Office Policies

(Download PDF)

Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and patient, and the particular problems or objectives you bring forward. There are various methods I may use to address the issues that you hope to work on. Together we will agree on a specific treatment plan tailored to your particular needs and goals. Psychotherapy calls for a very active approach on your part.

The success of therapy will depend in large part on the effort you put forward during and outside of our sessions. Progress is also highly dependent on good communication between patient and therapist. If at any time during the therapy you have any questions or concerns, feelings about something I have said or suggested, or need clarification regarding our progress, do not hesitate to bring this up.

Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings and the process may, at times, feel quite difficult. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it: therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.

Whether I am working with you in ongoing, long-term therapy to understand and alter unhealthy or disruptive lifelong patterns, or briefly consulting on a circumscribed issue, my therapy approach always includes openness, compassion, and a dedication to developing an understanding of the issues at hand within the context of who you are and your particular circumstances.

A regular psychotherapy session lasts for 50 minutes. During our initial consultation meeting(s) we will both decide if I am the best person to provide the services you need. If either you or I decide for any reason that you would be better helped by another professional or method of intervention, I will offer referrals for alternative services or providers. If we decide to continue with ongoing psychotherapy, we will usually schedule one or more sessions per week at a mutually agreed upon time.

Because the success of therapy depends on the regularity and continuity of our meetings, the expectation is that we will meet regularly at the time that we decide upon together. Once we agree on a regular time or times to meet during the week, I will reserve those hours for you.

It is understandable that on occasion you will need to cancel or reschedule a session. If it is necessary to reschedule or cancel an appointment, I require that you provide me with at least 48 hours advance notice in order to avoid being charged for the session. If I receive notice less than 48 hours in advance, or you miss a session with no advance notice, you will be charged for the missed session.

During our initial consultation meeting we will jointly determine a fee and payment schedule. Unless we make other specific arrangements, payment by check, cash, or credit card is due at the beginning or end of each session. I do offer a few sliding scale slots for patients who are unable to afford my regular fee. I charge the same fee for other professional services you may need. Other services might include, but are not limited to, telephone consultations lasting longer than 15 minutes, attendance at meetings with other professionals you have authorized, and preparation of records or treatment summaries. I will pro-rate the cost if I work for periods of less than one hour. I periodically raise my fees with reasonable advance notice.

I am not on any preferred provider panels (except for Beacon Health Options) and do not deal directly with any insurance companies. However, many PPOs offer reimbursement for out of network mental health providers. I will provide you with monthly statements so that you are able to seek reimbursement from your insurance company. It is your responsibility to pay our agreed upon fee for services at the time they are rendered, regardless of your insurance arrangements. Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan.

By Phone: You may contact me by phone at 415.738.8055. Although I am often not immediately available by telephone, a message can be left at this number at any time of day or night. I check my voicemail frequently during business hours and I will always attempt to return your call within 24 hours. I will give you advance notice of any vacations or other planned absences. Another therapist will provide emergency coverage when I am away. This person’s contact information will be available on my outgoing voicemail message during any breaks.

By Email: Because the security of email communications cannot be guaranteed, it is recommended that email be limited to requests for phone contact, appointment arrangements, or requests for information. Please only include general information about yourself and your treatment. Any communication that requires immediate attention or a timely response should be made by phone.

Due to the importance of your confidentiality and the importance of minimizing dual relationships, I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former patients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). I believe that adding patients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.

Although you can leave me a message at any time, I am often not available to call you back immediately. In an emergency, please call me, and I will return your call as quickly as possible. However, if you have an emergency requiring immediate attention please also call 911, Psychiatric Emergency Services at 415.206.8125 (24 hours a day), or go to your nearest emergency room.

You have the right to end or take a break from your treatment at any time without my permission or agreement. However, if you do decide to exercise this option, I encourage you to talk with me about the reason for your decision in a counseling session so that we can bring sufficient closure to our work together. We can also discuss any referrals you may need at that time.

Psychologists are ethically required to continue therapeutic relationships only so long as it is reasonably clear that patients are benefiting from the relationship. Therefore, if I believe that you need additional treatment, or if I believe that I can no longer be of help to you, I will discuss this with you and make an appropriate referral.

In general, the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist, and all written treatment records, are protected by law, and I may only release information about our work to others with your written permission. There are a few exceptions, under California law, when disclosure is required:

– when there is a reasonable suspicion of child, dependent or elder abuse or neglect;
– when a patient presents a danger to self, to others, to property, or is gravely disabled;
– when a patient’s family members communicate to the patient’s therapist that the patient presents a danger to others.

These situations have rarely occurred in my practice. If such a situation occurs, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action.

I participate in regular professional consultations. In such cases neither your name nor any other identifying information about you will be revealed.