Frequently Asked Questions

"The greatest assistance counseling provides to clients, is prevention. It is better to have a resource to process and reframe the small things in order to prevent them from becoming critical issues. Collaborating and problem solving are some of my strongest skill sets. No issue is too small."
- Dr. Roberta Marowitz, LMFT

How Do I Know If I Should Seek the Support of a Mental Health Professional?

Counseling and therapy can provide a supportive, objective, and non-judgmental place for you to discuss your concerns/issues and receive educated feedback, resources, and options for a more self directed life. You may have concerns related to relationships, love, dating, single life, and many other issues that counseling will assist with.

Why a Marriage & Family Therapist? Why Relationship Counseling?

Not all therapists have the same training. Contrary to popular understanding, a large majority of counselors are simply not qualified to treat couples and families although “legally” they are allowed to. Many therapists in private practice today who offer Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy do not have much training, supervision, or experience to work with more than one person at a time in the consultation room.

It takes specialized training to navigate the complex terrain of relationship issues.

After all, when more than one person is present in a counseling session, they are all likely to have very conflicting and sometimes volatile opinions and ideas. If a therapist is not specifically prepared to intervene in problematic communication and systems’ patterns, she might inadvertently appear to “take sides” or alienate one or more of the clients.

Mediocre marriage and family therapy can do far more harm than good. This can result in mediocre outcomes at best, and at worst, could lead to what I consider the tragedy of an “unnecessary divorce.”

I have spent over 30 years studying and working with couples and family systems developing principles that work with couples and families. As a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, I develop treatment plans which not only resolve and heal the communication breakdowns and hurts from the past, but empower the once-polarized members of a couple or family to come together in new and creative ways.

What Can I Expect from Therapy and the First Session?

You can expect results. I have a strategic and skill building focus with clients. I have a solid understanding of the underpinnings of successful relationships. My practice skills are based on years of well-researched areas in the areas of successful marriages/relationships, parenting, human development and positive psychology.

I use a Solution Focused framework, in which clients work in collaboration with me to pursue increased understanding of their difficulties-often beneath the surface of conscious awareness, to resolve the issues that keep these difficulties alive. If you are struggling with a specific issue, we will work together to develop solutions appropriate to the problem and to your particular needs.

I also use a Cognitive Behavioral Model, which suggests that all individuals feel and act according to the specific thoughts and belief systems they have. We will explore these belief systems and determine if they are still working on your behalf. If not, I will assist you in developing new belief systems that are more in line with who you are and what you truly believe to get your desired results.

While each counselor may have their own unique approach to counseling, first sessions are generally similar across the board and usually consist of completing intake paperwork including a consent form, and completion of a questionnaire discussing your personal history, current symptoms, previous treatment, and how you would like counseling to be helpful. During the session these forms are usually discussed so the counselor can gather additional information and therapy goals can begin to be formulated.

How Will We Work Together?

When we meet, I am sure you will find me easy to talk to, supportive, and knowledgeable about the issues you are experiencing. My clients have told me that I have challenged them, inspired them, supported them, and assisted them in achieving what they want most in life and in altering their relationships with others.

I enjoy humor and I believe in its therapeutic value. I believe in self-responsibility and encourage my clients to be in charge of both their goals and their growth. My mission is to help you to identify what is hindering your happiness and your personal growth, and then find strategies that help you live the life you desire.

One of the first things we will do is define what your concerns and goals are. We will collaborate on a joint plan of treatment and strategies to move you toward this vision effectively and efficiently. As obstacles appear – and they will – I will help you use your newly developed skills to work through them.

What is Your Cancellation Policy?

I understand that we are all living very busy lives and sometimes we forget appointments. But, because your appointment time is reserved specifically for you, and I cannot fill that time with another client, you are financially responsible for your appointment time. Please provide 48 hours notice if you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment to avoid being billed for the full session. An emergency may be an exception. If I can fill your appointment time, from my wait list, you will also not be charged.

Can We Have Our Session Over the Phone or Video Conference?

Absolutely! I am happy to conduct sessions in person, over the phone, or online by Skype or FaceTime video call.

How Often Will We Meet?

Clients usually come for therapy weekly or every other week, depending upon the individual’s needs. Sessions last 45-50 minutes each. Longer sessions can be arranged ahead of time.

How Much Do You Charge?

I operate on an affordable fee-for-service basis. Please contact me directly for information about my current rates. Based on your circumstances I may negotiate rates on a sliding scale on an individual basis.
Even with the current state of the economy, you have the opportunity to create a plan that makes it possible to invest in yourself. If you are interested in services and need a fee structure that fits your budget:

  1. Adjust the frequency and/or length of appointments.
  2. Prepay for a package of sessions and receive a discount.
  3. Schedule a phone or online video chat session on your lunch break to avoid travel time/costs.
  4. Inquire about college student or older adult rates (70 or older) if this status applies to you.

Should I Use Insurance or Pay Out-of-Pocket for Counseling Services?

This is a very important area to look at. Most of my clients choose not to use their insurance benefits for several reasons. They include:

  1. Diagnosis: Many clients do not want a diagnosis in their insurance record. This is true for adults and adolescents alike. Having a pre-existing mental health diagnosis is distressing for many clients.
  2. Confidentiality: All managed care plans involve direct clinical management by the plan’s case managers. This makes it necessary for a therapist to disclose anything and everything related to your case to them.
    1. This information is used by the managed care plan for allocating and determining current benefits and benefits determination for future plans and is stored in a computer data base.
    2. The FBI and law enforcement officials can access your insurance information, which could be problematic should a legal matter arise.
    3. This lack of confidentiality could impact the ability to get or apply for jobs, especially with the military and law enforcement.
  3. Treatment Authorization:
    1. Obtaining authorizations for sessions can be cumbersome and time consuming for therapists and clients.
    2.  Some authorizations may be denied and all information is not given to therapists; putting clients in charge of their own communications with their insurance company.
    3. Managed care plans may only allow for a certain number of sessions to be used in a calendar year. Many times they only authorize a few sessions at a time, sometimes requiring clients to wait long periods between appointments. They may not authorize more sessions if they are not deemed “medically necessary”.
    4. Some managed care plans will dictate what type of treatment can be used. This can be anti-therapeutic or not what the client wants to work on or talk about in their therapy.
    5. Some plans will terminate treatment despite the fact that the client may still be in distress or that the issues have not been adequately resolved.
  4. Mis-diagnosing and/or over-diagnosing in order to get treatment authorized:
    1. Some managed care plans will not cover treatment unless it is a “medical necessity” — meaning that clients think that they have to pretend to be worse off than they really are.
    2. Many managed care plans do not cover marriage counseling, family counseling, adjustment counseling or career counseling.
    3. Often insurance companies require the therapist make a diagnosis after the first 45 minute session — this may not be a sufficient amount of time to make an accurate diagnosis and puts the client and therapist in a negative situation.
    4. Clients should not be given a mental illness diagnosis that is incorrect or more serious than what is true simply to get treatment paid by the managed care plan.

What is Your Payment Policy?

Counseling: Cash, Checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted for payment at the time services are rendered.

Insurance: If you choose to use insurance, I am in-network for Cigna and can file sessions directly. I am able to accept out-of-network benefits with many insurance companies. I will provide you with a receipt, for those sessions, that will allow you to file them personally. Please contact me directly if you have questions.