FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Do you take our insurance?
- I don’t see our insurance listed. Can we still use our insurance?
- I prefer not to use insurance. Is that okay?
- Can your office prescribe medication?
- Is it required that I do telehealth? How does telehealth work?
- Do you offer evening hours?
- My child has school during the day. How do I make therapy work?
- How long are appointments?
- How often / how long will my child need to come to therapy?
- My child lives with me. Do you have to get permission from his/her other parent?
- How do I know if my child needs therapy?
- What should I tell my child before the first appointment?
- As a parent, what is my role in my child’s therapy?
- I’m a college/Academy student. Can I continue to see my therapist when I am home on break?
Do you take our insurance?
We are in-network with a variety of insurances, listed below. If we are in-network, we will submit a claim to the insurance company which will reimburse us directly. You will be responsible for any co-pay or deductible your plan has, as well as the cost of any non-covered services.
- Capital Blue Cross
- Geisinger Health Plan, including CHIP
- Highmark Blue Shield, including CHIP
- Other Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans
- Quest Behavioral Health
- TRICARE Humana Military – We are a TRICARE-certified, non-network providers; point-of-service fees may apply.
- UPMC Health Plan, including CHIP/UPMC for Kids
- Medical Assistance
Visit our Rates and Insurance page for more information.
I don’t see our insurance listed. Can we still use our insurance?
If our office is not in-network with your insurance, you may choose to see us out-of-network. You would be responsible for paying at the time of service. Depending on your insurance company, we will either submit an insurance claim for you or provide you with paperwork to submit to your insurance company. Your insurance company will then reimburse you directly, based on your plan’s out-of-network benefits.
Out-of-network benefits vary from plan to plan and some plans do not include out-of-network benefits, so we encourage you to contact your insurance company. Ask the representative specifically about out-of-network outpatient mental health benefits.
If your plan does not include out-of-network benefits, you may choose to self-pay for services. Visit our Rates and Insurance page for more information.
I prefer not to use insurance. Is that okay?
Yes. You are welcome to opt out of using your insurance benefits, if you prefer to self-pay. Insurance only pays for services that are “medically necessary” to treat a mental health condition. This means that we must provide a diagnosis in order to submit a claim to insurance. Some families / clients do not want a mental health diagnosis on record and prefer to self-pay instead.
Can your office prescribe medication?
No, we do not have any staff that can prescribe medication. Medication must be prescribed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, physician, or CRNP. People often confuse psychologists with psychiatrists. A psychologist has a doctorate degree (a Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and is trained in areas such as psychotherapy, psychological testing, and diagnostic evaluations. A psychiatrist has a medical degree (an M.D. or D.O.); he or she has completed medical school and can prescribe medication.
Is it required that I do telehealth? How does telehealth work?
Currently, we are scheduling all new client appointments as telehealth. We look forward to resuming in-office sessions, but we believe strongly in doing our part to maintain the health of our community and that means minimizing possible exposures to COVID19. We consider ourselves very fortunate that mental health services can be provided via telehealth to clients of all ages!
We would love to tell you more about telehealth – please visit our Telehealth webpage.
Do you offer evening hours?
No, we do not offer evening hours. A core value of our practice is to support therapists in having a healthy work-life balance; this includes protecting their evenings so they can spend with their loved ones. Appointments vary by therapist. We offer appointments from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Thursday and 8 AM – 4 PM on Fridays. Although this means we have some afterschool appointments available, these appointments fill very quickly and are usually filled by established clients. We also prioritize these times for families that do not have the flexibility to come earlier.
My child has school during the day. How do I make therapy work?
This is a very common concern from parents and caregivers! It is certainly important to weigh the benefits of therapy against the costs of missing academic instruction. If your child’s mood or behavior is interfering with his or her learning, the time spent in therapy may be well worth the time away from class.
Our therapists work with families to figure out the best time for a child’s appointments. For example, if a child has “specials” first thing on Tuesdays, a Tuesday morning appointment might work well and be less disruptive to his or her learning. A high school student may schedule their appointments during study hall/resource or lunch. We will provide a written note to excuse your child from school during their appointment time.
How long are appointments?
The length of appointments is based on clinical need and can range from 30 to 55 minutes. Most often, therapy appointments are 55 minutes. Why 55 minutes instead of a full hour? This is provides the therapist with a few minutes between appointments to write notes, grab a drink, or use the restroom.
