Happy 2020 to you all! 2019 was another year of growth and changes. In June 2019, as most of you know, my practice became fully telehealth (video and phone counseling), which allowed me to pursue my own dreams and goals – because, practice what I preach, right?! This was a difficult decision for me as I knew that it would mean disruptions for others. However, many reported that this new format provided additional convenience for scheduling and making sure therapy happens despite our busy schedules. For others, I was happy to find providers in their communities who could provide continued face to face sessions.
As this new year rolls in, I’m appreciating seeing more and more who are committing or recommitting to therapy. Currently, I’m pursuing additional training/education in trauma therapies and other areas; with the aim that my continued growth will help me to best serve you. With EAP work, we can continue to be solutions-focused and boost coping skills, as that is the intent of the short-term work. Beyond that, I’m finding that many of us (as is common in human nature) continue to struggle with the narratives and stories we tell ourselves about situations, ourselves, and others. This can be in relation to traumatic events or just our general outlook on life. I have found that if we can make a habit of being aware of those stories and our “inner dialogue”, we can certainly find more helpful language and viewpoints that makes us better able to move forward to healthier relationships with ourselves and others.
Insurance changes may have occurred in January for many of you, so as a reminder, I am currently paneled with and accepting Cigna Insurance and the following EAP companies: ComPsych, Cigna EAP, and Health Advocate (though HA only allows phone sessions and not video). Please check to see if your benefits have changed (deductibles, co-pays, etc.) due to the new year. As mentioned in my previous post I choose to pay out of pocket for my therapist, because my insurance isn’t stellar and she does not take that insurance anyway. You can check to see if your insurance would reimburse you for out of network costs. We can also modify session frequency and come up with a plan for how to have check-ins with yourself in between our sessions, which is what we would want to be encouraging anyway! I also plan to create content that can assist with daily practice and more sustainable habits. As I have said to many, the idea is for you to practice what we do in session on a daily basis, as I only get to see you maybe 45-55 minutes each week!
As always, I’m open to feedback! What content or tools would be helpful for attaining your mind/body goals this year? Although we can’t be best friends forever (BFF) on social media, feel free to check in on the facebook and/or instagram pages for content, which I intend to be more consistent with! #2020goals
all know that accessing healthcare can be daunting, especially when it seems
(or is) not affordable. Here are some options to check out that may make it
easier for you to get going with a provider.
you’re paying for it-may as well see what you can get from it, right? The
easiest way to find out what your plan offers is to just call the number on
your insurance card (and it’s also a good opportunity to practice managing
emotions and reactions as you breathe patiently through the fiftymillion
prompts until you get to a person). So after you get through to a human, what
do you ask?
Hi, I’m calling
to find out about my mental health benefits through my plan.
this point, the lovely representative will likely tell you if you have a
deductible, which is the amount you would have to pay before the insurance will
pay for services. Even if you have a high deductible, most insurance plans
require that therapists only charge the rate that they would receive from the
insurance company. For example, if the insurance company pays the therapist $80
for a traditional 55 minute session, the therapist can only ask this of you,
rather than the self-pay rate they may have. After the deductible is met, there
may be a co-pay or the insurance may cover the session in full. A co-pay is the
portion of that example $80 fee that you would be responsible for. So if your
co-pay is $20, your therapist would bill the remaining $60 to your
insurance. This is at least how it works
in my practice. Some therapists prefer to have you handle the insurance by submitting
bills/statements to the company so that you can be reimbursed directly by the
you are calling to be referred to provider, the insurance company will provide
a list of in-network providers, but if you are connected to a therapist already
that is NOT in-network, you can ask if your insurance provides out-of-network
benefits. My experience has been that not many do, but it’s worth asking
make sure to ask specifically about the type of counseling you are doing.
Individual sessions are billed in various increments and standard for my
practice is an individual 55 minute session (code 90837), but I’ve also billed
for inclusion of family members, or for shorter sessions, so you will want to
ask the insurance company specifically if they cover couples or family
sessions, as not all may. Further, I am finding that most plans cover in office
sessions at the same rate as online sessions, BUT that may be true. Luckily, there
have been cases where the plan actually offers better benefits for online
sessions, which was a nice surprise!
be aware that to use your medical insurance, providers have to provide a
diagnosis and prove that sessions are “medically necessary” to access your
been finding that many people do not know about their EAP benefits, which is a
shame, because there are usually free sessions! EAP benefits usually include a
variety of services, with the idea that a supported employee is a more
effective employee. Companies usually outsource these benefits, so it’s
important for you to ask and understand the name of the company that is
providing the mental health/counseling sessions (i.e. ComPsych, Health
Advocate, Cigna). This is separate from insurance and my experience thus far
has been that I do not have to provide a diagnosis to the company. EAP is
intended to be short-term stabilization/connection to resources and the 3-10
sessions can do just that. For those that want to continue with their
counselor, they typically continue through self-pay or use of their insurance.
