+ How do I know if I need Therapy?
It’s a common misconception that you have to be “crazy” to go therapy. In reality, most people can benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. Asking for help can be difficult. Therapy is a powerful resource that can help you heal from past circumstances, move past difficult challenges, thrive in your life and relationships, and grow to have more inner peace and a more fulfilling life. I encourage you to give it a try to see how therapy can benefit you.
+Why do I need to pay someone to listen to me?
You might believe that you are supposed to be able to handle any challenge on your own. But there may be times when you need extra help – and the sooner you get it, the faster you can make progress.
It’s important to have people to talk to, but a therapist is not just there to listen or offer advice. An experienced and well-trained therapist offers informed insight that helps you develop self-awareness, healthier coping skills, and strategies to work through difficult emotions and situations more effectively.
Therapy is an investment in your emotional and mental well-being, which is just as important in life as your physical health.
+ How long does this process take?
There is no one size fits all when it comes to therapy. Some clients find that a few sessions is enough, and others come with more complex issues and might need months or more to work through them.
The average time people feel ready to tackle problems on their own successfully is 8-12 sessions; but how long you stay in therapy is always your decision. I might recommend an initial course of treatment, but we will work together to assess your progress along the way and make any changes to make sure we on track for you to achieve your goals.
+ Is everything we talk about confidential??
Yes, confidentiality is a very important aspect in counseling. All of our conversations are private and confidential. Your private healthcare information will not be disclosed without your written permission, with the following exceptions:
- If I believe that you are a danger to yourself or to others.
- If you report information about the abuse of a child, an elderly person, or a disabled individual who may require protection.
- If I am ordered by a judge to disclose information.
- If I need to authorize services or file a claim with your insurance company.
- If your insurance company conducts an audit of my files.
In couple’s therapy, I have a “no secrets” policy. Not only is it important for me to maintain trust with both individuals, but also, when we are keeping secrets from our partners, it’s a block to our ability to heal a relationship. This does NOT mean that I will share your secret with your partner, but I will offer support to work through the complicated fears and emotions of doing so. Since my goal is to heal your relationship, helping restore truth and communication is an integral part of that process.
+ Is there any guarantee?
Unfortunately, I don’t offer a warranty or money-back guarantee. It is important to remember that therapy is rarely a “quick fix”, but a very important process that requires effort, patience, and building a trusting relationship.
Some people quit therapy early because it is common to feel some pain before moving to a place of healing. It brings to mind the saying, “No pain, no gain.” It is certainly true of therapy. It is not always be easy, but I encourage you to take this time and opportunity to nurture your life through counseling process. And remember, I will be with you along the way.
What I can guarantee is my energy, skills, and dedication to improving your quality of life.
PAYMENTS + INSURANCE
+ What Forms Of Payment Are Accepted?
Payment is due at the time of service. I accept cash and most major debit/credit cards. I will require a credit card on file with authorization to charge in your absence for attended sessions (as requested) and missed sessions (without 24-hr notice cancellation). If you do not have or use a credit card, we can discuss other options, such as a cash deposit.
If you are using your insurance, you are responsible for paying your copay at each session. If you have a deductible, you will need to pay the full contracted fee, determined by your insurance company, until your deductible is met. If you are using out-of-network benefits because I am not in your insurance network, I will provide you with a receipt containing the information you need to file an out-of- network claim for reimbursement. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to see if you have out-of-network benefits.
*Keep in mind that most insurance companies will not pay for extended sessions, which I recommend for couples and families in order to get the full benefit of the work.
+ Do you offer a sliding scale?
I have a few sliding scale slots in my schedule for clients who are truly in need of financial assistance. If I have a slot available when you contact me and you think you might qualify, you can fill out a Sliding Scale Evaluation Form, and we can discuss it in your intake session.
If you are approved for a sliding scale slot, please know that the fee is re-evaluated every 3 months to determine if the need for a lower fee is still present. Due to the fact that I am on insurance panels, I cannot bill for a fee that is less than my highest insurance reimbursement amount. This means, I cannot charge less than $100 for an intake session and $85 for subsequent sessions.
+ Should I Use Insurance For Counseling?
I understand how important health insurance is when you are considering investing in therapy. I encourage you, however, to consider some of the little-known implications involved in using insurance for your counseling services.
