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Psychologist Anywhere Anytime

Fees for Counseling, Therapy, and Coaching

Psychologist Anywhere Anytime

The saying "You get what you pay for" certainly applies to the area of counseling, therapy and coaching.  Below, general fee information is followed by my fee for services.

You Get What You Pay For

As you weigh the cost of counseling, therapy, or personal coaching it is important to consider the life goals you have not yet reached.  The goals as they relate to your personal life, work, your relationships, or simply the day-to-day quality of your life. Because counseling, therapy or coaching can help you make choices that will affect your entire future, it might be thought of as an investment in yourself.

The positive effects of therapy and coaching can last a lifetime. Only you can decide whether the potential gains will compensate for your investment in money and time.

Remember that at some levels there is not much of a difference between counseling, therapy, psychotherapy and coaching in terms of what actually goes on in a session. Some people use the term counseling or coaching to refer to work on everyday life issue while they use the term therapy or psychotherapy to describe work on more serious emotional disorders like depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Coaching

Keep in mind that counseling, psychotherapy, and coaching are not really professions.  Rather, they are activities carried on by people from various professions and by lay persons as well. Psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, other physicians, addictions counselors, pastoral counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and various other mental health professionals may all practice counseling, therapy, and coaching to various degrees. What is important are what training and experience the person has received, their ability to relate to you, and what kind of ongoing educational activities they pursue to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

In looking for a therapist there are hundreds of kinds of therapy and therapists.  If the professional you want to work with is licensed and a member of a profession that is governed by a recognized professional body, you can have at least some additional assurance regarding the services they provide.  I have listed a variety of professional associations so that you can check the reputation of any therapist you be thinking of using.

It is very important to go with what feels right for you as well as checking out the person and their credentials.  The best professional in the world will not be able to effectively counsel you or provide effective therapy or coaching if you cannot relate to them and if you do not have confidence in them.  You should be looking for a type of counseling or therapy that is effective with the kind of problem that you are experiencing, and you should be looking for a therapist who you are comfortable working with. It is critical that you feel comfortable with your counselor, therapist or coach.

How Long Does Psychotherapy Take and What is the Cost?

Neither of these question has an absolute answer.

Many people think that therapy is always a long-term process. Certainly, some forms of therapy and coaching can be very lengthy and time-consuming. However, information from years of studies of therapy suggests that most people attend anywhere from 1 to 20 sessions of therapy.

Several variables play a role in the cost of therapy including the (1) education and experience of the therapist; (2) type and length of therapy; and (3) the geographical location. When determining the cost of treatment, note that a therapeutic session usually varies from a 30-60 minutes.  The average rate varies from location and professional, but can range anywhere from $10-$20 per hour at a community mental health center or other government funded agency to $400 or more for an experienced Board Certified doctoral level practitioner in private practice.

The cost of counseling  and therapy can also depend on the type of insurance you have, and whether you want to use your insurance for coverage.

Use Your Health Insurance or Not?

The American Mental Health Alliance summarizes some important things to consider before you decide whether to use your health insurance to cover therapy. The following  four paragraphs have been adapted from the American Mental Health Alliance (AMHA) website.

Therapy works best when all communications remain between the therapist and the client (or clients in the case of family or couples therapy). This arrangement insures a safe environment where problems can be fully explored and privacy is secure. However, once you submit for your insurance carrier to get involved, private materials and information involved in your therapy are potentially available to others.

Managed care is the name that has been given to insurance carriers or companies that try to contain costs by withholding some care. These companies have gotten in the middle of psychotherapy treatment. In an effort to decide who needs care and how much of it they need, managed care companies have appointed gatekeepers and reviewers to help with decisions about the therapy. Many psychotherapists believe that the gate keeping and review functions interfere with the basic premise of the safe, confidential environment that is fundamental to the psychotherapy process. Some have argued that the gate keeping function is damaging to the healing process itself. Many mental health professionals are concerned that cost containment is receiving a higher priority than mental wellness.

