In short, no (and if you’ve been looking into therapy, you’ve probably found this to be the case with a lot of places).
Here’s the extended explanation:
The most important reason – PRIVACY. In return for covering therapy sessions, insurance companies have the right to request our notes from your sessions detailing what was discussed, what you’re working on, etc. This is so appalling to us that it sounds like it should be illegal, but it’s not. In fact, HIPAA laws specifically allow for this private information to be released to insurance companies if they’re the ones paying for treatment. We’ve all signed a form explaining this if you’ve ever used insurance for a doctor’s appointment before, we just don’t usually read the fine print. The only difference here is that the “records released for the purposes of billing” in therapy, don’t include your blood pressure and weight, but your most private personal history of emotional pain.
Additionally, we believe people should be able to get help BEFORE things get really bad, to prevent problems from escalating. These are typically the types of clients that find their way to us. They want to work on personal growth, building coping skills to help improve their mood, getting better at communication, or changing the dynamics that keep coming up in their relationships. Unfortunately, none of these things are covered by insurance. In other words, according to insurance, people who want to start therapy before things get really bad, are going in too soon. Insurance requires the treatment to be “medically necessary” in order to provide coverage, meaning after your symptoms have already started to have a significant effect on your ability to work, take care of yourself or your home, and engage in social relationships.
Insurance also requires a diagnosis code for a specific mental health disorder such as Major Depressive Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder in order for treatment to be considered “medically necessary” and covered by insurance benefits. In order to qualify for a diagnosed mental health disorder, by definition, your symptoms have to be severe enough that they are significantly impacting your ability to function at work, at school, at home, in your ability to complete tasks of daily living, or personal hygiene. Unfortunately, this label becomes a part of your permanent health record and can have unfortunate implications after therapy is over.
Lastly, we believe you and your therapist should be the ones deciding what you think treatment should look like and what would be most helpful to you. If you go through your insurance, then YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY (not you or your therapist) decides how treatment looks, how many sessions you get, what you work on, and what sessions look like. In other words, in order to cover treatment, insurance doesn’t allow therapists OR clients to decide on the course of treatment, that’s decided in corporate offices, by someone who’s never met you or spoken with you, and therapists are required to provide session notes to document that they’re following the treatment methods covered under your insurance plan – no exceptions.
This information is provided in the event you may have some interest in submitting claims for out-of-network reimbursement for our sessions. As you know, we are not in-network with any insurance providers so all sessions are paid out-of-pocket at the time of sessions. Many insurance plans, however, do offer out-of network coverage and you may be eligible for potential reimbursement for a portion of the cost of your therapy.
If you do have a diagnosis, it becomes a permanent part of your health record– meaning if you meet criteria for a diagnosis such as PTSD, Depression, or Alcohol Misuse, this diagnosis is permanently in your medical record. This can impact your future coverage, the cost of future coverage, or other scenarios in which your medical records may be subject to review including legal proceedings and employment.
By submitting your claim to insurance, you give up a certain degree of confidentiality– meaning your insurance company will review the invoice you submit to them which only includes very basic information such as your diagnosis and dates of treatment. HOWEVER, by requesting reimbursement, you give them permission to audit your more detailed treatment records such as your progress notes which detail the content of sessions. They do this to ensure treatment is focused on the diagnosis listed and to determine whether or not you are improving.
Your insurance plan may not provide out-of-network coverage– meaning they may not help cover the cost of any out-of-network services such as those received from us or any other provider who does not accept your insurance.
Your insurance plan may not consider therapy for you “medically necessary” unless you meet specific criteria– Common concerns insurance does not consider “medically necessary” include such issues as managing current life stressors, relationship problems, or grief after the loss of a loved one. This means your insurance will NOT reimburse you for a portion of your sessions unless you meet the following criteria:
– You have a mental health diagnosis for which your insurance considers treatment to be “medically necessary” and
– Your ability to function must be significantly impaired by the symptoms of your diagnosis.
If you decide to use your out of network benefits, you’ll be seeing a specialist– meaning often when you go with a therapist who accepts insurance, you will be seeing a “generalist”, someone who has some experience in working with your concerns but also works with many other types of concerns as well
Therapy may actually be cheaper out of network – meaning between the potential for reimbursement from your insurance as well as the cost difference between in-network and out-of-network therapists, depending on your insurance it may actually be cheaper to go with an out-of-network provider
If you’ve decided you would like to submit your therapy claims to your insurance, here are the three simple steps you’ll need to take.
1) Go to your therapy session, be sure to let your therapist know that you’d like to submit your sessions to insurance for possible reimbursement, and pay for your session out of pocket.
2) After your session, get a copy of the invoice documenting your payment and the cost of services. (If you are a current client, you can access your session invoices directly through the Client Portal by logging in and going to your Billing page.)
3) Submit the invoice to your insurance. Most insurance providers have a claims form or a portal you can submit the claim directly online.
We offer cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) for a variety of concerns. CBT includes 4 main components:
1) Learning what is happening that is causing and maintaining your concerns (such as your depression, anxiety, or sleep problems)
2) Learning coping skills that apply directly to your concerns and practice using these skills outside of session
3) Using behavioral strategies to help interrupt the cycle that is maintaining the problem
4) Relapse prevention so you are less likely to fall back into these patterns after therapy ends
We offer structured CBT programs for the following problems:
Major depression and dysthymia
Panic disorder and agoraphobia
Generalized anxiety and worry
Post traumatic stress disorder for sexual trauma
For other concerns, please contact us to determine if we may be able to help.
