Q: Why aren't you an "in-network" provider for my insurance company?
A: The insurance companies require " in- network" providers to abide by rules and limitations regarding treatment plans that I don't feel serve my patients. Remaining independent allows me to conduct my practice as I prefer. If your insurance company pays for out-of network providers, I will give you a completed form that you can submit to your insurer for direct reimbursement. We ask for payment at the time of the visit.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Cash, check, major credit cards.
Q: How often will we met?
A: The frequency of visits depends on each patient's situation. If you are in therapy, we will want to see you weekly, or every other week. If you are in crisis, we may meet anywhere from every day to twice a week, until you are feeling better. If you only see me for medication management, you can expect to meet every 1-3 months. If recovered, I can work with your primary care physician to facilitate their handling of ongoing medication management and prescribing.
Q: How long would I need to be in therapy?
A: Generally, therapy is an open-ended relationship, and we will discuss your goals with you at the ouset. Some patients reach their goals within weeks or months, while others continue the therapeutic relationship for a year or longer. Of course, the duration of therapy is entirely up to you, and you can stop at any time.
Q: Do you exchange information with my other health care providers?
A: I will if it is deemed appropriate, but only with your consent.
Q: What if I need to contact you during non-office hours?
A: Please limit after-hours phone calls to urgent or emergent situations. If your situation is urgent, call the office number and leave a message. I will call you as soon as possible.
In an emergency, call 911 or go to your closest Emergecy Room.
Q: What is your phone consultation policy?
A: Face to face contacts are the most therapeutically efficient interactions. Therefore, I try to limit the phone consulations to special circumstances. All phone calls of less than 5 minutes are free of charge, while calls above 5 minutes are billed according to our office rates.
Q: When do you see patients?
A: I typically see patients between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm Monday through Friday. However, I do my best to accomodate patients' schedules. Therefore, I often schedule weekend or after office hour appointments.
Of note is that I do not work with a receptionist, and I can not address walk in requests.
Q: What is the difference between a psychiatrist/ psychologist/ LPC/ LCSW/ LMFT etc?
A: Tiltles and credentials specify a provider's level of education, training and areas of speciality. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has gone through medical school just as a surgeon or an internist has, but specializes in psychiatric disorders.
Psychiatrists are licensed by the medical board of the state in which they practice, and may also be board-certified in the area of specialty (Dr. Shirley is board certified in both adult psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology).
A psychologist is not an MD but holds a PhD (doctorate) in either Psychology or Philosophy, and must pass state licensure exams.
Many therapists are credentialed at the master's degree level: Licensed professional counselor, Licensed social worker, Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. All require licensure at the state level.