Since we already know that EAP is short-term, if you have an idea you would
like to continue with the counselor, it’s best to discuss this up-front.
Hi, I’m calling
to find out about counseling sessions available through your program; can you
tell me how it works?
lovely EAP representative will likely ask you what issue you are working on (as
they sometimes provide additional sessions for a different issue later on), who it is for (EAP sessions may sometimes
be available to family members), and if you have specifications for a provider
(location, demographics, takes whatever insurance). If you already have a
counselor in mind, the EAP company can see if they are already contracted with
them or may be willing to on-board the counselor, which your counselor may or
may not choose to do.
rep. will then notify the provider that they’ve been assigned to you, and/or
will provide you with an authorization number (*remember* to ask and write down
how many sessions/dates allowed to give to your therapist). The therapist
usually submits a request for payment directly to the EAP company without
needing you to do anything.
are various free or low-cost options for various needs and each agency will
usually specify through their website or a phone call what those requirements
are. For example on the Mental
Health Association of Central Florida’s website, their criteria for the
Outlook Program is: over 18 years of age or older, primary psychiatric
diagnosis of depressive or anxiety disorder, comorbid medical conditions, permanent
residence in Orange County, uninsured, and of preference, recent medical
hospitalization or visit to the emergency room. A quick online search for “free
counseling in *your city*” should return some leads to explore in your
are also national resources such as Open
Path Collective that gather counselors who are willing to provide low cost
services to those that sign up/qualify.
counselors also provide spaces for “sliding scale” for those who cannot afford
their full-fee. This would be negotiated according to the therapist’s practice.
While I would not be able to pay my own bills if I offered sliding scale to
everyone, it is important to me that people get the help they need, whether that
is with me or another option.
is the path I chose for myself as I don’t have an EAP program and I wanted to
continue with the provider I was already working with, even though she does not
take my insurance. I’ve had to do some mental cartwheels around this to reframe
how I view where my money goes. This really only became clearer after I kept
better track of where my money was going. When I found that I was spending more
on going out to restaurants than on my health, I had to make some adjustments
because while socialization and experiences do contribute to my own healthy
state of mind, I needed to find a better balance. So, I add it to my “medical”
budget each month and adjust other budget items as needed to be able to make
this happen for myself. Interestingly…I have found that by doing “the work”
with her, my money/budget habits have improved anyway!
Regardless of what path you choose, it’s important to determine your “why” and the strength of your “why”, which will fuel your determination to finding any way to get the support you need.
After getting the opportunity to work with some social workers, fire fighters, teachers and other helpers in our community, I’ve found that I really enjoy supporting those that support others. I remember the secondary trauma I experienced myself as a younger social worker, the many times of burnout, and seeing those around me leave their professions due to the usually thankless, high-stress work environments.
If there is anything to be done to support you and keep you doing the important work you do, let’s make it easier for you to do this thing called “self-care”. Helpers tend to have interesting work hours; I offer flexibility during the day so that we can work around your schedule. And because it’s via video/online, you’re saved a commute to another office. All you need is an internet connection and device with video capabilities. Any questions? Feel free to call or message me at 407-437-5076. See you soon.
I have so
enjoyed working in my Orlando office and being in the Orlando area for many,
many years. While there is never a perfect time for transitions such as this, I
have decided that as of June 2019 I will be 100% providing video counseling,
which allows me to see people located in Florida and Colorado, as I am licensed
in both states. It may be something that people are not used to and I plan to
offer free “try it out” sessions in the next few months. I prefer video
counseling, but will also be available by telephone.
I use is Doxy.me https://doxy.me/jenniferlombardolcsw
No need to download anything; you just
need to click on the link a few minutes before so that you can test your
video/audio quality! Many more insurances and Employee Assistance Programs
(EAP) now cover tele-therapy. Some allow live video-to-video therapy sessions,
others allow telephone only. If you are
interested, please reach out to them or me to discuss further.
It’s magic y’all. Brain magic! Well…maybe it’s just neuroscience, but still…it can feel like magic when other therapies are not working for you.
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Francine Shapiro has noted that she would have shortened the name, but it kind of took off…and now it’s too late) is a therapeutic method aimed at desensitizing sensitive subjects and reprocessing events/memories. While it has been found to be effective for addressing traumatic events, it has also been found to work well with other troubles such as anxiety and phobias.
Ok, ok. So the mechanics of EMDR look a little different than your typical talk therapy. The old school, traditional method of EMDR involves me waving my arm in front of your eyes so that your eyes are going *right*left*right*left*right*. I can also use other “bi-lateral stimulation” devices such as “tappers” and/or a head set. Stay with me, I know it can sound odd and truthfully, it seemed odd to me too at first, but one reason I was trained in this method is because I was able to experience how well it worked myself! I also sought the training because it is evidence-based and worked well with so many.
