Why would I try virtual (video or telephone) therapy? Isn't in office therapy more effective? Do you offer therapy by texting?
Everyone could benefit from expert mental health care now and then, even therapists! In fact, unfortunately, most of us still wait much too long to get help for problems that can be more easily and less painfully handled early. Luckily, seeking help is more and more seen as a sign of strength, but there is still some degree of stigma so it’s not uncommon to be hesitant.
All of my sessions are provided via a HIPAA compliant video or telephone format. My therapy services are limited to Maryland residents. Virtual therapy (that is live, face-to-face sessions over the computer, cell phone, tablet or telephone) has been found to be a viable method of therapeutic change according to the research. Many client issues and concerns can be entirely resolved using LIVE phone or video sessions. During all of my contacts with you, I will be assessing if virtual therapy is appropriate for your needs. If not I will let you know and we will discuss other options for care.
PLEASE NOTE: A recent development accelerated by the pandemic is the rise of behavioral health care companies purporting to offer you convenient, accessible, lower cost mental health care. You may have seen during internet searches or recently been offered one of these new fangled, less expensive methods of mental health care through your employer. Buyer beware - some of these 'discounted' services offer only asynchronous (not live) contact with a therapist. At least one of these companies states right in it's user agreement that the services received aren't therapy but so called 'therapeutic conversations'. This method of mental health care may not be ideal for you and your needs. I do NOT at this time offer text/messaging services as these types of care are not yet deemed safe and/or research-verified. Even synchronous (live) texting may not be ideal. As is often true, 'you get what you pay for'.
Of course, other therapists may disagree with me and you may find those services work for you. But most of the companies offering said services are still very new, with inexperienced protocols, procedures and clinicians. I just want you to be knowledgeable about the difference. You deserve high quality care with a highly experienced and licensed clinician using methods that have been used by licensed therapists for a long time.
Finding it difficult getting a call back from a therapist these days? It’s not your fault. Mental health services have been overwhelmed since the start of the pandemic. Hang in there - if a therapist you reach out to doesn't call you back, call at least two to three others as well. AGAIN, as far as choice of services: I advise you only hire a therapist who is willing to offer you live video and/or phone therapy. Therapy sessions should last at least 20-30 minutes, each time you meet. The therapy relationship is most effective when you complete regular sessions, scheduled in a format that you and I agree upon.
Are our contacts confidential?
All contacts we have are private. Therapy is always confidential and thus, protected by federal HIPAA laws. And, federal and state confidentiality laws make it mandatory for a licensed therapist to follow them. The only exceptions to confidentiality are duty to protect or duty to warn if one is a danger to self or others, and child or elder abuse reporting obligations.
In addition, be aware that if you are using your insurance, your insurance company will have access to information such as your diagnosis in order to authorize payment. If you’d like a more private therapy experience, I recommend you try my self pay therapy package.
What is my cancellation policy?
I require a 24 hour notice to cancel all sessions. Please be sure to contact me if you will not be able to make your scheduled appointment in order to avoid being charged for the session.
What’s my philosophy about medication?
I like to say I am ‘enthusiastically neutral’. Because I am not a medical professional, I cannot give advice and/or make recommendations for any patient. As a licensed mental health professional, my roles are to educate and inform and direct you to appropriate medical professionals.
Taking psychotropics (or for that matter putting anything physical into your body) IS a big decision. I recognize every client is unique. One important role for therapists is monitoring a client’s habits around taking his or her medications as well as inquiring as to the impact a medication is having on him or her.
Some individuals might be helped by medications, but may not want to go there. I am okay with that if therapy alone is helping you ‘enough’. If someone is repeatedly unsafe, we need to seriously consider how other modes of therapy and possibly a medication ‘trial’ could improve quality of life and prevent threats to life.
Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes 1 + 1 = 3 as in, combing therapy and medications creates results greater than either alone. In my role of educating you, I think one of the most important lessons I wish to impart is the value of being a ‘wise consumer’ of the mental health system. This is not easy; being an advocate for yourself and your loved ones requires completing a degree of ‘due diligence’ before engaging in any treatment approach.
As a consumer of our ‘mighty but far from perfect’ mental health system you have a right to be informed as to the spectrum of legitimate options available to you and the right to advocate for yourself. In today’s increasingly complex world, this is more important than ever!
How do I pay for your services?
I offer self pay and I am in network with the following insurance companies:
Network arrangements are constantly in flux. So if you are covered by a network not listed above, be sure to ask me. Please contact your insurance company for information about your policy, deductibles, and reimbursements. Upon registration, my billing department will verify your benefits.
For self pay clients, I have a unique therapy package that helps you avoid the intrusion of your insurance company into your care while saving you money. If you are interested, be sure to inquire.
Whether you are paying out of pocket amounts to cover co-pays, co-insurances or a therapy package, I accept all major credit cards in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Some payment options such as Venmo and Zelle are not HIPAA-Compliant so I don't use them.
To register for therapy, click here.
Copyright © 2021-2022 Barb Elgin. All Rights Reserved. Please note: I do not provide crisis services. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency (feel like harming yourself or others), please call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. Baltimore County residents can contact mobile crisis at 410-887-7820.