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How will I know if a therapist is a right fit for me?
Research shows that the #1 predictor for successful therapy is the connection you have with your therapist! Therapy is also an investment of your time, energy and money. It’s important that you feel confident in the therapist you choose. You can start by thinking about what you are looking for in a therapist. Do you prefer working with a therapist who is interactive? Has specific specialties and experience? Is culturally sensitive? Are you looking to learn new skills?
You can set up consultation calls with a few therapists so you can get a sense of who they are, their approach, and if they have experience with the issues you want to address in therapy.
What can I expect during our first therapy appointment?
During our first session, or intake session, I will ask specific questions to learn more about you, the life events that have brought you to therapy, and possibly how things like anxiety, mood, stress, substance abuse, your relationship with food/your body, or others is affecting your life. We will also go over some of my practice policies, such as confidentiality.
You are welcome to ask any questions you may have and/or share any concerns about starting therapy. Prior to our first appointment, I will send you a link to my confidential client portal where you will find documents about my practice, confidentiality in therapy and forms where you can provide some information about yourself.
How long is each session?
Therapy sessions are 50 minutes long for individuals and (typically) 75-100 minutes long for couples.
How long will I be in therapy?
This totally depends and is based on a variety of factors—differing goals, life circumstances, stressors and personal needs all impact this. Each person comes to therapy for a different reason and with a different goal or purpose in mind. Sometimes it’s because you need to feel immediate relief over a distressing situation, other times it’s because you are ready to explore some behavioral patterns, thoughts and beliefs that have been keeping you stuck, or holding you back for years. Whatever the reason, we will work as a team to collaborate on your treatment and determine together what timeline makes the most sense for you.
In the beginning stages of therapy, I recommend that all my clients attend therapy once a week for 50-minute sessions (couples’ sessions and psychological evaluations are usually longer sessions), so that we can keep up the momentum and build a strong therapeutic relationship.
Is Therapy Confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects between a client and a therapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter, that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. You can expect that what you discuss in sessions will not be shared with anyone. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share some information, or give an update, to someone else that’s part of your healthcare team (your Psychiatrist, Primary Physician, Naturopath, Nutritionist, etc), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission (Release of Information: ROI Form).
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except in certain situations for safety. As a mandated reporter, I am required to report the following to the proper authorities:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders is required to be reported to the authorities, including Child Protection Services and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm another person
- If the client is gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves
- In case of medical emergencies
- If I am subpoenaed by a judge
Do You Take Insurance?
I am not an in-network provider for any insurance companies. Payment is required at the time of your appointment. If you would like to seek reimbursement from your insurance company, I will be happy to provide you with a statement (ie a “superbill”) for you to submit to your insurance
Many of my clients use out-of-network benefits to help with the cost of therapy. If you have a PPO insurance, you may want to ask your provider if your plan has out-of-network benefits for behavioral health services, which means you are able to see an out-of-network psychologist and your insurance provider may reimburse you for a percentage of the cost of our sessions.
Some helpful questions to ask your insurance provider to find out if your plan has out-of-network or non-participating provider benefits:
- Do I have out-of-network benefits for behavioral health and individual outpatient therapy with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist?
- Is authorization required, and if so, how do I get it?
- What is the coverage amount or percentage per therapy session? What if I have a parity diagnosis?
- Do I have a deductible? What is it and how much of it have I met? When does it reset? (calendar or policy year basis)?
- Is there an annual limit on the number of sessions or the total amount that is reimbursable?
- What is the reimbursement for CPT code 90791 (intake appointment)? 90834 (individual therapy sessions)?
- Does my plan reimburse for Telehealth psychotherapy sessions (video and phone)?
- What is the process for submitting a superbill and getting reimbursed?
What is the No Surprises Act and a Good Faith Estimate?
As of January 1, 2022, under Section 2799B-6 of the Public Health Service Act, health care providers and health care facilities are required to provide individuals who are not enrolled in an insurance plan or a Federal health care program, and are not seeking to file a claim with their insurance via superbill or via an in-network provider, with a “Good Faith Estimate” of expected charges at the time of scheduling health care items and services.
A “Good Faith Estimate” explains how much your medical and mental health care will cost over the period of time you are in treatment. Under this law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance, or who are choosing not to use their insurance, an estimate of the expected charges for medical services, including psychotherapy services. Please note that if you are submitting claims to insurance for an out-of-network provider (such as Dr. Karin Schwartz), you will not receive a Good Faith Estimate, as you are using insurance to pay for all of or a portion of treatment.
For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit cms.gov/nosurprises.
What is your cancellation policy?
Scheduled appointment times are reserved especially for you. I require a minimum of 48-hours cancellation notice prior to our scheduled appointment for you to avoid being charged the full fee of your session. Emergencies of all types happen, so there are exceptions to this policy.
What is online therapy (Teletherapy)?
Many of my clients prefer the flexibility Telehealth offers, saving on travel time to and from a physical office space, and holding sessions in the comfort of their own homes.
Through a HIPAA-compliant secure video/audio platform, you are able to attend sessions remotely from the comfort of your couch, office, vacation rental, etc. As long as you have privacy and access to a good internet connection from your phone, tablet, ipad or computer. This can be extremely helpful, especially during the pandemic, or in general, for people with busy schedules who can’t spare the travel time, are out of town, or don’t live within driving distance. It is confidential, discreet, easy to use, and makes quality therapy more accessible for those in rural areas, or those who feel more comfortable in the comfort of their own space. Video or phone teletherapy sessions are found to be just as effective as in-person sessions.
I am fully licensed to provide psychological services to clients residing anywhere throughout the states of California, Colorado, Florida and New York.