FAQ

Practical Matters

What are your fees?

My fees vary based on the type of service (home visit, office visit, initial evaluation, follow-up, etc). Please contact me to discuss fees for services that interest you. I always discuss fees in advance so there will never be any surprise charges.

Do you accept insurance?

I do not accept insurance. However, I will provide you with a form that you can submit to your insurance carrier and/or flexible spending plan for reimbursement. Insurance carriers differ on whether and how much they will reimburse for psychotherapy. Flexible spending plans typically consider services rendered by a Clinical Psychologist to be qualifying expenses.

What is your cancellation policy?

I limit the number of new families I see weekly so that I can provide the amount and quality of continued involvement that keeps my success rates so high. I also limit the number of adults seen weekly to accommodate the work I do with children. Please provide as much notice as possible for cancellations so that I have the opportunity to fill that spot with someone else. If you cancel your appointment less than 2 business days in advance for any reason, you are responsible for the full fee as I am unable to fill slots on short notice.

Do you do consultations by phone or Skype?

Yes, in certain cases. I much prefer to meet in person. But when that is impossible, we can discuss whether a phone or virtual meeting would be appropriate. However, due to licensing restrictions, if we work by phone or virtual meeting you must be in NY State. Also, some insurance providers do not reimburse for virtual meetings and very few reimburse for phone sessions.

Sleep Solutions for Children

Why take a class before the baby is born?

The best time to address sleep issues is before they arise. My “Raise a Good Sleeper” class will help you and your partner plan a strategy to create good sleep habits for your baby. By attending the class together, you will both have all of the necessary information and you will be able to work as a team. If you wait until after the baby arrives to make decisions about sleep, your judgment will most likely be clouded by your own exhaustion. It is best to be prepared with a plan and then to alter it as needed to suit your child.

How do I know if I need professional advice?

If your child’s sleep is causing you distress or concern, I can help you decide whether you could benefit from my services. I will not schedule a consultation unless I believe that I can help you to improve your situation.

Won’t my child just grow out of this?

Not necessarily. Sleep patterns change over time. But as parents, we often interfere with the natural development of good sleep. Parents need to understand the principles of healthy sleep and developmental milestones, and how to help the child learn to sleep well. Parents often take the short view, doing what they need to do to get through the rough times. The problem is that these strategies can be difficult to discontinue, even as children get older. Parents often find themselves getting up multiple times during the night to help children get back to sleep, tend to them, or bring them into their bed. These practices disrupt everyone’s sleep. It takes a team effort to get on track, and I can help you create a plan that the whole family can accept.

Why is it so important to control a child’s sleep?

Children quickly become sleep-deprived and it affects every aspect of their daily life. They become irritable and difficult to manage. They start to fight sleep even though they are tired. Fatigue affects their ability to learn, their immune system, their brain development, and can even affect their weight. It is a struggle to deal with a child of any age who is sleep-deprived. A crucial component to raising a healthy, happy and well-adjusted child is making sure she sleeps well.

Where do you stand on co-sleeping?

Sleeping in bed with an infant puts your baby at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics on bed sharing. Parents often resort to co-sleeping out of desperation. I work with parents to find a safe and effective solution for the whole family to get a good night’s sleep.

Will I have to “Ferberize” or let my baby cry all night?

No. Although there may be crying involved, we will decide together how to achieve your goals in a way that is comfortable for you. I will also address your concerns about the impact these strategies will have on your child. There are always options and it is a matter of figuring out which ones work best for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Can’t I just read a book?

Sure. The sleep manuals out there can be very helpful. But, you just might need to read several before you find the strategy that works for you. These books also tend to generalize, and it can be difficult to extract a specific strategy that fits your needs. Unless you and your partner read the book together, one of you will have to persuade the other to follow the advice–and this can be tough. With my expertise, I can help you now.

Why do I need a psychologist to help my baby do something that should come naturally?

