Frequently Asked Questions

I regularly work with children if their parents are willing to become active participants in the therapy. Very often, parents are coached to work with their child on behavior change principles or experiments with a different parenting approach. Individual therapy per se with young children is difficult to accomplish on a teletherapy system because use of tools and activities that assist childrens’ communication (e.g., use of play therapy, puppetry) are less effective. I often work with adolescents individually and in conjunction with joint appointments with their parents/guardians. Therapy with couples lies outside the scope of my training and practice.

At this time, only direct pay for services is offered.  Dr. Stein would be considered an out of network provider for most insurance, with the exception of Tricare.  Dr. Stein holds active licenses in a number of states and therefore, your insurance company may support you in filing a claim based on Dr. Stein’s status as an out of network provider. 

Several things affect how long, or how many appointments clients require. You have probably heard of some individuals who have been going to therapy regularly for several years. This is a fairly common timeline with an approach such as psychoanalysis. However, most therapists use briefer forms of therapy.   This is due in part, to research data on therapy cost-effectiveness, and the fact that insurance companies limit the number of sessions they pay for.  However, it is clear based on a large number of quality research studies that the rate of improvement with most forms of counseling often starts to decrease after about five or six appointments.

A second factor that can determine the duration of therapy is the severity of your condition and the number of problems you face. Relatedly, whether or not a particular diagnosis tends to be short term versus chronic is strongly associated with how long therapy takes.  For example, depression related to bereavement tends to require shorter therapy than true bipolar disorder, which is often a life-long condition. Also, some problems such as addictions (alcohol, pathological gambling), tend to involve many relapses along one’s way toward recovery.

Situational changes during the course of therapy can influence the duration of that therapy.  For example, a client secures an exciting, high paying job after being fired can improve his or her depression significantly. 

A factor that leads to longer-than-needed therapy has to do with the therapists’ use of inefficient approaches to therapy.  A great deal of research demonstrates that the vast majority of therapists are not using the best, empirically validated treatments with their clients.  Relatedly, most often, when therapists claim to be using a particular type of therapy, they are not actually implementing it adequately with their patients. Our review of over 1000 social security disability medical and therapy case files showed that therapists commonly claim to empirically-supported treatments such as “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)”.  However, their case notes nearly always read like a diary that documents the life events experienced by their client since the last appointment. Rarely is anything ever mentioned about use of specific CBT procedures, their patients’ response to CBT methods, or whether symptoms were improving since the last appointment, or whether clients completed a CBT “homework” assignment. Therefore, the simplest conclusion is that CBT is not actually occurring in the sessions, which is almost certainly inefficient and unfortunately, tends to needlessly extend the duration of therapy.  

First, I believe I provide clients with the experience of being listened to and understood far better than they have likely encountered with typical health care providers. Clients and patients need an opportunity to put their problems or difficulties into their own words. I exercise great patience helping them do just that. Patients need a chance to hear themselves think out loud and “sort things out” in a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental setting. I think the most important part of your first appointment is helping you put into words what you think, experience and feel, but cannot find the words to accurately express. I guarantee you that there are important aspects of your problem you have never been able to put into words! 

A related aspect of counseling or therapy is helping clients articulate what they say to themselves i.e., their internal dialogue or “self-talk”, which reflects the conflicts and problems they have not yet resolved. In summary, much of what I do falls under the technical term, “cognitive therapy”. However, I have trained Ph.D. students for many years to utilize a range of empirically supported treatments, such as Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, etc; and I will use these approaches where appropriate.

Second, I think clients find me to be highly practical. I tend to help them focus on the “here and now”. I will not inquire much about the happened during adult clients’ childhood or early history, unless it is truly relevant to their current problem.  I realize many therapists think it is helpful for clients to gain insight into the causes and history of their problem and want to know about most or all major events during clients’ lifespan.  However, I don’t find it to be a good use of therapy time, nor particularly useful.  Typically, I don’t spend intensive efforts to understand “why” something happened.  Rather, I primarily focus our therapy effort on “what to do about it”.  Also, some therapists believe it is extremely important to identify a proper mental health diagnosis.  While osis.  n be useful, elieve it is extremely important to identify a proper mental health ‘spending time finding a label for a problem can be helpful and interesting, it is not nearly as important as finding solutions to the problems and symptoms that comprise it.  I think you will may find that I am unlike others you may have talked to about your problems.  I look forward to meeting you.