We’ve found that many of our clients who believe they’ve tried CBT before actually haven’t. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is all about learning coping skills and changing how you react. That being said, many therapists who do not practice CBT, do try to use some of the same coping skills as a part of less structured therapy. For example, if you’ve seen another therapist for anxiety, they may have suggested you try breathing skills. Maybe they didn’t work for you. This is not the same thing as trying CBT. With CBT, each of the skills we cover is explained in detail so you know why it works, how it works, how to do it correctly, and when to use it. Many clients who believe they’ve had CBT actually find the therapy we do together is quite different from what they’ve had before.
Yes! We also offer Emotion Focused Therapy which is essentially “CBT PLUS”. This approach combines the evidence based aspects of CBT in addition to specific skills to understanding and processing emotions. We’ve found this to be extremely helpful in teaching clients how to better understand their emotional patterns, learn how to respond to emotions in order to change these patterns, and skills to process the discomfort that many emotions cause.
We currently work with adults and teens, ages 14 and up.
If you’d like to begin individual therapy, however, and you believe that at some point you would like to include a family member or significant other in one or more of your sessions, we would be glad to do this. We have clients from time to time who would like their significant other to join us in session to discuss how they can help support my client in using the coping skills we’ve come up with. We’ve also had clients who would like to bring a loved one in to discuss a difficult topic within the supportive environment of therapy such as coming out to a parent.
We are also quite happy to provide you with referrals for other therapists we believe would be a good fit if you are looking for a type of therapy we don’t offer.
We do not currently have any groups running. However, Orlando has a severe shortage of group therapy offerings. If you are interested in group therapy, please feel free to send us a message letting us know what type of group you’re interested in and we will be sure to reach out to you if we start up a group like the one you’re looking for.
We currently offer video and phone sessions to clients in the state of Florida on a case by case basis. Before beginning remote sessions, all clients must complete an assessment to ensure you are appropriate for distance counseling and to ensure you understand the policies and procedures for video and phone sessions. Video sessions are provided via Doxy which can be accessed via smart phone or laptop.
CBT is typically a short-term therapy. CBT works best when it is focused on addressing one primary concern, if you are motivated to begin trying new coping skills, and you are committed to devoting time outside of sessions to this. In these cases, treatment is typically an average of 16 sessions. This is NOT intended as a guarantee regarding the number of sessions required to address your concerns, but rather is intended as a guideline of the average number of sessions we typically complete with a client seeking therapy for a single concern.
The number of sessions we will need to adequately address your concerns will depend largely on a few factors:
The number of concerns you would like to address in therapy. For example, if you are seeking therapy solely to address your sleep problems, but are not experiencing any additional concerns such as anxiety, relationship problems, or substance abuse – the treatment solely for sleep problems is relatively short. Here is a list of the average number of sessions needed to address only a primary issue (without other additional concerns or factors that complicate things)
Depression – 12-16 sessions
PTSD – 16-18 sessions
Social Anxiety – 16-18 sessions
Panic Disorder – 16-18 sessions
How ready you are to make the changes you’d like to see from therapy. It’s normal to feel anxious about trying something new. You may be ready to jump right in despite your nervousness or we may need a bit of time to overcome your anxiety about trying something new before we can begin making changes. For example, if you are looking to work on improving your self-esteem or tackling your depression, a big part of this may be practicing more assertive communication. It can be uncomfortable to try new behaviors or practice some of the tools we cover. If we need a bit of time to first work through your anxiety about becoming more assertive, this can add on a bit of time.
The amount of time you have available outside of sessions to practice the tools we discuss in sessions. This varies largely from person to person. For example, if you are currently working 60 hours per week in addition to being primarily responsible for parenting 2 young children, your time may be limited and it may take a bit longer simply to fit the time in to practice the tools we’ll discuss.
There are only two mental health diagnoses for which medication is considered medically necessary in order for any other type of treatment to be effective: Bipolar and Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorders. This is because these conditions are caused primarily by chemical imbalances in the brain. For these conditions, therapy without medication is not considered effective.
For all other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or insomnia, medication is not considered medically necessary in order to benefit from therapy. If you have more questions or concerns about how medication or the lack thereof may impact treatment, please contact me.
We offer client sessions Monday through Friday with varying hours ranging from 9am to 8pm, depending on the therapist you’re working with. Different therapists have different availability, including evening hours, and we can match you with a therapist whose availability matches yours.
You can contact us by phone or email during normal business hours Monday through Friday, between 9am and 5pm. If we are in session or on the other line with another client, we will follow up with you as soon as possible.
1384 Lake Baldwin Lane, Unit B. Orlando, FL 32814
Baldwin Park is located approximately:
10 minutes from Winter Park and Downtown Orlando
15 minutes from SoDo and College Park
20 minutes from East Orlando, Altamonte, Oviedo, Lake Nona, and Millenia
30 minutes from Winter Garden, Apopka, Sanford, and Lake Buena Vista