Treat Yourself…

We spend money on what we value and prioritize. If you’re here reading this, money, the things you have bought with it, and the way you have been spending it, have not led you to satisfaction and happiness. It may help, when considering the value of mental and emotional health in your life, to remind yourself that a healthier, happier, more stable you is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones. And that the results can last a lifetime.

 

A healthier, happier, more stable you…
It’s the best gift you can offer your loved ones.

 

My practice is what is known as “self-pay” or “private pay.” That means I do not take insurance. (Why? Keep reading.) As a believer and fighter for racial, social and economic justice who strives to be available to everyone, I offer the great majority of my services at a (greatly) discounted rate –as much as 75% off. These slots are reserved for those in significant financial hardship, and currently I have no more “sliding scale” slots available. If you would like to be placed on my waitlist for when one of these slots opens up, please contact me to discuss this option.

I am also part of the Open Path Collective, an organization of therapists that are trying to change the world one person at a time by creating greater access to quality mental health care. You will find my services listed on there as well, with rates reduced to as low as $30-60 a session.

When you pay my full fee, you can feel good knowing that you are helping a less fortunate fellow citizen access quality mental health care, by supporting my ability to provide these reduced-fee slots.

Another option I offer is a time-limited series of sessions, also known as short-term treatment, that is targeted to making observable changes in a short period of time (usually around 8-20 sessions, although this is based on your particular situation).

 

 

Service Fees

Current rates for individuals are as follows:

    º Follow-up 30-minute session – $174

    º Follow-up 45-minute session – $260

Please contact me for information on rates for couples, families and groups. Under special circumstances, I may be able to make myself available to meet on a Friday, evening or weekend.

I know my fees are higher than most, and there is a number reasons for that. I have made careful calculations and given a lot of thought to the notion of investment in mental health, and I hope that you will, too.

 

 

 

If we decide to work together, this is what you’ll receive:
  • A list of questions that guides you through a thoughtful assessment of how your life has led you to the point at which you find yourself today. Clarifying how you got here will help you figure out exactly where you are, and where you want to head next.
  • A 60-minute sit down with me to go over the results of these questions and talk about your concerns and goals.
  • Together we’ll fill out The Mandala of Santosha©, a tool that I developed that will reveal to you exactly what’s keeping you unhappy, and will show us what we need to do to change that.
  • An agreed-upon number of therapy sessions. A “therapy hour” of clinical guidance in which a professional psychologist focuses solely on you, on the unpacking and exploration of your life’s themes and patterns. Through collaborative reflection, we’ll examine your past and current roles, and your Self. We’ll discern your narrative through a process of eliciting answers and finding direction, at the end of which you will have gained an understanding of and mastery over your behavior, feelings and thoughts. You will learn to set and evaluate personal resolutions, and to ultimately choose happiness.
  • A medical diagnosis if you want it.
  • Additional resources as needed.

Additionally, in each session, you can choose as much or as little of the following somatic, meditative, and artistic components:

  • Asanas (poses) that target your specific areas of psychic or emotional discomfort or pain
  • A yoga sequence designed specifically for you and your needs on that particular day
  • Pranayama (breath and breathwork)
  • Guided meditation
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Writing/journaling prompts, questions and assignments
  • Therapeutic art techniques
  • Relaxation strategies, play methods, etc…
  • Practice exercises, homework assignments or “experiments”

Finally, you may request (for an additional charge):

  • A written record of your progress through therapy, providing you with a visual narrative of your changes and improvement.
  • A comprehensive biopsychosocial report with a conceptualization vignette written from any chosen theoretical perspective.

 

How long will therapy take?

Some people choose to engage in short-term therapy. For them, I may be able to offer a limited-duration series available (8, 12, 16 sessions, etc). Others prefer to see their therapist as part of their ongoing support system, and to keep therapy as a regular part of their wellness regimen, similar to periodically getting acupuncture, haircuts, or dental cleanings. For them, I may have weekly or biweekly sessions available. And still others like to employ a combination of the two, coming in for a few weeks or months during times of heightened stress, or for the occasional “booster” or maintenance session.

