Steven D. Nichols, Ph.D.
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if you can help me?
I will be happy to speak with you by telephone to discuss what is prompting you to consider
therapy at this time as well as to learn more about the types of difficulties you are
experiencing. At that time, I will also answer any questions you may have about my
services, experience/training, and payment arrangements. Our first few sessions will involve
an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some
first impressions of what our work will include, if you decide to continue with therapy. You
should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel
comfortable working with me. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and
energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select.

What is your approach to psychotherapy?
I draw from an integrative approach to psychotherapy that weaves together cognitive-
behavioral, insight-oriented, interpersonal, and empowerment approaches. At the root of
cognitive-behavioral therapy is the assumption that our thinking mediates and impacts our
feelings. For example, if I think things are hopeless, I will feel hopeless and likely will be
very depressed as a result. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on increasing one’s
awareness of their internal self-talk and cognitive distortions, so that they can learn new
ways of responding cognitively. Progress is exemplified by transforming one’s thinking/self-
talk from negative and self-defeating to thinking that is more rational, positive and self-
enhancing. Behaviorally, therapy frequently encourages individuals to take calculated risks
in stepping outside of their comfort zones to learn and master new behaviors that are more
healthy and adaptive. In doing so, individuals may experience corrective emotional
experiences. Insight-oriented and interpersonal therapies essentially focus on increasing
insight into the familiar themes and relational dynamics that seem to occur in an individual’s
life that can be maladaptive. This may include exploration of family of origin histories. Lastly,
an empowerment model is helpful in attending to the socio-political forces (e.g., oppression,
racism, sexism, homophobia) that can negatively impact an individual and exacerbate the
psychological difficulties they are experiencing. When applicable, I work with clients to
underscore how these forces might be impacting them and encourage them to get involved
in countering these forces in a variety of ways to empower themselves and lessen their
sense of powerlessness. To me, at the core of psychotherapy, is creating a working alliance
with the client in the safe, perfection-free, and respectful environment that therapy offers,
to help individuals better understand their internal emotional worlds, learn more about why
they do the things they do, help them to decide for themselves what changes they would
like to make in their lives, and to give them guidance and support in how to do so.

Do you take insurance? Are you a provider within my network?
Regarding payment, most insurance plans are accepted. Depending on your particular
insurance plan, I may be listed as either an "in-network" or "out-of network" provider. My
clients are about equally split with regard to whether I am an "in-network" or "out-of-
network" provider for their insurance plans. Many people seeking mental health care are
going out-of-network if the psychologist with whom they wish to seek treatment is not on
their insurance plan's in-network provider list. Personally, I believe that an individual should
be able to choose who their provider will be, rather than having this decision made for
them. Further, the out-of-network benefits for many insurance plans are quite feasible, with
only slightly higher deductibles and co-pays. Occasionally, there is no difference at all in
deductible or co-pay amounts whether you stay in-network or use out-of-network providers.

Inquiring about outpatient mental health benefits with your insurance carrier can be
somewhat confusing. I have included a helpful
Insurance Worksheet to assist with easily
guiding you through the process. Because I am in a solo practice, I do not maintain an office
staff, therefore, it is the client's responsibility to inquire about whether a precertification /
preauthorization is required (and to obtain it if necessary) and to find out benefit
information. The worksheet will assist you with this and lists each question you'll need to
ask your insurance company.

Can I avoid using insurance and pay "out-of-pocket?"
An increasing number of my clients are choosing to bypass insurance altogether, for a
variety of reasons, and pay "out-of-pocket." Paying "out-of-pocket," also known as "self-
pay," is advantageous for many clients. If you wish to consider a self-pay arrangement, I
will speak with you about this option. A self-pay arrangement means that treatment is
determined between client and therapist, not by an insurance company employee who has
never laid eyes on the client. The self-pay option also means therapy will never be cut short
because an insurance company determines that you no longer meet their "medical
necessity." I will be happy to discuss this issue further with you.

Do you take credit card payments?
Presently, I do accept credit or debit card payments, but this can only be done online on this
website. Just click "Online Payment" above. No in-person credit/debit card processing is
possible at my office location. In addition, I also accept cash or check. If you are
experiencing financial hardship, I can frequently work out an individualized payment
arrangement that is helpful to clients.

How do I prepare for my first appointment?
There is no special preparation required on your part for the first appointment. Some clients
do choose to make a list of concerns they wish to address in therapy, which they bring to
the first appointment to discuss with me. This is helpful, but not required. It can also be
helpful to have knowledge of the names and dosages of any medications you take
regularly. I understand that a first appointment can be anxiety-provoking for many clients,
but please know that I will do my best to ensure that you feel safe, respected, and heard in
our work together. When arriving for your first appointment, please come 15 minutes earlier
to complete initial insurance and client paperwork. Then we can begin promptly at your
scheduled appointment time. Should you get lost, need directions, or need to reschedule,
please contact my office at 513.321.7900.

Is there a fee for a missed appointment?
If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please give 24-hours notice to avoid
any unnecessary charges for late cancellation or no-show. Please note that most insurance
companies will NOT pay for missed sessions, meaning that the client will then be
responsible for the full charge for the therapy session. Emergencies are understandable
and are handled differently. They are obviously unexpected and thus unavoidable.
All Content Copyright © 2007 Steven D. Nichols, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.