Sharmaine D Barnes, LMFT, CEAP
Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter
– African Proverb (Igbo, Nigeria)
Please be advised that I am transitioning my practice to primarily private-pay as I believe this is in the best interest of my clients and myself (see explanation below). The only insurance I am currently accepting is Kaiser Permanente and ComPsych Guidance Resources EAP.
The cost of therapy can vary by clinician. Clinicians set their fees based on their skill sets, expertise, location, and other factors. The No Surprises Act is a new law meant to protect consumers and ensure that you do not have any surprise medical bills.
My teletherapy practice is located in California. I have a vast skill set in that I provide evidenced-based trauma treatments such as CPT, EMDR and IFS. I also have expertise in treating racial stress, trauma, and PTSD.
Psychological Evaluation (initial visit): $300
Individual Therapy: $200 for 50 minutes
Your initial visit with me will consist of a 60-90 minute Psychological Evaluation in which I will ask you a lot of questions about your present concerns, symptoms, life history, and their impact on your current functioning. I will also ask you about your goal(s) for treatment. We will then discuss treatment options. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and decline future treatment. You can terminate therapy (at any time) as you are under no obligation to continue treatment.
My cancelation policy is that you provide me with at least 24 hours notice prior to cancelling your scheduled appointment to allow me time to fill canceled appointment slot with another individual who may be waiting for an appointment.
I charge a $100 fee for any missed appointments and any appointments not cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. This fee will be automatically charged the day of the missed appointment or late cancellation. If I must cancel your appointment with less than 24 hours notice, I will provide you with a $100 discount off your next appointment.
Payment for services must be made at the time services are rendered. Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Cards are accepted for payment.
Reasons why I am transitioning away from accepting insurance
Health insurance companies require you to be diagnosed with a legitimate and treatable DSM-5 mental health condition in order for them to pay for your treatment. However, not everyone who seeks psychotherapy has a mental illness, but instead may be struggling with life stressors and just need some assistance getting their life back on track.
If I assess and give you a diagnosis your health insurance will then keep it on file permanently. The diagnosis given is entered into the Medical Information Bureau and stays on your record permanently, and can affect your future. For example, if you seek a job that requires a security clearance, if you would like to purchase a gun, life insurance, etc. mental health diagnoses may be taken into account.
You can get your entire file from the Medical Information Bureau at www.mib.com. It lists your date of service, doctor name, and diagnosis.
Most insurance companies reimburse therapists at a very low rate--typically much lower than the set fee from the clinician. This makes it hard to do good work with clients when your therapist may be worrying about how she is going to pay their bills and sustain their practice. Insurance companies can also take 30 days or longer to reimburse their providers. Imagine if you did not know when your employer was going to pay you, or even worse, told you after a while they decided they aren't going to pay you.
Your treatment remains confidential when you do not use insurance. If I am not billing your insurance company, the information about your treatment remains confidential between you and I unless you wish to release that information to another party.
Insurance companies want a lot of information about you and your treatment, and require your therapist to update them on your progress frequently because it is their money after all. I would have to speak to a complete stranger on the phone who may or may not be trained in mental health treatment, and who is putting information in their company database about you, and who determines whether or not the therapy is helping you.