Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make an appointment?
For initial appointments, please click here. It is important we exchange information to ensure sure I am a good fit for your concerns. For example, whereas I believe I am qualified to help with any psychiatric condition, I may know someone with greater expertise for some particular disorder. A referral to that person could save you time and money, and most quickly help to alleviate distress.
For follow up appointments, four flexible options exist: schedule at the time of another session, book online, call, or email.
What does an initial evaluation entail?
First, you contact me via the initial contact form. After reviewing the information, we may communicate further about the problem and if I may be able to help. If we agree to an evaluation, I will send some forms to be filled out in advance.
If this is a pediatric evaluation:
-For the Comprehensive Evaluation, we schedule a 2 hour first visit. I divide this time about between parents and the young person. I may give you more forms to fill out or to have teachers fill out. I will then review any old records and contact anyone you feel is is important for me to speak with. We schedule a second visit for up to 1 hour where I review any additional paperwork, clarify any issues, and present to you my assessment and treatment recommendations. If you wish to proceed with these recommendations, we schedule treatment.
-For the Traditional Evaluation, we schedule a 2 hour visit, but the entire evaluation is fit into a single session. This is most appropriate for certain types of presentations.
If this is an adult evaluation:
-For the Comprehensive Evaluation, we first meet for about 90 minutes. Afterwards, I review old records and speak to anyone you feel would be helpful in my assessment. You then return for a second visit, which includes my assessment and treatment recommendations. This lasts about one hour.
-For the Traditional Evaluation, the entire process occurs in one 90 minute session.
Is the office easy to find? Is parking available?
Yes. I am conveniently located just minutes off Rt 101 (and near Rts. 280/380) in a relatively low traffic area. Parking is free and abundant.
How much do appointments cost?
See the Rates page for details. Contact me directly if you have further questions.
Do you take insurance?
At this time, I do not accept insurance. There are a number of reasons for this policy. Foremost, insurance companies' demanding administrative requirements prevent clinicians from practicing the way I feel helps people the most. Instead of spending time billing, filing, and negotiating, I would rather donate this time to teaching, learning, and building relationships in the community. I understand this prevents me from being the best fit for some people's financial situations, and I'm sorry for that.
At the end of each visit, I offer to provide a medical service receipt which has the information an insurance company needs to provide reimbursement for eligible customers (usually those with an HMO plan). From this medical service receipt, many people choose to pursue reimbursement for any out-of-network benefits for which they are eligible, but I consider that a private decision between a person and his/her insurer.
What does community-integrated care mean?
Community-integrated care means diagnosing and treating distressing symptoms in a comprehensive manner including considering how an environment (e.g., home, school) can be altered to give a person the best chance of success.
Psychiatric conditions are influenced by many different factors. A "one size fits all" treatment strategy may work in some cases. However, if it was my family member, I would want treatment to take a more sophisticated approach. Treatment with young people often includes educating them and family members about the condition and treatment options; targeting neurochemistry; building coping skills; learning new strategies for relating to friends, siblings, parents, and teachers; pursuing school accommodations; and other person- and problem-specific interventions.
Community-integrated care also means dedicating time to community outreach and support. I have developed relationships with many of our local schools and community organizations to donate time and resources for education and consultation.
As a psychiatrist, do you just prescribe medication?
Absolutely not. This is what I mean by evidence-driven and tailored treatment. By nature, I am therapeutically-oriented. I believe that a skillful therapist can help just about anyone feel somewhat better. Additionally, I have been formally medically trained. From this, I have acquired up to date knowledge of the most effective treatments for various conditions. In fact, I focused my training on gaining experience with these types of therapies and medication. Research on medications in the pediatric population is growing but still insufficient for some conditions. For many conditions with kids, therapy is as effective or moreso than available medications. However, for other conditions, medication has been shown to be inarguably more effective than therapy.
My primary recommendation will be that which is supported by the greatest evidence. Sometimes this recommendation will not align with patient or parent wishes. After discussing the risks, benefits, and alternatives to my recommendations, we will find another approach with good evidence that does meet patient and parent wishes. You come to me for my help, but if a treatment doesn't feel right to you, then maybe it's not. I have expertise in psychiatry. You have expertise in yourself or your child. Treatment must be tailored and collaborative.
How long does treatment last and how frequent are appointments?
Treatment duration and frequency vary by condition. Whenever possible, I try to implement time-limited therapeutic approaches. This is often 10-, 12-, or 20-sessions; but sometimes less. Psychotherapy usually begins weekly. Sometimes--and for some conditions--treatment extends longer. When starting or changing medications, appointments are usually every 1-4 weeks. Established medication-only cases occur every 1-3 months.
What are your office hours?
Mondays through Thursdays 9am to 6pm. I occasionally limit some of these hours for continuing education opportunities. Fridays are reserved for community outreach and completing due diligence in cases from the week (e.g., contacting a teacher or primary care doctor, researching some unusual aspect of a case, etc). I ask that patients try to contact me M-Th unless an urgent issue arises. My available hours for any given week are visible in the online schedule.
Please note that psychiatric and medical emergencies are not appropriate for outpatient office treatment. If there is an imminent risk of danger to self or others, contact 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
When can I consider you my doctor?
I am your doctor only after we have mutually agreed to a treatment plan and signed a doctor-patient contract agreement. Therefore, visiting this website, initial email or phone communication, initial evaluation, or any other contact prior to signing a doctor-patient contract agreement do not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or any other, do not hesitate to contact me.
What if my child does not want to be in treatment?
This occurs occasionally. Sometimes younger children, anxious or trauma-exposed patients, or distressed teens are initially reticent to participate. With these patients, it is important that I get the chance to build their trust in the office. This is critical to treatment success. To help with a youth's willingness to come to treatment, I have stocked my office and waiting room with a wide variety of engaging and entertaining activities (e.g., streaming music options, YouTube, Netflix, etc). The activities in my office (the non-electronic ones) also serve as useful therapeutic tools, telling me about motor skills, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem-solve and strategize, frustration tolerance, anxiety, etc. The bottom line, however, is that the interactive styles of therapy I offer work best as a collaborative process, and less well if I'm in the role of convincing someone to change. I've had good success taking ambivalent (at best) young people from an initial evaluation and connecting with them, identifying their own goals, and completing successful treatment. I ask that young people give me a chance. Or, if not me, then someone else. As a parent, if you're worried about your child, I think you need to get them into an evaluation with someone unless you have a specific alternate plan to create the change you seek. Letting the child select the therapist of his/her choosing is often times the best way to resolve this situation.
What is your cancellation policy?
I must be notified of cancellations greater than 48 hours before the scheduled appointment. If not, you will be charged the full amount for that appointment. "No shows" or being frequently late to appointments are a significant obstacle to treatment. I am willing to commit to helping with your problem, but as this is a collaborative process, I require the commitment to be mutual.
Are patient records safe?
Absolutely. I run an environmentally-conscious practice. This includes an electronic health record which complies with the highest standards of privacy protection, including secured servers.
What if I want want copies of these records?
Especially when working with children and teens, I must create a confidential and trusted space for us to do our therapeutic work. Any imminent safety concerns will be brought to the parents' immediate attention. Release of records may occur in the form of a treatment summary. See the office policies and procedures contract for more details.