How often / how long will my child need to come to therapy?
Therapy is most effective when it happens on a regular basis, typically once a week. As your child makes progress, she may not need to come as often.
How long a child needs to be in therapy depends on many factors, including the nature and severity of concerns, the child’s willingness to engage in therapy, follow-through with “homework” outside of sessions, and how often you come. After learning more about your concerns, your therapist will work with you to create a treatment plan and discuss a time-frame for therapy.
My child lives with me. Do you have to get permission from his/her other parent?
It depends on your specific circumstances and, if there is a custody order, what the order says. More information can be found on our Custody page. The short answer is that if there is a custody order and the child is less than 14 years old, we must make a reasonable effort to contact each adult who has legal custody of the child. Legal custody is not the same as physical custody (where the child lives).
In cases where the parents are still married but are separated, we do require consent from both parents. This is clinical best-practice, in order to ensure everyone is in agreement before therapy begins. It also reduces the chance of disagreements about therapy later on, which can be very disruptive to treatment.
We are a psychologist-owned practice and our policy about custody and consent to treatment follows guidance from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. We committed to upholding the highest ethical and legal standards. We do not make “exceptions” to these standards.
How do I know if my child needs therapy?
As a parent, it can be tough to know whether professional help is needed. We encourage families to err on the side of caution – it is usually easier to address a problem sooner rather than later. When in doubt, we encourage parents to come in for an initial consultation. Over the course of two to three sessions, we’ll gather information about your concerns and get to know your child. You may be asked to fill out some forms or checklists. Based on this assessment, we can provide you with feedback about whether therapy is warranted and, if so, what the goals might be.
What should I tell my child before the first appointment?
Most kids find it reassuring to know what to expect before going to a new place or meeting a new person.
- Explain the reason for the appointment, in a way that is supportive and not blaming or critical. For example: “You’ve been worrying a lot the past few months, and it is getting in the way of your schoolwork and sleep,” or “I know it is hard for you to control your temper. Sometimes you just get SOOO mad that you hit or throw things, and then I get really mad and yell. That doesn’t feel good for either of us. I love you and I want us to get along better.”
- Explain what a therapist is, in terms your child can understand. For younger children, you might say, “A therapist is a bit like a doctor, but instead of helping kids have healthy bodies, a therapist helps kids have healthy feelings and behaviors. They help kids by talking and doing activities with them. They can also help parents figure out what they can do to help their kids.”
- Let your child/teen know you think therapy can help. Give them hope! “Therapist Z has helped lots of kids/teens and families. I think she can help us too.”
- For older youth, consider showing them the therapist’s page on our website or invite them to select the person they might like to meet.
As a parent/caregiver, what is my role when it comes to therapy for my child?
Although one-on-one therapy can help children in many ways, the benefits of therapy are enhanced when what they learn is practiced, supported, and encouraged in their day-to-day lives. As a caregiver, you are one of the most important people in your child’s life (if not the most important person!). You have valuable information that will help your therapist help your child and family, and you can play a key role in extending the impact of therapy beyond the therapy office.
In most cases, we ask for parent involvement in a child’s therapy. This may include joining your child in session, meeting with your child’s therapist one-on-one to talk about your child’s needs, and helping with “homework” between sessions. Therapy is not a “drop off” appointment. Please plan to remain in the waiting room.
I’m a college/Academy student. Can I continue to see my therapist when I am home on break?
The answer is “it depends.” If your home is located in Pennsylvania, you can probably continue with appointments using telehealth. One caveat is that not all insurance plans cover telehealth, so you’ll want to check your insurance benefits. If telehealth is not covered by your plan, you would be responsible for paying the session fee.
If your home is out-of-state, the answer is more complicated and depends on the licensing laws in that state. Generally speaking, the therapist must be licensed by the state where the client is located. So if your therapist is licensed in Pennsylvania, you need to be in Pennsylvania when you receive services. Some states allow out-of-state therapists to provide a limited number of sessions without becoming licensed by that state. Others do not. During the COVID19 pandemic, some states are issuing free, temporary licenses, but those licenses are short-term and expire when the state of emergency ends.
We cannot provide a blanket answer for out-of-state students, but what we can say is that your therapist will work with you on a plan for when you are at home. This might mean telehealth appointments if your state’s licensing laws allow it, brief phone check-ins, or helping you find a local therapist you can work with when you are home.
“Don’t rescue your child from a challenge. Teach them how to face it.”