JOY YANG, LICSW
COUNSELING FOR MENTAL + EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is therapy, and is it right for me?
Therapy is a safe, non-judgmental place where you can talk about what is working and not working in your life. It is a space for you to focus only on yourself. It is helpful for anyone who wants to know more about themselves, improve their ability to manage setbacks, understand and manage psychological issues, and maintain good mental health. Ultimately, if you are open to learning, growing, and experimenting, then you can get something out of therapy.
Do you offer remote telehealth services?
Due to COVID-19, I am currently only offering online therapy conducted via video for all MA residents. I will not be offering any in-person sessions until further notice.
Video conference sessions are conducted through Simple Practice, a secure HIPAA compliant online electronic health recording system. After we set up our initial appointment, I will send you the link in my welcome email. When clients have their session, I recommend they find a private place and use headphones if there are any privacy concerns.
How do I know if we are a good fit*...and what happens if you're not?
My therapeutic style appeals most to those who are insight-oriented, willing to share, and be open. I am client-centered and generally less structured in nature. I believe you are your own expert. My job is to help you manage distressing emotions while guiding you towards identifying your strengths and personal instincts to find wisdom, growth, healing, and fulfillment from within.
I encourage you to be open with me about what you feel may be missing from our work. I will try my best to incorporate those needs and/or be honest with you if I can't. If you decide I am not the best fit for the work ahead, I will help you find some referrals who will be a better fit. That person may not be me, and that is okay.
Why would I pay out of pocket when I could use my insurance?
Some people prefer to pay out of pocket or privately for several reasons. Paying privately allows you greater freedom and choice in your health care because the insurance company is not dictating the terms of your treatment (including treatment length, number of sessions approved, and frequency of sessions.) Paying privately also means a mental health diagnosis is not required in order to be seen, and your clinician does not have to prove that treatment is a "medical necessity." For example, there are occasions where an individual may need to address a particular stressor, but it would not qualify as a diagnosis. If they were to attempt to use insurance, they would be denied and /or must be diagnosed with a qualifying disorder. Finally, having a mental health diagnosis as a part of your medical record could potentially affect your eligibility or premiums for your life/disability insurance.
When deciding whether or not to use your insurance for therapy, it can be useful to weigh the advantages and drawbacks associated with insurance versus paying for treatment on your own. I encourage you to contact your insurance company directly to find out more about their privacy policies, limits of treatment, and authorization requirements for future sessions. Either way, I am happy to help you explore this issue and support you in your decision making process.
Will I have to be in therapy forever?
The goal of therapy is to help you develop awareness and skills to manage your life. Therefore, different issues take different amounts of time to address, but there is no set amount of time you have to be in therapy. Factors affecting treatment length include changing treatment goals, treatment frequency, crisis situations, and adding new goals after old goals are met. Overall, deciding when therapy should stop is an ongoing process that we explore and evaluate together.
Do you prescribe medication?
No. As a licensed clinical social worker, I cannot prescribe medication for you. I am knowledgeable in various types of psychopharmacology and can provide general education, but I cannot offer specific recommendations. It is important to see a psychiatrist (vs. a primary medical doctor) for a medication evaluation. I will assist with referrals if that seems an appropriate step. If you're already taking medication, I will gladly work collaboratively with your psychiatrist to ensure you receive the best care possible.
What is the Patients First law in Massachusetts?
On January 1, 2021, Governor Baker signed An Act Promoting a Resilient Health Care System that Puts Patients First (“Patients First”) into law which makes significant changes to the state’s healthcare laws. The law requires health care providers to tell patients how much patients will pay for planned hospital stays, medical procedures, health care services, and referrals – based on the patient’s specific health insurance plan. Please note that Dr. Cheung does not bill insurance companies directly and is not part of any networks. You can review the notice of rights available to you as a patient along with more detailed information on the Mass.gov website,
*Due to the limits of my private practice, I do not see people struggling with high risk for suicide/serious self-harm or active substance abuse. Anyone requiring more than weekly contact who needs greater access than I can provide would not be a good fit at this time. I may have limited availability to respond to crisis situations (i.e., if I is working with another client, overnight, on weekends, etc.). For this reason, it is very important that you are aware of other services available in the event of a crisis. If you experience a crisis or emergency, call 911, go to your local emergency room, or call the MA statewide Emergency State Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) at 1-877-382-1609.