I saw my first client 16 years ago. Then, being part of an insurance network was honorable and socially responsible. I knew for most clients and their families, having good healthcare was two things: essential and expensive. Belonging to insurance networks (I belonged to many) worked well for many years. I helped many clients who came to see me first, because I accepted their insurance and then because of the changes they were able to make in their lives.
However, over the years, health insurance changed. Co-pays increased. Then they were only accessible for in-network providers when a deductible was met. Then there were individual and family deductibles. I saw my reimbursements shrink. I saw clients with the same insurance have individual plans, with different limits and deductibles and hired a medical billing agent, at my expense, to track down smaller reimbursements. It was no longer a practical business model. Add to this, concerns about privacy, electronic records, data sharing, and it was time for me to go.
My clients have been very understanding. Some worked out a reduced private fee. Some cut back on visits, spreading costs out. Many have also opted to use their out-of network benefit with their health insurer, since I am no longer in their plan. New clients are informed of my fee structure up front. When clients have asked me about it, I explain that they wouldn’t just trust anyone with their car, a massage, a trainer, hairstylist, etc. Many clients build up a level of trust with me, discussing issues in their lives that they do not discuss with anyone else. What price would you put on this privacy, confidentiality and experience … this goodness of fit?
Finding a good therapist with whom you, your spouse or partner has a good fit and working relationship may take time. We have our own personalities, training, ranges of experience and areas of expertise. As I have written here before, goodness of fit can be priceless, no matter the cost. Most problems expressed by clients are time limited. Three to four months. 12 to 16 sessions. But a positive resolution and change for the good can last for years affecting your whole life.
Especially these days, when our nation’s health care systems are in crisis, one should be more vigilant about what they are paying for, benefits and how best to use them for yourself and your family. Use your benefits to take care of the core medical and physical health of your family. However, therapists don’t see you for 15 minutes, write a prescription and see you in three months. Most help you unpack what is going on in your life, how it’s affecting your quality of life and also your physical health. This can take some time. Ask a therapist about a reduced fee or private pay arrangement. The benefits can be priceless.
Dr. Geysen is a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Glastonbury, with special expertise with men, infidelity, addiction and trauma.