COVID-19 SAFETY and what about physical and psychological safety and liability?
At this time, I am not meeting people indoors. While we are outdoors – please ALWAYS cough or sneeze in crook of arm/inside elbow.
WE MUST RESCHEDULE, if either of us is experiencing any one of the following 1) a sore throat 2) new onset of severe headache esp. with a fever 3) uncontrolled cough and difficulty breathing unrelated to existing illness i.e. a change in cough from baseline from allergies or asthma 4) diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain 5) had close contact with someone who had COVID-19 or are quarantining for possible exposure 6) experienced a loss of smell or taste
While outdoors, please bring a mask ready to put on just in case we pass a group of people and cannot maintain 6 feet distance. While outdoors, we ourselves maintain 4 to 6 feet from each other. I do not require a mask unless we are facing each other while speaking for a long period. If you prefer wearing a mask while outdoors together I am more than happy to wear one. We can also maintain more distance than 6 feet if you prefer. A maximum of 10 feet is actually possible and we can still hear one another.
There are some risks of physical or psychological discomfort or possible injury especially when exploring more uneven and intense “terrain.” I have basic first aid, CPR, and crisis management training.
We move smart and are encouraged to listen to our own bodies, minds, and hearts to set the pace. I will check in periodically throughout session to see how you are doing, and it is up to you to share any needs. Those who have any serious occurrences or allergies will need to give me a safety plan in case of occurrence; i.e., bee allergy.
If signs of a psychotic episode – de-escalation interventions and crisis counseling referrals are given.
We will never be farther than a 20-minute walk or 6-minute jog back to the car.
Being a woman, I also have to take precautions and do not go to any secluded areas or certain locations especially with male gender clients. One reason I began nature-based counseling is for women or LGBTQ+ people to feel safe and comfortable to be out in nature.
Many of us want to explore nature but have feelings of insecurity to be out alone. Between sessions, I encourage meeting friends and family out in nature, exploring together, and developing a safety plan to feel more confident if you venture out alone.
Why in nature?
There are powerful experiences that happen when we are in green spaces. Our blood pressure and stress hormones naturally decrease. The ambient air, sound, and sights activate parts of our brain the indoors cannot. Nature heals and teaches.
I also don’t have to charge as much per session when in free green spaces – the average individual therapy session costs $150/hour and average couple session $200/hour. I can charge less. Without the overhead costs, middle income people can have access.
Lastly, and one of the most important reasons for doing this work in nature, is that when we have a deeper relationship with nature, we want to take better care of the earth, each other, and ourselves. It becomes a mutual exchange.
What if the weather is "bad"?
“There is never bad weather, just bad gear!”
If heavy rains, we would meet at one of the locations with shelter (Cheswick Park, Maymont Nature Center, or Byrd Park Shelter). I have inexpensive rain ponchos, and you can bring clean, warm extras just in case.
If there is a serious weather advisory (high winds, lightning) or you prefer to work indoors, we have two office options in the 23230 or 23235 area code.
I will text you to confirm location. If more clients are nearest one location, that will be the location chosen. I will be bringing elements from nature and the arts to enhance our experience.
Some of the best sessions are when the weather is intense!
Is it okay to bring my children?
For children and babies, you’re welcome to bring them!
I find when loved ones are present, it gives a realistic experience and a fuller perspective. Bring their favorite toys and games. We can meet at a park with a playground.
What about confidentiality? What if I see someone I know while we are out or someone hears us?
It is up to you if you want to introduce me as your coworker or consultant since we are both working together. Whatever you feel comfortable with.
We find a less busy area in nature to talk; if we walk by someone, we can have a plan to lower our voices if speaking about something sensitive and personal.
I take your lead. If you are working on the de-stigmatization of seeking wellness services, you’re welcome to introduce me as your therapist. You may inspire someone!
When and how do I pay for my session?
After we schedule the session, you pay for the session right away to hold your appointment. I will text you a secure PayPal Business link. You don’t have to have a PayPal account. You can use a credit or debit card through this link. There is a 3% online service fee. (For immigration evaluations, you pay a $250 deposit which goes to the cost of the evaluation.)
If you want to reschedule or cancel, you will be refunded the entire amount, if the cancellation policy if followed.
100% refund is given for cancellations done within 48 hours of your scheduled appointment. For immigration evaluations, 100% refund of your deposit is given if you reschedule or cancel ONE WEEK before your scheduled evaluation.
For same-day cancellations, no shows, or rescheduling, there is no refund. This helps with commitment and follow through. Plus, I cannot schedule last minute with others who need a session.
If there is a serious or sudden illness, accident, death, or emergency room situation, then 100% refund is given, even for last minute cancellations or no shows. The honor system applies.
If it is a regular non emergency illness (i.e. cold or flu) and you believe you or your child is too ill to attend a session, 24-hours notice to reschedule an appointment is fine. Again, there is no refund for same day cancellations or rescheduling, except for real emergencies.
Do you take insurance?
I am only paneled with Optima+Medicaid and hope to get paneled soon with Aetna+Medicaid and Virginia Premier+Medicaid. No commercial (through work) insurance accepted. Sorry.
Note that whenever someone uses their insurance, a disorder must be given for someone’s insurance to cover a session. We enter from a place of health and strength instead of working within the framework of the medical model of health – illness and categorization. This is not traditional psychotherapy. While we do identify the negative habit patterns of our mind and actions, we focus much of our attention on our strengths and building new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. We grow those areas that take us closer to our ideal selves, minds, relationships, and wellness.
Other benefits of NOT using insurance: I am not on the phone with billing and doing as much paperwork for insurance companies SO I can offer you more. You will be able to get more service between sessions i.e. periodic typed out summaries of our sessions, fun personalized activities sent to you, journal entries read in a google doc exchange, encouraging texts, and more.
Can I use my insurance for immigration evaluations?
No. This is an evaluation for immigration purposes, and most of the time is spent interviewing about factors pertinent to your case unrelated to treatment. Insurance does not cover the actual writing of the evaluation which is what takes most of the time – five to ten hours, depending on your case. Insurance will not cover those hours.
Do you offer a sliding scale?
Sliding scale is available for those near the poverty line. Please go to the link to see if you qualify.
Immigration Evaluations FAQs
Why do I need a psychological evaluation?
It is obvious and a no-brainer that being deported or separated from a family member is hard. To prove psychological or family hardship, a professional must complete an evaluation to support your case.
The opinion from a professional can increase your chances as much as 70%.
Why can’t I use insurance for immigration evaluations?
Most of the time spent completing the evaluation is writing the evaluation and asking questions that are not related to mental health, so insurance will not cover the cost.
Why does an evaluation cost so much?
Evaluations for immigration range in price from $500 to $2,000. The fee depends on the credentials and experience of the clinician.
I have 12 years of experience with evaluations and can complete a diagnostic evaluation as a licensed psychotherapist. The entire process takes 15 to 25 hours to complete. There are about 8 to 14 hours of contact with you to complete assessment and evaluation.
Then the clinician types up the results in a 12- to 20-page document, detailing background information, assessment results, and summary and recommendations.
The writing process takes 4 to 8 hours. Cost also includes all communication with your attorney, three copies of your evaluation including one in Spanish, if Spanish speaking, notarizing your evaluations, and mailing it to you.