Nirvana Gives, changing mental healthcare one patient at a time.
November 25, 2022
By, Leila Ghaznavi
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Dr. Jennifer Kashani is a licensed Clinical Psychologist certified in psychoanalytic psychotherapy who focuses on relationship and career success. Based in Los Angeles, her work encompasses the different feelings and/or transitional points in people's lives. The essence of her work is to facilitate self-growth by identifying the root of symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD) and using a holistic and dynamic approach to helping her patients. Dr. Kashani was delighted to be a recipient of the new Nirvana Gives program. I had the pleasure of speaking with her recently about her experiences with the program and the impact it has had on her patients.
As a solo practitioner, what tools do you use to support yourself and your practice?
Two of the biggest tools for me are being a part of a peer consultation group and using Nirvana in my practice. The peer consultation group is composed of seven therapists who meet every week. They are people I have worked with for many years now and people I can trust to help me with my blindspots. Outside of my peers, Nirvana is one of the supports that I rely on to help my patients have access to therapy by assisting them in utilizing their out-of-network insurance benefits to pay for care.
Insurance and benefit accessibility is a big challenge for my patients. There's always challenges, whether it is concrete or psychological, that can get in the way of patients showing up to a session. When we can reduce cost as one of those barriers, it can create space to deepen the therapeutic work. It can be a mutual challenge for patients and therapists alike. Consistency in therapy is one of the hardest parts about doing this work. As their therapist, I'm working on how I can help them, while patients are doing what they can to show up for themselves.
How was it applying for the Nirvana Gives program?
It was very easy to apply and straightforward. There was a section that asked me to list my patients who qualified for the program. It was a moment in which I had to think about who from my practice would most benefit from this program and I was surprised by how many people qualified in my caseload. I think that was an important part of the process - it shows just how much of a need there is for people without insurance or appropriate mental health coverage.
How has the program impacted your practice?
I like the flexibility of being able to decide how to distribute the funds based on what I know about a patient’s financial situation. I was able to choose whether to split it up or direct all the funds to one person. Ultimately, I chose to split up the benefit between two long-term patients who were in need and do not have health insurance. My patients were immensely grateful and it’s been a powerful experience, to say the least. The Nirvana Gives program has strengthened our relationship. I believe they were able to feel that I really understood how challenging their circumstances are and it was a great experience for me to be able to offer them this support.
How has Nirvana impacted your practice beyond the Nirvana Gives program?
I'm a very big proponent of making mental health accessible. I did my internship and fellowship at the Wright Institute Los Angeles, which is a low-fee clinic in LA. That experience made me appreciative of what Nirvana offers to both therapists and patients.
Nirvana has helped my practice in many ways. They have enabled me to offer my patients access to professionals who can answer questions about their insurance for the first time. The insurance calculator has been super helpful as well. Even if a potential patient does not become my patient, they have demystified their insurance benefits and what they can expect to pay with any therapist. Being able to offer this level of assistance to my patients has increased my rapport with them and made it comfortable for me to increase my fees. With Nirvana, both my patients and I are supported and that is very valuable to me.
How do you describe the benefits of Nirvana to other therapists?
I recommend Nirvana to therapists to help their patients get reimbursed frequently. Although the therapist pays a nominal fee for the service, we receive a lot of intangible benefits back. Patients are very appreciative of the service because Nirvana takes away the fear that therapy will end if their insurance changes which in turn helps to create a positive therapist/patient relationship. I attribute the high retention rate that I have to Nirvana. I’m a big fan and I am excited to see where Nirvana can grow from here.