So the idea behind EMDR is that it may replicate what is occurring during REM sleep. Have you ever seen someone sleeping and marveled (or freaked out) at the motions the eyes made? The idea is that your brain has a way of healing itself and wants to heal itself and this is occurring during sleep and also during EMDR sessions. I can tell you that there is absolutely a commonality in how people process during an EMDR session. I do not share these experiences before an EMDR session as I would not want to lead or influence someone’s process, but there are definitely themes I notice that indicate that something awesome is happening in your brain and body. In general, the goal is to reduce how distressing you find an event and to have a healthier way of thinking about the event and yourself in relation to that event. So while it may not be magic, it is absolutely amazing and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about if it is right for you!
Inspired by a very talented local artist whose work will likely be featured in my office in the near future, I’m reaching out to find other artists who would like to feature their art for a time span during this year. I find myself inspired by artists who can evoke emotions and thought with their art or who so ingeniously capture the experience of mood/emotion such as Toby Allen’s Real Monsters. Since I have the privilege of working with the young folks and families, along with adults, I would want to display something that all could benefit from.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of creating this, below, I’m looking for something a tad bit more advanced! 😉
If interested, contact me at 407-455-2926 or JenLombardoMSW@gmail.com
I absolutely love that I continue to be inspired in my career; there is a never-ending supply of information and learning to be the best therapist I can be…I only wish I could just download it all to my brain in one day!
Currently, I’m wrapping up with “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel A. van der Kolk. He discusses the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences and treatments that work well to help people heal. One of those, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a practice I am trained in and it was enjoyable to read the successes the author had with this treatment and others, including yoga and neurofeedback.
Some of these styles can be confusing…”sorry…you want me to watch you wave your hand in front of my eyes?”, so feel free to do your own research and ask your therapist more about it. As an EMDR practitioner, I want those I work with to be informed about how it works and what to expect, so if this is something you want to try-just ask me about it!
Next up on the reading list: Francine Shapiro’s “Getting Past Your Past”. Have you read it or have other recommendations?
It’s 2017! Time to change everything about yourself, right? Not quite…
As someone who gets incredibly excited about fresh starts, especially when a new year rolls around, it may be surprising to read that I don’t want you to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” (what terrible phrases we have in the English language). What I mean to encourage, is that you acknowledge the incredible amount of strengths and good that are already inside of you. Sure 2016 was pretty terrible for many people, but you did grow in some way.
Take some time to reflect on what you learned about yourself in the past year, especially the good bits. Write it down. Did you form new positive relationships? How about trying something new? Were you successful in any way? Did you have any days of inner calm and peace? What were you most proud of? How did you brighten someone’s day? You can likely find some positive qualities or achievements by taking time to remember and appreciate them. Notice how you feel when you think of these positives in you/in your life.
Now, knowing that 2016 wasn’t complete rubbish, how can you cultivate and strengthen those good qualities that are already inside of you? Did it feel good to think of that time when you made a friend or family member smile/laugh when they were having a bad day? How can you create more of that? Did you feel “on top of the world” after accomplishing that fitness goal? Make a detailed plan of how to get to that feeling again. Everything that you want to change is already within you. You and I are capable of tremendous things when we believe in ourselves. Let’s see what our inner superheroes can do, shall we?
So, Happy New Year and Cheers to the Same You, because you are beautiful and complete just as you are.
The holidays can be a time of stress for many, especially when it comes to money, family, and sugar cookies staying healthy.
Here are some ways I plan to enjoy this season. Maybe some of these will work for you, too.
Check out holiday lights. Sparkly things tend to make me happy.
Attend some (but not too many) of the events in the community. Have you seen Orlando Weekly’s Holiday Guide? It’s a good time to catch up with folks and spend time at your favorite places, but be careful of not over-booking.
Get gift giving done early so that it can be thoughtful. Honestly, nobody really needs that terrible, last-minute impulse buy. Maybe you agree with family and friends to not do gifts, and instead spend some fun time together. Whatever you decide, try to avoid the impulse to spend on everything (set a budget) and avoid situations that you know will cause you unneeded anxiety.
Check out your cheery-spirited friends and family! Look at them donating to good causes, volunteering their time, helping their neighbors. Look for the good in folks.
Resist the temptation to eat ALL.THE.FOOD. Yes, there is balance in life but mood, energy, health can suffer from getting too caught up in all the foodstuffs.
Of course, let’s all remember to use our coping skills…Breathing while stuck on I-4, Positive/Calm Thoughts while in that Wal-Mart line, Visualization of a happy place while your 3-year old loses it in the store, Grounding when our old friend anxiety starts to creep in.
Need more tips or help dealing with ye olde holiday triggers? Pop in for some counseling sessions! We counselors are everywhere, especially throughout Central Florida. I’d be happy to help you work through your stress, finding joy this season, and dealing with Aunt Franny’s fruitcake (eek!).