Manhattan NYC psychotherapy FAQ, watercolor

Psychotherapy FAQ

We are continually faced with the challenge of managing our health - both physical and mental. Sometimes our mood, thinking, or behavior negatively impacts the quality of our life. Seeking psychotherapy in such situations means that we are giving our mental health as much importance as we give our physical health.

Psychotherapy, as I practice it, offers a supportive and non-judgmental space to face challenges and explore aspects of yourself in a way that can be freeing. It is different from talking to a friend because it provides the opportunity to confidentially work on sensitive or distressing matters with a trained professional who understands the complexities of the emotional world.

If psychotherapy did not work for you in the past, there is still hope. Every therapeutic relationship is different, that is why it is essential to find one that works for you. Psychotherapy can be challenging, but with the right match it can ease the process.

Counseling tends to be short-term and focuses on teaching specific coping or problem-solving techniques. Psychotherapy/therapy is usually more long-term and focuses in-depth on a broader range of psychological concerns.

However, the terms counseling, psychotherapy, and therapy are often used interchangeably and are not always legally protected which means that many professionals, with varied levels of training, can use these terms. These include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or counselors.

For this reason, it is essential to make sure that the person you work with has the experience and qualifications to meet your needs.

Psychiatrists have a medical degree (M.D. | D.O.) and residency training in mental illnesses which they diagnose and treat primarily with prescription psychiatric medications. Some also practice psychotherapy in addition to medication management.

Clinical Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D. | Psy.D.). They have training in the science of human behavior, in psychological testing, and in psychotherapy to diagnose and treat mental illnesses and tackle problems at a deep level. Psychologists cannot prescribe medications, though they work in collaboration with physicians when psychiatric medications are needed.

Social Workers (LCSW | LMSW) have a master’s or higher degree in social work. They can connect individuals and families with community resources, help with social functioning, and practice counseling/therapy.

Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) have a master’s or higher degree in marriage and family therapy. They have training in family and marriage dynamics and primarily work with couples and families.

Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) have a master's or higher degree in counseling. They have training in counseling/therapy and can assist individuals to develop skills and strategies to address issues related to mental health, relationships, education, and career.

Creative Arts Therapists (LCAT) have a master's or higher degree in creative arts therapy. They treat mental, emotional, developmental, and behavioral struggles through the use arts, dance, movement, drama, music, and poetry.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) have a master’s or higher degree in nursing and have additional training in psychiatry. They treat mental illnesses with prescription psychiatric medications and some also practice therapy.

Psychoanalysts have a master's or higher degree and have also completed a course of training at a psychoanalytic institute. Psychoanalysis primarily focuses on uncovering the unconscious mental processes that are affecting behavior and personality.

Based on the level of education, experience, licenses, and areas of specialization the fees can vary between these mental health providers. You can verify whether a provider is licensed in New York State on the New York State Office of Professions Website.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – This approach focuses on understanding the inner conflicts and struggles that influence our day-to-day emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. For the most part, these inner conflicts are unconscious and develop early in life. Once we become more in touch with these inner conflicts and process them, our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors improve. The therapeutic relationship is central to psychodynamic therapy and is thought of as a vehicle for exploration, insight, and change.

Emotionally Focused Therapy – EFT prioritizes emotions and the human need for bonding. The aim is to increase safety, closeness, and connection in significant relationships by exploring and shaping stuck patterns of interacting with ourselves and others.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT focuses on identifying triggers that lead to problematic behaviors and on learning skills to cope in healthy ways. DBT teaches skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – ACT aims to increase psychological flexibility through the acceptance of difficult thoughts and feelings that are beyond our personal control. ACT encourages a commitment to engage in behavior consistent with personal values.

Transference Focused Psychotherapy – TFP focuses on building a stable and clear personal identity and improving relationships by actively exploring the dynamics between the patient and the therapist. TFP facilitates the development of better management of intense emotional states and improved behavior control.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT operates under the premise that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors influence each other and can become a repetitive cycle. Hence, the focus is on replacing unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that get in the way of feeling better.

Play Therapy – This approach incorporates play, which is thought of as the language of children, to help them manage their inner conflicts, feelings, and behaviors. It involves the use of toys, games, art, clay, dolls, puppets, etc., to give expression to their inner world and gradually shift unhelpful patterns of behavior.

Psychotherapy sessions are typically 45-minutes, once or twice weekly.

The duration of therapy varies based on each person's unique situation. While people can experience symptom relief within a few months, it generally takes time and patience to experience more sustainable results. It is recommended that you do not abruptly end treatment without discussing with your therapist as this can lead to unresolved issues.

We begin with a free 15-minute phone consultation to briefly talk about what you are looking for, to ask questions, to discuss fees, and to decide if we would like to schedule an initial session.

Following the initial phone consultation, I will email a link to a secure patient portal where you can complete the necessary paperwork prior to our first meeting.

Our first few sessions are a time for us to determine if we work well together, and for me to understand your needs and share my approach. Together we will decide the best course of action - either continuing to work together or a referral to another provider or treatment setting that would better suit your needs.

Please provide at least 48-hours’ notice for cancellations to avoid being charged for the session.

We will discuss and set a fee during our initial 15-minute phone consultation.

Payment is due at the time of service. I accept credit and debit cards (processed via a secure automated online system).

I am an out-of-network provider, which means that I do not accept insurance. The agreed upon fee is due at the time of service. I provide detailed monthly invoices for you to submit to your insurance provider for reimbursements.

If you do not have health insurance or do not plan to file an insurance claim, I will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate of expected charges.

After your out-of-network deductible has been met, insurance plans that have out-of-network coverage typically reimburse based on a percentage (reimbursement rate) of their usual, customary, and reasonable amount determined for that service (also called UCR or allowed amount).

For Example
  • Your annual out-of-network deductible: $1,000
  • Your reimbursement rate: 70%
  • Your insurance company’s UCR amount for the service: $300 per session

Once you have met your annual out-of-network deductible ($1,000), your insurance company will typically reimburse you for 70% of $300 = $210 per session.

Reimbursify is an app that can help with out-of-network claims.

Questions to ask your insurance provider to estimate your insurance reimbursement

  • Do I have out-of-network mental health coverage?
  • What is my annual out-of-network deductible?
  • What is your reimbursement rate for out-of-network mental health services?
  • What is your UCR amount in NYC (zip code: 10001) with a licensed clinical psychologist for:
    • 45-minute individual psychotherapy (CPT code: 90834)?
    • or, couples/family therapy (CPT code: 90847)?
  • What is my out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network services?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • Are there any limits on coverage (e.g., number of weekly or annual sessions, online therapy)?
  • What is the process for getting reimbursed?