FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Therapy doesn't need to feel intimidating...
Please read through the most commonly asked questions below. I hope they'll make you feel at ease as you begin your therapy journey.
+ WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?
While therapists help people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives, Psychotherapy is not easily described in general terms. It varies depending on the personalities of the therapist and patient, and the particular problems you are experiencing. There are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you hope to address. For example, Therapists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier, more effective habits. There are several approaches to psychotherapy— including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and other kinds of talk therapy—that help individuals work through their problems.
Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Rather, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for the therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things we talk about both during our session and at your home. Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental.
Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Therapy often leads to improved relationships, solutions to specific problems and significant reductions in feelings of distress.
+ HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED THERAPY?
Hopefully the fact you are reading this indicates you are considering some form of outside professional help. The following questions might help you clarify your therapy needs.
- Are you feeling stuck? Or like something is missing from your life and you can't figure out where, why or what?
- Is there a persistent problem or feeling that has been bothering you for a while? Does the problem seem so big and paralyzing you know you can’t tackle it alone?
- Do you feel like you are exhausting your inner dialogue, friends and family with the same issues and nothing gets better?
- Are you tired of feeling the way you have been feeling and ready to make the first step? Perhaps you know you are capable but aren’t functioning as your best self. Maybe you do not know your self-worth and are stuck in the same vicious cycles with no clear goals or direction. Also, many feel on the surface and day to day “okay” however, acknowledge a vague unexplainable discontent standing in the way of flourishing and living life as their best and total self.
+ WILL THERAPY BENEFIT ME?
I am a firm believer that anyone open to the process and willing to work on themselves could benefit from therapy! Therapists can provide support, problem solving skills and coping strategies for a wide range of issues. Unlike friends and family, therapists can offer a fresh, objective and non-biased assessment of what you are going through and make treatment recommendations based on clinical expertise.
Therapy can help you increase your self-awareness and understanding of yourself and others. This improves self-esteem, and becomes reflective in your personal and professional relationships. Life feels more enjoyable and transparent. You are more able to clarify and pursue ambitions and goals all while living as your total best self.
+ HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Taking that first step can be a mix of emotions such as anxiety and relief, which is totally common. Opening up to a stranger for the first time can make you feel rather vulnerable however, we will start at a pace you are comfortable with In the words of Brene Brown, “You have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage”.
I recommend everyone reach out with an initial email or phone call to inquire about services. We will then set up a brief 15 minute free phone consultation to discuss your needs, difficulties and what you are looking for from therapy. I can also discuss my areas of expertise to determine if we should set up a first appointment. If I do not feel I am the best fit for your needs, I will recommend someone else who I believe is.
If we decide to meet for a first appointment we will discuss scheduling over the phone, billing, insurance and payment. I will also send you a link to my client portal where you can access all the intake paperwork.
Our first session(s) will consist of gathering information about your history and needs for treatment, learning more about your presenting problems, and doing a thorough assessment of past and current issues related to the presenting problems. Furthermore, since a positive working relationship between therapist and client is vital to treatment it should also allow the client time to determine if they are comfortable or not with the therapist. If they prefer to work with someone else, a referral can be provided.
+ HOW LONG DO WE MEET?
Typically, sessions are 45-60 minutes scheduled weekly, sometimes 2x a week depending on an individual’s needs.
+ WHAT IS YOUR TREATMENT APPROACH?
My approach is personalized, strengths based and adaptive, yet rooted in proven techniques—from CBT, ERP, and Mindfulness. Depending on your unique set of circumstances, I may integrate ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) or more traditional psychodynamic and/or relational approach. While the decision to seek treatment can be daunting, it opens the door to self-preservation and the "taking back" of one's life. Together we repair and build upon the existing foundation from which you approach such questions while constructing your inherent "wholeness" which is not only possible to achieve but also sustainable.
+ WHAT IS CBT AND DOES IT WORK?
CBT is a psychotherapy that is based on both the cognitive and behavioral model. CBT works on the basis that the way we think and interpret life's events affects how we behave and, ultimately, how we feel. In the cognitive part of CBT we help clients identify and change the unhelpful thought and belief patterns contributing to symptoms such as anxiety. In the behavioral part of CBT we help clients identify behavioral patterns that are keeping them stuck and help them come up with more adaptive ways responding to stressful situations, thoughts and emotions.
One important part of CBT is helping clients change their unhelpful thinking and behavior that lead to enduring improvement in their mood and functioning.
See more in the About CBT section.
+ WHAT IS ERP AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT and considered to be the gold standard for treating OCD (https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/ocd-treatment/). The Exposure in ERP refers to exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, objects and situations that make you anxious and/or start your obsessions/fearful thoughts. While the Response Prevention part of ERP, refers to making a choice not to do a compulsive behavior once the anxiety or obsessions have been “triggered.”
That said, this strategy of purposefully exposing yourself to things that make you anxious may not sound quite right to you. If you have OCD, you have probably tried to confront your obsessions and anxiety many times only to see your anxiety skyrocket. With ERP, the difference is that when you make the choice to confront your anxiety and obsessions you must also make a commitment to not give in and engage in the compulsive behavior. When you don’t do the compulsive behaviors, over time you will actually feel a drop in your anxiety level. This natural drop in anxiety that happens when you stay “exposed” and “prevent” the compulsive “response” is called habituation.
The goal of ERP is to help clients learn to live with feat, doubt and uncertainty all while living a more fulfilling and value driven life.
+ WHO DO YOU TREAT?
We treat adults with a focus on anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, panic disorder, phobias and life transitions. While our practice is grounded in evidence based CBT, depending on the individual we may also integrate mindfulness, insight and/or relational techniques as well. Using your feedback, we tailor my approach to meet your needs, preferences and personality.
+ DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE?
Julia Hale, LICSW is in network with Aetna Studnet Health (BU Students). She is considered an out of network provider for all other insurance panels. Payment is required at the time of service.
However, If your plan is a PPO or EPO , you may be eligible to request full or partial reimbursement from your insurance company.
Julia can provide you with a superbill which contains the information you need to submit to your insurance for reimbursement.
Your insurance company will confirm your eligibility and benefits. Here are questions to guide your discussion with the insurance customer service representatives:
- Does my health plan allow outpatient, out-of-network behavioral health coverage?
- If so, do I have a deductible? How much is my deductible? (note: sometimes deductibles for behavioral health are different)
- If my provider's fee is $200 a session, how much can I expect to get back?
+ WHAT IS YOUR FEE?
My out of network and out of pocket rate is as follows:
Initial Assessment: $250
Psychotherapy session: $200
*Depending on the treatment (ERP for example), longer sessions may be required. I generally bill in 15 minute increments.
Even though I may not be in network with your insurance, you may still be able to get some level of reimbursement for services. Please inquire within.
+ DO YOU OFFER A SLIDING SCALE?
I have a limited number of sliding scale slots at any given time. Please inquire within.
- Please note I do not have any sliding scale slots as of June 2018.
+ DO YOU PRESCRIBE MEDICATION
No but if it appears you might benefit for a consultation for medication we can discuss a possible referral to a prescriber.
I'm ready to take the next step.