Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

How do I schedule an appointment?

A brief phone conversation can be useful before setting up an appointment, to ensure that we will be a good match for your needs.  Please call (415) 799-3688, or request an appointment here.  We will get back to you by the next business day.

 

How long are sessions?

Sessions are typically 50 minutes long, though your therapist may recommend 75 minute sessions. These sessions may be more appropriate for certain situations such as couples therapy, formal psychological assessment, and intensive treatment.

 

How long does therapy last?

Treatment length varies with the nature of the treatment goals.  The first step in therapy is to clearly define the problem and goals of treatment, after which a determination can be made regarding length of treatment.  Some people find that they see improvement after a few sessions; other people choose to work on goals that involve a longer commitment.

 

How will I know if treatment is working?

Clear and measurable goals are important.  Early in treatment, we will work together to clarify goals that are important to you, and we will develop ways of tracking your progress.  Generally, we know that therapy is effective when you find yourself feeling better and being able to do things you couldn’t do before.

 

I’m on (or considering going on) medication.  Can therapy help me?

Yes.  It is not uncommon for people to use medications such as SSRI antidepressants (such as Prozac, Lexapro, and Paxil), anti-anxiety agents (such as Xanax and Klonopin), or ADHD medications (such as Adderall, Ritalin, or Concerta) while in therapy.  Some people want to get off of medication, while others have no interest in changing their medication regimen.

In many cases, therapy can provide additional benefits beyond those offered by medication.  And, it can be helpful for those looking to discontinue medication.  Whenever necessary, we can recommend referrals to psychiatrists or physicians, and we strive to coordinate care with these providers.

 

How much does therapy cost?

Our standard rate for therapy is $185 per hour for our licensed clinicians (50 minutes face-to-face, 10 min. administrative). These rates are fairly standard among licensed psychologists in the Bay Area who have specialized training in CBT.  We offer reduced rates for clients whose financial or insurance situation presents a hardship; please feel free to inquire about whether you qualify.  We also offer reduced rate therapy to those wishing to work with our trainees, and we offer free therapy to qualifying veterans through the Give an Hour program. Although we do not accept insurance directly, most insurance companies do offer reimbursements (see below). 

 

Do you accept insurance?

The Center is not an in-network provider for any insurance plans. However, most of our clients use their PPO insurance plans to obtain reimbursement for our services. In all cases, it is advised to check with your insurance company about the terms of your coverage before obtaining services. (For additional information, see the American Psychological Association's coverage guide).

We are partners with Better, an app that helps patients who pay out of pocket receive reimbursement from their insurance company. After each visit, we will provide you with a superbill, which you can submit via the app. Better will work with you to get reimbursed.

There are several potential advantages to seeing an out-of-network therapist, even if the cost is higher. Successful therapy requires a provider who is a good match for you. Because insurance companies limit the size and scope of their provider networks, it can be difficult to find an in-network provider who is qualified, available, nearby, and a good personal match. Insurance companies may also restrict services, limiting the number of sessions and the scope of the work and demanding justification of "medical necessity." They may also request access to your confidential clinical files. Finally, most insurance companies contract with providers at rates that are far below market value, which means that providers with specialized qualifications may be underrepresented on insurance panels.

 

When should I NOT consider therapy?

If you have a schedule that does not permit to you meet at every 1-2 weeks (at least at the outset), therapy may not be the best approach right now.  This is because less frequent sessions may not allow sufficient time to explore and address the issues at hand.  Often, we can move on to less frequent meetings as therapy proceeds and acute problems are resolved.