Families often get frustrated when "therapy doesn't work." While play therapy, talk therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and other types of therapy are useful for interpersonal issues, they are not considered evidence-based treatments for childhood pain, chronic illness, or anxiety/depression. For this reason, make sure the therapist you choose is a licensed CBT provider who attended a CBT-based training program. A CBT therapist can be an MSW (social worker), MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist), PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) or PhD (Doctor of Philosophy).
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HOW TO GET REIMBURSED FOR CBT:
1. If your child's doctor (neurologist, pediatrician, etc) has recommended CBT, get a written prescription. When you call your insurance, inform them that CBT has been "prescribed" by your child's medical doctor and provide a copy of the prescription.
2. If CBT is "medically necessary," use this language with your insurance. If CBT has been recommended or prescribed by a medical doctor, it may be considered medically necessary, especially if your child has missed a significant amount of school or his/her functioning is impaired. An insurance company is more likely to cover a service if it is medically necessary.
3. If your child has had pain or health issues for 3 or more months, this is considered "chronic pain/illness." If it applies, use this term when you speak with your insurance. This is an important reimbursement designation and may affect the likelihood that your claim is reimbursed.
4. Always get the name of the person with whom you are speaking and note the date.
5. If your insurance company denies you coverage for CBT, ask for it in writing. Ask to speak with a manager and work your way up if you believe your claim is valid.
6. Tell your insurance if a particular therapist: a) was specifically recommended by your medical doctor, and b) works closely with your medical team. This collaborative relationship makes your provider unique, and is a reason insurance companies may reimburse treatment with an out-of-network provider.
7. As a reason not to reimburse out-of-network services, insurance companies may say they have "hundreds of CBT therapists." As the service recipient, you are permitted to specify what you want in a provider: e.g.: male/female, level of training (Masters vs PhD), type of training (CBT vs play therapy, etc), specific expertise (child/teen, chronic pain), and availability (after school, evenings, etc). If you are told that there are many providers in your area who have all of these qualifications, get the names of these providers, call them, and call back your insurance company when you find discrepancies. Insurance companies should not send you to providers who cannot effectively or appropriately help your child.
8. Prevent transmission of money stress. Children have a zillion sources of stress: tests, grades, social media, fake news, real news... the last thing they need to worry about are adult stressors like car payments and bills. Children with pain, illness, or injury often feel stressed about money, specifically the cost of their own medical bills. So while it's important to teach your child about money, limit "money talk" about bills and treatment costs to adults. Otherwise, this stress is transmitted to children, who then worry and feel guilty about attending therapy or medical appointments. Teens shouldn't have to take on adult stress... it's hard enough just surviving high school!