After we’ve done some good work together, it is my hope and expectation that you will feel empowered, capable and resilient, equipped with powerful new tools for effectively coping with the challenges life will throw at you. Because it will.

 

Reach out to see whether we may be a good fit:

Request a Consultation

 

 

As promised… Reasons many therapists do not bill health insurance
Concerns for the client:
  • Reduced ability to choose your therapist. When you use insurance, you are often restricted to seeing the providers on that particular insurance company’s list.  Reimbursement is reduced if you choose someone who is not on the contracted list. Therefore, your choice of providers is significantly restricted.
  • Reduced ability to choose your services. Most health care plans today offer little to no coverage and/or reimbursement for mental health services. It is also important to note that some therapeutic services are not eligible for reimbursement.  This is often true for marriage/couples therapy and for work on non-diagnosable issues that nonetheless are important to you, such as learning how to cope with life changes, gaining more effective communication techniques for your relationships, increasing personal insight, and developing healthy new skills, to name a few.
  • Pre-authorization. Most HMOs and PPOs require “preauthorization” before you can receive services. This means you must call the company and justify why you are seeking therapeutic services in order for you to receive reimbursement.  The insurance representative, who may or may not be a mental health professional, will decide whether services will be allowed. If authorization is given, typically it is limited to several therapy sessions at a time.  When these sessions are finished, your therapist must then justify the need for continued services.  Sometimes therapy is not allowed to continue, leading to an end of the therapeutic relationship even when goals have not been met.
  • Reduced confidentiality. Your insurance company may require additional clinical information that is confidential in order to approve or justify a continuation of services.  Confidentiality cannot be assured or guaranteed when an insurance company requests personal information.
Concerns for the therapist:
  • Insurance companies notoriously underpay mental health providers, often leading to burnout and resulting in overworked therapists who are struggling to keep themselves together enough to help their clients.
  • I believe most therapists are hard workers, but I can only speak to psychologists like me, who have gone through a doctoral training. We have had many (many, many) years of training and experience. We pay a lot of money to go to school, obtain several degrees, and become a proficient clinician, so that we can be a good therapist for you.
  • A therapist’s fee does not reflect only the time you’re spending with them. The therapist must also charge enough to cover rent and utilities, to provide you with a comfortable and private space in which to do your therapy, materials and supplies… Additionally, there are the costs of maintaining confidential communication, health records, a client portal, credit card readers and fees, licensing costs, malpractice insurance, etc.
  • There is also a great deal of “behind the scenes” work required, not only to care for each client (e.g., paperwork, progress notes, treatment planning, consultation with other professionals involved in your care, etc.), but also to keep the business running, so that we can continue to be here and be available to provide care for you (e.g., marketing, billing, accounting, etc.).
  • Additionally, a good therapist continuously engages in, pays for, and travels to ongoing professional development events, e.g., trainings, certifications, conferences and continuing education, in order to maintain their skills and stay up to date on effective treatments and best practices, so that they may continue to provide the best care for you.

 

If you do choose to go with insurance…

If you are going to ask your health insurance provider about reimbursement, I’d recommend asking these questions in order to help determine if and how your plan compensates you for psychotherapy services:

  • Does my plan include mental health benefits?
  • Do I have a deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
  • Does my plan limit how many sessions per calendar year I can have? If so, what is the limit?
  • Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for services to be covered?

Please note that if you choose this option, it is up to you to inquire into these matters. I have no participation in that process. Ultimately, you are responsible for pay for your services, which are charged at the beginning of session, with check, exact cash, or credit/debit card.

 

 

Contact me to ask about availability:

Request a Consultation




2 Wall St, Suite 107
Asheville, NC 28801

hello@drmichellealvarez.com
828-82-PSYCH (828-827-7924)

Got Questions? Ask Me!