Switch to Accessible Site
Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Common Questions



What benefits can I expect from working with a psychiatrist?

As a board-certified physician with 40+ years providing psychotherapy and medication treatment, I am able to provide comprehensive biopsychosocial care individualized to your specific concerns.

Many seek the advice of psychiatrist because they wonder if their health problem might benefit from treatment with medication.  Other people contact me because they are are considering psychotherapy, either for the first time or after working with someone else.  Some people want or need both therapy and medication.

Medication can help our brains work better.  Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. It can be useful for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility for their thoughts and feelings, creating greater self-awareness, and working toward positive changes in their lives.

Seeking treatment from a specific health care provider is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to see me. Sometimes it is to deal with acute or long-standing psychological issues or biologically based medical problems including concerns such as anxiety and/or depression.  Other times it is in response to unexpected change in their life such as a divorce, significant work transition or the sudden loss of a loved one.

The initial consultation is to learn about you and your concerns as well as giving you an opportunity to get to know me.  By the end of the consultation, I will have given you my thoughts and recommendations about the concerns that prompted you to contact me and answer your remaining questions.

If I think I can be of help and you feel that you may be able to come to trust me, we will engage in a collaborative effort toward reaching your unique and specific goals.  If this includes therapy, I will rely on you to identify your primary issues and concerns at each session. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth.  It is common to schedule a series of weekly or bi-weekly sessions with each lasting 45-50 minutes. 

Therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life's challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. However, for therapy to be effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.  During sessions, you choose the topics for discussion.  Between sessions it is important that you continue to process what we've discussed and work to integrate it into your life. 

Many people find that working with a psychiatrist can enhance personal development, improve relationships & brain functioning as well as ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen attentively is helpful.  Overall, people who achieve their goals during our work together have lower levels of anxiety and stress, decreased conflict, and improved quality of life.

Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Developing new skills for handling stress and anxiety
  • Modifying unhealthy behavior and long-standing patterns
  • Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior
  • Increasing confidence, peace, vitality, and well-being
  • Improving ways to manage anger, depression and moods
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems
  • Navigating life’s obstacles more effectively
  • Improving listening and communication skills
  • Enhancing the overall quality of life

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work? To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • Do I have mental and behavioral health benefits?
  • Is Dr. Johnson a preferred provider?
  • If not, how much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • Do I need pre-authorization?
  • If you have your insurance through Covered California, pay particular attention to your deductible.  The plans are ranked from Bronze through Platinum.  Bronze is the least expensive, essentially catastropic coverage, and the highest deductible.  Platinum is the most expensive, usually with decent coverage for mental and behavioral health benefits and the lowest deductible.

Is therapy confidential? In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a patient and a psychiatrist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. Health care providers are required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. Health care providers must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a patient intends to harm her or himself.  Health care providers make every effort to enlist patients cooperation in insuring their safety. If they cannot or will not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.