Frequently asked questions

Where is the Institute located?

We’re at 1729 21st Street, N.W., a few blocks north of the Dupont Circle Metro station. Here’s a map and directions.

When is the office open?

Depending on therapist availability, we offer appointments in the following times:
Monday through Friday: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

What is CBT?

It stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Read about our approach to therapy here.

How do I set up an appointment?

To make an initial appointment, you can call our New Patient Coordinators at 202-234-0903, ext. 15, or send an email to info@cognitivetherapydc.com and ask a Coordinator to call you.

The New Patient Coordinators will talk to you about what you are looking for help with, what appointment times might work for you, and any preferences you have in selecting a therapist. A Coordinator will then recommend a therapist for you to see and set up the first appointment.

What is the first session like?

The purpose of the first session is for the therapist to find out what you are looking for help with and to give you information about what treatment approaches might be useful. The first session is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and to begin to decide whether you would feel comfortable working with this therapist.

After reviewing some forms and giving you information about confidentiality, the therapist will probably ask you to talk about what brings you into treatment. The therapist may then ask some specific questions to make sure he or she clearly understands the problems you are facing.

It may take more than one session for the therapist to get all the information he or she needs. Once this initial evaluation is completed, the therapist will provide you with his or her treatment recommendations. You can then decide whether and how you want to proceed with therapy.

While we work with most psychological problems, if your therapist believes we are not the best treatment provider for you, he or she will recommend other resources that might be helpful instead of or in addition to treatment with us.

If for any reason you feel that the therapist is not a good fit for you, you can call the New Patient Coordinators again. A Coordinator will consult with the Director of the Institute and we will help you find another therapist you can work with.

How long are therapy sessions?

Most therapy sessions are 45 minutes.

In some cases your therapist may recommend one or more longer sessions to address a particular problem. The fee for longer sessions will be adjusted depending on the length of the session. Most insurance companies will reimburse for sessions up to 60 minutes long. However, if you therapist does recommend a longer session, it is a good idea to check with your insurance company to see if pre-approval is required.

How often are sessions?

For most patients we recommend meeting once a week. This schedule will allow you to make progress efficiently. For patients who are experiencing a significant crises or disruption in their lives, it may be helpful to meet more than once a week for a while. Once patients begin to feel better, they sometimes find that they are able to meet less often than once a week.

For patients who are suffering severe symptoms or need to make rapid progress, we offer intensive treatment. Please see Intensive outpatient treatment here for more information.

How long does treatment take?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to be an efficient form of treatment. For many problems, 16 to 24 sessions are enough to provide noticeable relief. In some cases, fewer sessions may be required. Longer treatment may be helpful for people with issues that are complex or longstanding. Some people choose to continue therapy to work on other issues in their life once the symptoms that brought them into treatment have improved.

How long your treatment will take will depend on a number of factors, including: the severity of your current symptoms, whether there are complicating factors, how longstanding the problems are, and your goals. How much you practice the skills you learn in therapy between sessions will also influence how quickly you make progress. Your therapist will make recommendations regarding what you can expect to achieve and how long treatment is likely to be useful. However, ultimately, you get to decide how long to continue treatment.

What about medication?

Many of our patients take medication in conjunction with therapy. Some people start treatment already taking medication, some are looking for recommendations for medication that could be helpful, others are hoping to reduce or eliminate their use of medication.

We do not prescribe medication. However, we work collaboratively with a number of psychiatrists in the area who do prescribe. If you already have a medication provider, we will be happy to consult with him or her. If you are looking for someone new to prescribe medication, we can provide you with referrals. We can also help you think through your medication options and any concerns you have so you can make informed decisions about what role you want medication to play in your treatment.

Will my health insurance cover treatment?

The majority of our patients receive insurance reimbursement for our services. However, because we are not in-network providers for any insurance company, you will need to file claims yourself. We will give you a receipt each month that has all of the information your insurance company needs.

We recommend that you contact your insurance company before beginning treatment to make sure that you have “out of network” coverage, meaning that they will pay for treatment with professionals who are not on their provider panel.

It also a good idea to ask whether you need pre-authorization for outpatient psychotherapy. Many plans do not require pre-authorization. However, if your insurance company does require pre-authorization, they will typically allow you a few sessions, after which they will ask for a treatment plan from your therapist. If you bring in the treatment plan form from your insurance company, your therapist will be happy to complete it for you.

Please note that you may be able to use your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for the portion of your bill that is not covered by insurance. Most account administrators will either reimburse you for payments you have made or allow you to request a check be sent directly to us.

If you have any other questions about insurance coverage, please discuss them with our New Patient Coordinators when you make your first appointment or with your therapist.

Do you accept Medicare?

We do not accept Medicare. A number of our therapists are authorized to see Medicare patients as non-participating providers. However, you will not be able to file claims with Medicare, and Medicare guidelines require you to sign a form indicating that you understand that your expenses will not be covered.

If you have supplemental coverage, you may be able to receive some reimbursement for our services, depending on your plan. We recommend that you check with your supplemental insurance provider to determine benefits before beginning treatment.

If you currently have Medicare or expect to be getting Medicare any time soon, be sure to discuss this with your therapist.

Do you offer reduced fee services?

Our post-doctoral fellow and externs offer therapy at reduced fees. If you are interested in this option, please discuss it with the New Patient Coordinator.

How is payment made?

We request that you pay at the end of each session, unless other arrangements are made. We accept payment by check or cash. We do not accept credit cards.