What is counseling? A psychotherapist, counselor or psychologist can help you work through problems and help you live happier, healthier and more productive lives. There are several approaches to counseling that help individuals work through their problems. Counseling is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a mental health professional. Counseling provides a supportive space that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental (adapted from apa.org).
Can you bill my health insurance? Most of our clinical staff are considered 'in-network' providers for most major medical insurances. Being 'in-network' means that you will most likely have less out of pocket expenses, as opposed to working with someone who is an 'out of network' provider. Some people chose to not to use their insurance for a number of personal reasons. Should you decide to pay out of pocket, your fee for your sessions will be decided upon in collaboration with your clinician.
Does confidentiality really mean that everything is confidential? Confidentiality is a respected part of psychology and counseling's code of ethics. We understand that for people to feel comfortable talking about private and revealing information, they need a safe place to talk about anything they'd like, without fear of that information leaving the room. We take your privacy very seriously. In some specific situations, your psychotherapist or psychologist may have to share information without your written consent (adapted from apa.org). The common exceptions are:
Disclosing private information without consent in order to protect the client or the public from serious harm — if, for example, a client discusses plans to attempt suicide or harm another person.
Reporting ongoing abuse or neglect of children, the elderly or people with disabilities (this is required by law).
Releasing information if we receive a court order (this might happen if a person's mental health came into question during legal proceedings).
In addition, if you are utilizing your health insurance, certain aspects of your treatment, such as your diagnosis, will be shared with your insurance company. The health insurance company is bound by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which means that they will keep the information confidential.
How long does psychotherapy or counseling usually take? The length of psychotherapy will vary depending upon your presenting concern and goals. We encourage you to speak to your clinician about your expectations for treatment.
What can I expect on my first appointment? For your first session, your provider may ask you to come in a little early to fill out paperwork if you haven’t already done so. It’s normal to feel a little anxious in the first few sessions. Mental health clinicians are trained to guide each session in effective ways to help you get closer to your goals. He or she may also go over logistical matters, such as fees, how to make or cancel an appointment, and confidentiality, if he or she hasn’t already done so by phone. The purpose of the first meeting is to help the therapist get a good sense of what has brought you to counseling. Within the first few meetings, your provider will work together with you to create a treatment plan (adapted from apa.org).