How do I schedule the appointment with you?
You can either call me at 978-482-7480 or email me at GraceChen@drgracechenlmft.com.
Or, you can send me a message via the contact form located at the bottom of this page.
If I don’t pick up the phone, I am with someone. Please do leave the message and I will get back to you as soon as I am available.
What is your office hour?
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 6pm.
Currently, I am transitioning OUT of Telehealth services due to personal eye issues. All the clients requested in-person session are required to wear masks unless you are fully vaccinated. I am also giving the priority to the new clients who are fully vaccinated and can come to my office in person.
Most of the therapists offer late afternoon hours to accommodate the clients’ schedule. However, it doesn’t matter how late we stay in the office, late afternoon (after 4pm) are always the prime time, especially for the couples. I highly recommend you to be flexible in the beginning of the therapy process to get onto your preferred therapist’s schedule. Once you are a client, when the therapist has an opening in the late afternoon, your therapist can fit you in because you are already a client.
The other possibility is to use the lunch time hours by selecting the therapist nearby your work place.
It’s not easy to seek for help. Once you have the idea to do so, please schedule the appointment as soon as you can to help yourself getting the help sooner than later. I always say this with the clients who inquire about my service: “It’s not easy to reach out and do it while the iron is hot so that you don’t lose the motivation.” You can wait for the right therapist who takes your insurance and offer the time fit exactly you need while your relationship or mental health deteriorating. It’s important to think through what’s more important to you.
Do you take insurance?
Yes, I do take Blue Cross Blue Shields.
However, for the couple’s therapy sessions, the insurance reimbursement might be tricky. I highly recommend that you call your insurance company and ask for the following information before you contact me if you do plan to use the insurance for the couple’s therapy:
“Do my insurance plan cover CPT Code 980847 (family therapy with patient present) with Diagnose code Z 63.0 (Problems in relationship with spouse or partner)?”
The following three articles are also good resources for your information.
How much does it cost each session?
The answer to this question depends on whether you are using the insurance and whether I can accept your insurance.
If you have Blue Cross Blue Shields, your cost is your copay for the “behavioral health” unless you have the deductibles.
If you do not have Blue Cross Blue Sheilds insurance, you can consider:
1) you have the flexible spending account, you can pay the session fee with your flexible spending account (copays and individual therapy);
2) if you have the “out-of-network” benefit, I can also give you the receipt for you to file the reimbursement from your insurance company. This is a good way to choose the provider you want without being limited by the insurance company. I can walk you through the steps to file the out-of-network benefit on your own.
My standard fee is: initial assessment $180/hour and $160/hour for all the following sessions.
How long is a session and how frequently do I go to counseling?
Each session is 50 minutes.
Usually, the counseling is one session a week unless there is an emergency situation.
If you are using the insurance, the insurance coverage is usually once a week.
What information do I need to prepare before I contact you?
Once we are able to connect, here are the steps:
If you are using the insurance, I will ask for your insurance number, the subscriber’s name and date of birth to seek the insurance authorization. If you don’t plan to use the insurance, you don’t have to worry about this part.
Once we have a date and time for the intake, I will send you a link via email to fill out all the intake paperwork online. Therefore, I will also need you (and your significant other) email address and phone number to set up an account for you.
You (and your significant other) fill out the paperwork at least a day before the appointment so that I can review them before our session.
You show up at the time of your appointment.
What is out-of-network reimbursement? What do I need to know if I want to use that benefit to see you?
Please click this page for the definition of out-of-network benefit?
If you are considering out-of-network options because you don’t have Blue Cross Blue Shields, please call the 1-800 number on your insurance card and to ask the following questions:
1) Is my plan a PPO plan covering out-of-network benefits??
2) If it is, how many percentages it will cover me?
3) Will it cover both Telehealth and in-person, or just one of them?
4) For individual therapy, will my insurance cover CPT codes 90837 and 90834 or just 90834 for individual therapy?
For couple therapy, will my insurance cover CPT code 90847 with Diagnose Code Z 63.0?
5) How do I file for the reimbursement? Is there a fax number, online filing, and/or mail address?
What is Counseling/Therapy look like?
Usually, we meet once a week. The first 3-4 sessions are generally getting to know each other and to assess your situation, such as when did the issue start, what have you tried to resolve it, how long this has been going on, etc.
For individual counseling, my role as your counselor is not to tell you what to do. I am the expert of the human psychology, and you are the expert on your life. By working together, we assess your current situation and decide your next step.of the human psychology, and you are the expert on your life. By working together, we assess your current situation and decide your next step.
Couple’s counseling is a little bit more complicated than the individual counseling. There are three clients in the couple’s counseling session, you, your significant others, and your relationship. Therefore, as a counselor, my role is to understand you and your significant other’s needs invoice for the needs of your relationship.voice for the needs of your relationship.voice for the needs of your relationship.voice for the needs of your relationship.
Please note that I do NOT practice the medical model of couple’s therapy. If one or both partners have mental health issues, I prefer to see the client individually for the mental health issues. For couple’s therapy, I work with both partners for the communication issues. For more information please check my couple therapy page.
Can I first see you for individual therapy and have my partner joins me later?
The answer is NO. I don’t mix and match the individual and couple’s therapy. It’s a conflict of interests. Once I start seeing someone as an individual, I don’t work with them as a couple except when the individual client is in a dangerous situation, such suicide, and requires the support from the spouse for extra support.
The reason for doing this is this: couple relationship itself requires the therapist to stay connected and be trustworthy to both partners. Once I start seeing a person individually, we start to form a bond without the partner. One the partner joins, it will make the partner feels as if I am align with my individual client before him/her. Therefore, in order to work for your relationship, I don’t mix and match the couple’s and individual therapy work.
When I see a couple, i do provide them the individual sessions if there is a need to do so but I will see both partners individually to balance out my time to each individual partner.
How long does counseling usually take?
Counseling is usually once a week and 50-minute per session. It really depends on the issues that you bring in to decide how long it is going to take for you to be in counseling. At the beginning of the counseling, I suggest that you come in as regular as possible (once a week) for the first months because we need to get to know each other, to assess your issue, and to develop the treatment goals. Then, we can decide the frequency of the counseling and the duration of the counseling.
Usually, after a month, my clients often expressed “feeling better.” I described this as “calming down from the crisis.” However, the real work of change starts here. From here, you might go through some up and downs with your issue before you reach a “new equilibrium” of your psychological or relationship status. For some people who experienced complex trauma, this might take a year or longer. For some sudden life crisis, this might be a little bit shorter. Therefore, it all depends on the issues and the durations this issues has been going on.
(Extended reading: my reflection on “how long is this going to take?“)