Four things this therapist wants you to know:
1. I'm frustrated with the insurance process too.
I don't take insurance. It seems that many therapists are steering clear of it these days. I feel terrible when potential clients contact me and are having a difficult time finding affordable therapy. They want to use their insurance, but few therapists accept it. Many of us slide our scale to try and accommodate these clients, but it's often not affordable enough. Working with insurance companies can be a pain for therapists. We get paid far below market value for each session and are required to do much more paperwork. Another reason I have chosen not to work with insurance companies is that a diagnosis is required for them to reimburse. Many of my clients don't need a diagnosis and may not want that in a paper trail. I feel that working independently allows me to treat my clients optimally without letting bureaucracy influence/force a diagnosis and treatment. If you are searching for a therapist and trying to use your insurance (and hence, having a difficult time), consider reaching out to a couple of private pay therapists to see if they can work with you on pricing. If not, they likely know of other affordable resources - like sliding scale clinics - and can help lead you in the right direction.
2. I genuinely want people to find a therapist who is their best match.
I posted about this two years ago (2 years??- whoa time), but shopping for a therapist is normal. I have had a couple of potential clients who I've met with maybe twice, and then they inform me that they were shopping for a therapist and have decided to work with someone else. I can tell these conversations aren't easy for them and they feel guilty. But honestly, I am happy for them and glad that they took the time to find the right person. It benefits me as well when I get clients who truly feel a connection and want to work together. This is another reason I don't work with insurance companies - I believe that the fit is crucial to success, and private pay clients are free to choose whoever they feel most comfortable with rather than being constrained by "in network" lists.
3. I welcome direct communication about the relationship.
The therapeutic relationship works best if the client and therapist can be direct, and talk about their relationship and what is occurring in sessions. My belief is that my relationship with the client serves as a model for healthy communication and honesty - if they can practice these skills in session, then their relationships in the real world will benefit as well. I try to model this as best I can, but I love it when clients also feel comfortable enough to bring our relationship dynamics into the room. I know that might sound confusing, so let me give an example.
Ex 1: When a client cancels their session last minute and I enforce my policy and charge them. Perhaps I can tell that they are frustrated... if that's the case, then I would immediately address this in the next session. "Did anything come up for you when I enforced my late charge policy last week?"- this way we avoid lingering resentment and can talk it out. Even better, if the client comes in and feels comfortable enough to say "I was upset that you charged me last week."
Ex 2: If a client is sharing something difficult and they are brave enough to name "I'm nervous you're going to judge me when I tell you this"... I love it when clients put these concerns out there. I try to be as attuned as I can, but I'm obviously not a mind reader. So knowing that someone is anxious about what I'm thinking, is very important and helpful for the process.
4. My clients are incredible.
Sometimes friends will ask me questions such as, "are any of your clients like, really out there? Or unpleasant to work with?" OR "Do you ever think, yikes, you're beyond help?" ... My guess is that these friends are trying to assess what their therapist thinks of them, or where they fall on the spectrum of being a client with "normal issues." And while I obviously won't share information about my clients, I 'm elated that my response is always, a genuine, wholehearted - I love my clients! I want everyone to know that, at least for me, when I sit in a room with someone and I'm privy to the most vulnerable things about them, there's no way to not feel honored, and inspired and grateful. I am in awe at the experiences my clients have had, the difficulties they face, and that they walk among us everyday as if they aren't super heroes. I'm the luckiest.
*If you have any therapy/wellness related questions, concerns, or stories you'd like addressed in a future newsletter please message me.
Something to Read:
This was a powerful read leading up to the Women's Marches.
Wellness Tip of the Week:
Mindfulness while getting through airport security via The New York Times
“Long lines at airport security can induce anxiety, especially if they are slow-moving and you are cutting it close to boarding time,” says Melissa Eisler, a meditation teacher in San Diego and author of MindfulMinutes.com.
Stand up tall and bring equal weight onto both of your feet.
Tune in to your breath — inhale to fill your lungs, pause at the top, exhale fully and pause at the bottom.
When it is time to move, open your eyes for a moment, take your steps and continue where you left off.
At the front of the line, greet the T.S.A. agent with kindness and compassion.
Be calm and tranquil as you take off your shoes, place your items on the scanner and move through security.
Mindful awareness can alleviate stress not only while in the airport security line, but also as you head out on your flight.
Expect quotes, observations, tips and reflections.