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Thank You and Good News – You May Have No Deductibles or Co-Pays for Teletherapy…

March 26, 2020

Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield put out a notice that during the Coronavirus crisis they will pay 100% for psychotherapy that is completed via teletherapy instead of at a provider’s office.

We are thankful to our many clients who have continued psychotherapy during these difficult times…You likely find that it is still beneficial to help you reach your therapy goals!

In addition, though, many people are also still doing what they can to support small businesses.  For those of you who continue any needed therapy treatment over videoconference, you are helping our small business to stay afloat during this time.

However, we also aim to give you information and resources that can help you to cope with stress and feelings of depression or hopelessness…

For starters, I recommend movies for the children stuck at home guilt-free.  It is the only way that I am getting this information out to you today (while my nine-year old watches Frozen 2 so that mommy can get some work done).  LOL.

Hang in there, and don’t feel bad about using a little more television or movie time than usual to help everyone pass the time…

Take care until we meet again in person or online!  To schedule an appointment, please go to www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/

One Day at A Time… and Yes, Your Insurance Will Pay for Teletherapy

March 19, 2020

My new therapeutic motto is one day at a time… one week at a time… to help clients who are having a lot of anxiety about the virus pandemic and the future.

My advice is this: try to STOP from thinking about 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 6 months from now.  Many clients are talking about their fears about next month and into the summer and fall.  It’s understandable, but you can train your brain to STOP!

No one knows how everything is going to develop.  However, worrying about many things that might go wrong during the next 6-18 months and watching the news for hours a day is probably making it worse!

Keep your news intake to less than 30-60 minutes per day.  Focus on what you can do today and this week to cope with your current situation. If your mind goes to more than one week into the future, STOP!  Tell yourself, you will figure out the future when you get to it.

For myself, I have had moments when I start to think about the following questions: will my son be able to graduate from high school this May?  Will we still be able to go on the planned vacation we had scheduled in June to celebrate two graduations?  Will I be going to NYC the end of April to present Gottman Art and Science of Love?  What will happen to my business next month – will we have less clients?  Or, will we have more than we can handle?  Will I be feeling completely stressed out if the children do not go back to school this spring at all?

And then I must STOP!  I turn off my anxious amygdala with some soothing thoughts about coping for today and go back to focusing on one day at a time.  You might be surprised to know that I went through a terrible crisis in 2008 and another one during 2014 and during those years, I could only just take one day at a time to get through it.

I hope you can learn to train your brain to shut off the worry by focusing on today and today only.  Find your way to cope with today’s challenges… maybe you will write in your journal, read a book or watch a funny movie or television show, bake a cake, engage in meditation, play cards with a family member, take a walk or do some yoga poses in your family room…

Another future worry is that there has been some concern from our clients about insurance coverage for teletherapy [ which is done via videoconference.   Research has indicated that telemedicine is also an effective form of treatment to help most clients reach their therapy goals.  When you are stuck at home feeling anxious you might benefit from using this time to work on your relationship or learning how to better cope with anxiety.  Some clients have a very small co-pay or even no co-pay…

Rest assured, Care First, Cigna, and many other insurance companies will pay for teletherapy that is done over video conference.    If you are concerned about this, you could call member services to check on your plan; however, we frequently file claims for teletherapy and there has been no problems with getting those claims paid!

If you would like to engage in teletherapy, insurance coverage is one worry that I want to take off your mind!  You can reach out to schedule an appointment by going to our easy to use scheduling link any time at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie

Is There A Silver Lining?

March 18, 2020

After many conversations during the past week with clients and associates at my Relationship Repair Shop, I have been focusing on having a positive mental attitude about the effects of the Coronavirus on my household and business.

Not smooth sailing…  I went from denial, to bargaining, then to anger, and now into full acceptance that social distancing and threats of contamination are actually happening!  LOL.

It doesn’t feel like there is a Silver Lining to all the uncertainty, and I am sure that some families are feeling more financially and mentally stressed than others, depending upon their particular situation.

However, I am working to change my mindset and attitude that perhaps there is a silver lining?

