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Insurance....who is it good for?

I don't really know the answer to that question. I first noticed insurance not being what it was when my parents insurance covered my hip surgery (an acetabular fracture caused by a benign bone tumor the size of a grapefruit). I had surgery to repair the fracture, remove the tumor, pack the hole left with bone shaving from my own pelvis as well as donor cadaver bone). I was bed ridden for a month after my hospital release and on crutches thereafter but at 15 years old it was difficult to abide my strict physician orders. My parents had little to no debt, 3 (father, mother, step-father) insurance companies covering the bills. If this happened today I think patients would still have to pay out of pocket. Deductibles are far higher, into the tens of thousands of dollars with co-pays and other limits on top of that, just so we can afford a monthly premium.

When I worked in the medical field at a local hospital I recall becoming so disillusioned with insurance after having surgery and the hospital (who was also my employer) telling me I had to pay over $200/mo. to pay what I owed within 12 months. They would not allow me to make payments that would not satisfy the debt within 12 months. They conveniently pressured me to go to the bank across the street where the hospital backed the personal loans given to cover patient debts. This was my employer, I was a single mom, what choice did I have? To this day I don't know if that situation was legal, I know it was morally and ethically wrong but that is another matter. I always find it ironic when employees cannot afford services from their employer, especially with their employer's insurance.

I've also seen my brother struggle with state coverage while fighting cancer. Some people say "the system" is established to keep us in poverty, sick, and struggling. Sadly, I am beginning to think this is true after all I have experienced and seen. So why am I telling you this? So you understand one of the many reasons why I do not take insurance.

Did you know?

The average deductible is now $15,000 including a monthly premium of $200 if you have dental and vision AND the premium tax credit (according to plans reviewed on Marketplace). Family deductibles are even higher.

Just because you pay a premium, copays, and deductibles doesn't mean you are in charge of your healthcare. Your healthcare is often dictated by who is in network (unless you have out-of-network benefits). Services are also determined by what is covered, if it isn't covered your doctor can write to the insurance company for medical necessity but that is no guarantee it will be covered. Thus the insurance company is the gatekeeper to services, medications/supplements/vitamins/tinctures and providers covered.

Why don't you accept insurance?

Insurance companies require a diagnosis to be given for reimbursement of services. My approach to healing work does not align with assigning a diagnosis, which can result in a negative impact to a client's perception of themselves, their professional careers, and personal lives if someone attempts to weaponize a diagnosis causing further stigma around mental health as well as barriers to treatment. Often times a diagnosis can diminish a client's intuitive healing process by believing a label over their inherent ability to become an advocate of their own healing.

Additionally, when utilizing insurance, the insurance provider often determines what kind of therapy you can receive and how long therapy should last. Further, the privacy of your records is limited as the diagnosis becomes part of your medical record. Sometimes such medical records can impact your future for insurance coverage (life and medical), employment, custody proceedings, and more. Many insurance companies, including in-network, do not cover Expressive Arts Therapy and Somatic Therapies.

Clients have the right to not utilize insurance as well as decline a diagnosis under state and federal law.

A large part of healing from trauma is finding one's voice, developing autonomy, and freedom of choice. In therapy, this is partially done through empowerment to choose what type of therapy you will engage in, for how long, and what is included in your medical record. Often times, therapy is the first place client's begin to exercise their right to choose thus empowering their own voice, advocating for themselves, and restoring their self-trust.

You can learn more here regarding use of insurance and the limitations it presents:

Impact to psyche & therapeutic process

Avoid Diagnosis (except for insurance companies) by Dr Yalom, MD, Psychotherapist

Obstacles to other insurance at affordable rates

A mental health diagnosis can prevent people from qualifying for life insurance or increasing their existing plan.

If you’ve experienced a mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder, you may have to disclose it to insurers. Find out if you’re affected and the laws that protect you. by

You can get life insurance even if you have mental illness but you will have to pay higher premiums. Insurer reviews your medical records before giving you a policy. by

Barriers to career opportunities

The stigma of mental illness often has a greater impact on people’s employment prospects than physical disability or illness, Australian researchers reported today. by

The short answer is yes—stigma does prevent people with mental illness from getting a job. by NAMI

Hinderance to financial ability

Using Credit Scores to Understand Predictors and Consequences of Disease by American Journal of Public Health

My Values as a Therapist

Our society has largely failed to adopt a trauma-informed and grief literate approach which further negatively impacts survivors of trauma. Societal norms, educational systems, and labor culture cause clients to develop performance-based thinking which reinforces negative belief systems developed from traumatic childhood experiences. Society is accustom to asking "what's wrong with you?" in a very dismissive, minimizing, and dehumanizing manner, at its own peril, because to have a healthy, inclusive, whole society we must normalize "what happened to you?"

Through psychoeducation I help clients understand the effect trauma has on the brain (neurobiology of trauma), how it impacts their nervous system, and the ability of the brain to be "rewired" (neuroplasticity, the formation of new neural pathways) as a means of empowerment by knowing what is happening when they experience a "trauma trigger" and hope, through the knowledge of their brain's ability to lay down new neural pathways.

I assists clients in learning how to find their voice, trust themselves, set boundaries and advocate for their own needs.

Clients find healthy ways to process pain, loss, and trauma through the integration of Expressive Arts, EMDR, & Somatic (body) therapies. Combining creative expression, body-based work, and traditional therapies fosters healing by working with the nervous system and the brain for holistic and restorative care.

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