The following are questions people frequently
have before starting therapy: 

Q: What happens at my first appointment ?

A: The first session is referred to as a diagnostic intake session and generally lasts 60 - 90 minutes.  During this time you will complete a variety of intake forms before we meet together, after which we will discuss what is bringing you to therapy at this time. I will take a relatively extensive personal history including specific information about the problems you are experiencing.  We will then set treatment goals and discuss a preliminary treatment plan.

Q: How long are subsequent sessions?

A: Each subsequent therapy session is 45-50 minutes long. Generally, clients attend sessions on a weekly basis.  As you approach the end of treatment, we will discuss the option of periodic "booster" sessions designed to provide check-in points for continued growth and progress.  Sessions are by appointment only and I am committed to starting and ending your session on time.  I ask that you arrive on time as well so that we can have a full session; I do not extend session ending times for late arrivals - so, for example, if you arrive 10 minutes late your session will be 10 minutes will run only 35 - 40 minutes that day.

Q: How long will I be in therapy?

A: Treatment length is determined by the nature and severity of the issues that you are working to resolve. We will discuss your progress on an ongoing basis and make adjustments to treatment and frequency of sessions as needed.  Through this process we will determine the best point for you to discontinue formal therapy. 

Q: How long will it take for me to hear from you if I leave an email or telephone messages?

A: I personally respond to all phone calls and emails during regular business hours within 24 hours or on the next regular business day.  I do not  offer on-call services.

Q: What about confidentiality? 

A: What we discuss in sessions is confidential information, protected by both State and Federal laws as well as by my professional ethics code.  Confidential information is only released with your written permission or when required by law.  I will discuss any specific concerns you may have about confidentiality at or before our first session and any time issues of confidenitally may become relevant. 

Q: Do you prescribe medications?

A: I am licensed and trained to practice as a clinical psychologist, but I am not licensed to prescribe medications.  However, medication can sometimes be an important part of the treatment process.  We can discuss the potential for medication treatment in your case, and, if you are interested, I can provide referrals for a medication consultation with a physician or psychiatrist in the area. You may already be taking medication related to your mental health.  If this is the case, I will be happy to work closely with you and your psychiatrist or doctor to monitor your your progress.  Whenever medication treatment is a part of your overall treatment plan, it is important for your prescribing physcian and I to consult regularly about your treatment progress to ensure your best interests are being met. 

Q:  Do you take my health insurance? 

A:  Payment for all sessions is due at the time of service.  Cash, checks, VISA or MasterCard are all accepted.  If you prefer to use your mental health insurance benefits, I will regularly provide you with a detailed statement of services to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. I am currently a Core Network Provider for the Emory University insurance plan  through Aetna Student Health. Students who are members of this insurance plan will be responsible only for their annual deductible and session co-payments. and co-insurance.

Nancy Lewis Smith PsyD