Do you have to be married or in a relationship to see a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Does my partner have to come with me to go through marital or couple therapy?
No. Although having each person involved in the sessions often increases efficiency, individuals can benefit from talking about their relationships as well. The therapy is mainly focused on your goals and what you can work on personally, as opposed to trying to change the partner that is not attending. However, making personal changes can impact the system in a way that non-attending partners can respond in a positive way.
How much am I investing?
After a free, 20-minute phone consultation, services start with an initial investment of $200 for a 75-minute intake meeting. If we agree that working together could benefit you, an individual session is $120 and a marital or family session is $145. Each session lasts 45 minutes. I am a provider for a number of different insurance plans. Whether or not services are covered by your insurance plan is based on your specific policy. Because of decreased privacy and restrictions on treatment decisions, many clients choose not to use their insurance.
Does insurance cover therapy?
It depends on the issue and your specific benefits. However, there a few things that all insurance companies have in common. First, they do not cover marital or couple therapy. Insurance companies only cover what they consider medically-necessary expenses and they do not consider this necessary. They consider marital therapy to be an elective procedure.
Second, insurance companies only cover procedures with an eligible diagnosis. That means that if the challenges you are experiencing do not meet the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis, they do not reimburse for those services.
Are there disadvantages to using my insurance?
There are some benefits to using insurance, namely the reduced cost of only paying a copay or coinsurance. There are some drawbacks to using insurance that you need to be aware of as well.
First, your health information is not completely private. Once an insurance bill is submitted, I cannot guarantee the confidentiality of your information. Your diagnosis, dates of service, and type of therapy become part of your permanent health record. This record can be shared between healthcare professionals involved in your care. In addition, it is possible that any diagnostic information can be utilized in the future, such as life or disability insurance applications or employment considerations, such as security clearances and licensures.
Services using insurance are also subject to quality control auditing. The information that would be requested by the insurance company includes, but is not limited to, initial assessment information, clinical notes, treatment plans and goals, dates and times of each session, and discharge summaries. Once requested, this information must be shared from your clinical file.
Second, insurance companies only cover services they consider medically necessary. As a result, I must provide a mental health diagnosis, based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). Based on that diagnosis, your insurance company will decide whether to cover or deny the sessions. If they do cover the diagnosis, services must remain focused on that diagnosis only. Sometimes this can limit the flexibility of treatment.
Do you take my insurance?
I do accept a number of different insurances, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, and Cigna to name a few. It is a good idea to contact your insurance provider to inquire about your benefits. Not only will they be able to tell you if I am in your network, they will also be able to provide you with copay and/or deductible information.
What is my copay?
Every insurance policy is different, so the best way to find out is to contact your insurance provider to get this information.
Is therapy confidential?
Yes and no. I cannot share any information from our work together with anyone else unless compelled to do so. There are a few reasons this can happen.
First, if information regarding child abuse or neglect is disclosed to me, I am obligated to report that information to Child Protective Services. I am also obligated to report elder abuse or neglect.
Second, I am mandated to report if you disclose imminent harm towards yourself or someone else.
Third, my records are subject to subpoena. Texas does not recognize privileged communication between therapist and client, so written records can be subpoenaed by the court.
Finally, if you are using insurance, your personal information, diagnosis, and session dates become part of your permanent health record. In addition, insurance companies are able to request a copy of the entire client record for Quality Assurance audits. I have no control over those copies once they are submitted for auditing.