Is therapy for me and can it help?

People seek therapy for a variety of reasons. Some people seek therapy because they have long-standing psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety. Others seek therapy because they are unhappy or frustrated with their current life circumstances, such as adjustment, stressors, relationships, health issues, or family problems. Also, some seek therapy to gain better perspectives and understanding of themselves with a desire to grow into a well-rounded person. 

Therapy is not about “fixing someone” or “curing a disease.” No one is broken or needs to be fixed even if sometimes your inner voice strongly tells you otherwise. Therapy is a journey that one takes to pursue growth and healing.

In a supportive and safe environment, therapy can not only help you gain a better understanding of yourself and issues in your life but also equip you with helpful tools and skills that you can continue to utilize outside of therapy. Working with a therapist can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. 

People often come to my door because they see the need for changes in their lives and would like some support and help to pursue their goals. Sometimes people visit me because someone in their life who cares about their well-being like physicians, family, or friends recommend that they can benefit from therapy. However you landed on my door, you are always welcome and I will always do my best to assist you in your journey of healing and growth.

What is therapy like?

Therapy is a place where people can share their life stories, struggles, and explore many different ideas about themselves and the world around them in a safe environment. 

Just like visiting a physician for physical ailments, you visit therapy sessions to work on some mental blocks that bother you or get in the way of living your life to its full potential. What makes therapy different from the typical doctor's office visits is that you have a designated safe space for you to discuss what is in your heart and mind in a supportive, warm, and safe environment. Instead of prescribed medications to treat your issues, you get to learn skills and tools to help you cope with the challenges in your life and fulfill your goals. 

Therapy is also a place for support and growth. Sometimes people don’t feel like seeking help because of fear of judgment, shame, guilt, or worries of burdening their loved ones or not being understood and heard. In therapy, we safely explore these fears and worries together and cultivate a stronger sense of hope, motivation, and commitment to the goals you hope to achieve.  

The experience of therapy varies by individuals and their personalities and needs. Some people prefer direct and structured approaches with more hands-on activities and assignments while others prefer indirect and free-structured approaches. 

I collaboratively work with all my clients by tailoring my treatment approaches to best utilize their unique strengths and address their needs to get the best possible treatment outcomes. Most importantly, the client's willingness to engage and work on committed goals is what leads to successful therapy experiences.

Who do you work with for therapy and evaluations?

I work with individuals aged 5-110 on many different problems. I was lucky enough to receive many years of wonderful training to treat a variety of problems for different age groups and clinical problems. Although I enjoy working with individuals for many different problems with successful outcomes, I do have special expertise that some individuals may find to be of their interests. To learn more about my specialty areas, please see Psychotherapy Services.  

For psychological evaluations, I serve a wide range of populations including children, adolescents, adults, and elderly for different types of referrals including diagnostic evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, and immigration evaluations. Please see Psychological Evaluations to learn more about what I offer in my psychological evaluation service. 

What is the course of therapy?

The course of therapy is heavily influenced by many different factors such as the reason you are seeking therapy and the goals you hope to achieve. Each individual has different needs, life situations, and goals. As a result, all therapy sessions are tailored and customized to meet your specific needs. 

For the best continuity of care, therapy sessions are usually scheduled weekly on a reoccurring standing schedule. Therapy can be either short-term, focusing on immediate issues, or long-term, focusing on more complex issues. 

Therapy sessions are typically weekly 45 minute sessions. A shorter session can be arranged with a plan based on the needs and circumstances. However, typically a session that is less than 45 minutes does not provide ample time and space to allow us to fully work on your goals. The length of treatment is determined by a variety of factors, the most important of which is your willingness to apply the skills and awareness gained in therapy between sessions.

Once you have achieved the goals, we will prepare and celebrate your ‘therapy graduation’ before you move forward with your life after therapy. Therapy can be difficult at times, but it is also extremely rewarding.

See below to learn more about the process and course of therapy.

What is Telepsychology / Online Psychotherapy?

My psychological services are available for both online and in-person. Telepsychology practice is done through a live video & audio connection, over the internet.

Telepsychology practice allows you to receive services from the comfort of your own home or any places with privacy and internet connection using a mobile device (cellphone, tablet) or computer. It tremendously increases client access to the needed services and significantly decreases concerns of missing the appointments.   

Clients can get the same type of therapy they would receive in person and the service fees are identical. This service is offered to both new and established clients who are deemed appropriate for this kind of treatment.

My online service is provided by a HIPAA compliant platform that allows us a video session, handling documents, and communication between my clients and me. The system is very easy to use and convenient and there is no extra cost to use for clients.  

Recording of the session is strictly prohibited unless we both agree for a specific purpose. 

Note: Some evaluation services may still require an in-person visit and need to be discussed and arranged in advance.

Is my information safe?

People sometimes feel hesitant or even fearful if the contents of therapy are going to be shared with others. Trust and safety are one of the most important values in my work with clients. All information that you share with me and my office will be confidential, meaning that no one has access to your personal identifying information without your written consent. This applies the same way in a situation in which you would like me to discuss your case for consultations with your healthcare providers, school, family members, or partner. 

Without your written consent, I cannot disclose any personal identifying information with anyone unless in some specific situations, which include emergency situations that require immediate care or involve abuse as well as some unique legal situations. 

