FAQS:

 

Frequently asked questions

What is Teletherapy and am I a good candidate for this service?


Teletherapy is the delivery of mental health counseling via the Internet. People also know it as e-therapy, distance therapy, Internet therapy and web therapy. Therapists and online therapy networks use a variety of mediums such as apps for texting, video chatting, voice messaging and audio messaging. Currently, my policy is to meet with ALL INDIVIDUALS IN PERSON FOR THE FIRST TWO SESSIONS before beginning teletherapy. Good candidates for this service include those who:

  • Have a quiet space in their environment where they will not be interrupted for sessions.
  • Are computer literate.
  • Are NOT feeling suicidal.
  • Are bedridden due to age, disease, illness, or inability to travel.
  • Are looking to address minor concerns that don't impair daily functioning (i.e. going to work/school, eating, bathing).
  • Have been in therapy previously and are looking for "touch-up" or periodic follow-up sessions.
People who may not benefit from Teletherapy include those who:
  • Are constantly interrupted by outside stressors.
  • Have poor computer skills.
  • Isolate themselves in their homes.
  • Have serious Mental Health Issues (i.e. Schizophrenia, Severe forms of Bipolar, individuals who see or who hear things that are not based in reality).
  • Are feeling suicidal.




How can therapy help me?


A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include: Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values Developing skills for improving your relationships Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures Improving communication and listening skills Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence




Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.


This is for you to decide. Therapy is for people who, for whatever reason, have reached a turning point in their lives where they feel they can’t handle their problems on their own and need to examine their situations with a another person. If you’re ambivalent about whether or not therapy is for you, examine and reflect on why you’re reading this website in the first place. It might also be helpful to ask yourself: “what is making me think I need to seek out the help of a therapist in the first place?” Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that realization is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy.




What is therapy like?


There is no one size-fits-all type of answer to this question. What therapy will be like for you will depend on what brings you to therapy in the first place. Because each person has different issues and goals, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I try to tailor sessions to meet individuals where they are at in this moment in life. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term—for a specific issue, or longer-term—to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions (usually weekly). It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions back into your daily life.




How Long does Therapy Last?


Therapy is different and an individualized process for everyone. Depending on your issues, some people will feel fine after a few sessions and others will find it beneficial to stay in therapy for a while. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term—for a specific issue, or longer-term—to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions (usually weekly).




What about medication vs. therapy?


Because of the side effects of many mental health medications, my personal feelings regarding this issue are that medications should be used as a last resort option when talk therapy by itself has proved ineffective. It is well established that the long-term solutions to mental and emotional problems and the pain that results cannot be solved solely by a pill. Many individuals believe medication can be a cure all, but for most people, the reality is that medications only treat the symptoms. Instead of just treating the symptoms, therapy aims to address the root cause of distress and the behavior patterns. There is a time and place for medication in certain individuals, however. If you are on medication or thinking about medication, most doctors would agree that medication in conjunction with therapy leads to the most benefits. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness that may or may not include medication, but this is up to you and your doctor to decide.




How can I pay for therapy? How much do you charge? Do you take insurance, and how does that work? Can I afford Therapy?


How much do you charge? Do you take insurance, and how does that work? Can I afford Therapy?

Therapy can be an expensive process, but most people do not pay my full price. My goal is to make services as financially feasible as possible for everyone.

The cost for an initial intake is $200 and $150-$200 per session thereafter. For CBIT sessions, I charge $200 per session. Payment is always collected at the time of service. Most people do not pay the full amount for therapy, however. Below are several options to assist you:

I HAVE INSURANCE:

Currently I am IN-NETWORK with many plans within Aetna, Beacon, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, United Healthcare, and Cigna. I am considered OUT-OF-NETWORK with ALL other insurance companies. This does not mean I will not take other forms of insurance. Your claims will be processed on an OUT-OF-NETWORK level.

WHAT DOE THIS MEAN?

IN NETWORK: This means that you will only pay a copay coinsurance percentage (depending on what your insurance offers for mental health) and your insurance company will pay the remaining balance. You may have a deductible to meet prior. You will only be responsible for your copay or coinsurance. I will be able to verify your insurance and let you know your cost per session prior to your first visit. You are responsible, however, for finding out if you need pre-approval, pre-authorization, or a referral from your primary care doctor prior to seeking therapy. Contact your insurance company to verify that I am truly considered IN-NETWORK with your specific plan or visit their customer service page or doctor finder. YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CLAIMS THAT ARE DENIED.

