Frequently Asked Questions
What ages of clients do you see?
I work with children 6+ for in-person services and 12+ for virtual services. Therapy with children under 12 includes a lot of hands-on aspects such as art and play that are much more difficult to do virtually. If your child is under the age of 12 and you believe they would be able to engage in more of a talk-based therapy, I am happy to discuss the possibility of working with them virtually on a case-by-case basis.
As for an age ceiling, I tend to specialize in working with younger adults (under 40) but there is no hard and fast rule about age! It’s more about making sure we are a good fit together, which we can do during your free 15-minute phone consultation.
What locations do you serve? Do I need to reside in Mercer County/New Jersey?
All in-person services are held in my office at Howe Commons, located at 65 S. Main St. Suite C101, Pennington, NJ 08534. For virtual services, I am able to see clients who are currently residing anywhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. You do not need to be a legal resident of these states, however, you do need to be physically located in one of these states during each of our virtual visits to abide by clinical licensing laws.
Mercer Counseling Services is local to Mercer County, located in central New Jersey. Surrounding areas include but are not limited to Princeton, Plainsboro, Lawrenceville, Pennington, Hopewell, East Windsor, Hightstown, West Windsor, Hamilton, Ewing, Lambertville, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
What will we do in therapy?
This is largely up to you! Other factors such as age, symptoms, and goals play a role in what therapy might look like. Most often, therapy consists of a weekly discussion about what brought you to therapy, how your symptoms are affecting your life, learning about ways to manage them, sharing what you have tried and how it has or hasn’t worked for you, and processing your thoughts and feelings all along the journey. Some clients prefer to have a therapist as an ear to listen to their problems and some may prefer a more structured approach of receiving tips and tricks to manage their symptoms. For younger clients, therapy is done largely through play, art, creative activities, games, books, apps, and other things to engage them in the process. Therapy is what you need it to be, which is a decision that is made between you and your therapist.
What if I don't like therapy or feel like it isn't helpful?
Not every therapist is the right fit for you. If you feel that we are not a good match or that it is not helpful for you, I encourage you to share those thoughts. Maybe it is something fixable such as a different approach or learning new skills, or maybe you would be better off with a different therapist. My job is to make sure you get the help you need, even if it is with someone else. I always encourage an open dialogue about how things are going and welcome you to share doubts or frustrations. Most of the time they can be worked through with an increased communication about the problem, but if therapy with me is not a good fit, I will always provide referrals to other therapists in the area. You are not committed to a certain number of sessions when you sign up for therapy.
How long does therapy last?
There is no magical number of sessions that can determine when you will be finished or "feel better." It is safe to say more than a few sessions are necessary to make any headway on what brings someone to counseling. Some people find that a handful of sessions are all they need, while others choose to continue long-term (over 20 sessions). There isn’t necessarily a correct answer, but we can check in occasionally to discuss when “graduating” from therapy is the best choice for you. Therapy is also largely dependent on the effort you put into it. Coming to therapy and being open to sharing vulnerable thoughts and feelings, practicing skills between sessions, and taking time to reflect during the week can have a big impact on how effective therapy is for you.
Will you tell my parents what I say in therapy?/Will you tell me what my child says in therapy?
The laws about age and privacy in mental health treatment vary by state. The age of consent and right for privacy in New Jersey is 16 years old and in Pennsylvania it is 14. Once you have reached the age where you can consent, or agree, to your own mental health treatment, you will be granted all the rights of privacy as if you were an adult. If you are under the age of consenting to your own treatment and your parents are the ones to sign on your behalf, they have some increased rights to your information. There will always be circumstances where I need to speak with your parent/caregiver(s) about your treatment, such as if you are a harm to yourself or others. We will review what privacy looks like for your specific situation during the intake evaluation so that you always know what information is, or is not, private.
Do you have a physical office?
Yes! In-person services opened in late August 2022 and are located in Howe Commons at 65 S. Main St. Suite C101, Pennington, NJ 08534.
Why don’t you accept insurance?
There are various reasons as to why a therapist will or will not accept insurance. One main reason to why I do not accept insurance is to offer complete privacy. When a therapist meets with a client using health insurance, they are required to provide a diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5-TR) and continuously report on treatment progress (or lack of progress) regarding that diagnosis. I do not believe that everyone who comes to therapy qualifies for or needs a diagnosis in order to receive and benefit from counseling sessions. By documenting this sensitive information on record, your privacy is compromised. The therapist is also often required to abide by certain treatment approaches and interventions, which may not be the best fit for your needs.
Regardless of whether you have a diagnosis or not, some people choose not to use their health insurance to keep this information private and separate from their health record. Since therapy can include disclosing some very sensitive information, some people feel more comfortable knowing that their diagnosis and related sensitive mental health information is not shared with their health insurance providers.
How do Out-of-Network benefits work?
Some insurance plans include Out-of-Network (OON) benefits which work similarly to rebates. In this example, you pay full price at the store for an item and then submit a receipt and form, and the manufacturer sends you a rebate check. With insurance, the receipt is called an insurance superbill. If your plan does include these benefits, you will pay for your therapy sessions up front and I will provide you a superbill at the end of the month to submit to your insurance. In turn, they will refund a percentage of your out-of-pocket costs, as determined by your plan's coverage (it can be quite a broad range - usually between 40-80% but sometimes even higher). Please call your insurance provider for information on what your plan offers with regard to Out-of-Network benefits, if your plan has a deductible, and what the reimbursement process is like. It will be your responsibility to submit claims and monitor reimbursement status, as the check will be mailed directly to you. Refunds will not be provided if your insurance does not reimburse you for services for any reason.