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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to be crazy or not functioning to go to therapy?

Therapy is a way to help and support individuals, couples, and families to cope with the challenges of life and find ways to thrive. Therapy is most effective when it is done consistently and when people take steps towards improving their lives before life gets out of control. There are different levels of care for mental health and office based therapy is most effective for people with small everyday fires that they would like to work on. If you need more intensive mental health support I can provide you with inpatient programs and local hospitals.

How is a therapist different than talking to a friend?

A therapist has extensive education and training in mental health theories and interventions. Additionally, a therapist is a neutral outside party who will listen to your concerns and provide neutral feedback. Also, therapists are not a part of your everyday life so you don't run the risk of your personal information being shared with other friends. Finally, a therapist does not expect reciprocity like a friend does. Your time with your therapist is your time and you don't have to worry about providing support yourself.

Is it a sign of weakness to go to therapy?

Not at all. Therapy is becoming more and more mainstream as society understands the importance of mental health on overall life satisfaction. Coming to therapy means that you wish to improve your quality of life and you wish to do it with a professional. It is similar to working with a personal trainer on your fitness goals in that you are seeking professional support for your personal goals.

What is your cancelation policy?

I have a 24-hour cancelation policy. As long as you let me know at least 24-hours prior to our appointment that you cannot make it you will not be charged for the session. I also understand that sometimes things happen such as a sick kid or a flat tire and so all clients are given 1 free-be where they can cancel last minute and they will not be charged. After this free-be, you will be charged at the full rate ($130). Insurance companies do not reimburse for missed appointments so you will be charged the full rate on the credit card that you left on file.

What is your late policy?

My late policy is 15 minutes. I know that there is a lot of traffic in Southern California and sometimes it can take you longer to get to your appointment than you thought. This is why you have a 15 minute window for late arrivals. Once you arrive later than 15 minutes I won't be able to see you since we won't have enough time to discuss what is happening in your life and find some solutions and you will be charged the full fee. I do make exceptions to this rule depending on circumstances so it's important for you to call me if you are running late.

Who will know that I am in therapy?

The short answer to this question is "no-one". Therapy is confidential and your private health information is not released to anyone unless you request it. The only exception to this is your insurance company will know that you are in therapy should you choose to use it.

Can I bring my kid with me to our appointments?

This is a tricky question and a decision about this is made on a case to case basis. I do not provide childcare so your child would be in session with us. If you have a baby then most of the time s/he does not disrupt sessions and it is OK to bring him/her. I also do not have any issues with you breastfeeding your baby during session. However, should you have an older child who is able to understand what we are talking about then it's better not find someone to watch him/her so that you can speak freely about what is going on in your life. Either way, please call or email me about your specific situation so that we can come up with a plan prior to your appointment.

How should I prepare for my first session?

  1. Make sure you have everything you need:
    1. Fast internet
    2. The Google Chrome web browser
    3. Your Clocktree login and password
    4. Someplace (ideally) quiet, private, and comfortable to take your video call
    5. Access to an outlet and charger, or else a sufficiently charged device
    6. Your driver's license and insurance card (if you are using insurance and you haven't already submitted a photo of these to your therapist for our records)
  2. Optional: check out our blog on how to Maximize Your Therapy Sessions -- specifically the sections on attention, preparation and goal setting.
  3. Pat yourself on the back. You are taking a first step -- on a very valuable journey -- and that's worth recognizing.

Do you take insurance?

At this point, Linda Abdelsayed accepts Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, and MHN health insurance, as well as FSA and HSA. For FSA and HSA we can provide a superbill for reimbursement, or you can pay using your dedicated FSA or HSA debit card.
Hayley Niles is still in the process of being credentialed with Cigna and Kaiser Permanente.

How do I interpret my health insurance coverage?

There are many different words used to describe insurance benefits. The most important things that you need to know are co-pay (or co-insurance), deductible, and whether you're "in network" or "out of network". The co-pay (or co-insurance) simply refers to how much you have to pay per session and how much the insurance company covers. If you have a deductible (an amount of money that you need to pay prior to the insurance paying anything) then we will let you know. Finally, whether we are in-network or out-of-network, we will bill the insurance company for you. The only difference is whether you need to pay for your services or whether your insurance does. Below is a more detailed explanation of everything. Please feel free to ask your therapist should you have any questions.
Coinsurance: a fixed percentage of the overall cost of each visit that you may be required to pay for (out of pocket) once you have met your deductible. For example, if Cigna covers 80% of each visit, then you will need to cover the other 20%.
Copayments (a.k.a. "copay"): a predetermined rate that you may be required to pay for (out of pocket) once you have met your deductible. For most plans, there is no copayment for covered medical services after you have met your out-of-pocket maximum. For tele-health mental therapy services though, a copayment of $25 per visit is standard.
Deductibles: a fixed amount of money that you have to spend on covered health costs (e.g. therapy sessions, doctor visits, prescription medications, etc.) before your insurance will begin to pay benefits, which resets at the end of every calendar year.
There are two kinds of deductibles: individual and family. Family deductibles exist when you, or your partner, or children, are all covered under one plan. Though the family deductible is larger than the individual deductible (e.g. $6,000 vs $2,000), because every individual contributes towards the family deductible, it's possible to meet your family deductible before your individual deductible. Once either deductible type is met, you and your insurance will split the cost of your qualified medical expenses.
In-Network: If you have Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, or MHN, then we are in-network for you. Though you can choose to opt of using insurance coverage if it will save you money to buy a membership package.
Out-of-Network: If you have Aetna, Anthem, BlueCross, etc., we are out of network for you. This means you will have to pay the full price, out of pocket, for all sessions, until you reach your "Out of Pocket Maximum" if mental health services are covered by your plan.
Out-Of-Pocket Maximum: The maximum amount of money you could spend before your insurance company will start to cover your session for the rest of the calendar year. For example, if your out of pocket max is $2,000, once you have spent that amount on health related costs (.e.g. medication, doctor's visits, etc.) then your insurance company will start to reimburse you for your treatment costs. Generally, anything that contributes towards your deductible will also count towards your out-of-pocket max. Your monthly insurance premium does not contribute towards your out-of-pocket max.
Superbill: This is an itemized form which details services rendered. It is submitted as part of a health care claim for reimbursement for treatment.

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