How do I schedule an initial consultation?

To schedule an intake, either call (571) 346-7616 and leave a voicemail, or send an email at dramendola@smsb-llc.com indicating your interest in setting up an initial appointment.

What can I expect at an initial consultation?

An initial consultation is very different than a therapy session. Prior to getting started, there will be a few necessary forms to fill out. These forms include:

  • Consent for Telehealth Consultation
  • Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Informed Consent for Psychotherapy
  • Practice Policies

To facilitate the intake and to keep a paperless practice, I will send these forms to you when we schedule an intake, and request they be completed and electronically signed by you, and returned to me, prior to meeting. I will also review the forms with you and answer questions at the start of the session as well.

The intake is an information gathering session where I will ask questions to assess your history, symptoms, and current stressors. By the end of the consultation, I will discuss the initial diagnosis and develop and tailor a collaborative treatment plan that is specific to you. It can sometimes take a few sessions to accurately diagnosis and the treatment plans is flexible in regards to if more pressing matters arise during the course of treatment. I will also answer questions that you have in regards to what you are looking for as well.

Does insurance cover my treatment?

At this time, Sound Mind Sound Body LLC is accepting only Blue Cross Blue Shield and Anthem insurance. Please contact me, via email or phone, to verify your information prior to setting up an appointment. There will be a copay collected at the time of the appointment. If you are insured with a different insurance company, I can still see you, but will require out-of-pocket payment. If there is an outstanding balance, this may affect ability to continue setting up appointments.

I am currently only accepting CareFirst, BCBS PPO, BCBS Federal Employee Program only as insurance. I am happy to work with you as fee for service if using any other insurance. If you wish to pursue out-of-network with other insurances, you are responsible for understanding and reviewing your plan’s out of network benefits and providing paperwork to the insurance on your own. I cannot guarantee that you will be reimbursed for out-of-network insurance as that will be dependent on your specific plan as therapy with insurance that the clinician is not in network with will be fee for service (not out of network). Unfortunately, I do not file claims for insurance companies that I do not have a contract with and it is up to you to know your insurance plan best.

What is the length of treatment/fees for treatment?

If you are paying out of pocket, the initial consultation session is 50-60 minutes long. There is paperwork that needs to be completed prior to starting, and the information that needs to be gathered to determine an appropriate diagnosis and collaborative treatment plan. The fee for an initial session out of pocket is $195.

Therapy sessions are 50 minutes long. Sessions are usually scheduled on a weekly basis, but can be scheduled bi weekly or monthly depending on your availability. The frequency of sessions is determined with the treatment plan. The fee for individual therapy is $175.

What is the Cancellation Policy?

If you do not show up for your scheduled appointment, and you have not notified at least 24 hours in advance, you will be required to pay a cancellation fee of $140.

What forms of therapy do you provide?

I provide individual therapy sessions. I do not provide couples counseling or group therapy. I provide “collateral” sessions when deemed appropriate for adult and adolescent clients.

How long will I have to be in therapy?

The answer to that question is specific to each individual. Some individuals benefit from short-term, while others benefit from long-term therapy. I typically provide weekly sessions at the start, and as symptoms improve, provide less frequent sessions (every other week to once a month). Ultimately, the length of treatment will be decided on collaboratively and keeping in mind what works best for the client.

What are areas that you specialize in?

I have been trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as well as Psychodynamic Therapy. Within the field of Psychodynamic therapy, I specialize in Relational Therapy.

I also specialize in health psychology, treating the depression and anxiety that is often associated with chronic illness. My expertise comes in treatment of depression, anxiety, and trauma.

What are areas that you do not specialize in?

I have not been trained, and therefore do not specialize in the following areas:

  • Eating Disorder
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Criminal Behavior/Legal Issues
  • Custody disputes
  • Couples Therapy
  • Therapy involving young children (under 16 years old)

If you have any of these issues, or these issues, or other issues out of my scope of practice arise in treatment, I will refer you to therapists who specialize in these areas.

What is telehealth and video sessions?

While my preference is to see you in person, I understand that certain factors might impede one’s ability to come in (whether is is illness, fatigue, traffic, etc). If a video session is preferable, and you would prefer not to cancel/late cancel, let me know at your earliest convenience and I will provide instructions on how to do so.

Is everything I tell you confidential?

Everything you share with me is confidential with the following exceptions:

  • If I feel that you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, I can break confidentiality to keep you/others safe.
  • If I hear about the physical and/or sexual abuse (or suspected abuse) of anyone under the age of 18, an elderly person, or someone with a disability, I am mandated to report it.
  • If confidential information is subpoenaed in a court of law, I must comply with the subpoena. This would not happen without your prior knowledge.

Crisis and Urgent Situations

I will do my best to respond to messages and phone calls as soon as possible. However, I do not provide urgent, crisis, or emergency services. If you are experiencing a life threatening crisis and require immediate assistance, dial 911, or go directly to your nearest emergency room immediately.

Additionally, feel free to call one of the following Mental Health Hotline numbers: 703-573-5679 (Fairfax County), 703-228-5160 (Arlington County), and 202-673-9300 (Washington, DC).

Inclement Weather/Office Closures

If there is inclement weather and/or if local schools are closed due to weather conditions, my office will be closed. I will also contact you via email or phone to confirm if there is a need to cancel sessions due to weather.

If you would like to keep your session, even if the weather is bad, I am available for video or telehealth sessions.