FAQs About Offered Services

Evaluations/Consultations by Secure Video

Due to COVID-19, I can see you for an evaluation/consultation only by secure video (via computer or smartphone) and if you are physically in the state of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut at the time of the evaluation.

I can provide ongoing treatment (following the initial evaluation) by secure video to people who reside in the state of New York.

faqs

What Kinds of Disorders and Problems Do You Treat?

My particular areas of expertise are:

  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) (concerns about perceived defects in one's physical appearance) and body image concerns
  • Olfactory reference syndrome (ORS) (worry about emitting an unpleasant body odor)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (unwanted repetitive thoughts and/or behaviors). Such concerns may focus, for example, on worries about contamination, possible harm occurring to self or others, or making a mistake.
  • Other obsessive-compulsive and related conditions -- for example, compulsive skin picking
  • Anxiety and depression

As a board-certified psychiatrist, I also diagnose and treat a broad range of psychiatric/psychological conditions and emotional problems.

What Kinds of Treatment Do You Provide?

I offer one-time expert evaluations for people who live anywhere, as long as you are physically in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut at the time of the evaluation (see Evaluation/Consultation Service).

For people who live in the state of New York, I offer an initial consultation followed by outpatient treatment with medication, therapy, or both, depending on your preference and what’s likely to be most helpful for you.

Medication treatment includes support and sometimes therapy.

I offer cognitive-behavioral, insight-oriented, and supportive therapy for a range of conditions and emotional problems (availability of therapy depends on how full my practice is).

As needed, I also focus on sleep, exercise, and other aspects of self-care. I can integrate mindfulness techniques into treatment. I focus on enhancing your day-to-day functioning and sense of well-being. Treatment is provided in a friendly, relaxed, and supportive setting.

What Kind of Training and Experience Do Psychiatrists Have?

Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in mental health disorders and conditions that affect the brain, mind, behavior, and emotions. Psychiatrists receive a medical school degree (MD) and then obtain additional specialty clinical training in psychiatry (usually four years and sometimes more). Psychiatrists have a broad range of skills (for example, in diagnosis, medication treatment, and psychotherapy), and they are trained to treat a broad range of mental health conditions.

What Can I Expect During an Evaluation or My First Outpatient Appointment?

During your first appointment, I’ll help you feel as comfortable as possible. I’m interested in getting to know you as an individual so I can understand your concerns and how your problems are affecting your life. I’ll ask about such things as your symptoms/concerns and their impact on your life, prior treatment, and your medical history. I’ll give you feedback about your diagnoses/problems and will discuss treatment recommendations with you. I’ll answer your questions. Even if you’ve seen other treatment providers, it’s likely that I can recommend potentially helpful treatment options.

If you have only one visit (an evaluation) with me, my goal is to provide you and your local treating clinicians with a roadmap for your current and future care that will get you on the path to recovery. If you live in the New York City area and we both feel that my treatment services are a good fit for you, we’ll schedule the next appointment for your ongoing treatment.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

This varies, depending on your individual needs and goals for treatment. We will discuss this at the end of our first meeting.

What Level of Responsiveness Can I Expect?

I strive to provide exceptional service. I write timely reports with detailed treatment recommendations, and I communicate with other clinicians to enhance your care. For people who receive outpatient treatment with me, I am available by phone if needed, make weekend and evening calls to pharmacies if needed, and coordinate care with other clinicians.

Privacy and Confidentiality

I offer evaluation and treatment services in a private and confidential setting. Information from your evaluation or treatment will not be discussed with any third party unless we decide that it’s useful for your treatment.

Are Your Services Covered By My Insurance Plan?

I am a participating provider for Weill Cornell Aetna PPO, NYP Aetna EPO/POS, and Rockefeller University Trustmark health insurance. I do not participate in provider contracts with any other insurance plans. This allows me to spend more time to provide you with an expert assessment and exceptional service. Some insurance policies have out-of-network benefits that may provide you with some reimbursement for my services. You may file for out-of-network benefits if you’d like, in which case I am happy to provide you with diagnosis and billing codes to assist you with getting reimbursed.

