I view my role in the counseling process as a “fellow traveler” on the very same road. I absolutely adore what I do, and my intention is to help you figure out your own answers. Talking with someone who really hears you- and helps you to hear yourself- often leads to different ways of interpreting and being in the world that provide relief and joy. Things can and do get better. I believe this, I have lived this, and I have watched others experience this.
I received my Masters in Social Work from FSU in 2004 and my undergraduate degree from UF. I have worked with people through all kinds of issues from a variety of backgrounds and age ranges. My previous experience includes undergraduate and graduate internships in drug and addiction programs, starting a poetry group at the women’s federal prison in Tallahassee, working at New York’s Omega Institute’s sister program- Teen Camp, providing care in homes and facilities through Hospice, conducting a workshop at Florida’s National Association for Social Workers yearly conference on Eastern approaches to therapy, presenting work-life trainings for different companies, and facilitating a cancer support group for eight years.
Lastly, I have a 12 year-old co-therapist/lab named Maggie Mae. Accommodations can be made if you are allergic or prefer not to have her in the room.
Choosing a Therapist
Choosing a therapist that feels right to you is absolutely essential. Likewise, I will want to make sure that your needs and my expertise are a good fit. My goal is to help you get what you need out of counseling, even if what you need is a referral to another therapist/agency who specializes in a particular area or to someone with whom you may have a stronger connection with. Therefore, I welcome any questions you may like to ask about counseling or me before scheduling a session. I offer a free telephone consultation if you would like to discuss your interest in therapy in more detail.
You will need to contact your insurance provider to confirm your benefits and ask the following five questions:
- If I am covered provider or if they will allow you to use your out of network benefits?
- If you are using your E/SAP (free Employee or Student Assistance Benefits) benefits or Managed Care (regular) benefits?
- If you need pre-authorization- including the authorization number, the number of approved sessions, and the date the authorization starts and expires?
- What your deductible is and how much you’ve already paid towards it?
- Your copay (a flat rate) or co-insurance amount (a percentage of the total fee)?
Once an appointment is set, I will need to gather some basic information prior to our meeting. You can either download and print your intake forms online (fill out and bring with you to your first session) or you can arrive to your initial appointment twenty minutes early to complete the paperwork (so we don’t use up your session time).
Length, Frequency, and Duration of Sessions
Counseling sessions are traditionally 50 minutes long, but can be 60 minutes if you would like and are paying privately or if your insurance covers a longer session. (Please note, insurance does not cover two sessions in one day and usually does not cover more than one session in a week unless it is medically necessary.)
Provided there are no safety issues, it is completely up to you how frequently you attend therapy (i.e. weekly, a few times a month, or by setting an appointment as needed). Generally, when you are first getting started, weekly sessions are the most beneficial in order to have time to capture all your background information, influence accountability, and relieve immediate stressors.
The duration of therapy depends on what you are seeking. If you want fast resolutions to your situation, we can work in a style of therapy that is more short-term and goal focused. Others prefer to delve into the nature and roots of what’s bothering them in search of a deeper catharsis. And still others come to counseling for a mixture of both.
Information shared during a counseling session is considered confidential under HIPPA (the Health Information Privacy and Portability Act). However, there are some exceptions when your privacy is not protected by me that you should know about.
- All information will be held confidential and privileged unless the psychotherapist has suspicion that I (client) have neglected or abused a child (including minors witnessing domestic violence), a senior citizen or a disabled person, in which case a report will be made as required by law to the appropriate law enforcement and social welfare agencies.
- All information will be held confidential and privileged unless I (client) report suicidal or homicidal ideation, intent or plan, in which case a report will be made as required by law to the appropriate law enforcement and social welfare agencies.
- All information will be held confidential and privileged unless the psychotherapist has been subpoenaed by a court of law.
If I am utilizing insurance or EAP to assist in payment for my services, I agree to allow my psychotherapist to release information in my record, including but not limited to: my history, condition, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and treatment recommendations to insurance/EAP personnel involved in reviewing my case.
- Other information may be released in accordance with the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act as described in this office’s Notice of Privacy Practices.
You have the legal right to have access to your therapy file. If requested, you will be provided with a professional summary within 10 business days at the rate of $25 per report. My detailed session notes are to help me process my thoughts and remain my legal property (though strictly confidential to no one but myself). Anyone else wishing to access your file will first need you to come into the office and sign a release permitting the release of your information.
Crisis and Emergencies
I do not assure availability at all times and the practice is not geared to the provision of emergency services. Should there be a psychiatric emergency and I am not readily available to assist you in making arrangements, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you live in New Port Richey, you can also call BayCare’s crisis line at 727-841-4439. If you live in Tampa, you can also call 813-234-1234.
It is my standard office policy to terminate counseling services for any client whom I have not counseled within 30 days of the last service. At that time, I will contact you asking if you wish to continue counseling services. If I do not get a response within 10 days of being contacted I will assume you wish to terminate services and will remove your name from my active client list. Of course, you are welcome to call for an appointment as a new client at any point in the future. However, I reserve the privilege to accept new clients or not, depending on a host of factors including case load and time allocation.