General Questions

Why would I choose to come to Centra?

The answer is simple - service. Centra will provide the best possible care from top clinicians in their field. With few exceptions, you can be seen at Centra in a matter of days. Given Centra's multi-disciplinary staff, you will have access to a team of cooperative professionals.

What is the experience level of your clinicians?

Without exception, every clinician at Centra is a licensed, and/or board certified, in their field. There are no interns or students on staff. Most Centra clinicians have been in their respective fields for over 15 years.

How can Centra successfully treat such a diversity of issues and populations?

Unlike other practices where individual clinicians claim to be experts in countless areas, Centra's staff consists of experts in their related fields. Each clinician focuses on one or two areas of expertise and function in that area to the best of their capabilities. Each clinicians knows their limitations and join our staff to work cooperatively with other professional to provide the best holistic care possible.

I/we have never gone to therapy. Is it ok to make a consultation appointment for one session to see if we could benefit from Centra's services?

Absolutely. Centra's staff is available for consultations to assess your needs and to make certain that they, or any other Centra staff member, will be the best fit for you. It is encouraged at Centra that patients "shop" for the best clinician for them.

How do I make an appointment?

If you are personally referred to any clinician at Centra, call them directly to schedule an appointment. Each clinician keeps their own schedule - there is no master schedule or scheduling administrator.

When I make a first appointment, is there anything I need to do prior to the session?

There are intake forms everyone needs to fill out prior to seeing any clinician at Centra. Those intake forms can be found on this website. Simply print and fill them out and bring them with you at the time of your first appointment (some clinicians may have additional forms). Or, arrive a few minutes early for your first appointment and the receptionist will provide you the forms.

Will someone help me decide whom to see if I don't have a personal referral?

The intake clinician will answer any questions you may have and direct you to a staff member. To reach the intake clinician, call 856-983-3866 and follow prompts for first time appointment. This service is for all of our offices - Marlton, Center City Philadelphia and Villanova.

Who will I see? One clinician or many?

Whether you are personally referred or assigned a clinician by the intake coordinator, you will start with a single clinician. If the referral is comfortable for you, your care will be headed by that single clinician. If it is determined that you, or family members, would benefit from other services, your clinician will discuss this with you at length and help you get to other members of the team. You will, of course, always be in charge of who joins or doesn't join the treatment team and your original clinician will be part of your care regardless of what other Centra clinicians are involved.

If more than one clinician is involved with me, or my family's care, will the clinicians working with me speak to each other and coordinate my care?

With the multi-disciplinary model at Centra, we believe it is imperative to have cooperation between clinicians for the best possible care. Our patients find it comforting to have all clinicians they work with speaking to each other on a regular basis. Of course, if you wish any part of your care to remain confidential between you and one clinician, that clinician will respect your wishes.

What is Centra's cancellation policy?

Once you have had your first session at Centra, you must give your clinician 24 hours notice for cancellation or you will be charged for the session. Given clinicians schedule patients for on times appointments (with no over booking), the time scheduled is reserved specifically for you. Exceptions to this policy is if you are cancelling due to an illness - either yours or a dependents'.

How do I change a scheduled appointment at Centra?

All clinicians at Centra keep their own schedule for client privacy. Please call your provider to change a scheduled appointment. Please see the Centra Phone Directory.

Payment Questions

Do you take insurance?

Centra does not take part in any insurance panel. Our services are offered completely out of network. However, we will provide a detailed receipt that you may submit to your insurer for reimbursement based on your plans out of network benefits. (see how do I find out what my out of network benefits are for mental health care, below).

Do you take Medicare or Medicaid?

Centra is not a Medicare or Medicaid provider.

Why would I choose to come to Centra when I could find treatment in network?

The answer is simple - service. Centra will provide the best possible care from top clinicians in their field. The usual wait of several weeks for a first appointment to see an "in-network" clinician is absent at Centra. With few exceptions, you can be seen at Centra in a matter of days. Given Centra's multi-disciplinary staff, you will have access to a team of cooperative professionals which is impossible in a single clinician network practice. Ultimately, you will find a level of personal care unparalleled in network.

How do I find out what my out of network benefits are for mental health care?

You can contact our receptionist at Centra and she/he will take your insurance information, call your insurance company for you and report to you what they say your out of network insurance reimbursement would be for the specific clinical service you are receiving. You will have this information prior to your first appointment.

How is payment handled at Centra?

You are asked to pay at the end of each session. Centra accepts checks, credit cards and cash. If you wish to submit your expenses to your insurance company for reimbursement, your clinician will provide you with a receipt which will have all the information your insurance company requires.

What do I do if I want to use my insurance for my treatment, or the treatment of a family member?

As an additional service, if you wish to go in network and use your insurance, the intake clinician, or any clinician you speak to at Centra, will be happy to review a provider's list from your insurance company and guide you to professionals in the community suited to address your particular concerns - even if you choose not to use Centra for any of your mental health needs.

