Q. What can I expect at my first appointment?
A. Your first appointment will last approximately one hour. You may come alone or bring any support person you desire. (For children, a parent is typically present throughout the first appointment, but separate individual time is provided for parent and child when this is appropriate.) I will listen carefully to your concerns and ask questions as needed to form a plan for treatment tailored to your needs. You are a collaborative partner in developing your treatment plan and options will be discussed with you. The plan may include medication and/or therapy options.
Q. What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
A. A psychiatric NP has a BS degree in Nursing and a masters or doctoral degree in advanced practice psychiatric nursing. They are qualified to provide primary mental health care in the community and in hospital settings including physical and mental health assessment, the diagnosis of mental illness, prescribing of psychotropic medications, and individual or group psychotherapy. Nurses take a bio-psycho-social approach. This is holistic and patient-centered, taking into consideration biological, psychological and social aspects of each person’s life. Psychiatric NP’s are committed to developing a caring, collaborative therapeutic relationship with their patients. They develop a treatment approach which may draw from the fields of medicine, psychology, education, or alternative medicine.
Q. How do Psychiatric NP’s differ from psychiatrists, clinical social workers/counselors and psychologists?
A. Psychiatric NP’s have BS degrees in nursing as well as MS or doctoral degrees in nursing. At times, the role of a psychiatric NP may overlap with that of a psychiatrist, social worker/counselor or psychologist. Each of these positions is trained to do psychotherapy. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialized in mental health by completing a psychiatric residency. Both psychiatrists and psychiatric NP’s can prescribe medication, while psychologists and social workers/counselors cannot. Psychologists have doctoral level training in psychology and are educated to do psychological testing, while the other fields typically are not.
Q. How do I know if my treatment will be covered by my insurance?
A. Call the customer phone number on the back of your insurance card. Find out if I am an in-network provider for you. Ask about coverage for a psychiatric evaluation (CPT 90792), counseling (CPT 90834, 90837) medication management (CPT 99214) or group therapy (CPT 90853), as appropriate. Find out if you have a deductible and whether it has been met. Find out if you have a co-pay due for each appointment. Ask about out-of-network benefits if necessary and any differences in deductible or co-pay. Ask if any diagnoses are excluded from payment. Some insurances do not pay for treatment of certain conditions such as ADHD or Autism.
Q. Will you bill my insurance?
A. Insurance will be billed to all in-network companies. For companies for which we are not in-network, insurance may be billed–this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Insurance is billed as a courtesy to make treatment more convenient for you. It is important to remember that your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. Final responsibility for all charges remains with the patient or responsible party.
Q. Should I use my insurance?
A. With the onset of changes in the health care industry, more insurance policies have extremely high deductibles. In some situations, you may find care is actually more affordable if you do not use/bill your insurance. Feel free to discuss this with us.
Q. What insurance companies are you in-network with?
A. Anthem-Blue Cross, Cigna, Encore, Healthsmart, New Avenues, PCHS, Sagamore, IU Health
Q. Do you have a sliding scale?
A. I do not have a specific sliding scale but I do work with those who are not using insurance to make care as affordable as possible.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. Cash, check, credit or debit cards.
Q. What therapy approach do you use?
A. I develop an individualized approach based on the needs of the person. Some of the therapy “tools” I make use of are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Solution-Focused Therapy, Mindfulness and body-centered approaches, Eye-Movement, Desensitization, Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a trauma-focused approach, ADHD coaching, Theraplay-based treatment, behavioral approaches, and Christian, prayer-based approaches, including the Immanuel Approach.
Q. What is therapy with children like?
A. For a younger child, we typically start the session with the parent who has brought the child, discussing progress since the last session and any homework completed, as well as current concerns. Then, one-on-one time is spent with the child. Therapy includes age appropriate activities and games. Play therapy is provided when this is appropriate. At the end of the session, the parent will return and the child will share what they desire from the session, and any concepts to be practiced at home will be discussed with the parent. Children typically like coming to counseling and understand that it will help them to grow. This can be compared to going to soccer practice or piano lessons—it is a place to grow and improve your skills. As children move into adolescence it is often appropriate for their therapy to be private. Children do have the same privacy rights as adults in therapy, however if a topic is discussed which involves safety, the child or adolescent will be assisted in sharing this with the parent.
Q. How can group therapy help me?
A. Group therapy is often more cost effective, but it can also bring unique advantages. In a group, you will receive social support and realize that you are not alone—there are others with concerns similar to yours. You will have the opportunity to learn from others and give them the opportunity to learn from you. You will have the chance to practice new relationship skills in a safe and supportive atmosphere. The aspect of belonging to a group can provide motivation and accountability which can bring greater success to the change process.
Q. What do you believe?
A. My beliefs can be summarized in the historic Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.
Q. Does your practice reflect the teachings of a particular church?
A. C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, describes a house with a central hall and many doorways leading into different rooms. The house represents Christianity and each room represents a different denomination or “flavor” of Christianity. Lewis writes his book from the vantage point in the hall, that is, those beliefs of Christianity which all Christian faiths would have in common. I conduct my practice from this “hall” as well, attempting to focus on core concepts which come from the Bible and teachings of Jesus. My goal is to provide a place for those who hold a biblical world view to receive treatment which is respectful of and incorporates these beliefs, regardless of their church background.
Q. How do you combine faith-based principles with psychology?
A. More and more, the fields of psychology and psychiatry are emphasizing “evidence-based practice.” This means that various kinds of therapy are tested by outcome-based research. In the early years of psychiatry and psychology, the fathers of the disciplines theorized on the basis of their observations, but also elaborated extensively beyond what they observed, using their world-view to interpret their observations. In fact, it was once common for university departments of philosophy and psychology to be combined. Take Freud as an example. He brought us the idea that our feelings in the present time are based on our past experiences. This concept, which was revolutionary at the time, has been demonstrated to be accurate through many years of research and experience. On the other hand, his psycho-sexual stages have not stood up to testing and, for most practitioners, have gone by the wayside. Psalm 19:1 states: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” This indicates that what we can observe through scientific research is reflective of reality, and of the world as created by God. In my practice, I emphasize the best of evidence-based research, which, because it reflects observed reality, is consistent with the Biblical world view. This includes such theoretical viewpoints as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, attachment theory, and others.
Q. But what if I don’t have a faith?
A. Part of the initial psychiatric assessment includes a question about whether you have a faith or spirituality that is important to you. If your answer is no, your treatment will focus on research-based, standard therapy principles tailored to helping you meet your goals. You and your viewpoints will be treated with respect, professionalism and unconditional positive regard.