Getting Started

Let’s talk. We should spend a short time talking together to help both of us find out if I am the right therapist for you. I can answer your questions or concerns. A successful therapeutic experience is one where you feel comfortable discussing anything you need to talk about with your therapist.  You can make the first contact by phone or email.

Initial Consultation

Once you decide to work with me we will meet for an initial consultation. During this meeting we will talk about your main concerns and what you hope to achieve.

Confidentiality and Release of Information

I value confidentiality and take your private information very seriously. All details about your evaluation and treatment are confidential and will only be released to specified individuals or agencies with your written permission.

When you arrive at the office you will be asked to sign the Notice of Privacy Practices (HIPPA) form.

Skills Groups and Your Health Insurance

While skills groups and class training are not group psychotherapy, participation is usually reimbursable through insurance. Please check with your individual insurance company to find out what your policy covers.

Privacy Issues and Your Health Insurance
It is important to understand the risks in using your health insurance for reimbursement for mental health visits.

1.     How do HMOs, managed care and insurance companies get access to confidential information?

2.     What information HMO’s, health care and insurance companies demand from your doctor, counselor or psychotherapist?

3.     Is the information gathered by HMOs, health care and insurance companies important and necessary?

Almost all HMOs, managed health care and insurance companies require your doctor, psychotherapist or counselor to give you a diagnosis. As part of this information, many HMOs, managed health care and insurance companies require detailed, intimate and private information about your entire life before they authorize payment.

Ask yourself these questions: Do you need a diagnosis? Is it really necessary to provide a detailed and intimate life history? In rare cases the answer is yes. In virtually every case the answer is no.

Nevertheless, well-intended doctors, psychotherapists and counselors routinely gather personal information and give their patient a diagnosis because they can justify the diagnosis and because a patient doesn’t want to pay for counseling or treatment.

In the current system, in order to get your health insurance to authorize payments, you will have to give a detailed history to be given a serious diagnosis. Put simply, you should decide in advance if it is acceptable to you to divulge a deep level of personal information as the condition imposed by the insurance company in order to pay for the treatment.

For more detailed information on this topic:

The Pros and Cons of Using Health Insurance for Mental Health Care

Susan Simon-Fleischer, LCSW

Phone: (973) 535-3626