Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and psychotherapist?
The terms psychiatrist and psychologist are often used interchangeably to describe anyone who provides therapy services, but the two professions and the services that they offer differ in terms of expertise, medical background, and years of training. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are able to prescribe medications and evaluate medical conditions that may influence mental health symptoms, which they do in conjunction with providing psychotherapy. Psychologists are not medical doctors and most cannot prescribe medications or order labs, but they solely provide psychotherapy.
I’ve never seen a psychiatrist or therapist before as I’ve always handled difficult times on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help have a greater understanding of themselves and have the courage to reach out when appropriate. Additionally, after therapy treatment they will be more productive with higher quality life if they had otherwise kept to themselves. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths as well as weakness as well as work on skills together to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A mental health care professional can help you find new perspectives to life situations as well as teach you new skills, gain unique perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential, keeping your personal issues private and separate from those in your social circle.
What is a therapy session like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long are sessions?
The initial sessions are 90 minutes long and follow-up sessions are typically either 50 minutes or 25 minutes depending upon whether you receive psychotherapy with or without medication treatment.
What is the duration of therapy?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to generalize. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time of therapy treatment depends on your desire for personal development, your motivation, and the particular issue that is driving you to seek counseling in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Being involved, dedicated, and committed to getting the most out of your sessions is of greatest importance. Attending your weekly sessions and holding yourself accountable is of utmost importance. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success as well as completing any goals or homework that may be assigned in between sessions.
You’re a psychiatrist, don’t you just prescribe medication?
Medication can be very effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. I believe in an integrative approach and values psychotherapy, many times even more than medication treatment. Preferably medication treatment is given in conjunction with therapy. In addition, patients who have a complicated medical background or somatic symptoms may prefer having a therapist with a medical degree.
Will I be prescribed medication?
Meeting with a psychiatrist does not necessarily mean that I will prescribe you medication. I always want to respect your autonomy and will only give you recommendations, but it is always up to you to decide which medications you would like to take or if you want to be on any medications at all. There are many circumstances in which medications are not helpful, such as navigating your relationships, finances , and your career. The role of psychotropic medication is to help ensure you have a proportionate emotional response to given stressors when you are struggling to do so. Sometimes medications can help provide relief and enable you to overcome symptoms and challenges that are impairing your quality of life, or may be used to increase the effectiveness of therapy. Additionally, just because you start a new medication or you’re taking a medication today does not mean you’ll have to stay on it forever. Regular visits with your psychiatrist ensure that you’re receiving the best care possible and taking as little medication as possible.
How will I know if medication is right for me?
Every medication has the potential to help, be neutral or cause unintended negative side effects. If I recommend that you try medication, applying this simple approach will help us determine if you’re benefiting from the medication, and if the medication is doing anything except decreasing the presenting symptoms – that’s reason enough to re-evaluate the use of the medication. Of note, I always prescribe using the lowest effective dose, prescribing medication conservatively and in an evidence-based fashion. All prescriptions for scheduled controlled substances require an in-person visit.
How often do I need to see my psychiatrist?
If there is a role for ongoing sessions with a psychiatrist after an initial one, most clients typically meet with their doctor weekly for therapy or every two to four weeks for medication management. Tele-psychiatry follow-up appointments can be arranged, though initial appointments must occur in person.
Do you take Insurance?
I am not on any insurance panels other than Stanford’s Cardinal Care plan and do not bill or accept payments from insurance companies. Payment arrangements are exclusively between myself and my patients. That being said, many of my patients do use their health insurance to help them with our charges and a superbill can be downloaded at any time on my electronic medical records system through the patient portal. This can be done by submitting the superbill to your insurance company, who will reimburse you directly. In this process, I would be considered out-of-network provider.
What is your cancellation policy?
I require three business days of advance notice to cancel a session without charge. Without such notice, I will charge for all missed appointments.
Do you do consultations?
I am happy to provide diagnostic and/or treatment consultations to other clinicians seeking our input. I am also willing to conduct second opinion consultations for individuals who have questions or concerns about their current treatment. In that case, we would want your therapist/psychiatrist’s knowledge of, and agreement with this.
What is your confidentiality policy?
I exercise the highest degree of confidentiality and privacy possible in the performance of our clinical work. I do not employ secretaries or outside billing agencies in order to maximize privacy. I will not discuss your treatment with any other clinician or outside agency unless I have your electronically signed consent. My voice mailbox and email are each completely private and for our own exclusive use.
Most importantly I prioritize my therapeutic relationship with my patients. I am extremely caring and empathetic with my patients and want to make sure we always have an open line of communication as well as feedback for each other. If you have any other questions or want to set up a free initial 10-15min phone consultation appointment please call and leave a voicemail or send me an email with the best way to contact you and I will reach back out to you in a timely manner.