You can verify your IN-NETWORK status for the following plans by visiting these sites and searching for my name “Leonard Gallo” under your specific your plan.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: https://doctorfinder.horizonblue.com/dhf_search

Cigna: https://hcpdirectory.cigna.com/web/public/consumer/directory

Aetna: https://www.aetna.com/individuals-families/find-a-doctor.html

United Healthcare: https://provider.liveandworkwell.com/content/laww/providersearch/en/home.html?siteId=10275&lang=1

OUT OF NETWORK: This means that you will pay the full cost of therapy up front. I will submit a claim to your insurance company on your behalf. Depending on your OUT-OF-NETWORK benefits, your insurance company will reimburse you directly. The level of reimbursement will depend on your individual benefits.

I HAVE MEDICAID, MEDICARE DO YOU ACCEPT?

Unfortunately, I do not take Medicaid plans, even if you are part of an Insurance Carrier that I accept. These plans work under a different system that I am not affiliated with them. Again, contact your insurance company to verify that I am truly considered IN-NETWORK with your specific plan or visit their customer service page or doctor finder.

HOW DO I DETERMINE MY OUT-OF-NETWORK BENEFITS?

To determine your benefits, you will need to contact your insurance company and/or log into their online portal. Speak to the behavioral health department to find out what percentage they reimburse for OUT-OF NETWORK and if you have to meet a deductible prior to being reimbursed. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. You will want to get answers to the following questions:

  • Is behavioral health covered under my health plan?
  • What is the reimbursement rate for OUT-OF-NETWORK per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician prior to seeing a therapist?
  • Do I have to meet a deductible before I start getting reimbursed? Do I have a specific OUT OF-NETWORK deductible?
  • What is my OUT-OF-POCKET-MAXIMUM (the amount of money I must pay before being covered at 100% reimbursement)?

Let’s look at an example of how this works. The rate for sessions would be $150.00. Suppose you have a $500.00 OUT-OF-NETWORK deductible before your reimbursement of 80/20% kicks in and you have an out-of-pocket maximum of $1000.00.

This means that you would be responsible for paying your first $500.00 of therapy up front without any reimbursement (Assuming you have not seen any other doctors or had any other procedures yet). Once you have paid $500.00, your insurance would start covering 80% (or $120.00) and you would be responsible for the remaining 20% (or $30.00). You would pay the full $150.00 per session but after you reached the $500.00 deductible you would start receiving reimbursement checks from your insurance company for $120.00. Once you reached $1000.00 of payments (your deductible plus all the $30.00 payments you would be responsible for) you would start being reimbursed at 100% and would receive the full amount back from your insurance company.

Check your coverage CAREFULLY and make sure you understand the answers. For OUT-OF- NETWORK insurance, you will be responsible for receiving your reimbursement.

Regardless of your insurance benefits, I will collect payment in full at the time of service. Please note that submitting an insurance claim means I will need to give you a mental health diagnosis.

I DON’T HAVE OUT-OF-NETWORK BENEFITS, I CAN’T AFFORD MY OUT-OF- NETWORK BENEFITS, I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

If you’re having trouble affording therapy, there are other options. I do offer a sliding-scale schedule. A sliding scale fee takes into account your family size and household income to determine your payment. You may use this service if you do not have insurance or if you’re insurance’s out-of-network benefits are not financially feasible for you. Unfortunately, this service is NOT AVAILABLE for individuals with IN-NETWORK insurance. If you’re interested in this a sliding scale fee, you can contact me, or download the “Sliding Scale Application Form” under the “Client Forms” section of this website. In order to qualify, you will also need to submit a paycheck stub, tax return, or other documentation to verify your income. Once your application is submitted, you will be notified of your specific rate for therapy. Please contact me if this is a service you are interested in and I will be happy to provide you with an estimate of what your rate would be. Please note, that I only have a small number of spots available for sliding scale patients.

I STILL CAN’T AFFORD THERAPY.

