Pro Bono Treatment
Greetings. I recognize that my services are quite expensive. Some people would be unable to afford treatment with me at full cost but would still benefit from care. For that reason, a certain percentage of clients at any given time pay a sliding scale rather than full fee. This is usually only a small discount but can be up to a 90% discount, particularly for people with few financial resources. If you believe you might require this service, feel free to discuss your situation with me. Note that these spots are in high demand.
I also enjoy providing Pro-Bono services. In addition to teaching and supervising and mentoring for free, I am also thinking more about how to help as many people as possible with few financial resources. We have now done a 100-person Intensive for people with social anxiety and I'm investigating if it's possible to offer similar options for people suffering from other conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Stay tuned for updates here on upcoming offerings.
UPDATE MAY 2023:
I've been scheming lately to think about how to help the most people at a time with the fewest resources without people paying any money. My dream is to see if I could help (with the aid of other awesome therapists) 100 people at a time with depression over about 15 hours without any money changing hands. I don't know the answer. I feel inspired by those who have helped a lot of people at a time and I think it could be wonderful to have a bunch of people in a room together with similar challenges to reduce stigma and loneliness.
In order to see if it's possible, I want to do a "pilot" pro-bono Intensive with 3 humans at a time, all with active depression, ages 16-70. I have a few wonderful therapists that are going to observe (and maybe participate a little) and one likely client so far. We are going to do two hours/day, every day, from June 19-25 (10AM-noon) of this year in my office in Palo Alto, CA. In Person only.
I would like to prioritize those people with few financial resources as well as those who have received few or no pro-bono services from me in the past, but anyone is welcome to "apply." I will not formally be calling it "therapy" but people will learn many TEAM-CBT related skills to change negative thoughts, assess resistance to change, I will also teach everyone how to meditate and expect them to meditate for 10 minutes every AM, engage in physical activity, read certain books, do Daily Mood Logs, etc. My ideal client(s) for this are people who are HIGHLY MOTIVATED to do therapy homework before, during, and after the Intensive so that they can get the most out of the experience. they must be willing to be somewhat open and vulnerable with the other people present as we are all going to be in this together. the hours will generally be 10-12 and I would want them to commit to making all 7 sessions without exception. they must be very committed to no self-harm or suicide. for this intensive, it would be best if the client does not have a current personality disorder. and it would be helpful if they are either not using substances (including alcohol and marijuana) in excess or they are open to dramatically cutting down and/or quitting.
I think this will end up being unique and helpful and my hope is that if we can make it work, we could then bring this to a much bigger audience and people could hopefully have a transformative experience even if they have very few financial resources.
If you can think of anyone who "fits the bill" for this, please have them go to my website (jacobtowerymd.com) and fill out steps 1-3 on the prospective patients section AND indicate that they are interested in this PRO-BONO experience. My wish is to get 3 awesome clients and also have a short wait list of people in case anyone backs out for any reason. Thank you! :)
UPDATE JANUARY 2022:
Hi. This year I will be offering one 16-hour Intensive for an adult (with any of the conditions listed above) March 7-10 and another during June 27-30 for 1-4 teenagers (and possibly young adults) who want to work on their social anxiety in-person. You can be from and live anywhere in the world for this. If you are interested in one of these spots, please know that your "payment" for the Intensive will be to do significant therapy homework before, during and after the Intensive in order to get as much as possible out of the treatment. This will most likely include reading various books, doing the written exercises, developing a daily morning meditation practice (I'll teach you), doing vigorous physical exercise multiple days per week for at least 30 minutes, and specific homework assignments tailored to your goals. Each Intensive will be a "one-off" experience, there won't be ongoing treatment with me after it ends, and you will be expected to have another provider set up ahead of time who will continue working with you if you need or want additional help after the Intensive is over. Please also be aware that I am on the voluntary faculty at Stanford and I enjoy teaching other therapists how to be clinically effective so these Intensives will also be a teaching opportunity. There will be an average of two other therapists in the room with me (these will all be in-person) who will be observing +/- participating depending on their skill level so in effect you will get three therapists for the price of zero! Please note that because I give significant preference to those who have few financial resources (including those of your parents if you are under 30), I may ask you some personal questions about your/your family's income, assets, etc. I don't verify this information or ask for proof but I do expect you to please be very honest in your reporting of this information so that I can prioritize those who need help the most. Please also note that there tends to be more people interested in these spots than there are spots so be aware you may not be chosen but I would love for you to apply if you are OK with potentially not being accepted. If you are interested in one of these Intensives and can come to downtown Palo Alto from 1-5PM all of the dates listed and fit all the criteria listed above, please feel free to head to the "Prospective Patients" section and follow the steps there. In addition to providing all the information asked there, please also answer the following questions in "Step 3:"
1) Realistically, if you are chosen for one of the above spots, how likely are you to do the types of therapy homework I have listed above before, during, and even after the Intensive
2) If you need more help after the Intensive is over, who would you see for treatment? Are you certain you can see this person in case you need their support? If not, please consider contacting them or someone else before sending your email as it would be nice if you already had a backup plan in place in case you need more treatment after the Intensive?
