Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know what kind of therapist is right for me? How do we know if we are a good fit?

I believe that feeling a real connection and sense of trust with your therapist is perhaps the most important part of the therapeutic process and facilitates the most growth. It isn’t always easy to find the right fit and I highly encourage you to talk to a few therapists to get a feel for their style, approach, and personality. I would recommend thinking about who you might feel safest really opening up to. Would you prefer to work with a particular gender or race or ethnicity, etc.? Are there certain communities that it feels really important to you that your therapist be a part of or connected to? Are there concepts that knowing your therapist has a solid understanding of from the get-go would help you feel safer?

I offer every potential client a free 15-minute phone consultation for us to get a sense of one another’s personalities and to determine if we are a good fit. During this time, I will ask you about what you are looking for in a therapist, issues you are hoping to address, and your needs. I encourage you to ask me about my approach, my experience, my knowledge and experience with topics and communities that are important to you, and my values so you can get a feel for if we are a good match. If we decide to work together, know that I welcome ongoing feedback and want to continue the discussion about how our relationship is developing.

What is your style and what types of therapy do you practice?

I’ve been told by my clients that my approach feels warm, compassionate yet direct, and open. I try to be very real and bring my whole self to the therapy room which means that I will drop an occasional f bomb and I bring my dark sense of humor. When doing trauma work, my motto has always been “Go slowly. Take breaks. Give choices.” I welcome all parts of you in the therapy room (the child parts, the angry parts, the ashamed parts, and the grieving parts). All of my work is grounded in my values related to identity, social justice, decolonizing mental health, and anti-racism and I name it clearly when trauma and harm have come from the systems in your life. As a restorative justice practitioner, one of my core values is accountability and so I accept feedback well and take responsibility when I make mistakes or say the wrong thing in session. In my restorative work, I’ve done healing work with people on all sides of violence and harm and believe in my bones in all of our capacities to heal and transform, even when we have done things we are ashamed of.

My therapy approach is eclectic. The three main types of therapy thath I practice are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and the Trauma Conscious Yoga method ™. More information about these modalities can be found here. I also draw from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-focused therapies, and Gottman’s Couples work.

What kind of clients do you typically work with?

My work at various nonprofits and agencies in Austin has allowed me the privilege of working with clients across the lifespan and with a variety of challenges and concerns. At Lime Tree therapy, I work with adults and adolescents 14 and older. I specialize in working with single-incident trauma (one traumatic event), complex trauma (people who have lived through multiple types of trauma or trauma that lasted for a prolonged period of time), and oppression and systems-based trauma. Some examples of this are survivors of child abuse and domestic or sexual violence, formerly incarcerated individuals, migrants who have experienced trauma in their home countries, while coming to this country, and once they arrived. 

I also love working with community organizers and activists and creatives who are working towards social justice through different methods. I tend to work with people who have marginalized identities such as Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC), and LGBTQIA+ folks (communities that I am also a part of).

In addition to trauma, I work with folks who experience depression, anxiety, grief, and are adjusting to changes in their lives such as chronic illness, and disability, and changing family structures. I love exploring how our childhoods and families of origin and traumatic experiences impact our present day relationships, attachment patterns, and communication styles.

What do the letters behind your name mean?

LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. To obtain this levle of licensure, a Social Worker needs a Masters-level degree, to pass two test, and practice 3,000 hours (approximately 2 years) under the weekly supervision of a Licensed Clinical Social Work Supervisor.

Being EMDR-Trained means that I have completed the basic training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. This training gives me the power to practice EMDR independently without supervision. I’ve also received advanced EMDR trainings in EMDR for race-based traumatic stress, EMDR for complex traumas and ongoing traumas, as well as for recent traumas.

TCYM indicates that I am certified in the Trauma Conscious Yoga method. In order to do so, I completed 25 hours of training over the course of two full weekends. I regularly bring movement and somatic-based work into my therapy and integrate this practice with both EMDR and ACT.

What are the steps I take to begin therapy services with you? How do I schedule a first session with you?

To begin therapy with me, the first step is to reach out to me to let me know by sending me an email. Giving me a call, or reaching out through my website’s contact form. At this point, we can either schedule a 15-minute phone consultation to determine if we are a good fit, or I can share my availability with you to schedule a first session if you feel ready. 

Once we have found a time that works or after our phone consultation, I will send you an invitation to my online HIPAA-compliant electronic health record portal via Sessions Health. Before our session, you will have the opportunity to set up your portal account, sign the necessary consent forms, and review and sign my practice’s policies and working relationship agreement. I’ll also send you a few questionnaires to fill out to give me a better sense of the different factors in your life that are impacting our work together. 

I ask that this paperwork be completed at least 24 hours before our scheduled appointment to give me time to review it. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any lingering questions and I will share with you instructions on how to attend for our appointment.

What happens in the first session?

