WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS DO I HELP PEOPLE WITH?

I specialize in providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) , as well as other evidence based, scientifically recognized forms of treatment, including DBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Client-Centered therapy, for anxiety, depression, addiction or substance use related problems.

I also see clients with health-related concerns and conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiac and respiratory conditions, cancer, and neurological disorders.

In addition some clients seek my help for problems with their life circumstances or relationships: breakups, divorce, family conflicts, other relationship problems, and concerns related to school or employment.

WHO DO I WORK WITH?

I work primarily with teens and adults and am not a child psychologist. I do, however, see children with anxiety disorders.

As previously mentioned, addiction and substance use disorders is one of my specialty areas. I accept clients who are participating in Suboxone treatment.

In general, I do not do couple therapy, though I see a limited number of couples seeking to improve their relationship, provided they are not struggling with a high level of conflict and have a generally healthy and respectful attitude towards one another.

THE FIRST APPOINTMENT

Finding treatment can present a challenge in itself, on top of whatever problem you’re experiencing. You may struggle to decide  who you should go to and wonder what it will be like, especially if you’ve never sought professional help before. I understand this and treat every initial appointment as a “meet and greet” and an opportunity to get to know one another another and for you to feel comfortable talking with me. It can be helpful for you to think ahead of time about what you expect from therapy and what your personal goals are for treatment. Our first meeting is a conversation about what led you to decide to seek therapy and what you would like to accomplish. If you’ve been to therapy before, I find it helpful to learn about how that was (or was not ) helpful for you. At the end of the session we decide if we are going to work together and together we determine what the next steps will be.

ABOUT PSYCHOLOGISTS

It’s sometimes confusing to figure out the differences among different types of therapists. As a psychologist I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. In addition to three years of classroom training focused exclusively on psychology and diagnosing and treating psychological disorders, psychologists have to complete 2 years, after graduation, of supervised training while working with patients. Amongst the different types of therapists, psychologists have the lengthiest and highest level of training. Although we receive the title of doctor, psychologists in most states, including the state of Connecticut, do not prescribe medication.

Although I do not prescribe medicine, many of my clients benefit from medication in addition to therapy to help them with their specific problem. If in the course of therapy we decide that medication might be appropriate and helpful for you, a consult for this can be arranged, often through your primary care provider, or with another local provider specializing in psychopharmacology.

 

THE OFFICE

My office is located in the historic district of Chaplin, Connecticut, on Chaplin Street, directly across for the Chaplin Congregational Church. It is attached to but completely separate from my home, the former Gurley Tavern, in the L attached to the house and the barn. The house is a large Colonial, soft yellow with purple doors. The entrance to the office waiting room is through the door with the 6-pane window set into the door itself, accessible by the gravel path along the south side of the house, parallel to the driveway.

There are three friendly office pets: Alfie, a Cardigan Corgi; Wendy, a long-haired dachshund; and Dmitri, a Siberian Forest cat who is completely hypoallergenic.

The office is child and infant friendly for clients who need to bring a child or infant with them to a session.

There is a restroom exclusively for clients directly adjacent to the waiting room.

Wifi is available for your use while you or a companion are waiting. You may also help yourself to tea.

Parking is available in the driveway. In wintery weather it may be preferable to park across the street at the Congregational Church since the driveway may be slippery and is on an incline.

CBT TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY AND STRESS

Are you seeking help for feelings of stress, worry, or panic? Have you experienced trauma? Do you experience intrusive thoughts that frighten you? Do you have excessive fears related to contamination, illness, or other kinds of harm happening to you or a loved one? Have you experienced shortness of breath, dizziness, chest discomfort or other distressing symptoms for which no medical cause has been found?  Do you avoid certain situations because of anxiety? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you gain control of your symptoms, returning your sense of hope for the life, peace of mind, and the future that you deserve.

Across the range of anxiety related disorders, including: stress, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is recognized as the “gold standard” amongst the treatments available. It is by far the most effective treatment approach for people experiencing concerns related to anxiety and fear.