What comes naturally to a baby or child might not come naturally to the parents. It feels unnatural to let infants nap as much as they truly need to. It feels unnatural to let a baby learn to soothe herself in the middle of the night. It feels unnatural to be firm about a bedtime with a toddler who protests. This list goes on and on. I can teach you to understand what is natural for your child and how to help her become a good sleeper. You will learn to shape your child’s behavior and she will start to tell you when it’s time to go to bed.

Don’t some babies just need less sleep?

Not really. There is some variability in the amount of sleep that babies and children need, but it varies less than most people assume. For example, I often hear that a child “doesn’t need” to nap but happens to be very irritable in the late afternoon and fights sleep at night. In my experience, that child needs a nap. I can help you assess whether your child is getting enough sleep. If she is not, I can help you create a plan of action.

Why make house calls?

There are many reasons that I prefer to do my assessments in the child’s home:

  1. It is more comfortable and convenient for everyone. Because it is essential for both partners to be present, it is usually most convenient to meet in your home. Also, your baby or child can be at home with no disruption to the nap schedule.
  2. I get a clearer picture of your circumstances (where the child sleeps, issues with the environment that can or cannot be addressed, etc.). This makes it easier for me to develop a treatment plan tailored to your life.
  3. It makes it easier to fashion a team approach in which both partners take part in creating a solution.

 

My partner and I don’t agree on how to get our child to sleep. What can you in this situation?

I will work with both partners to foster a better understanding of the differences and develop a plan that works for both of you. This relieves the “push-pull” pressure between partners and gets you working as a team.

What if my child is just a bad sleeper?

Your child learned to be a bad sleeper. That means your child can learn to be a good sleeper. Children are great learners, and it is not difficult to change their behavior with the right techniques. I can help you implement those techniques so that you can give your child the benefit of good sleep.

Do you work with school-aged kids?

No. Generally, once a child reaches the age of 4 or 5, a simple sleep problem has turned into a more general anxiety or behavioral problem. I can meet with parents of older kids to discuss sleep and make recommendations, but I refer to child psychologists who specialize in CBT for children for ongoing treatment.

Sleep Solutions for Adults

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a short-term therapy focused on identifying and altering the situations, thoughts and behaviors that are causing symptoms. CBT has been proven effective in the treatment of Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and many other symptoms and disorders. CBT has also been proven effective in the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders. In fact, CBT is the treatment of choice–preferable to medication–for sleep disorders. CBT can be conducted in individual or group psychotherapy.

Why is CBT preferable to medication for sleep problems?

CBT addresses the causes of sleep problems whereas medication addresses the symptoms. When the medication runs out, the sleep problems often return. Sleep problems typically emerge in times of stress. They persist beyond the stressful period because of the thoughts and behaviors that developed in reaction to the initial period of bad sleep. For example, when sleep is poor, we tend to worry each night about whether we will sleep. That worrying becomes part of the problem, creating anxiety at bedtime. CBT is used to identify and treat the web of thoughts and behaviors that are perpetuating the sleep problem.

Do I have to stop taking sleep medication to start CBT?

No. If you want to stop taking sleep medication—and your physician approves—I can help you learn to sleep without medication. However, some people find that the combination of medication and CBT is preferable in their situation. Once we determine the cause of your sleep problems, we will create an appropriate treatment plan to address the issue.

Do you prescribe medication?

No. Psychologists do not prescribe medication in New York State. Medication for depression, anxiety or other underlying mood problems can be a useful adjunct to treatment. Occasionally, sleep medications may also be helpful. If it seems as though medication might be beneficial to your treatment, I will refer you to a psychiatrist for evaluation. I will work with the psychiatrist to incorporate the medication into your treatment plan.

Other Services

Do you provide other types of therapy?

Yes. I provide CBT and traditional, insight-oriented psychotherapy for treatment of a variety of difficulties, including: depression, anxiety, post-partum adjustment, relationship problems, PTSD, adjustment disorders, issues related to aging, issues related to identity.