3)What is your current occupation? How many homes do you partially or completely own? (Sidenote: I don't think I will forget the time around five years ago when a young person called me and asked for a sliding scale. I had never asked this question before but on a whim I said "How many homes does your family own?" He replied "Seven." At that time I owned 0% of 0 homes and decided that I didn't feel comfortable with a sliding scale arrangement in this case but I did add this question to my standard list. ;) )Do you have a trust with a significant amount of money in it? If you are under 30, please provide the answer for you and your parents (feel free to ask them to give me this information directly if they would prefer).
Thank you! :)
UPDATE JANUARY 2017:
In 2017, I am excited to announce that I will be offering at least two 20-hour Courses for free, one in June for Teenagers with Anxiety and one in August for Teens with Depression. For more information, go to the left-hand section of this website and click on the link to BISCs or just click here
UPDATE FOR DECEMBER 2016:
I have an unusual offer/opportunity for any people with a fear of flying who are motivated to overcome it. By far the most effective treatment for phobias is exposure treatment. I will be flying to Los Angeles and back on Friday December 16 with at least one client and anyone else is welcome to join us. We will use the time before the flight takes off to cover some basics of anxiety and some strategies for changing your relationship with anxiety, but by far the most valuable part will be the actual flying exposure. You would have to purchase your own ticket ($284 roundtrip at the time of this writing) but my time will be free. We will be meeting at SFO at the gate around 9AM, then getting on Southwest Flight 2757 departing at 10:35AM. We'll have lunch in the airport, then turn around and come back on the Southwest flight 2171 departing at 1:40PM and arriving back at SFO at 3PM. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to take part in this exposure not consume any alcohol, marijuana, benzodiazepines or other substances before or during the experience.
The backstory to this is that Jill Levitt is seeing a wonderful client for a sliding scale who really wants to get over their fear of flying. Jill asked if I would see this client for free since they have very few resources and I thought it sounded like fun and a good cause. I also told this client that a lot of other people have similar fears and that it's often cost prohibitive for people to not only purchase their own and their therapist's airline ticket but also pay for the therapist's time. I asked the client how they would feel about us allowing others to travel with us and benefit from the experience and they were generous and enthusiastic about allowing others to benefit from this too. I think it will be a fun day and I welcome supporting any patients that would like to conquer their fear of flying! Thanks. :)
UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 2016:
Greetings. As part of my bro-bono week in September, I'm adding free "classes" so that I can reach more people this year. On Tuesday 9/20, there will be a 4-hour class where people can overcome their phobia(s) in one shot. We will be using the most evidence-based method for phobias which is exposure. Whether you are scared of outdoor spaces, elevators, dogs, germs, or anything else that we can round up, you will have the opportunity to face your fear and overcome it that day with others in the same boat. We will meet at the Stanford Shopping Center at 1PM right outside the Starbucks, anyone is welcome aged 14 to 114. The "payment" for the class is that you be on time, be willing to face your fear on that day, and commit to doing therapy homework for several weeks to solidify the gains achieved. No financial compensation will be asked for or accepted, this is a gift.
For those with social anxiety, we will have a whole day devoted just for you. Same ages and location, this will occur on Thursday 9/22 from 10AM-Noon and resume 1PM-5PM. I will teach you the basics of social anxiety and how to move from being scared of parties, dances, and networking events to how to not only get through them while being authentic and genuine, but ideally how to even enjoy these interactions! This is also a gift.
I look forward to seeing some of you at either or both of these classes!
Note: Attending either or both of these classes does not enter us into a doctor-patient relationship. Pretend I were teaching you how to make balloon hats or juggle, this stuff is just more practical. :)