What Are Your Office Hours?

They are on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Appointment length and frequency vary, depending on your particular wishes and needs.

How Do I Make An Appointment?

Please call the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center at 646-962-2820. I will also respond to emails at kap9161@med.cornell.edu (email address is case sensitive, so please use all lower case letters).

Can You Give Me a Referral for Treatment?

If you feel that you have symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), olfactory reference syndrome (ORS), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or excoriation (skin-picking) disorder, I encourage you to seek a formal evaluation with a clinician who is knowledgeable about these conditions. You can check the website of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) for clinicians in your area who say that they specialize in these conditions.

Psychiatrists, especially those who specialize in any of these disorders, should be knowledgeable about how to treat them with medication. If you can't find a psychiatrist who specializes in medication treatment for BDD, one who specializes in OCD should be able to effectively treat BDD, because medication treatment for BDD and OCD is very similar. Although less is known about effective medication treatment for ORS, the medication approach appears to be very similar to that for OCD and BDD.

Certain medications are recommended for BDD in most cases; they're often very helpful. Please see my blog: https://bdd.iocdf.org/blog/2022/01/14/top-10-recommendations-for-treating-body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd-with-medication/

Many therapists are well trained in cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD. You can check the IOCDF website for therapists in your area who say that they treat OCD. Fewer therapists specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy for BDD (the recommended therapy for BDD). My colleagues and I have developed and published a detailed therapy manual for therapists to use when treating BDD (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, by Wilhelm, Phillips, and Steketee). This manual provides a detailed session-by-by session guide for treating BDD with CBT. A therapist with good training in CBT more generally and some familiarity with BDD should be able to use this manual to treat BDD, even if they aren't a BDD expert. This manual is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy-Body-Dysmorphic-Disorder/dp/1462507905/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1446415057&sr=8-2&keywords=katharine+Phillips

Because there are very few ORS specialists, the next best option would be to see a clinician who is knowledgeable about BDD or OCD. There aren't any tested CBT manuals for therapists to use when treating ORS, but I and other therapists have successfully treated ORS with the BDD manual I mentioned above. The therapist needs to slightly modify the treatment manual so it maps onto ORS symptoms. For example, words pertaining to body odor should replace words that pertain to physical appearance, and repetitive behaviors relevant to ORS (such as excessive teeth brushing) should replace repetitive behaviors relevant to BDD (such as excessive mirror checking). Mirror retraining, which we use when treating BDD, is not needed for ORS.

Please see my article on ORS, including its treatment, by clicking here: https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/olfactory-reference-syndrome-problematic-preoccupation-with-perceived-body-odor/

If one course of CBT doesn't help enough, try more CBT, or try CBT with a different therapist. If one medication doesn't help enough, a dose adjustment or other medications are often helpful. Maintain hope -- most people get better with the right treatment!

Can You Give Me Treatment Advice if I Can’t See You for a Consultation or Treatment?

Unfortunately, I'm not able to give people a diagnosis or specific treatment advice unless I see them myself for an evaluation. This is because treatment recommendations need to be individually tailored to each person and also because of medical licensing regulations. My books on BDD and OCD provide general information on treatment of these conditions: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00QN5CRA2?isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

I would be happy to see you for a one-time consultation, which will provide treatment recommendations, if you can be in a state where I'm licensed (see section above on “Evaluations/consultations by secure video”). If this isn't possible, please see the above section “Can you give me a referral for treatment?”

For More Information

For more information about Dr. Phillips' background and experience, please visit https://weillcornell.org/katharine-phillips-md and https://vivo.brown.edu/display/kphillip. To see her full curriculum vitae click here.

For more information about her clinical services, please call 646-962-2820.