Frequently Asked Questions
Click on each question to see the answer displayed below.
When do people seek professional counseling?
It is helpful to consider counseling when the intensity of your distress extends beyond a certain period (two weeks or more), and symptoms are persisting regardless of efforts being made to improve them.
How do I find the right therapist for me or for a loved one?
There are a few ways to find the right therapist match for you or a loved one. First of all, you are encouraged to ask around. Inquire with friends who have seen therapists, people who know what is going on in the community, physicians, employee assistance programs, clergy, guidance counselors, teachers, and others. When you hear the same name more than once, there’s a good chance that therapist may be a good option for you. See who seems to match your situation, and needs the best. Many therapists offer a 15-minute “meet and greet” where you can get a sense of their personality and style with no cost and no commitment. This can be conducted via phone or in person depending on your needs.
What is the initial consultation like?
Every consultation is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. The initial evaluation focuses on the reason for the visit, the history of the present illness, review of past psychiatric, mental health, and medical history and treatment, family history, and social history. In order to use our time most efficiently, it is requested that paperwork for the intake be downloaded and completed prior to your visit. After reviewing the information together we will develop a treatment plan. At the conclusion of this first meeting, we will agree to a course of treatment and frequency of visits. It is common for therapy to begin on a weekly basis, and then to taper gradually depending on a person’s clinical needs.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What is my co-pay, what is my deductible?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required prior to scheduling an initial appointment?
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your therapist will help you to determine what’s best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems, and the pain that they cause, cannot be solved solely by medication. You can best achieve sustainable growth, and a greater sense of well-being through an integrative approach to wellness.
If I am taking medication, will you communicate with my provider?
Yes, with your permission. Care coordination is essential and valuable for effective client care. A release of information will be necessary for clinical coordination of care.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.