Investment

My practice is what is known as “self-pay” or “private pay.” That means I do not take insurance other than Medicare. (Why? Keep reading.) However, you may contact your insurance company to inquire whether your contract covers any part of your services with me as an out-of-network provider. Should they do so, I will be happy to provide you with a superbill (which is not as exciting as it sounds) that you can then submit to your insurance company for reimbursement after you’ve paid the service fees, which are charged at the beginning of session. I take checks, exact cash, and debit/credit cards.

In an effort to be available to everyone, including those with limited financial resources, 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.

An even better option I can offer you 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, but this is based on your particular situation).  If you choose this option, I can also offer you an interest-free payment plan. This deferred payment program helps to spread the cost out, allowing you to make small affordable payments throughout the year. For instance, if we decide to work together for six sessions, you would end up paying $30 per week –or $130 a month– for a year.

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.

 

 

Service Fees

*Every payment made with check or cash is eligible for a discount.

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. I can also make myself available some evenings and weekends. Please also note that there is an initial 60-minute consultation at the rate of $357.

I know this is a lot of money! I am very sensitive to that fact. And you can rest assured that I have very carefully and thoughtfully come up with a rate that I honestly believe is fair to both of us. And that I will make every effort to ensure that I am providing you with your money’s worth. I have given a lot of thought to the notion of investment in mental health, and I hope that you will, too.

 

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

 

I know that it is very hard to convince yourself that you are worth the money, but you are. (Here I am talking about you, but I am also talking to myself.) It may help, when considering the value, to remind yourself that a healthier, happier, more stable you is the best gift you can offer your loved ones. And that the results can last a lifetime.

 

 

 

If you decide you want my help, 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.
  • As many and as frequent therapy sessions as you want. 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?

That’s up to you! You may choose to engage in short-term therapy; I have limited-duration series available for you, 6, 8, 12 sessions, etc. (To make this option more affordable, I can offer you an interest-free payment plan.) Or you may prefer to see your therapist as part of your ongoing support system, and to keep therapy as a component of your wellness regimen, similar to regularly exercising, engaging in spiritual practices and working with other healers, like your acupuncturist –or your dentist! If that’s what you’re looking for, I have weekly or biweekly slots available. Or you may want to use a combination of the two, coming in for a few weeks or months during times of heightened stress, or for periodic “booster” or maintenance sessions. I am here for whatever works for you.

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!

 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have about this or anything else. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Request an Appointment

 

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, so 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.

 

Think of it this way…

Your fee is not money that you give to your therapist, it is money that you spend on yourself. It’s just like going to a restaurant or a store; you are not giving money away to a person, you are purchasing something for yourself.

Is money a thing for you? Then it probably is for your therapist, too. Your therapist is a person trying to make ends meet. They work hard to model self-care behaviors and a mindset of abundance –and they often forget that they’re a deserving person as well! Their rate is not set by the therapist self they are on the inside; it is set by the business self they have to learn to be on the outside.

 

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.

 

 

Contact me with any questions that you may have about this or anything else. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Request an Appointment




2 Wall St, Suite 107
Asheville, NC 28801

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



Got Questions? Ask Me!