Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapy? How is it different from talking to friends or family?
Therapy is a unique opportunity to have a trained professional help you think objectively about yourself and your struggles.
A therapist helps you to develop coping skills, manage your emotions and gain perspective. There may be ongoing or recent life complications that you need help getting through.
We’ll work together to help you manage how you’re feeling, thinking, and responding to life’s difficulties.
Can’t I just take medication instead?
In some cases, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the right approach.
Working with your medical doctor will help determine what is best for you. Research shows that the long-term solution to mental health problems and the pain they cause can’t be solved by medication alone.
Rather than just treating the symptoms, therapy addresses the cause of your distress and the behavior patterns that get in the way of progress.
An integrative approach leads to sustainable growth and a greater sense of wellness.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING THE FIRST VISIT?
The very first session is different than any other session because we have to get a lot of information/paperwork from you, and we discuss how we keep that information and your records confidential.
This first session is more like an in-depth consultation, where we go into more detail about what to expect from therapy, and you and I both take some time to get to know each other and learn what has led you to begin therapy.
We also will talk about your goals for our work together, and you can ask me any questions you may have about the therapy process or what it’s like working with me.
After the first session, though, there will be very little if any more paperwork for you.
You will be asked to complete the intake paperwork prior to our first session. That way, we can get started right away with helping you feel better.
What does a therapy session look like?
Each session is individualized for the client, based on their goals, needs, and what may be going on at the current moment. A session can include any of the following: learning, practicing, and building on healthy skills such as ways to think in more rational and productive ways, reducing negative emotions, and talking through problems.
We use a client-centered approach, which means we are committed to being in tune with what you need at any given moment.
Is this confidential?
However, if you would like me to talk to someone, such as your physician or psychiatrist, then you can sign a release for us to do so.
There are also some exceptions to confidentiality.
Because I am a mandated reporter, I am required to report child abuse, elder abuse, or if I feel you are a danger to yourself or others.
Please read my informed consent for more details or feel free to ask me questions for clarification.
How long are sessions and how often do we meet?
Sessions are typically 50 minutes and are usually scheduled weekly.
We can see you more frequently or for longer lengths of time if needed. Weekly sessions will enable us to work towards your goals in an efficient way.
As therapy progresses, we will determine if weekly sessions continue to be helpful or if more or less time should lapse between seeing one another.
What if I’m not sure if counseling is right for me?
We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to help answer any questions you may have about therapy.
We know the decision to go to counseling isn’t always an easy one and finding someone that is the right fit for you is important. If we decide that I’m not the right fit, we’d be happy to make additional referrals.
What do your credentials mean?
The LMFT credential means I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. While the title seems to suggest an exclusive training in marriage and family therapy, the education, training, and experience required to obtain this credential involves so much more.
Specifically, the license is provided to therapists who finish a 3-5 year graduate program approved by the American Psychological Association, complete 3000 hours of supervised, post-graduate clinical experience, and pass 2 rigorous examinations.
DO YOU ACCEPT HEALTH INSURANCE?
No we do not.
While this is the case, we are happy to provide you with a form, known as a superbill, that you can submit to your insurance company in order to try to receive reimbursement. In doing so, a large portion of our clients are able receive at least partial reimbursement for the cost of our sessions. This, however, is not always the case. Additionally, it is quite rare for a client to be reimbursed for the full session’s cost.
WHY DON’T YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
There are a few reasons why we and many therapists now choose not to take insurance.
Insurance companies require that we assign you a “Diagnosis Code” which becomes a part of your permanent medical record. Some people are uncomfortable with this and the potential impact it could have on them in the future.
Insurance companies often require information be sent to them about what happens in sessions to justify payment and can put stipulations on how many sessions they will allow a client to have before they will no longer pay for sessions.
Because of these stipulations, and the challenges that often come for providers regarding receiving payment from insurance companies, we prefer to work with my clients on a self-pay basis only.
That way we can maintain your full privacy, and we can determine exactly how long we’d like to work together without any outside influence or pressure.
HOW MUCH DO THERAPY SESSIONS COST?
Sessions are $165 for a 50-minute session.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU TAKE?
Credit, Debit, and Cash are all acceptable forms of payment. If you do want to pay with cash, please bring exact change.
WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR SESSIONS? DO YOU OFFER EVENING OR WEEKEND APPOINTMENTS?
Availability may change slightly from week to week.
We book all sessions on a first come, first serve basis, and sessions outside of typical work hours (evenings and weekends) do tend to fill up quickly. In your 15-minute phone consultation, we will look at my availability and determine which day/time works best for us both.
HOW DO I BOOK MY FIRST SESSION?
In order to book an initial session, we require a CC number and your consent to charge you a non-refundable deposit of $50.
This charge goes towards the cost of our first session, which means that in our first session, you will then be charged the remaining $115.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your first session, we ask that you do so within at least 24-hours of the session. If you do not do so, please know that we do not refund your $50 deposit.
WHAT IF I HAVE TO MOVE OR CANCEL AN APPOINTMENT?
We ask that you cancel or reschedule your appointment with at least 24 hours-notice. If it’s less than 24 hours-notice, you will be charged for the appointment.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS FOR ME THAT AREN’T COVERED HERE?
I’D LOVE TO TALK
Schedule an appointment at Westside Therapy or book a free 15-minute phone consultation.
Call me at 561-214-4113.