I am a licensed psychologist in private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I have 30 years of clinical experience treating people who suffer anxiety, panic, depression, insomnia, addiction, eating disorders and low self-esteem. I help adolescents, adults, couples and families with marital problems, career challenges, parenting concerns, family conflicts, losses and life transitions. My approach integrates psychodynamic theory with other methods including mindfulness, cognitive and behavior therapies. My practice is equally divided between male and female patients. If you want more information, take a look at these answers to commonly asked questions below or contact me at (212) 535-5065 or by email at DrVivianDiller@gmail.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to expect from the consultation? Before the first appointment, I ask all clients to come a couple minutes early to fill out an intake form. I then spend about an hour gathering information, taking a detailed history and understanding the reasons for seeking help at this time. By the end of the consultation, I identify the goals I believe can be achieved, the estimated length of treatment, the potential need for medication, psych-testing or other adjunct therapies and conclude with a decision about whether it makes sense to work together. If we decide to move ahead, and I have an opening in my practice, we schedule a follow-up session. If not, I provide an approximate wait-time for the next opening. If I think another therapist may be a better fit, I provide an appropriate referral.
How long does therapy take? There’s no easy response to this question, because it truly depends on the presenting problem, the patient, the therapist and the alliance created between the two. But rather than dodge the question altogether, my answer is that I do my best to make treatment as short as possible, convinced that what people learn in therapy is most gratifying when practiced outside in life. Often, by the time people come for help, their issues are entrenched in their lives and it can take time to understand and shift the contributing factors underlying the presenting problem. But I tell patients that if they are motivated toward change, they should experience the benefits of our work several weeks after it begins.
How does talking help? Research shows that sharing emotions with others tends to ease stress and be therapeutic. But it’s not simply the act of talking that is helpful. Rather, effective therapy is about becoming self-aware and learning how to use that awareness productively. Talking to a properly trained professional in an atmosphere of comfort and impartiality promotes insight that leads to change. If you don't feel understood or connect emotionally to your therapist, find one with whom you do, since teamwork is key to the success of this process.
How does couples therapy work? Most often, couples come for help when their relationship is in trouble. Sometimes they want assistance in making significant decisions, like moving in together, getting engaged, married, having children, buying a home, separation or divorce. Successful relationships have never been as challenging as they are today, so learning how to effectively communicate and negotiate differences are essential skills. Couples use this forum to identify which interactions foster intimacy and which ones create conflict or distance. These interpersonal skills can improve not only the couple’s relationship with one another, but with friends, peers and extended family members as well.
How often do you see patients? Typically, individuals and couples come once a week, but everyone’s needs are different. I may recommend more frequent sessions when immediate relief is urgent, and occasionally continue twice-weekly sessions if deemed necessary. Most often, clients like to reserve a regular time so they can count on sessions being the same time each week, but I am flexible if a routine time isn’t possible. A number of my clients travel for work or attend schools out of town, which make phone sessions an option. While I always start treatment in person, I conduct long distance therapy by phone if necessary, using office sessions whenever possible. I work full time, from M-F, and can always be reached during non-work hours via email.
What about fees and insurance? Fees are set during the consultation. Patients pay by check or cash either after each session or at the end of the month when a bill is sent by email. Invoices can be submitted to insurance carriers for partial or full reimbursement, so ask yours about out-of-network mental health coverage for procedure code 90834. You may also want to know how much they reimburse per session and if there is an annual limit. The new Mental Health Parity Law should require your insurance carrier to reimburse you for psychological disorders in the same way they do medical ones, but it’s helpful to double check.
Are there patients you do not see? I refer patients elsewhere if they are experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawal or if their addiction is life threatening. These disorders are better served by doctors and facilities that provide long-term in-patient rehabilitation. Acutely suicidal patients are encouraged to get immediate help at their local hospital and undergo a pharmaceutical evaluation before staring out-patient psychotherapy.
What are the terms of confidentiality? Information discussed in therapy is never shared without written consent except when there is intent to harm someone or an expressed plan for suicide. In these cases, I am required to notify legal authorities and family members. Parents have access to information about their children’s therapy if their child is under the age of 18. Information regarding diagnosis, treatment plan, dates of service and progress reports will be shared with a patient’s insurance company if necessary for reimbursement.
I hope this information and website are helpful in deciding if getting help at this time makes sense for you. Therapy is not for everyone, but if you would like a consultation or want to discuss other options, please contact me at DrVivianDiller@gmail.com or at 212 535 5065 and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Vivian Diller, Ph.D.