Jessica Slavin Connelly, MSW, LICSW
Frequently Asked Questions

What is therapy like?

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and your specific goals. However, we generally begin with sharing of relevant personal history, your reason for coming to therapy, a review of strategies you have already tried, if any, and an outline of your hopes and goals for the process.   Usually, within the first few sessions, we will have developed a specific plan for addressing your therapeutic goals along with methods for assessing progress throughout our work together. 

How will I know if therapy is working?

If you have found the right match in your therapist, with an approach that works for you, then you should feel a sense of new found sense of relief or hope within the first few sessions.  As you investigate your concerns more deeply and over time, you might notice a positive shift in your thinking, mood,  or in the way you approach specific life situations.  Depending on the length of the process, there might be a plateau in your feelings of progress after a number of sessions.  That might indicate the resolution of your problem, or it might signify the need to go deeper into investigating a more deeply rooted source of distress.  In my work with clients we check in routinely on progress towards goals and reevaluate if our approach is not achieving reasonable results.

How long is therapy and for how many sessions?

It is common to schedule a series of weekly or bi-monthly sessions.  Our sessions are generally 45 minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or issues of ongoing personal growth.  It can be intensive, with multiple sessions in short period of time, or brief, with a pre-determined specified number of sessions.  Together, you and I will determine a plan that will best fit your lifestyle and help to accomplish your therapeutic goals.

What are my options for paying for therapy?

Most people who have found therapy successful view it as an investment in themselves and their future, to improve one's quality of life and well being for years to come.  I believe that therapy has one clear and definite purpose: that something of positive value and constructive usefulness will come out of it for you, using the most effective and efficient plan, and I will do all I can to ensure that you feel your investment is well worth it.
Most of my clients choose to pay privately, although I do accept some insurance plans and am available as an out-of-network provider.  With a private arrangement,
you and I will work together to come up with a reasonable and budget sensitive plan.  Private pay offers you the highest degree of privacy, the greatest degree of flexibility regarding number of and frequency of sessions, and the highest degree of ownership of the process.   I am happy to discuss further the differences between private payment and insurance coverage by phone.  Together, you and I will come up with a plan for payment that will work for you.

Psychotherapy and medication

It is well established that mental and emotional issues and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication, because medication often treats the symptom and not the cause.  Talk therapy uncovers and addresses the underlying root causes of symptoms, to affect long term lasting emotional, cognitive, and behavioral change.  However, I believe in considering any and all appropriate tools that may be helpful in addressing your concerns.  When appropriate, medication and psychotherapy can be especially effective in partnership, as tools for helping you to feel better and get to the life you want.  Upon request, or if it seems appropriate, I am able to refer you to a prescribing health care provider who can offer a course of medication treatment to compliment our work together and help you through this time.  

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.  However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule.

Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

How do I get started?

Once you contact me, I will provide a free phone consultation to determine your needs and provide you an opportunity to ask questions.  If you decide to proceed, we will schedule an initial visit.  For the first visit, I request that you arrive 15 minutes early to complete the initial paperwork.  Morning, afternoon, and evening appointments are available. 

How does insurance work?

If you are interested obtaining services through insurance, you must first determine if you have mental health coverage, and what is covered.  Check with your insurance carrier carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • Do I have the option to see an 'out-of-network' provider, and how much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • What is my co-pay?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • Is pre-authorization required by my mental health provider?
  • Is my therapist listed as a provider on this plan?
  • Who will have access to my mental health records as therapy is reported to my plan, and how will this information be used?