Q: Do your professional counselors accept insurance?
A: Our counselors do not accept insurance at this time, however can complete documentation to provide a client in order to seek reimbursement for out of pocket payment. As seasoned mental health professionals, we have found over time and through experience that involvement with managed care and insurance companies detracts time and attention away from providing the highest quality of clinical care possible to our clients. Another side effect from working through a health insurance policy and/or managed care plan is the requirement of diagnosing a mental health disorder, which remains on a client’s electronic health records. We believe that there are many reasons for people to seek professional help and prefer not to be forced to diagnose clients with a mental health disorder, but rather collaborate closely with our clients to meet their own unique needs as human beings who desire to grow. If you would like to seek reimbursement for services from your own health insurance company, it is your responsibility to inquire about reimbursement rates. After doing so, please inform your therapist if you would like for us to complete required paperwork for your reimbursement and we will be happy to oblige.
Q: If I go to a professional counselor for help, does it mean there is something wrong with me?
A: No. People who utilize mental health professionals are interested in their personal growth and adjustment in the world around them. We all face normal developmental concerns and pressures throughout our lives and may feel anxious, angry, lonely, or depressed. We are trained professionals who help people explore alternative coping strategies and ways of dealing with themselves and their environment.
Q: Isn’t it better for me to solve my own problems?
A: A therapist doesn’t solve your problems for you. Rather, he or she helps you clarify issues so you can solve problems on your own with a therapist’s support, guidance, and expertise. The goal of therapy is to make you more self-sufficient, not more dependent.
Q: Will anyone be told I have come to see a professional counselor?
A: No. We have a strict confidentiality policy and will protect your private healthcare information to the full extent of licensing boards and the law, synonymous to what would be expected from a medical doctor. If a client is 18 years of age, it is the client’s right to choose whether to discuss their use of a professional counselor’s services with parents, friends, or other community members.
Q: Why do people consider using therapy?
A: Therapy is a partnership between an individual and a professional who is trained to help people understand their feelings and assist them with changing their behavior so they can get different results. People often consider therapy under the following circumstances:
- They feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of sadness and helplessness in their futures.
- Emotional difficulties make it hard for to function day to day.
- Their actions are harmful to themselves or others.
- They are troubled by emotional difficulties facing family members or close friends.
- They just need someone with whom to talk safely without judgment.
Q: What can I expect at my first visit to the office?
A: Your counselor will meet with you for approximately one hour. At this first session your counselor will complete an assessment by asking questions to clarify your current presenting concerns, past history, and then clarify goals. Treatment options will be discussed with you and your collaboration will be encouraged in this process. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment to complete intake information forms and medical history.
Q: What does research show about the effectiveness of therapy?
A: According to a research summary from the Stanford University School of Medicine, therapy effectively decreased peoples’ depression and anxiety related symptoms–such as pain, fatigue, and nausea. Therapy has also been found to increase survival time after heart surgery, for people with cancer, and it can have positive effects on the body’s immune system. Research increasingly supports the idea that emotional and physical health are closely linked and that therapy can improve a person’s overall health status.
There is convincing evidence that most people who have at least several sessions of therapy are better off than untreated individuals who are having emotional difficulties.
Q: If I begin therapy, how should I try to gain the most from it?
A: There are many approaches to therapy and various formats in which it may occur, including individual, group, family, and couples work. Despite the variations, all therapy is a two-way process that works especially well when you and your therapist communicate openly. Research shows that the outcome of therapy is improved when the counselor and the client agree early about what the major problems are and how therapy can help.
You and your counselor both have responsibilities in establishing and maintaining a good working relationship. Be clear with your counselor about any concerns that may arise. Therapy works best when you attend all scheduled sessions and give some forethought as to what you want to discuss during each session.
Therapy isn’t easy. However, individuals willing to work in close partnership with their counselor often find relief from their emotional distress and begin to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
Q: How can I evaluate whether therapy is working?
A: As you begin therapy, you should establish clear goals with your counselor. Perhaps you want to overcome feelings of hopelessness associated with feelings of depression. Or maybe you would like to control fear that disrupts your daily life. After a few sessions, it is a good sign if you feel the experience is a joint effort and that you and your counselor enjoy a comfortable relationship. On the other hand, you should be open with your counselor if you find yourself feeling “stuck” or lacking direction once you have been in therapy awhile.
You may feel a wide range of emotions during therapy that at times might be difficult to explore. When this happens, it can actually be a positive sign that you are starting to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors honestly. You should spend time with your counselor periodically reviewing your progress. Although there are other considerations effecting the duration of therapy, success in reaching your primary goals should be a major factor in deciding the direction you would like to take in your process
Q: How frequently do people have sessions?
A: Our general recommendation is to meet once a week until there is some relief from the presenting symptoms that initially bring a client to seek professional help. Once there is some relief from symptoms and a degree of forward momentum has been made in the treatment work, we find that deliberately decreasing frequency is the next best step. From there, your counselor will collaborate closely with you to ensure that the frequency of sessions is optimal to meet your own unique needs until you are ready to conclude your therapy successfully.