In order to use medical insurance for therapy, you must be given a mental disorder diagnosis, that meets their standards of “medical necessity”, which will then become part of your permanent medical record. Not only can disqualify you for future insurance coverage, as a pre-existing condition, and be revealed to other entities who request your medical records, but it also affects your right to privacy. The more an insurance company wants justification for therapy services, the more they want to know about your mental health. They might request that I provide them with a report of your progress or expect a treatment plan, and a therapist’s files can be subject to auditing.
Because most people who come to therapy to help them cope with difficult, temporary life crises or relational problems, I don’t find it beneficial to label clients with a diagnosis that would remain on their health record permanently.
Quality of Treatment
Insurance providers often require therapists to limit their services to what they define as “cost effective” and “outcome-based” approaches. Although I aspire to be both these things, it’s not always in the client’s best interest to allow an insurance company to define these terms. People come to therapy for a variety of different reasons and should be in control over their treatment plan and length. By not having to adhere to insurance protocols that have financial goals in mind, I am able to stay true to my goal to help someone to the best of my ability for as long as they would like me to.
I think it’s important to be fully informed in making the decision to use insurance for counseling services. I am an in-network provider for the following plans:
- Beacon EAP
- Beacon Health Options
- BCBS of GA
- ComPsych EAP
I am happy for you to bill your insurance if you are on these plans. For anyone not on those plans, but would still like to use their benefits, I can provide you with a receipt containing the information you need to file an out-of-network claim for reimbursement; however, I recommend that you contact your insurance company to confirm you have out-of-network benefits before beginning therapy. You will need to pay for services and submit a claim yourself for reimbursement.
YOUR FIRST SESSION
+ What Can I Expect to happen in the first session?
Our first session will primarily be a time for us to get to know one another. I will share my professional background and my approach to therapy, and you may ask questions as they arise. We will review the paperwork you have completed, and we will be sure to review confidentiality and important policies.
You will have an opportunity to tell me about your background and personal story on a level that feels comfortable for you. During this process, we will begin to identify the concerns that have brought you to therapy and collaboratively establish goals you would like to achieve. Finally, we will come up with a plan on how often we will meet and schedule our next session.
For minors, parents should know that I usually meet with the adolescent first, and bring the parent in for the last third of the session. It’s important that I get to know the adolescent first so that they understand that I am an ally, rather than an extension of the parent, school or government. With this in mind, please read the materials and privacy guidelines prior to the session.
+ How often should I come?
This is something we can decide together during the first session, and then reassess whenever you would like to, or as we take a look at your progress. Usually, I start work with new clients on a weekly basis. This allows for us to build a relationship and gain a firm understanding of the intensity and breadth of the issues at hand.
Once your situation begins to stabilize or feel more manageable, we discuss the possibility of tapering to bi-weekly sessions and then to monthly maintenance sessions as we move towards discharge. You are free, however, to come as often as you would like and my schedule allows.
+ How long are the sessions?
Individual sessions are usually 45-50 minutes in duration. The initial session is 60-75 minutes in order for us to get to know one another, for me to gather background information, to discuss the informed consent, and to discuss your goals for therapy.
I recommend that family and couples sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes to allow for experiential exercises that allow couples to practice the skills learned and process their emotions. Briefer sessions commonly leave clients frustrated because they have to stop before they are done processing.
Group sessions are typically 90 minutes in length, but sometimes differ due to the type of group and activities planned.
+ What Days/Times Are Appointments Available?
I may schedule weekend appointments on occasion, when necessary, and based on my availability. I am not available every weekend, so this would not be available for a weekly appointment time.*
+ How Do I Schedule An Appointment?
There are three ways to book a session:
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the Contact page on this website to send me a message. Call me at (470) 776-0456. Please speak slowly and clearly if leaving a voicemail so I am sure to get your name and number. Once an appointment is confirmed, I will email you the forms you need to complete. Please print them out and take the time to read and complete them. If you are unable to do this, please let me know and I will have the forms ready to complete when you arrive. You will need to arrive at least 20 minutes early to complete forms at the office.
+ What If I Need To Cancel My Appointment?
If you need to cancel your appointment, you must do so at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled session time to avoid being charged for the missed session. Keep in mind that insurance companies do not pay for missed sessions. You will be responsible for paying the full fee for the session.