Psychiatric Questions

What does a psychiatric evaluation look like?

Each of our psychiatrists will personalize the initial session to meet your needs. Additionally, all of our psychiatrists are medical doctors and therefore will perform a complete bio-psychosocial evaluation looking at your concerns from many different angles.

How long are psychiatric follow up visits?

You'll be able to choose the amount of time you'd like to spend with your psychiatrist for follow up appointments. The appointment times gen

Do psychiatrists always use medication?

All of our psychiatrists are trained in both the pharmacological as well as therapeutic approaches to address client concerns. Our psychiatrists recognize the value of therapy in helping clients. Medication can be an excellent tool, however they will only be used when necessary.

Therapy Questions

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is widely used these days in a number of areas as it has been found to be successful where more traditional therapies have not been. With CBT the patient is very actively involved and therefore able to see change more quickly. CBT does not stop at the end of each individual session. Patients are active participants, with homework like exercises which are an integral part of the work they are doing. Because CBT focuses on how we think, and the strong connection between how we see the world and how we see ourselves in the world, there is a greater likelihood of "ah ha" moments. CBT is also successfully used in couples/relationship therapy where individuals are made aware of "triggers" that may be based on dysfunctional thinking.

In family therapy, who should attend an initial session?

Each family situation is different. In your initial phone conversation with your clinician you will discuss your concerns and our clinicians will determine what will work best given your family's circumstances.

Is there an effective way to treat insomnia without medications?

Yes. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been shown to be as effective as medication for insomnia in the short run and more effective than medication in the long run. Treatment can usually be completed in 6-8 sessions.

My child's problem is primarily bad behavior in school. Why is family therapy recommended for "his problem?"

Years of child research and observation tells us that the majority of children's' individual problems can be greatly influenced and solved by addressing issues pertaining to the entire family. The true experts on any particular family are the various members of that specific family. Each member has a unique perspective and insight on the inner workings of their family system and contribute to resolving any individual member's problems.

If we are seeking couple therapy, can one of us begin with a therapist and then have our partner/spouse join the therapy at a later date?

One of the hallmarks of couple therapy is that the clinician remain as balanced in his/her perspective as possible. It is extremely important that both of you come in for the initial session and begin the process together. Your therapist can then view what the issues are between you as well as hearing each individual story.

Why choose a group or workshop over individual counseling or therapy?

It's not usually either/or, as groups are often a powerful adjunct to other work you may be doing. Well-facilitated groups multiply the support you get for what you are trying to learn and provide real-world feedback from others who are often in similar circumstances. Skills and awareness that comes from being in groups often translates well into greater effectiveness in both work and family life. Use groups to learn how you are perceived, your effects on others and how others have dealt with similar issues.

Neuropsychiatric Questions

What does a neuropsychological evaluation consist of?

Testing includes an IQ test, an achievement test, some tests of executive functioning, learning and memory tests, and language-related tests. You and people who know you well will also be asked to fill out a variety of questionnaires providing opinions and background information. Any records you have, including previous evaluations, old report cards, and medical records if appropriate, will be reviewed. Test scores are used, but equal weight is given to a detailed error analysis and the rich qualitative information which testing yields.

What happens after the testing is completed?

After the testing is completed and our neuropsychologists have had time to analyze and integrate the results (usually a few weeks), they meet with the client for a lengthy feedback session to go over all of the results and their specific recommendations in detail. They answer any questions about their findings, their implications and what they are based on. We discuss specific strategies for coping with any issues revealed by the testing. These meetings can also include other family members and/or therapists. Based on the discussion at this meeting, we finalize the written report and get it to the client within a week.

Can neuropsychological testing help me to get extra time on the SAT/GRE/LSAT/MCAT, etc.?

Yes. Testing can provide all of the documentation required to apply for extra time on all of these exams and for needed accommodations in school or college. The results also provide guidance for the student on the best way for them to study for these and other exams.

How can people with attention problems sit through a long neuropsychological testing session?

When many people think of testing, they picture themselves or their child sitting at a table filling out bubble sheets for hours. Neuropsychological testing is not like that at all. Almost all of it is interactive, and it involves many different tasks. Most tasks are no longer than 15 minutes and some last only a minute or two. So you may be asked to draw something, then answer some questions, then build something out of blocks, etc. Most people find that the time goes by much faster than they had expected it to. We take breaks as needed and can schedule an additional session if it becomes necessary to stop for the day.

What is Cogmed?

Cogmed Working Memory Training is a research-based, coach-supported computerized program for improving working memory. Working memory is the ability to hold information in your mind while you are using it, similar to RAM in a computer. We use our working memory for many tasks, such as mental math, reading comprehension, and test taking. Most people with ADHD have working memory problems. Working memory is also often a problem for people who have sustained concussions or who have had other neurological problems, such as strokes. More information about Cogmed and working memory can be found at www.cogmed.com.

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