Here are some additional guidelines about what you should expect in therapy: 1) After completing an initial appointment, you should ask how long therapy for a problem such as yours normally takes; 2) Your therapist should be able to outline what sorts of things you will be doing in future appointments to promote improvement. They should be able to outline goals that really make sense to you. 3) During the course of therapy, I believe clients should never leave any appointment without having  something specific to be thinking about or working on, and they truly they feel motivated about. 4) You should leave the first appointment or two with a sense of hopefulness, sensing that on the right track toward resolving your problem. 5) If your counseling is occurring in conjunction with taking medication for your conditions, your therapist should ask you to sign a release form, as it is often helpful for a therapist to touch base with clients’ medication provider. Collaborating with your medication provider will tend to make your therapy more effective, and vice/versa.

Once you have scheduled an appointment, you will be sent some paperwork similar to what you fill out when you visit your physician’s office. This includes a Consent Form, and general problem checklist.  You will also be sent a link to an app that you will download and install, and will then help you log into the secured teletherapy system we use, (Verizon’s BlueJeans system).  Please remember that you can cancel your appointment at any time up to 24 hours in advance; you will be refunded your therapy fee in full. If you cancel later than 24 hours, you will be billed 50% of the fee, but this fee is forgiven if you immediately schedule another appointment. 

We ask that where possible, you use a quality microphone and camera with your PC, tablet or laptop.   Cell phones can also be used but transmission quality can be a problem unless you have a very good signal with a cell tower. In the event the tele-video connection fails, Dr. Stein will call you on your cell phone directly to complete the appointment.  

Choosing the right doctor or behavioral health provider can be a confusing task. One person may prefer to talk to someone who has spent much of their career training other counselors or doctors because they assume that such a person really knows the theory, procedures etc., related to particular treatments. Some may want a therapist who has vast experience developing the very latest techniques and who publishes research on these techniques in respected professional journals. Still others may simply want to see someone who has exceptional breadth of experience helping lots of people with multiple problems, much like a highly experienced family health physician. 

I am confident I offer a combination of all of the above attributes:  1) unique advanced training; a Ph.D. clinical psychologist, with a specialty area (health psychology).  2)  20+ years of experience as a professor and trainer of counselors and Ph.D. psychologists  at major universities;  3) a treatment perspective that incorporates new knowledge I have developed as a university researcher; and 4) the skills obtained through years of applied practice in clinics, hospitals, etc. Therefore, I am confident I can help you with your concerns and would likely be a good match for what you are looking for in a behavioral health practitioner or consultant.

Most recently, I have been serving as a Ph.D. clinical health psychologist with the U.S. Air force, working with active duty members and their families in medical facilities.  My unique combination of training and experience has effectively assisted clients with such challenges as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, chronic pain, Type 2 diabetes, and marital problems, ADHD, and many other difficulties.  I work well with individuals who are reluctant to talk to a therapist about personal problems or are very ambivalent about making changes in their life.

Patients find that teletherapy is extremely convenient and a huge time-saver over keeping live office visits.  Patients will always save at least an hour of commute time going to and from doctors’ offices.  The system is ideal for busy professionals and individuals who lack transportation.  It may be the only avenue for receiving therapy if you are housebound due to anxiety, agoraphobia, or a health condition that limits your mobility.   Also, many patients find that it is easier to talk to someone over a video-audio system; some patients prefer to increase privacy further by eliminating the video feed and speaking to me only through their microphone or cell phone; they feel self-conscious being seen on camera. 

Patients can conduct their therapy session nearly anywhere they can use secure wi-fi or cellular data connections.   I have held sessions with farmers who are sitting at their combines, or employees on lunch breaks sitting in their automobiles in parking lots.  It is sometimes the only way full time mothers or fathers can have a therapy appointment, as they are house-bound with children.  Busy professionals who travel can hold therapy appointments at their various work destinations.  To summarize, ease of access, convenience and time savings are some of the major advantages of teletherapy