Donna Smith-Hogan, PhD, NCSP
Licensed Psychologist
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Frequently Asked Questions



How do I know if I need therapy?

The decision to begin therapy is a very personal choice. There are many reasons that people enter therapy. You may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed due to various life circumstances. Perhaps you have had recent or past life traumas, such as abuse, death/loss, or illness. In addition, people begin therapy because of symptoms that they are experiencing, which they want to understand or get relief from. This includes feelings of sadness or depression, irritability, poor attention/concentration, excessive worry, poor motivation, angry outbursts, low self-esteem etc. In summary, there is no single reason for which people seek professional help, as therapy can be helpful in dealing with a number of life difficulties. 


How do I know if my child needs therapy?

It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between behaviors that fall within the range of “normal” development and behaviors that indicate the need for help. If your child’s behaviors are causing him/her distress or impacting his/her functioning at home, school, or within the community, therapeutic intervention may be helpful.


Do you take insurance? Should I consider “self-pay”?

Please contact me at 704.962.2947 and we can discuss whether I accept your insurance at this time. If I am not a preferred provider, your insurance company may offer “out-of-network” benefits. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to determine if you are able to seek reimbursement for visits with an “out-of-network” provider. Please note that you will be responsible to pay my full fee at the time of the session. I will be more than happy to issue you a statement that you may use to seek payment from your insurance company.


Even if your benefits cover mental health services, you may want to consider the advantages of paying for therapy yourself instead of going through your insurance. First and foremost, you gain confidentiality and privacy. If you use insurance, your insurance company has the right to review your clinical records and requires that I provide a diagnosis code in order to approve sessions. Once a diagnosis code is recorded by the insurance, it becomes part of your health care record. With self-pay, your therapy remains completely private (with the few exceptions to confidentiality that we will discuss during our first session.). You also get to choose the therapist that is the best match for you, rather than be limited by in-network providers. Self-pay also means that no records of your therapy exist in the Medical Information Bureau, which could potentially compromise your ability to get current or future life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance.


Do you ever work with clients on a “sliding scale” or pro-bono?

I understand that the cost of therapy can be burdensome for some. I do take a limited number of “sliding scale” and pro-bono clients. Feel free to contact me so that we may discuss your individual situation.  


How do I schedule an appointment?

Please contact me at 704.962.2947. If I am unavailable, please leave a message with your name and number, and I will return your call within one business day.

Where are you located?

I have office locations in Midtown Charlotte and in the northern part of Mecklenburg county.

The Midtown office is located at 1501 E. 7th Street, Suite 7, Charlotte, NC 28204. My other office is located at 8211 Village Harbor Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031. Detailed directions can be provided if needed.

When is your office open? What times do you schedule appointments?
I keep an open, flexible schedule that includes morning, afternoon, and evening appointment times. I offer weekend appointments, as well.



What should I expect during our initial meeting?

The first session will be different from ongoing therapy sessions. The initial meeting is an opportunity for me to get to know you, discuss your expectations for therapy, and clarify any questions that you may have. We will also spend some time reviewing office policies and paperwork. Most importantly, the first session gives you a chance to know more about my practice, including my style, philosophy, and ways of approaching therapy. In the therapeutic process, the relationship between therapist and client is extremely important. As in any relationship, some people "click" better than others. I suggest that prospective clients meet with me a few times to get a feel of whether or not we think we are a "good fit." If for some reason there are doubts about this, I will help you with referrals to other clinicians.


How often will I need to come? How many sessions will I need? Will I be in therapy forever?

I recommend new clients come once a week so that we can get to know one another and begin to actively work on the issues that prompted you to seek help. As we make progress on your treatment goals, it may be appropriate to schedule less frequently. It is difficult to pinpoint the number of sessions that you will need; however, you should feel assured that from the moment you enter the door we are beginning the work of helping you leave. Therapy involves providing clients with the support and assistance needed to build coping skills that promote independent and healthier functioning.





Donna Smith-Hogan, PhD, NCSP
Licensed Psychologist
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Phone: 704.962.2497
Email: [email protected]