Social Distancing doesn’t seem to include Emotional Distancing for most people.  In fact, neighbors are checking in on neighbors…

And families are being forced to spend more time together at home.  Our household has already found a bit more time for an additional family movie night, Uno, some extra sleep, and some household projects.  Instead of running out to lacrosse games and track practice, we are spending a bit more time talking at the dinner table!

Now that some of the shock is wearing off about what is happening, I am considering what conversations we might have during this time that could help us feel closer.  Perhaps we can take advantage of this additional time at home to become closer and more connected.

This reminds me of time growing up on the farm.  There wasn’t as much entertainment outside of the farmhouse, so we played Sorry and Hide and Seek and went for long walks and baked cookies.  That is what I am going back to during this time, and I hope you can too!

Clients are continuing to have therapeutic conversations over videoconference, and I pray that will continue.  Because more emotional connection and showing more care to one another just might be one of the only Silver Linings from the effects of the coronavirus…

If you need additional help coping with stress or having therapeutic conversations with a loved one, please Register to have an appointment with one of our Relationship Repair Associates today…

Welcome to two new therapists on our team!

March 17, 2020

In these uncertain times, our therapy practice is staying busier than ever.  Our mission is to help clients find meaning and manage stress via teletherapy and in-person appointments…

We have two new therapists – Yolanda Hayden at the Laurel office and Samantha Steininger at the Owings Mills office.

Yolanda Hayden, M.S., LGPC, earned her  Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Bennett College for Women in Greensboro N.C.  Yolanda sees clients at the Laurel location on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am – 9 pm, Friday from 9am – 4pm, and Saturday 3-6 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Steinger, M.S., LGMFT earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Family Science with a minor in Human Development and her Master’s Degree in Couples and Family Therapy all from the University of Maryland. Go Terps!  Samantha sees clients at the Owings Mills location on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm and on Wednesdays from 1 pm – 8 pm.

 

Our Coronavirus Procedures Include Telemedicine and Taking a Deep Cleansing Breath!

March 16, 2020

We encourage you to take deep cleansing breaths as you go through the worries of this upcoming week.

All our locations in Laurel, Maple Lawn, Owings Mills, Upper Marlboro, and Annapolis are still open with videoconferencing options available for clients who are quarantined at home.  Most health insurance plans will not pay for a therapy session over the phone; however, they will pay for your online video session through your computer or smart phone at home.

For clients coming into one of our locations, we have taken steps to clean and disinfect surfaces and to have hand sanitizer and paper towels available for hand washing.

I respect that each person and each family is having their own unique challenges and stressors related to the coronavirus emergency.

For example, you may be feeling more anxiety than normal due to your fears about sickness.  I have successfully helped many people who have specific phobias and fears about getting flu or virus symptoms.  Also, if you have an elderly or sick family member near and dear to your heart, you likely have concerns about their welfare and keeping them protected.

Some families, including some small business owners, may be experiencing more fears about their finances at this uncertain time.

Other people with children may need many deep cleansing breaths each day simply because their children are home from school for two weeks!

After more than a few cleansing breaths myself – I have decided to accept this unplanned break and roll with the punches.  We are currently having a pajama morning and watching Annie!  I am taking a few days off next week so I can hang out with my kids and get some spring cleaning done while everyone is at home anyway.

If you are a former or new client and need to come in for some additional stress management, please reach out for a videoconference or in-person appointment.  You can easily select a therapist and a time at our easy-to-use scheduling link at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/

Is My Voice in The Back of Your Head?

February 12, 2020

I recently had a client tell me that when she had a decision to make, she heard my voice in the back of her head.  A reflection on a therapeutic conversation went through her mind.  She made a different choice than they previous choice that she would have made!

And, good news… the new choice is leading her towards her goal!

Within myself, there was a private little party going on….

It makes me happy to hear that therapeutic conversations are taking full effect!

Sometimes it is surprising for me to find out something I said that was helpful to my client.  I give a lot feedback, strategies, encouragement, comfort, and direction to my clients.  I consider this seed-planting, but I do not always know which specific comment, directive, strategy, idea, or kind word might make a difference.  Here are some examples of comments I made during the past week:

  • “You deserve better.  I hope you will ask more directly for what you need.”
  • “It sounds like you asked for what you wanted but when you got some pushback, you didn’t persist.  Let’s talk about what might help you to be more persistent with your requests.”
  • “If you weren’t feeling helpless, it seems like you would respond with saying…”
  • “You are valuable, and you deserve to feel more validated and supported.”
  • “I think you are a special person.  I hope you can find a way to do one hour less of caretaking and carve out one more hour of personal time.”
  • “It is not your fault if your teenager acts out.  Ultimately, no matter how hard you have tried as a parent your 17-year-old is still responsible for her own choices.”

