Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ'S)


What is SOAR doing to protect patients from the spread of the coronavirus (aka, COVID-19)?

In-person sessions are being conducted following the CDC guidelines related to COVID-19. We recognize that the CDC’s guidelines are constantly changing, so we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly.

Note: Dr. Martinez and her staff are fully vaccinated and respect every individual’s right to make their own choice regarding the vaccine. Your vaccination status will not be a barrier to receiving services from SOAR.

Patients who choose in-person sessions are expected to take the necessary precaution (including temperature checks prior to session) and practice proper hygiene before, during, and after sessions. If a patient has a fever or any symptoms of respiratory illness, we ask that you move to a telehealth appointment or cancel your appointment. As a reminder, per practice policy, cancellation due to illness or emergency will not result in a cancellation fee.

Aside from in-person sessions, patients also have the option of doing virtual sessions via our HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform. If the patient is sick, has an emergency, or any other conflict, this can be used in place of an in-person session. Dr. Martinez has provided telehealth services to patients since 2014 and is confident and comfortable with this format.

We appreciate the responsiveness, patience, and flexibility of patients and potential patients during this difficult time.

Please see the COVID-19 tab for more information or click here: COVID-19

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Is SOAR accepting new patients?

If you are inquiring about becoming a new patient in our practice, please note: our practice is consistently full and we do not maintain a waitlist. Openings for new patients are hard to predict, and we do not schedule them more than a few weeks in advance. Reaching out to our administrative assistant via email at the beginning of each month is the best way to communicate your continued interest in becoming a patient and to get scheduled for a new patient visit when one becomes available.

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How do I become a new patient at SOAR?

SOAR accepts a limited number of new patients at the beginning of each month. We prefer to schedule new patients on (at least) a regularly weekly schedule. Around the first of the month, the days and times of regularly available appointments are released via email to individuals who request to be added to our interest list. Although our interest list is not a waitlist or guarantee, the date an individual requested to be added to the interest list is one major factor we consider when scheduling new patient phone consultations. The phone consultation is a screening to make sure you (or the patient) are an appropriate fit for services with SOAR. Once it is determined that services are a good fit, a Client Portal profile will be set up and new patient paperwork will be sent to you via email and a new patient appointment will be scheduled.

You may contact Andrea Medina, Administrative Assistant (admin@soartogether.net), to be added to the interest list. Please send a brief description of your current concern(s), age, preferred contact information (phone number & email), and availability.

Interest List Info Required*- Copy & paste
Patient:
Age:
Phone:
Email:
Current concern(s):
Availability for regular appointments:

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How much will therapy cost? Does SOAR take insurance?

Dr. Martinez and her team are not in-network with any insurance providers at this time. They can provide you with a detailed bill including all the necessary information and service codes that insurance providers require for reimbursement to you of any out-of-network coverage offered by your plan.

The cost of treatment with Dr. Martinez is as follows:

  • Intake assessment with Dr. Martinez (90 min-2 hrs): $300
  • Individual therapy (50 min): $200
  • Abbreviated individual therapy (40 min): $160
  • Brief check-in (30 min; only available during maintenance phase): $120
  • Extended therapy (beyond 60 min): $200/hr
  • Travel to/from home/school/community sessions: $200/hr
  • Extensive phone calls or paperwork (including disability paperwork) beyond 15 min: $200/hr

The cost of treatment with Bree Geary is as follows:

  • Intake assessment with Bree Geary (90 min-2 hrs): $200
  • Individual therapy (50 min): $125

 

What is different about treating OCD compared to other mental health concerns?

OCD is one disorder that benefits from a very specific type of treatment–Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)–that few therapists conduct. Even otherwise well-trained and well-meaning therapists may do more harm than good when it comes to treating OCD. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best treatments available today, according to research; but there are specific ways in which it can and cannot be used helpfully in the treatment of OCD. The core skill sufferers with OCD must learn through therapy and practice is to tolerate uncertainty. This means helpful therapy will gradually and purposefully help an OCD sufferer practice facing uncomfortable, uncertain situations. The goal of ERP is to create a new relationship between the individual and whatever fear-, disgust-, or discomfort-producing thought, feeling, idea, or image is plaguing them. This comes primarily through decreasing compulsive behaviors, or any and all attempts to escape, avoid, or reduce discomfort when confronted with the unwanted thought or feeling. While a good CBT therapist might provide reassurance to non-OCD sufferers or help them develop certain cognitive skills aimed at reducing anxiety (e.g., weighing evidence, cognitive restructuring), these approaches are often unhelpful and inappropriate in treating OCD as they may actually make OCD worse. Cognitive skills and techniques that might help anxious individuals without OCD can become safety signals, reassurance cues, or additional compulsions for OCD-sufferers. If you’ve been in therapy for OCD before and you feel like it has not worked, it may be due to something like this. Please take heart; there is hope and there is effective treatment available for OCD if you are willing to make the commitment and do the hard work of ERP.

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Why is it so hard to find an OCD specialist?