CBT for anxiety puts YOU back in control of your emotions and your life.

In CBT for anxiety you learn how to:

  • Calm your body and your mind through using specialized breathing techniques, relaxation skills, and meditation practices.
  • Identify and challenge your excessive worries about the future, allowing you to become more grounded in the present moment and allowing you to think more clearly and optimistically.
  • Move forward to engage in activities you have avoided due to fear. In CBT this is done gradually through exposure therapy, a paced treatment in which you slowly begin to practice functioning in situations you fear while using new skills to cope with any anxiety as it occurs. This part of therapy rebuilds your confidence. Although it is hard work, many clients say that it is this part of therapy that gave them back their lives.

DEPRESSION AND MOOD PROBLEMS

PROBLEMS WITH ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS

Most people with alcohol or drug problems do not seek help, often because they fear being stigmatized or labelled in some way, or because of fears related to confidentiality, or because they are embarrassed. Yet taking the step of seeking therapy can be one of the best things you can do for yourself, for the people you care about, and for your health.

According to a recent New York Times article, as well as a variety of other respected sources, alcohol problems in the United States in particular have become increasingly common, especially amongst women and people who are older.

If you are considering seeking help for problems related to alcohol or drugs, it is important for you to know that there are strict laws protecting your privacy and any information that you share in therapy is extremely protected and cannot be shared with anyone other than the minimal information sharing that is required for reimbursement by your insurance company.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do you accept insurance?

Yes, I accept most major insurance plans, including:

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

HUSKY (all plans) /State of Connecticut Medicaid

United Healthcare/United Behavioral Health

Oxford

Cigna

Aetna

Connecticare

For self pay clients my full fee per 50 minute session is $150. For clients who are uninsured and have limited financial resources I have an income-based, sliding fee scale, with the lowest fee per session being $60. My goal is to provide quality services that are affordable to all clients. Under special circumstances and in keeping with Ethical Standards for Psychologists as outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA), I will provide pro bono (free) services for uninsured individuals with very low income who are in need of therapy.

How quickly can I get an initial appointment?

My goal is to see a client for the first time within one week of our first phone conversation. If my schedule permits, I am sometimes able to meet with clients within 24 hours of of our initial contact.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Please bring your insurance card and a valid credit card.

Do you provide therapy services by phone or Skype?

Yes, and yes! Distance therapies like phone and Skype sessions have been shown by research to be effective and beneficial to clients. Offering services through a variety of options is consistent with the value I place on making therapy available to everyone who needs it. These options can be very beneficial to some clients, for example, those very concerned about their privacy, who might not seek services otherwise.

Do you ever meet with clients at their home?

Yes, on occasion I will meet with a client at their home, rather than in the office. I sometimes do this when a client is suffering from a serious illness or has limited mobility and is unable to go out. For safety reasons there is a screening process. I also conduct sessions outside the office when working with a client who has an anxiety disorder and we are doing exposure based therapy.

Is your office handicapped accessible?

Unfortunately at this time it is not. I try to get around this barrier and accommodate clients with limited mobility in other ways, such as phone sessions or home visits, as discussed above.

Do you prescribe medications?

I do not, nor do any psychologists in the state of Connecticut. However, many of my clients take medicines as part of their treatment. Usually these are prescribed by their primary care physician or APRN, or, in some cases by a psychiatrist or psychiatric APRN. If you are interested in taking medications as part of your treatment I will work together with you and your prescriber. There are several prescribers in the area with whom I work frequently, and  I can assist clients who do not have a current prescriber in finding one.

What forms of payment do you accept?

I accept all forms of payment including cash, check, or credit card payments.

What is your cancellation policy?

24 hours notice is required for cancellations. Your appointment is reserved just for you. Cancellation with less than 24 hours notice makes that time unavailable for someone else. Payment of the full session fee is required for cancellation with less than 24 hours notice. Fees for late cancellation cannot be reimbursed by insurance.

Paige Westerfield, PsyD