These are only a few of the comments I can think of from the past week, but chances are if my voice (or the voice of whomever your therapist might be) is in the back of your head, there is a positive nugget there to hold onto during this transformational time in your life.

If you need some help and someone’s voice cheerleading and guiding you, please Register to see one of our Relationship Repair Associates today for some support and guidance.

Welcome to Angela Harris, LCPC – Our New Relationship Repair Associate

February 11, 2020

Angela Harris, LCPC has provided counseling and therapy services to adults for several years.  She considers her specialties to be depression, anxiety, sexual trauma, PTSD and bereavement.  She also enjoys working with couples, using Imago relationship therapy to assist couples with transforming conflict and rebuilding connection.

Angela is a solution-focused therapist but deeply appreciates insight-oriented therapy to encourage clients to dig deep to find and understand the root of the problem.

She has been practicing meditation for many years and often uses mindfulness as an intervention with clients as needed.  Angela enjoys blending conventional counseling with spiritual practices such as meditation and mindfulness, finding that clients report significant positive results in mood and coping with the combination.

Angela currently sees clients at the Maple Lawn location of Capital Women’s Care in Fulton, MD.  Her hours are Monday and Wednesday, 11a-7p.

Angela’s favorite quote:  “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell [or] a hell of heaven…” ― John Milton

 

It’s National Marriage Week!

February 10, 2020

Did you know that it is National Marriage Week from Feb 7 – 14?   And considering my work as a marriage and family therapist, there was no better time for me to spend the past weekend in Seattle at the Gottman Institute (see me above in the picture) both experiencing and being trained on how to teach the Art of Science and Love weekend Workshop for Couples!  This workshop is internationally known, and I will be excited to start planning to teach workshops on the East Coast as well as in the Midwest during the upcoming year.  If you would like an Art and Science of Love workshop in your city, please reach out so I can consider presenting in your location!

The National Marriage Week website highlights the many physical, mental, financial, and spiritual benefits to being in a secure and happy marriage partnership.  What creates a successful marriage is both the small day to day affection and appreciation that we give our partner to help them during our earthly journey.  And… it is being influenced by our partner and being able to successful resolve problems and disagreements.

I was very touched when the presenters (both Ph.D. therapists) how to discuss and resolve a Regrettable Incident (AKA a marital fight) on stage in front everyone.  As any married person will tell you, we all have them.  Sad to say, I had one not too long ago myself!  And as I am all too aware, although we don’t go into marriage thinking about being experts at conflict management, we must become an expert in order to have all the other positive benefits of being married…

If you are going through marriage problems or you just want to improve your connection with your partner, please register and schedule an appointment with one of our Relationship Repair Associates today.  And… stay tuned for more information about upcoming weekend workshops and retreats later in 2020!

 

 

We are Hiring a New Therapist For Laurel Office

February 1, 2020

Dr. Stephanie is seeking one new part-time therapist for one of her Laurel locations.  If you ar a LCPC, LCMFT, LGPC, or LGMFT therapist please email your resume to stephanie@drstephanieonline.com to learn more about this position.

 

Free Therapy on Mondays Daytime

January 16, 2020

Domenica Carrese, Dr. Stephanie’s intern, is offering six free therapy sessions for three new clients on Mondays.  These sessions are only available on Mondays between the hours of 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  The first three clients who request an appointment with Domenica on Mondays between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm will be accepted.

To request an appointment, please go to the scheduling link and put a note in the appointment request that you are seeking to be one of her clients approved for 6 free therapy sessions.  The scheduling link is at www.therapyportal.com/p/drstephanie/

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Dr. Stephanie's Relationship Repair Shop
9660 Iron Leaf Trail Laurel, Maryland 20723
Phone: (301) 490-1011 URL of Map