COVID-19 Preparedness and Mitigation Protocol
All of us have access to various accurate news sources (e.g., the CDC, the WHO, etc.), and so just a few words on this subject :
Through the end of this year (or, at least until infection numbers go way, way down), I am offering an option of video-based couples therapy/marriage counseling/premarital counseling via an easy-to-use, HIPAA-compliant platform called Doxy.me. As of late-summer, my office mates and I, together with the building engineer, are developing plans to increase the air filtration system both in the building as a whole (improving its MERV-rated filters, and so on) and in the individual offices by way of additional, stand-alone HEPA filter units. As always, we will continue have hand sanitizer available to you in all offices of the suite as well as on each floor near the elevators. For my part, when it is safer to meet in person, I will be sterilizing all touch surfaces--door and water cooler handles, chair arms, bathroom keys, etc.--every two hours when I'm in the office. And finally, I will have ample space between chairs, and time between sessions, for everyone's protection. Please know that I am open to any additional suggestions you might have, going forward.
Psychotherapy Services in Washington DC
I have enjoyed working with the international community, including people who are here in Washington on work or student visas, employees of the IMF, IFC, and World Bank, as well as U.S. Foreign Service workers and other members of the international diplomatic corps.
My practice is inclusive with respect to racial or ethnic identity, country of origin, physical ability, sexual and gender diversity, and religious and political affiliation.
THERAPY SERVICES OFFERED
Psychotherapy for Adults:
In addition to easing or eliminating feelings of anxiety and depression, good psychotherapy can help you change how you live. In other words, you are not simply learning something mildly interesting about yourself. The therapy process in and of itself powerfully affects relationships with others and your ability to deal with life's challenges.
Psychotherapy for Couples:
Typically, couples come in for approximately six to twenty sessions and learn how to either improve intimacy on various levels by learning how to manage conflict effectively, or -- if one member of the couple (or both) deems it necessary -- learn how to part amicably and respectfully. In either situation, my experience has shown that each person has the opportunity to grow individually in this process, irrespective of the relationship's next phase.
Consultation and Psychotherapy/Psychiatry Referral:
I do not charge you for the initial consultation unless you choose to continue with me, because goodness of fit is essential for successful outcomes. You might consider talking with more than one therapist, if possible, to ensure the best match for you. You should get a sense fairly quickly which therapist will connect best with you and challenge you in the most helpful ways.
At my office (located between downtown DC and Dupont Circle), I can assist you with the following:
- Therapy for Depression and Anxiety/Worry
- Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling
- Intimacy, Relationship, and Connection Difficulties
- Anger and Its Consequences
- Multicultural Adjustment
- Workplace Performance and Career-Related Concerns
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PSYCHOTHERAPY:
Can you tell me about your treatment approach?
Many people who seek psychotherapy are experiencing distress or confusion over their current circumstances, and some are simply trying to take a good life or relationship and make it even better. Common areas of focus are problematic patterns in relationships, self-esteem or identity issues, overwhelming stress, and difficulty with anxiety or anxious depression. Whatever it is that you actively might want to work on, my goal is to approach psychotherapy as an interactive process where you and I explore the issues that contribute to the current difficulties you experience. During our sessions, we may talk about strategies and techniques for dealing with current problems. We may also spend time understanding the impact of your early development on current difficulties.
It is my belief that our earliest family relationships provide the main template for who we become and how we view ourselves, not to mention how we relate to others. These early experiences leave us with expectations about ourselves and our relationships that we then bring to our interactions with the world around us, particularly in intimate relationships with partners and children, with work colleagues, and in friendships. We can talk more about how we might work together either before or during our first meeting.
Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an import decision. It requires a very real commitment of time and resources, yet there can be benefits that result in powerful and lasting change. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. (See above.) Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a divorce, a work transition, or the death of a loved one.
It's also quite common now to seek the advice of counsel in pursuit of personal exploration and growth. Therapy provides a valuable opportunity for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards constructive change.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved family- and sibling-related issues, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem--or we can point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you engage with the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and your values Developing skills for improving your relationships Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures Improving communications and listening skills Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones Discovering new ways to solve problems in your friendships, adult sibling relationships, your marriage, and even with troublesome colleagues at work. Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
How do we begin?
When beginning therapy, it is important that you and your therapist both agree that working together would be a good idea. Usually this entails meeting once or twice to discuss your particular set of concerns and to begin to get an idea of how you and the therapist might work together. It is important that you feel comfortable enough to talk about things and that you feel the potential for challenge or growth through our interactions. The first session usually involves discussing goals and expectations for treatment and a plan to address things.
Many clients feel encouraged and comfortable from the start and are ready to begin. Some clients interview several therapists in order to find the best fit. The most important consideration is to find a place where the client feels understood and that the therapist has something of value to offer. If it becomes evident that working together would not be the best idea for you, I would be happy to suggest other highly competent therapists who might be a better fit.
Every therapy session is unique and depends on the unique situation facing the client and their goals. We will arrange a schedule of regular appointments. It is most common to meet once a week for one 50-minute session. There are instances in which we decide to meet a bit more often or for longer sessions, either to manage a difficult crisis or to deepen the intensity of the treatment. I will raise this issue with you if I feel it would be of benefit. You also may raise the possibility of meeting more often if you feel it would be helpful.
Do you prescribe medication?
I am a clinician, and although I am on the faculty at George Washington University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, as a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for first-, second-, and third-year medical students at the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences, I am not licensed to prescribe medication or to practice medicine. Some people feel strongly about not using medication and relying instead on the therapy to effect change. Some individuals, when indicated or advised, make use of medication in conjunction with therapy to control symptoms that would otherwise hinder progress in talk therapy. Medication alone is rarely sufficient to address the problems facing most people. For individuals taking medication, I prefer to work with the prescribing doctor to insure good coordination of care.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
For a variety of reasons, I am not a participating provider in any insurance program. Many insurance policies provide benefits that reimburse a portion of the cost of services provided by licensed mental health professionals who are considered out-of-network. To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session, especially if it is outside of my insurance network? (Be sure to ask if it is, let's say, 40% of what the insurance plan considers to be "usual and customary" rates, which are the rates that they pay their own in-network therapists, or if it's 40% of the therapist's actual fee, which is almost invariably higher, especially in large metropolitan areas.)
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider? (This will not be an option for Kaiser Permanente plans or for more restrictive HMO-type plans.)
Is approval required from my primary care physician? (Some of the more restrictive HMO-type of plans require this.)
If you have an out-of-network-therapist benefit with your plan, you provide payment directly to me for each session, and I will provide invoices every month or two with all of the necessary data for our sessions for you to submit to your insurance for partial reimbursement of each (post-calendar-year-deductible) claim directly to you. -- Or, if you simply want to use a pre-tax HSA account, I will provide a similar invoice, but without any mental health diagnosis.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is imminently threatening serious bodily harm to a specific person. I am required by law to notify the police.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself. I will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken to protect safety. -- I am happy to answer any questions you have about this at any point.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.