something else will be going on that is very important. You will likely be asking yourself:

  • How does it feel to be in the room with her?
  • Do I like her? Do I feel safe with her?
  • Does she seem like she will be able to help me?
  • Can I let my guard down with her and be myself?

You will also have an opportunity to ask me questions and learn more about the therapy process. By the end of the first session we will each have a sense of each other and will have talked some about the possibility of working together. Hard research has shown that the success of therapy is determined more by the quality of the relationship, than the theoretical orientation of the therapist. If the fit doesn’t feel good to you, then you owe it to yourself to keep looking. If I don’t think I will be the most advantageous therapist to work with you for whatever reason, I will tell you and make a good referral to someone who I think will be able to help you. If we decide to work together then we will schedule a next appointment.

What do I need to know about insurance and fees?

I am in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. If you plan to use your mental health benefits, I will file claims to insurance for you. I am also an out-of-network provider for many insurance companies which means that I do not bill them directly. You will be required to cover the cost of session, however, I will provide a statement that you can submit for out-of-network reimbursement.

I encourage you to call your insurance company and carefully check your mental health benefits as you are ultimately responsible for the full cost of therapy. Here are some questions you should find answers to:

  • Do I have Mental Health benefits?
  • Is my therapist in-network?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • Do I have a copay?
  • How many mental health sessions per year does my insurance plan cover?
  • How much does my plan cover for an out-of- network mental health provider?
  • How do I obtain reimbursement for therapy with an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

If you are using insurance, only your copay (which varies depending on your plan) is due at the time of your session. If you are using out of network insurance, full payment is due at the time of the session. I accept cash, check and major credit cards.

What are the advantages of private-pay?

Utilizing private-pay for your therapy without relying on insurance or other 3rd party payors allows you to maintain the most control over your privacy by minimizing the exposure of your protected Health Information (PHI).

Did you know that whenever you use insurance benefits to cover psychotherapy, the provider has to release certain types of information to the insurance carrier? This is done in order to a) verify your eligibility for coverage, b) pre-authorize services (If applicable), and c) to process claims to obtain payment. As a result, the provider is required to inform the insurance carrier of relevant personal matters such as the nature of the issues you struggle with, your psychiatric diagnosis, and your prognosis. This diagnosis is maintained on your health records, even once therapy has ended and is accessible by other medical providers.

With private-pay, your therapy remains completely private (with the exception of confidentiality such as in the event of persistent suicidal thoughts, etc…). You must provide a signed consent to consult with any other provider, institution, agency or individual in your life. No reports of your treatment are shared with your insurance and all records remain with me. The few exceptions to this privileged relationship will be explained in detail during your first appointment.

Keep in mind there are certain types of therapy that may not be covered by your insurance plan, such as relationship, couples therapy, or group therapy. Medical insurance can also manage the frequency and duration of psychotherapy sessions rather than accommodate your schedule and frequency of therapy. Self-pay allows you to also determine the length of your treatment based on your needs rather than on the basis of the allotted session benefits.

Please contact me to discuss rates.

What is your cancellation policy?

The time that is allotted for your therapy session is reserved for you. For this reason, I require a 24 hour cancellation notice. Appointments cancelled with less than a 24 hour notice will incur a charge of $50.00.

How do I get started?

Call me! Or if you’d rather email me, simply go to the “contact page” on this website to do either. If you know that you want to get started, let’s schedule a session. If you prefer a complimentary consultation, we can arrange as well.