State of the art treatments in a warm, friendly environment

Frequently Ask Questions

Getting Started

Treatment at the CBT Center generally begins with a free phone consultation with our Founder/Director, Dr. Michelle Drapkin. She will briefly ask about your needs and see which of our therapists is a good fit for your goals. You can read about our background here. If our Center is not a good fit, we do our best to provide referrals to other trusted providers. Complete our New Patient Interest Form.

Treatment at the CBT Center generally begins with a free phone consultation with our Founder/Director, Dr. Michelle Drapkin. Complete our New Patient Interest Form.


  • Individual therapy is one on one therapy between you and your therapist. Sessions are typically 53 minutes long and can done in the office or via our secure video platform (telehealth). Our therapists collaborate with you to define goals for therapy and then determine what state-of-the-art treatments would be best to help you get where you want to be. “We work together on what matters to you” is our tagline for a reason.

Couples & Families

  • We know relationships can be challenging and they are important. Often small tweaks to interactions can make a big difference. We are trained to help couples and families work more effectively. 
  • Couples and family therapy involves more than one family member. This can include romantic partners and/or parents and a child or children. Sessions are typically 53+ minutes long but depending on circumstances may be longer and can be done the office or via our secure video platform (telehealth). With telehealth, all parties don’t even have to live in the same home! Occasionally, individual sessions are part of couples/family therapy to gain an additional background and information to help with a particular challenge. In all cases, you and your therapist will work together to define goals for therapy and determine what you need. And then you will spend your time together driving towards those goals using interventions based on the best available research.

Broadly, we are trained therapists who work with you to treat whatever behaviors you might want to work on in order to live the life you value. Most frequently, this includes stress, anxiety, substance use, depression, and perfectionism. We also are certified to treat trauma and PTSD. We are trained in various CBT protocols to help identify and treat the behaviors that are getting in the way of you living the full and meaningful life you deserve.

Types of Treatment

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychological treatment that has been around for decades and is effective at treating a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use, and other struggles. Think of CBT like a “big umbrella” under which there are many different approaches to help people improve their overall functioning and quality of life. Know more about CBT.


Traditional Cognitive Behavior Therapy

  • With CBT, we evaluate patterns among your thoughts (cognitions), behaviors (actions), and emotions. This is often called the “cognitive triad.” We work together like little detectives to collect data to figure out how to help you most effectively. Traditional CBT aims to change your unhelpful thoughts to more helpful ones whereas other approaches (like ACT) work to accept and change your relationship with thoughts. Both approaches are backed by science and we will work with you to see which is a better fit for you.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; pronounced “act”)

  • ACT is a treatment under the big CBT umbrella that uses skills like mindful awareness and values-based living. ACT is super cool and uses creative strategies to help you change your relationship with your thoughts. In ACT we treat “thinking” as a behavior and don’t try to change the content of your thoughts – instead, we work to change your relationship with them. Hey, we can’t stop you from thinking about the pink elephant, can we? Don’t do it. Don’t think about it! Yup, it’s there. Instead, we make the pink elephant your friend. Imagine it’s sitting next to you and is there to help you learn. We love metaphors and experiential exercises in ACT. See, fun, right?!


Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

  • MI is an approach that works hand-in-hand with patients to help them meet their needs. We honor and value the expertise you bring to the table and we know you are here because you need our expertise, too. We are partners in this journey and our training in MI helps us accomplish your goals seamlessly. Like ACT, we use values and awareness to get you where you want to go on your journey and we let you decide that. After all, “we work together on what matters to you” (not what matters to us or other people). You decide!


Dialectical behavior Therapy (DBT) and Radically Open-DBT

  • DBT is a treatment that helps you regulate your emotions, manage your distress, and deal more effectively with people in your life. It uses a comprehensive set of skills to accomplish that. Intensive DBT involves a skills group plus individual treatment. At the CBT Center of Central NJ, we currently do not offer the traditional intensive model. However, our therapists are trained in DBT and can tailor your treatment using these tools and skills.
  • RO-DBT is a cutting-edge treatment developed for folks who are “overcontrolled.” Many of us are overcontrolled and perfectionistic. We have lots of rules and aren’t very flexible. RO-DBT is a lot like DBT with the goal of being more flexible.
Fees and insurance

The CBT Center is an out-of-network provider. We do not accept insurance plans. You will be required to pay for your session in full at the time of service. We will provide you with a “superbill” at the end of each month that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. We accept cash, check, or credit card; however we require a credit card on file.

If you have a PPO plan, they typically reimburse around 70-80% for out-of-network providers. If you’re are interested in using your PPO insurance, we suggest you call them and ask about their policy on out-of-network behavioral health care. You will want to ask these questions:

  • Do I have a deductible? If so, how much it is and how much do I have left?
  • What percentage of behavioral health services are reimbursable (i.e., what is your co-pay/co-insurance

If you come to us for treatment, you will be required to pay for your session in full at the time of service and we will provide you with a monthly statement that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. This is often called a “superbill”.

We accept cash, check, or credit card. We require a credit card on file, which we keep securely in your health portal. Some clients use health savings plans (HSA/FSA) to pay for therapy services.

We are expert clinicians with deep expertise in science-based interventions. We will design a treatment approach that is specific to your needs and one that is based on the best available research. To do that, we invest in your treatment, too.


Initial eval. 






Dr. Michelle Drapkin, Owner/Director




Dr. Christina Contrastano, Lead Psychologist

Dr. Andrew Keenan, Board Certified Psychologist




Jamie Schwartz, MSW LCSW, Certified CBT Clinician




Lisa Smith, MSW LCSW, Certified CBT Clinician

Dr. Lara Aunio, CBT Clinician




YES, of course!



The CBT Center provides good faith estimates to all clients in accordance with the No Surprises Act. The Good Faith Estimate shows the cost of items and services that are reasonably expected for your health care needs for an item or service (please refer above for “What are your fees?”). The estimate is based on information known at the time the estimate was created.

The Good Faith Estimate does not include any unknown or unexpected costs that might arise during treatment. You could be charged more if complications or special circumstances occur. If this happens, federal law allows you to dispute (appeal) the bill.

You may contact the health care provider or facility to let them know the billed charges are higher than the Good Faith Estimate. You can ask them to update the bill to match the Good Faith Estimate, ask to negotiate the bill, or ask if there is financial assistance available. 

You may also start a dispute resolution process with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If you choose to use the dispute resolution process, you must start the dispute process within 120 calendar days (about 4 months) of the date of the original bill. 

There is a $25 fee to use the dispute process. If the agency reviewing your dispute agrees with you, you will have to pay the price on the Good Faith Estimate. If the agency disagrees with you and agrees with the health care provider or facility, you will have to pay the higher amount. 

To learn more and get a form to start the process, go to or call HHS at (800) 368-1019.

For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate or the dispute process, visit or call (800) 368-1019.

Keep a copy of the Good Faith Estimate in a safe place or take a picture of it. You may need it if you are billed a higher amount.

You can read more here.

Why the CBT Center

We have years of training and we never stop learning. We are here because we’re passionate about helping people, as cliché as that sounds, and have devoted our careers to doing so. We work hard to practice what we preach and take good care of ourselves to bring our best selves to work to help others.

We love questions and want to help you feel as comfortable as possible. Send us an email ( or call/text (732.455.9662) and we will  answer whatever question you may have.