Q: What kinds of problems do you work with?
Northampton Psychotherapy is a generalist practice. I work with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, substance abuse issues, relationship problems, coping with life change, and extreme states of mind. Feel free to contact me for more information about specific treatment.
Q: What should I expect to happen in the first session?
When coming to a first session, come 5-10 minutes early and bring your insurance card and any contact information you will need to fill out paperwork, including an emergency contact person. You can preview or print out and bring in the paperwork using this link. First sessions usually last between 50 and 60 minutes. Generally, expect to talk about what brings in you in and about the things going on in your life in general. Expect your therapist to give you an outline of a plan of treatment (whether using talk therapy or another kind of therapy) by the end of the session. Keep in mind that, if you haven't met your therapist before or had an in-depth phone consultation, the first appointment is also your opportunity to decide if the therapist is right for you. See the page Am I right for you? for more about choosing a therapist.
Q: What insurances do you take?
At present, I take Blue Cross Blue Shield (all kinds and all states), United Behavioral Health and Health New England. United Behavioral Health is the mental health provider under a few different insurance plans, such as Harvard Pilgrim and United Healthcare. I can also take some Beacon plans and Tufts Health plans. If you're unsure what behavioral health provider your insurance uses, look at the "fine print" on the back of your card or call your insurance company.
Q: What are your fees?
If you use insurance to pay for therapy, your fee is whatever copay set by your insurance company for behavioral health (mental health) services. If paying out-of-pocket, the full fee for individual psychotherapy is $160. I also have a sliding scale based on income that goes down to $45/session. See the sliding scale page in my forms packet.
Q: Do you take cash, check or credit card? What payment arrangements can be made?
I take all three--cash, check or credit. I can also take HSA or FSA cards. Typically, payment is expected at the time of service.
Q: How can I learn more about clinical hypnosis?
It can be hard to learn about hypnosis because the internet is full of a lot of misinformation about it. Some good resources are The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and The Milton H. Erickson Foundation. You can also read my blog series about hypnotherapy. I will connect a hypnosis FAQ here soon.
Q: Do I have to meditate to see you as a therapist?
No--though I practice contemplative psychotherapy, you as a client do not need to do any meditation practice. Your psychotherapist will be a meditation practitioner, however, as a way to work with his own mind better and better be able to help you.
In some cases, I offer guided meditation as a way to augment or potentiate psychotherapy. Even still, you're not expected to join any particular spiritual or meditative tradition and if you aren't at all interested in meditation, that's fine.
Q: How long are therapy sessions?
Generally, individual psychotherapy sessions are a "55 minute hour" -- a bit shy of an hour. Psychotherapy groups (when I run them) usually between 90 minutes and 2 1/2 hours.
Q: How long does therapy take to work?
It's difficult to say and there are no guarantees. The answer to question depends on a lot of factors including the issues you're trying to work with in therapy, your stress level, what else you're doing to work on the issue, your relationship to your therapist, and other issues. Research suggests that most people experience at least some relief from their primary issue after about eight sessions of therapy. Doing hypnotherapy, I can treat a simple issue in as few as three sessions. However, the resolution of the overall problem will probably take longer than that.