Most individual sessions are 50 minutes long. The first session is 90 minutes (1 1/2 hours). However, you can always decide to have shorter (30 minute) or longer (1 1/2 to 2 hour) follow up sessions to meet your personal needs.
Some people come for just 1 to 2 sessions to consult with Dr. Shanbhag and get a professional opinion on what might be going on. For those that require ongoing counseling, Dr. Shanbhag and her clients determine together how best to proceed to meet their goals and objectives. Typically clients will come for between 8 to 15 sessions.
Dr. Shanbhag is able to provide highly personalized and individualized attention because she limits her caseload to 15 clients per week. For example, she speaks to many potential clients personally by telephone prior to their first meeting, and you will be able to email her office to make appointment changes or administrative requests. Many therapists do not give out their email addresses to clients and also do not speak with clients personally without forcing them to make a first appointment. Dr. Shanbhag’s practice doesn’t limit you to a one size fits all approach.
No. At this time, Dr. Shanbhag does not accept insurance. Dr. Shanbhag will provide you with a receipt containing all the information needed to bill your own insurance if you have out of network benefits. Fees are due at the time of service. The office accepts all major credit cards, cash, or checks.
Billing insurance directly requires Dr. Shanbhag to provide a diagnosis of a mental disorder even if one is not warranted to ensure medical necessity for treatment. In addition, billing insurance companies lowers the amount of privacy and confidentiality that Dr. Shanbhag can provide to her clients.
Finding a good therapist is like finding a good doctor. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of anyone they know, or ask your physician, clergyperson, or other healthcare professional.
When you call to make the appointment, ask if you can speak to the therapist on the phone first. You will start to get a sense of their style and approach. Pay attention to how quickly your phone calls are returned, etc. as a gauge of whether you are comfortable with how the office operates.
In addition to training and experience, the most important factor is how comfortable do you feel with the professional you have selected. Each therapist will have a slightly different approach based on his/her personality and training. If you don’t feel comfortable, talk to them about it. If that does not work, switch to a different therapist.
If you would like to use a professional that bills your health insurance company directly, call your insurance company and ask for a list of professionals in your area who are part of their coverage plan. Review your benefits at the same time, so you will have a good idea of what your co-pays are, etc.
Psychologists have the highest level of graduate training and education in human development, psychological assessment, and counseling of all mental health providers. Although all mental health professionals must pass state exams specific to their license to offer therapy or counseling services, they have very different educational backgrounds and training. In Florida, you can contact the Florida Department of Health to verify a professional’s license.
Below are some of the various professionals you might encounter. You should not hesitate to ask a provider about his/her credentials; you want to be comfortable with the quality of care you are receiving.
Psychologists have a doctorate degree in psychology or a closely related field and are trained to provide psychotherapy (counseling) and assessment including psychological testing. Almost all psychologists will have the initials Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. after their names, which correspond to the specific type of doctoral degree they have obtained.
Psychiatrists are physicians (M.D. or D.O) who specialize in psychiatry through internships and residencies after they have completed medical school. Some psychiatrists continue to provide psychotherapy, but most today are specialists in understanding and prescribing medications to alleviate distress.
Marriage/Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, and Social Workers
These professionals typically have a master’s degree in a mental health or social work related field, which requires two years of graduate education and an internship. Many provide individual, couples, or family counseling in independent practices, clinics or often assist psychologists or psychiatrists in their practices with testing or other forms of treatment. You will see initials such as L.M.H.C., L.C.S.W., or M.S.W. after their names.
Other individuals may offer kinds of mental health interventions or counseling, such as master’s level psychiatric nurses. There are also non-licensed individuals who practice some kind of counseling. These range from pastors or clergy, to peer or volunteer counseling.
“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”