If you are still struggling to pay for therapy, you might be eligible for charity care options. I do have a few spots designated for charity care and for people struggling to pay for therapy. Please note that the options below and available spots are given at off-peak times.

Option One:

Join Open Path. This is a service that allows you to seek therapy for as little as $50.00 per session. The service has a one-time cost to join, but it allows you to see myself or other therapists at a discounted rate. Please Note: I have very limited spots available through Open Path. Contact me in advance before signing up to find out my availability through this service or visit my profile page to see if I am currently accepting new patients through this service, here: https://openpathcollective.org/clinicians/lenny-gallo/

Option Two:

Pay what you can. I reserve a few spots for people who are struggling to pay for therapy and allow them to pay what they can. These spots are for people who are truly in need of financial assistance and have very limited income. To qualify for this service and to check for availability, please contact me.

Option Three:

If none of the above can meet your financial needs for therapy, there are a ton of other services that can assist you in getting the help you need. Many colleges and local clinics offer therapy at discounted rates. You can also consider applying for Medicaid if you do not have insurance. If you need help finding a provider that offers low/no cost therapy, please feel free to contact me and I can send you a list of providers.




Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?


Yes, but there are certain circumstances in which I am obligated to report what is discussed in therapy. Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist and I take confidentiality very seriously. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed in an open forum. You can and should expect that what you say in session will remain in session. Upon intake, you will be given a Notice of Privacy Practice detailing my policies on confidentiality. You may want me to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team such as your physician, attorney, etc. By law, I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. There are state laws and professional ethics that require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations: * Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders. * If I have reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm another person. If you would like to learn the full extent of confidentiality in my therapy practice, feel free to view my “Notice of Privacy Practice” form in the Client Forms section of this website.




How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?


We will talk on the phone first. However, the only way to know for sure is to come in for an initial session. Most people have a good sense of whether I am the right professional to help them within the first two sessions. You can also check out my other website www.LennyGallo.com to learn more about me. I have tried to provide you with as much information as possible about my practice on this website to give you a sense of how I operate, but feel free to contact me with any questions, prior to seeing me.




What happens during the first session?


The initial session is the time for you to start to share your story, talk about your goals and what you would like to change and for me to gather information. Another important aspect of the first session is deciding if we are a good fit. Do I seem like someone you can trust? We are establishing a relationship that will become the foundation for working together. You will begin to figure out some goals; I will begin to figure out how to help you get there.




How long do appointments last?


The initial intake session lasts approximately 80 minutes. All subsequent sessions last 55 minutes. If you are interested in a longer session (75 minutes), please contact me regarding availability and pricing.




How often will we meet?


It is ideal to meet weekly, especially in the early stages of therapy. I find it’s important to gain some momentum in the beginning by meeting weekly to provide for better continuity in your progress. Once some or all of your goals are met, meeting less often or for occasional touch-up sessions will make sense.




What is your cancellation policy?


24 hour notice is required to avoid a $25 cancellation fee. An occasional exception may be made in the case of an emergency.




What theoretical approach do you use?


I pull from a variety of theories and techniques. I find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be most effective, but I also use modalities such as Solution Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Client-Centered Therapy, and Mindfulness Techniques.




Do you prescribe medication?


No, I am not a medical doctor. Many of my patients find medication is helpful, but many of them also progress well in therapy without medication. If you want to be evaluated for psychiatric medication, either contact your primary care physician or a psychiatrist. If you are already taking medication, I can coordinate care with your doctor.




Are there any issues or types of clients that you DON’T work with?


I only work with adults aged 18+. I do not provide couples therapy or family therapy. I do not conduct child custody evaluations, nor do I provide custody recommendations. I also don’t provide treatment for the following conditions:

  • Eating disorders
  • Psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, etc.), or
  • Personality disorders.
  • Substance abuse (this is a case-by-case basis).





 

Lenny Gallo, LCSW, LCADC, LMT, ACT

3 Overhill Rd.
Verona, NJ 07044

Lenny@LennyGalloLCSW.com

Phone: 973-559-3669

Fax: 973-415-1275

Contact Me:

© 2020 by Lenny Gallo, LCSW, LCADC, LMT, ACT.

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