In order for you to get health insurance benefits, the therapist or clinician is required to make a formal diagnosis. This diagnosis becomes part of your permanent record, and it can be accessed by other insurance or managed care companies-or even by others who might be interested. In addition, insurance companies sometimes request detailed records and notes, presumably to insure that treatment procedures are "correct". As mentioned earlier, these private materials are potentially available to others.

Special Note": I believe that confidentiality is critical and, accordingly, I do not accept insurance. I will provide you with the needed information for you to submit copies of receipts to your insurance carrier and you can pursue reimbursement if, given the above information on confidentiality, you so desire.

Fees for My Services

I work with clients who have no "problem" but have the desire to obtain an objective professional opinion or advice about some personal or professional concern(s). I work with clients who are having minor problems adjusting or achieving what they want.  And I help clients with a wide range of "problems" including, but not limited to, those listed on the link "Who I Can Help".

The fees for my service(s) are as follows:

Therapist and coach time: $300 per 60 (not 45) minute session.  When I fly or drive to meet my clients at a place and time of their choosing, travel time door to door is billed at $200 per 60 minute hour.

Forensic cases (those involving civil or criminal legal issues) are $400 per 60 minutes for evaluations, record review, travel and court time.

Common Q & A's Regarding Fee and Insurance Issues

Does my health insurance cover the costs of therapy?

Some health insurance carriers cover part of the costs and others do not. Additionally, some therapists accept insurance payments and others do not.  Many health insurance plans typically cover medically necessary treatment for emotional problems; however, some plans, especially managed care plans, may narrowly define what is “medically necessary.” Most of the time, depression, anxiety problems, and other common mental health issues are covered by health insurance. But, there are times when your insurance company may hesitate to cover, or may limit the coverage, for mental health treatment.  Also, many plans do not cover couples counseling or marriage counseling and others avoid paying for family treatment. You will have to call your carrier to find out what they cover.

What percentage of therapy fees is covered by health insurance?

Many insurance carriers cover psychological and psychiatric treatment. After the deductible is satisfied, the insurance may pay a percentage of the fee and you will be responsible for the balance. The typical plan pays between 50%-80% of the UCR (usual and customary fee) and you are responsible for the balance. Note that this UCR is often less than the amount charged by the professional.  In a managed care plan, you must use a network provider to receive any coverage, only treatment that is approved will be covered, and you will be responsible for all non-authorized treatment costs. You are also responsible for a co-pay.

Do you accept insurance?

I do not accept insurance, I believe it is for the ultimate benefit of my clients that I do not accept insurance.  It is important to note that if you request insurance reimbursement for psychological services, detailed confidential information about you, your diagnosis, your problem, and therapy records are communicated to the insurance company and become part of your record.  It is  also important to know that many insurance programs dictate the types of treatment that must be provided or the number of sessions they will cover.  I believe that the lack of confidentiality and the control exerted by the insurance companies are not in my clients best interests.  Accordingly, I will always give you a receipt that you can submit to your health carrier for reimbursement, but I do not accept direct payment from insurance companies and do not submit insurance claims.

What do you provide that makes you worth the fee?

My training, credentials and experiences as a psychologist, therapist and coach are unique.  I have over 40 years of professional experience helping people from all walks of life with all types of problems and concerns.  My training and experiences have allowed me to develop a special insight and ability to help produce rapid and positive results for my clients. I have been recognized nationally for my expertise and have worked all over the world.  I can provide same day services, can help you face-to-face in my office or in your home or office, and offer phone consultations almost anytime and anyplace. I suggest you call me and, in our initial phone call, you can personally assess whether or not you want me to help you.

Would You Like Personal Assistance?

If you really want help dealing with your feelings and emotions, changing your behavior, and improving your life and the approach and office hours of typical therapists and counselors do not fit your life style or personal needs, I may have a solution.

By using very flexible office appointments, telephone consultations, email, teleconferences, and the willingness to travel and meet with you personally in your home, office, or other location,  I can be available to help you anytime and anywhere.

Feel free to contact me now for your free initial consultation. Once you become an existing client, you will be given a  pager  number where you can reach me whenever you need.

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                                    Copyright 2005 Dr Vincent Berger                                     


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