Frequently Asked Questions

Do you take insurance?


I do not accept insurance directly nor do I directly submit any paperwork to insurance plans. If you have a PPO insurance plan, I would be considered an out-of-network provider. Depending on your PPO plan, you may be able to get reimbursed for some of the session fee. If you are interested in using your PPO insurance, I highly recommend you call your insurance company directly and ask how much they will reimburse for individual therapy sessions (CPT code 90834) or couple therapy (CPT code 90847) with a licensed clinical psychologist. You will want to know the following: 1) the amount of your deductible; 2) what percentage of behavioral health services they will reimburse for out-of-network providers; 3) whether there are limits on the number of visits per calendar year; and 4) what information you need and how to submit for reimbursement.

Even if you choose to seek reimbursement from your insurance plan, you will be required to pay for your session in full at the time of service. I will provide you with a monthly statement (“superbill”) that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. In addition, you may be able to use your FSA/HSA to cover the fees; please check directly with your FSA/HSA servicer to determine eligibility and reimbursement requirements.




What are your fees?


Rates for therapy are $200 for a 50-minute assessment and treatment sessions, comparable to those for similar services in Chicago. In addition, all services related to a case (including, but not limited to, requested report writing or documentation, professional consultation, scheduled or unscheduled phone sessions) are prorated and billed at the same rate. You may be able to get partial reimbursement through your insurance company and/or use your FSA/HSA funds to pay for services (see above). Payment is due in full at the time of service and can be made by cash or major credit card.




What are your hours?


I see patients both in-person at my Chicago office or by telehealth (videoconferencing over a secure HIPAA-compliant platform). My general availability is during evening hours (5:00-8:00 pm) and I will do my best to find a time that accommodates your schedule. If your preferred time is not available, you are welcome to start in an alternative time and then move to a favored time when one opens up. During our complementary 15-minute phone call, we can discuss scheduling availability and options.




How long does therapy last?


My approach to therapy falls under the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is designed to be a time-limited approach. My goal is to help clients “be their own therapist,” so they don’t feel the need to be in therapy indefinitely. Many clients notice improvements within several sessions. The length of treatment depends on a number of factors, such as treatment goals, presentation of issues, and engagement in treatment. Typically, benefits are experienced more quickly when clients are able to maintain weekly appointments and practice skills outside of session. To make sure you feel you’re on track, we’ll set measurable treatment goals and check on the progress made towards those goals throughout treatment. Clients always have opportunities to ask for feedback on their progress and to re-evaluate treatment goals to meet their needs.




How frequent are appointments?


For the best chance of rapid and lasting gains, I initially recommend weekly sessions. As you experience improvement and progress on your goals, sessions can be spaced out to every other week or less frequently. There is also the option for “maintenance” sessions, where you come into therapy once per month or on an as needed basis, such as when coping with difficult transitions or acute stressors.




What if I cannot make regular appointments?


If you are unable to commit to weekly sessions, but can commit to sessions every other week, this may be ok depending on your treatment goals and the level of distress you are in currently. Research has shown that starting therapy at monthly or less frequent session intervals is unlikely to be effective. Therefore, it may be useful to think about your ability to make therapy a priority in your life at this time. By offering telehealth sessions, I try to remove some of the time/commute barriers to treatment. I am happy to discuss this with you during your 15-minute complementary phone call.




How long is an individual therapy session?


Therapy sessions are 50 minutes in length. Should you want more time, therapy sessions can be extended to 60-90 minutes. Fees will be prorated accordingly. If this is an option you are interested in, please let me know and we can discuss further.




What is your cancellation and rescheduling policy?


I understand that occasional circumstances may necessitate a cancelled appointment. In those situations, 24 hours notice is required. This allows me to offer your appointment time to another client. I will work with you to find a time to reschedule. Except in case of emergency, cancellations within 24 hours of appointment time are charged at the full standard rate. If you do not show for your appointment and you do not contact me in advance, you will be charged the full standard rate.




Do you prescribe medication?


I am not licensed to prescribe medication, although I often work closely with psychiatrists and other physicians. If you would like to pursue medication in addition to therapy, it is usually easiest to find a prescriber in your insurance network. However, I will try to help you find a prescriber if necessary.




Is therapy confidential?


Absolutely. Confidentiality is a hallmark of the client-therapist relationship and something I take seriously. It is essential that you feel that you have a safe space to process your thoughts and feelings. Unless you give me written permission to speak to other individuals (such as another healthcare provider), I will keep your information private. There are certain legal and ethical limits to confidentiality that I will review with you during our initial session.




What is telehealth? Is it confidential?


Telehealth (also known as telemedicine or telepsychology) refers to providing therapy services remotely, via videoconferencing. One of the major advantages of telehealth is that it makes therapy more accessible, since you are not required to come into the office for sessions. In order for telehealth to work well, you will need a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a microphone, speakers, and webcam and a reliable, high-speed internet connection. I can send you a pre-call tool to check to see if your internet connection and device will work for telehealth. You will also want to ensure a distraction-free and quiet environment with adequate privacy during sessions.

The telehealth videoconferencing platform I use is secure and HIPAA-compliant. Video appointments are protected with bank-level encryption and security. On the day of your appointment, you will receive an email with a unique link to join the session. There is nothing to download. Videos are not recorded or stored.

Please note: I am currently only able to see clients for individual and couple therapy who are residents of Illinois or South Carolina via telehealth. The reason for this is because psychologists are licensed at the state level and each state’s licensing board has different requirements for licensure. Many state licensing boards have not established criteria around telehealth / telepsychology practices. I continue to investigate this and will update and expand my services as I am able, but at this time, I am only licensed in Illinois and South Carolina.




Do you see children or adolescents?


No. My area of expertise and training is working with adults. Therefore, I do not treat children or adolescents (under the age of 18).




How do I get started?


Getting started is easy! The first step is scheduling a complementary 15-minute phone call with me so that we can discuss your needs and determine if the services I provide would be a good fit for you. You can schedule your phone call on this website through the Contact page.​




I have a question that is not answered here.


Please feel free to contact me through my Contact page or at drvickiebhatia@gmail.com Please note that neither of these are completely secure mediums, so do not include personal health information. If you have a question about treatment or working with me, please schedule a 15-minute free phone consultation so we can discuss your individual context.