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?
- Do you see adults?
- Can your office prescribe medication?
- 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 student. Can I continue to see my therapist when I am home on break?
- Why does my teenager need to sign intake paperwork? What if my teen doesn’t have an email address?
- Can you tell me what my teenager is talking about in therapy?
Do you take our insurance?
We are in-network with a variety of insurances, which are listed on our Rates and Insurance page. If we are in-network with your insurance plan, 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.
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 in full at the time of service. We can 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. When being seen out-of-network, you are responsible for coordination and communication with your insurance company.
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.
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.
Do you see adults?
While our website focuses on children and teens, we do work with adults as well. Most of our therapists have experience providing therapy to adults and enjoy working with adult clients. (It’s nice to be able to sit on the couch instead of on the floor sometimes!) Common reasons adults come to our office for therapy include depression, anxiety, trauma and other difficult experiences, life changes, and relationship issues. We do not provide couples counseling.
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.
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 time with their loved ones. Appointments vary by therapist. We offer appointments from 8 AM – 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 later appointment times for families who consistently attend therapy sessions and 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 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 are 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 soooo 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 how 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.
If your child is 14 or older, they have a big part in deciding how involved they want you to be in their therapy. This is because in Pennsylvania teenagers are able to consent to their own treatment and then have control over what information is shared.
I’m a college 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.
Why does my teenager need to sign intake paperwork? What if my teen doesn’t have an email address?
In Pennsylvania, a law called the Mental Health Procedures Act establishes rules for how consent to treatment is handled for youth ages 14-17. Under this law, either a parent or the teen can provide consent to treatment. Regardless of who provides the consent, teens have a great deal more control than younger children over their privacy and whether information is shared with others (see the next question for more on this).
It is our office policy to have teenagers provide consent to their own treatment. This keeps things consistent across our practice. If you believe your teen will refuse to consent, please speak with our Intake Coordinator about your situation.
Our intake paperwork is usually signed through our Client Portal which does require an email address. If your teen does not have an email address, it is very easy to set one up and it is free to do so. If you think your teen will need help completing the intake forms, we encourage you to provide that support and complete the forms with them.
Can you tell me what my teen is talking about in therapy?
According to Pennsylvania law, when a teen (age 14-17) consents to mental health treatment, they essentially have the same rights to confidentiality that an adult would have. The teen decides who information about their healthcare can be shared with and signs all authorizations to release information to others (e.g., school, pediatrician). Teens are often very protective of their privacy. Knowing that what they say in therapy won’t be shared with anyone else often helps teens feel safe enough to open up. Therapists can break confidentiality if there is an immediate risk to safety.
Beginning 7/20/2021, we ask all teens to sign a consent form at the start of therapy that gives us permission to talk to parents about scheduling, attendance, and billing. This enables us to coordinate care for the youth.
Beyond that basic information, what your teen’s therapist can tell you will depend on your teen. At the start of therapy and at other times along the way, the therapist may have have a conversation with your family about the boundaries of therapy and what will or won’t be shared. They may encourage your teen to give permission to share their treatment goals and progress with you, or to include you in some therapy sessions. However, by law, your teen ultimately has the right to make that decision.
“Don’t rescue your child from a challenge. Teach them how to face it.”