For minors, there are some limits in confidentiality as their health and safety information is very important to their caregivers who are responsible for consenting the treatment for the minors. At the onset of your treatment, we will discuss various aspects of confidentiality together to help you understand how your information is protected and feel safe and comfortable in your treatment. Specific guidelines and detailed information are also provided in my practice policy and other related documents (available on patient portal). 

For any non-clinical information including online communication via patient portal, please be advised that I use a HIPAA compliant secure platform and email with added security and protection to ensure your privacy. Please feel free to ask any questions if you have concerns or questions about your privacy. 

I strongly encourage you to do your own diligence by securing privacy when you enter a session with me (especially when it is done online). It means that having a therapy session at a coffee shop or other public places where others can hear you easily is not the best way to protect your privacy. Also, although having a therapy session in a car may give you privacy and convenience, your session cannot be completed if you are operating a vehicle or machinery (even if you are in a moving vehicle as a passenger) because it compromises your privacy and significantly causes threats to your safety; this applies to any other situations that are deemed unsafe for you.

What are your fees?

Fees vary depending on the service you are seeking. Please see fees and other relevant information for more information.  I accept the following methods of payment: cash, cashier’s check, FSA/HSA cards, debit cards, and all major credit cards.  Personal checks are not accepted. The fee schedule will be reviewed annually and any changes will be notified to all the clients in advance. 

Do you accept insurance?

I work with Aetna for clients who reside in Texas. I do not accept any other insurance for my services for many reasons; see "Is self-pay right for me?" below for more information. However, I can provide necessary information and documents (known as Superbill) for clients who wish to submit and file a claim to their insurance company on their own for out-of-network billing upon request. Superbills are not available for clients who are outside of Texas as most insurance plans will not cover out-of-state care. 

Is self-pay right for me?

Insurance companies only pay when healthcare services have been authorized. If someone chooses to use insurance, a provider is required to provide a diagnosis found in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th edition) to the insurance company for reimbursement.

The DSM-5 list of diagnoses do not cover all of human psychological problems in unique life circumstances despite its current prevailing use in the practice. Also, sometimes an insurance company may set limits or restrictions on how a patient receives the psychological treatment like the number of sessions and determining medical necessity that is strictly based on billable diagnosis. 

This can be a huge issue because it can often lead to over-pathologizing patients’ symptoms and ill-guided treatment courses as well as treatment that is rather guided by the insurance company than the actual care provider. Also, there are many individuals who do not meet the diagnostic criteria but can benefit from therapy. This can lead to many different issues, potential impact on the future (e.g., capacity to obtain certain jobs, life insurance, etc.), or decreased access or seeking care in patients. 

The majority of insurance companies significantly underpay psychologists and the work is often not properly compensated for the level of qualification, which sometimes result in many providers to take on more cases than the optimal level. This can sometimes lead to provider burn-outs and poor treatment outcomes etc. I strive to provide the best care possible to my patients and that includes taking proper care of myself as a provider and valuing my work with my clients. 

If requested, I will provide a client with a "Superbill" which the client may submit to insurance companies on their own for potential reimbursement.

Along with the No Surprises Act, I value transparency in my work; for questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate and No Surprise Act, visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises. There should be no surprises when it comes to one’s effort to manage healthcare. In the early stage of our work, I will be providing an estimate of the costs associated with the services you seek. Any changes in the fees or associated cost in the service you seek will be discussed with you at the earliest possible point.

What is your cancellation policy for therapy?

Clients are offered a regularly scheduled weekly time slot and encouraged to discuss any disruptions or changes in their treatment schedule in advance. Having a specific time to meet is important for therapy because it gives a sense of commitment for treatment and helps clients stay on track in their treatment with consistency and predictability. Also, it is a time that is exclusively reserved for you and our shared commitment for your desired goals. I will prepare for your upcoming session well in advance, which sometimes requires consulting with other professionals (when needed) and coordinating availability schedules for other clients. Our work thrives on mutual respect and shared commitment. 

My therapy fees are charged on the hour that you reserve for your treatment. It is difficult and often impossible to offer other clients who are in need of treatment if there is not sufficient notice. I understand that there are times you may need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. If you miss your appointment or cancel late you will be charged the full fee. If a therapy session is canceled less than 24 HOURS before the scheduled appointment, clients are responsible for the FULL COST of the therapy session that was scheduled then canceled. 

Clients who repeatedly cancel or do not show up to the scheduled appointment(s) may be asked to pause or discontinue their treatment until their situation allows them to successfully resume and focus on their treatment. Although my availability will not always be guaranteed after a long period of pause in your treatment, I will do my best to accommodate your treatment needs when possible. 

Please carefully read my private policy for more details; this document is available on the patient portal for your reference.

How much does an evaluation cost and what is included in that cost?

My evaluation fees vary depending on the evaluation type and referrals. Please see fees and other relevant information for more information. You can always contact me directly to discuss more in detail for your needs.  

Typically, any evaluation case will require a 50% deposit (based on the estimated cost of evaluation) at the first session. The remaining balance needs to be paid prior to the final feedback session where you will receive the psychological evaluation report. 

Please click here for a free consultation for more details.

What is your cancellation policy for evaluations? 

Clients are provided a 2-8 hour time slot for psychological evaluations; it varies by the type of evaluation. I understand that there are times you may need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. I kindly ask for at least 48 hours cancellation notice via phone (940-279-2417) or client portal for an evaluation. If you do not contact me in a timely manner, you will be billed a flat fee of $300 for your missed appointment.