Our first session together is what therapists call an intake session. My main goal in an intake session is to give you the opportunity to see what therapy will look like and review my practice’s policies, your rights, and other important paperwork. It is also my first opportunity to do a comprehensive assessment of the different areas of your life that may be influencing the target issue you would like to work on. You and I will collaborate to identify treatment goals and determine how we would like to work together towards them.

How many therapy sessions are typically needed? How often will we meet?

Our work together will end when we both feel that you have met your therapy goals and are ready to end our work together. Usually, lasting positive change can be made within 20 sessions though many clients would like to continue services for longer and find it helpful. In my experience, more significant shifts and lasting change occur when treatment is extended for a longer period of time.

What happens if I need to cancel a session and can’t make it?

Life happens and sometimes things come up. I have a 24-hour cancellation policy where I ask clients to give me 24 hours notice if they need to cancel or reschedule a session. If possible, we can reschedule but if not then there is no fee to skip the appointment and wait until the following scheduled appointment. With under 24-hours notice or if a client doesn’t come to the appointment without notifying me, I charge a late cancellation/no show fee of the agreed upon session rate ($160 or your sliding scale rate).

I maintain this late cancellation fee because I have reserved the appointment time for you and have likely turned away other clients who may have requested to schedule at that time. A cancellation with 24-hours notice gives me the opportunity to reach out to them and schedule someone else who was hoping that an appointment would open up during that time, but this is usually not possible with less than 24-hours notice.

I offer every client one “freebie” where I waive the late cancellation fee because life happens. I also waive the late cancellation fee if we are able to reschedule our appointment within 1 week, but this isn’t always possible based on our availabilities.

What are your rates? Can I use my insurance?

A 50-minute session with me is $160 and a 90-minute session costs $235. At this time, I do not accept insurance at Lime Tree Therapy. I work the equivalent of 2 days a week at a group practice where I accept Aetna plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plans, United Healthcare Plans, Oxford, and Optum. At this time, I do not have any available appointments at this group practice and don’t anticipate any availability opening up for quite some time, but if you are interested, we can discuss putting you on the waitlist for those appointments where I’m able to accept insurance.

Why is therapy so expensive?

Therapy costs are determined by a number of factors, including the cost of graduate school, the type of service (individual, family, couples, group therapy etc.), the cost of living in a particular city, licensure (provisional vs fully licensure), years of experience, specialized (often costly) trainings and certifications, average industry rates, as well as contracted insurance reimbursement rates etc.

Unfortunately, insurance that covers mental health services is still not universally accessible and working directly with many insurance companies creates barriers to care that limit therapists’ ability to work with clients ethically and in a way that best meets clients needs. These factors make it difficult for therapists to accept many insurances and thus, many therapists continue to accept private pay only.

As a fully licensed therapist with 10+ years of experience, my specific rates are set based on the factors above. I also work hard to continue my own professional development by seeking out specialized trainings each year and case consultation to stay on the cutting edge of research.

Can I get reimbursed for therapy with you by my insurance company? What are out-of-network benefits?

Because I do not currently accept insurance at Lime Tree Therapy, I am considered an out-of-network provider. Many insurance plans, however, offer out of network benefits which allows you to submit an itemized receipt called a Superbill to your insurance company for reimbursement. Superbills include the amount paid, the diagnosis code we are working under, and the CPT code used for the session. This means that in order to receive out-of-network benefit reimbursements (and to use your insurance in any way), I would need to put a diagnosis for an eligible mental health condition in your paperwork. I am happy to discuss the benefits and costs of receiving a diagnosis with you before moving forward with this option.

I would recommend asking your insurance company about if they offer out-of-network benefit reimbursement. If they do, I am happy to provide you with a Superbill and walk with you through the process. The process for submitting for out-of-network benefit reimbursement usually involves submitting monthly Superbills along with a “Claim form” electronically via the insurance company’s online patient portal.

Do you offer low cost options or a sliding scale?

I do reserve a limited number of sliding scale slots in my practice. They are currently full but we can discuss putting you on the waitlist for them when one opens up.

What is a Good Faith Estimate and why are you sending me one?

What is a Good Faith Estimate and why are you sending me one?

A Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is an estimate of the costs you can expect to pay for your psychotherapy services if you do not have insurance or are not using your insurance to pay for my services. As a psychotherapist, I am required by the “No Surprises Act” (Section 2799B-6 of the Public Health Service Act) to provide you with a GFE before you receive services, or as soon as is practically possible thereafter. This estimate includes the expected cost of your sessions if you are not using insurance, any potential additional services, and the portion of those costs that you will be responsible for.

Sending you a GFE ensures transparency in our financial agreement and helps you understand the financial commitment involved in your therapy. It also allows you to compare costs with other providers and make informed decisions about your care. If you have any questions about your GFE or the costs associated with your therapy, please don’t hesitate to ask.