If you have OCD, I strongly encourage you to seek treatment from an OCD specialist. To learn more about how to identify a true OCD specialist, see the Finding and OCD Specialist tab of this website or click this link: Finding an OCD Specialist

OCD specialists are hard to find, most of us are out-of-network with insurance, and most of us are consistently full, and it typically requires a wait to get in to an OCD specialist for a new patient visit. This is because the treatment for OCD, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a very specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that most therapists who do not specialize in OCD are untrained (or under-trained) to conduct. ERP is somewhat counterintuitive for both patients and untrained therapists, in part because it involves facing discomfort and distress head-on rather than fast-tracking to immediate relaxation and relief. It’s a challenging therapy for both the provider and the patient and takes a lot of practice for both.

OCD also varies dramatically in how it presents (see info here about the various presentations of OCD). While the core of OCD is the same across presentations, there are nuances related to identifying and targeting key components of OCD that vary across presentations. In order to become skilled in differentiating and tailoring treatment to OCD patients, it takes years of experience treating OCD as well as completing specialized training, continuing education, and ongoing consultation with other experts.

As you wait to get in with an OCD specialist, I encourage you to educate yourself about OCD and the gold standard, evidence-based treatment for it, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). I encourage you to email me or my administrative assistant, Andrea (at admin@soartogether.net) for a list of referrals to other DFW and Texas-based OCD specialists.

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Why are so few OCD specialists in-network with insurance?

It is understandably frustrating that very few OCD specialists are in-network with insurance. In a nutshell, it is expensive to specialize as a therapist and insurance companies do not reimburse the fair market rate for specialist services in psychotherapy. I answered this question in more detail in an interview with Chrissie Hodges, a well-known peer advocate for OCD, in her OCD Game Changers Fireside Chat. You can find the interview here: https://www.facebook.com/watch…

While it is difficult to find a specialist that is in-network with insurance, most insurance providers offer a little-known path for you to get reimbursed at the in-network rate for fees paid to an out-of-network specialist. This pathway is available due to what is known as a “network deficiency.” Read all about network deficiencies and the steps it takes to request this coverage from your insurance by checking out the Insurance & OCD tab of this website or by clicking here: Insurance & OCD

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How can therapy help me?

Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD is a highly effective treatment. It is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) developed specifically to treat OCD. In treatment, you will first learn to understand OCD and you will become the expert on your OCD. You will learn to identify and differentiate between the obsessions (aka, intrusive thoughts) and compulsions that are keeping you locked in a vicious cycle. You will also learn what aspects of this cycle are within your control (and how to leverage attention and effort to control these aspects) and which are not in your control. You will learn how to accept what is out of your control and how to direct your energy toward what you value in life so that you do no longer waste precious time and energy on OCD.

While SOAR specializes in the treatment of OCD and anxiety, we also recognize and appreciate that individuals coming in for treatment typically bring a host of other concerns that may need to be addressed in therapy. This may be another diagnosable disorder (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, PTSD), marital problems (which may or may not be directly related to OCD), work stress, family issues, etc. Many people also find that psychotherapy can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. If appropriate, these matters can be addressed in therapy at SOAR; otherwise, you may need to be referred to a different provider with the appropriate expertise. As a clinical psychologist, I see many people with diagnosable mental health concerns for which researchers have developed evidence-based treatment. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy at SOAR include:

  • Clinical assessment of the underlying problem(s)
  • Education about the identified diagnoses
  • Evidence-based treatment of the identified diagnoses/problem(s)
  • Understanding and addressing treatment ambivalence
  • Increased insight, self-reflection, and self-discovery
  • Understanding how your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings interrelate
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Identifying problematic patterns of how you think and talk to yourself
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and your values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

 

What about medication vs. psychotherapy?

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.

For OCD specifically, research tells us that there is a biological component of the disorder as well as a learning component. While medication may help with the underlying neurochemical processes and associated sensitivities that are the biological basis of OCD, it will not undo the learning that has taken place through a person engaging in compulsions after experiencing intrusive thoughts. This is where therapy can help!

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Will my personal health information be kept confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

There are legal and ethical limits to confidentiality, however. State and federal law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:

  • When there is suspected or reported past or present abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, or elders, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities (i.e., Department of Child & Family Services &/or law enforcement) immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • When a judge has issued a subpoena for records or another entity with legal authority (e.g., FBI investigations under the Patriot Act) mandates the release of records
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.

 

Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

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Why do people go to therapy? How do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

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What is therapy like?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

The total number of sessions depends on the severity of the problem and the individual. However, the average total of sessions is typically about 12-18. Visit the fees tab or this link for more information about sessions, costs, and course of therapy: Fees

 

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

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What is therapy with a trainee like? What is the cost?

We understand that patients may have questions about working with a trainee and they may want to know how this impacts their treatment. Bree Geary is supervised by Dr. Molly Martinez. Therefore, she meets weekly with Dr. Martinez to discuss each case individually. Additionally, Dr. Martinez is available to join therapy sessions as needed and patients can request an appointment with Dr. Martinez.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to working with a trainee. One disadvantage is that a trainee will not have as much experience working with patients. However, since trainees have a smaller caseload they tend to have more time to spend preparing for each case individually.

The cost of treatment with Bree Geary is as follows:

Intake assessment with Bree Geary (90 min-2 hrs): $200
Individual therapy (50 min): $125

If you have any other questions about working with a trainee, feel free to schedule a consult call (email: admin@soartogether.net) or contact Bree Geary directly at bree.geary@soartogether.net.

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