The experience of counseling is different for everyone because individuals come to counseling with varied ability, different experiences and perspectives, and a different perception of counseling. Counseling is a self-reflective process that will require participation of the client for it to be effective. It will likely result in positive experiences but some negative feelings may emerge through the process of growth. Counseling always starts with a free 15 minute phone conversation. To make an appointment, contact us.
The initial sessions include a disclosure of Informed Consent, rapport development, and brief assessment relative to the presenting issues that resulted in you seeking counseling. From this point we develop the goals of our sessions and will determine the best steps to achieve these goals. Our primary orientation to counseling is cognitive behavioral in nature so we will collectively address the thoughts that affect your feelings as well as the behavior patterns that result. Counseling will require active participation during sessions and follow-through on goals outside of sessions. Counseling does take work but if you are willing to work for yourself with us we feel confident that you will be pleased with the results.
Counseling can be an enlightening and very enjoyable experience if given the chance. It can help in many ways to address any number of issues affecting you in your life while you learn about yourself with support in a comforting environment.
Some things counseling can help with:
- Reduce the anxiety you may feel as a result of the difference between what you currently experience in life and what you want out of life
- Symptoms of depression, that are beyond the "blues" that all of us feel sometimes
- Develop a healthy sense of self and the self-confidence to be assertive and stand up for what makes you happy
- Develop a sense of self-awareness of how your behaviors affect your outcomes and other people, and can allow you to be more in touch with your emotions and how they affect others
- Relationship issues, and can improve your ability to effectively communicate and respond to other people
- Relax and deal with the stress and anger that may be overwhelming
- Organize and monitor a process toward your goal achievement, providing you with sensitive feedback regarding your progress toward these goals
- Processing the loss of another person, issues with identity, and can provide a professional opinion regarding the next best steps in a crisis
As part of getting to know you and developing goals for counseling we will request a brief rating scale that assesses social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. This assessment is included in hourly rates and is covered by insurance so it is not an additional cost.
The length of counseling is different for everyone. Some people use one or two sessions only. Others benefit from extended periods of counseling. Your health insurance may dictate the length of sessions if you chose to use this for payment. Ultimately, our job can be finished when you have the ability to function independently and more effectively using the strategies in the real world that were practiced in session.
You have the right to end counseling at any time without obligation for an explanation. Before ending counseling we encourage you to discuss your frustration with us so that we can attempt to work through whatever makes you feel uncomfortable about the process.
Evaluation & Assessment
Psychological assessment performed in schools is typically done by certified school employees, not licensed professionals. School based assessments are primarily completed only for the purpose of determining an individual's eligibility for special education or related services. Private evaluations provide a more thorough evaluation of strengths, weaknesses, and learning style that will include DSM-5 diagnoses and recommendations for intervention, accommodations, and services that are free from influence of the local school district.
Unlike assessment conducted through school based teams, psychological assessment conducted privately provides clinical diagnoses which can make a student eligible for an accommodation plan or Section 504, and helps to inform school based teams regarding eligibility for services available through the school. Assessment in this area can also be used as part of an application process to private schools, eligibility for accommodations at the post-secondary or university level, or eligibility for services available through the State, like the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services or the Department of Developmental Services.
A private evaluation:
- Provides a better understanding of behavior and learning style in school, at home, and in the community to guide teachers, doctors, therapists, and family to help achieve greater potential.
- Explains academic, social, emotional, and behavioral problems and detects the effects of developmental, neurological, and medical problems.
- Obtains a baseline against which to measure the outcome of treatment or the child's development over time.
- Determines a baseline prior to starting medication management or for monitoring the effects of medication once it has started.
- Helps to determine eligibility for a variety of services including:
- Special education
- Section 504 accomodation plans
- State services such as the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Department of Developmental Services
- University level accomodations
- Aptitude and admissions exams accomodations (SAT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.)
An evaluation will include interviews and standardized rating scales with parents, relevant family members, and educators that know the examinee well. Ultimately, a comprehensive assessment should include testing and analysis of all areas in question that may be affecting an individual’s functioning.
As part of getting to know you and developing goals for counseling we utilize a rating scale that assesses social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. This assessment is included in hourly rates and is not an additional cost. We also provide full psychoeducational assessment upon request and can diagnose mental health disorders if clients meet DSM-IV criteria. Psychoeducational assessment can include a record review, clinical interview, social-emotional assessment and testing in the areas of cognition (IQ), academic achievement, personality, learning, or memory.
Cost of assessment is separate from hourly rates and in some cases may be covered by your insurance. Testing and diagnosis can better inform the development of appropriate goals for counseling and assist children, adolescents, or adults when seeking eligibility for services or accommodations with schools and universities.
No. Only psychiatrists or other medical doctors can prescribe medication. If we agree that your functioning could be improved through the prescription of medication we can decide together which medical doctor is right for you.
Some goals of counseling may require consultation that occurs in the home, especially when working with young children or adolescents. If this circumstance arises we will coordinate with families as necessary. Counseling sessions will be held primarily in the group office.
We offer services for families relative to the needs of children or adolescents. Frequently, the dynamic of the family is a primary factor affecting the functioning of the child or adolescent. Steps can usually be taken with families to build awareness of the problem, identify the function of the problematic behaviors, improve communication and reaction within the family unit, and adjust the environment or schedule of the child to improve outcomes. We also offer co-parenting counseling.
Although we prefer to meet clients in person, unique circumstances may warrant the need for tele-therapy as needed. We are available for online counseling using Skype. You will have to set up a personal Skype account if you do not already have one.
Some aspects of online counseling are different than traditional face to face counseling and confidentiality could be compromised as a result of technological shortcomings. Payment for online counseling is required prior to our sessions.
In the event that you have an emergency that may result in you hurting yourself or someone else, call 911 for immediate assistance. If you would like to schedule an emergency appointment with us, call or email and we will respond as soon as possible.
Appointments are available for day and evening sessions during the week and on weekends, and vary by clinician availability. We will attempt to offer you an appointment that can work within your schedule on a regular basis. Emergency sessions are available on an as-needed basis. Executive functioning courses are held on weekday evenings on days to be determined based on enrollment.
If you must cancel a scheduled appointment you are requested to give 24 hours notice. If you do cancel without providing 24 hours notice you will be responsible for the normal hourly fee of your session. If the weather is bad and traveling to the office is dangerous you will not be held accountable for your payment of a missed session.
If you are considering using health insurance for payment for counseling we encourage you to contact your health insurance provider to ask whether or not behavioral health services are covered, how many sessions are covered, and if there are any limitations to behavioral health services. Clients should also confirm co-pay amounts, and whether a deductible applies before insurance begins to pay for services. Asking these questions beforehand will help you make the best decision regarding choosing a counselor and paying for behavioral health services.
Please reach out to your individual counselor to check which insurance plans he or she currently accepts, and rates per session.
Payment can be made by cash, check, online, or credit card in person. Behavioral Health insurance plans that may apply include Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Husky A and B, Optum, and Out of Network health insurance plans.
Although counseling may be covered by health insurance plans, comprehensive psychological evaluation, educational advocacy, and specialized instruction require private pay only.
A healthy relationship and a commitment to trust in counseling is essential. The law protects the client–therapist right to privacy. For these reasons, counseling is completely confidential unless you speak about hurting yourself or someone else. This means that nothing that you share in counseling will be shared with others unless you are a risk to yourself or another human being.
If allegations of child abuse or elder abuse arise in counseling we are obligated to report these matters to authorities. If someone is threatening harm to another person we are legally obligated to inform that person to ensure their safety. If a client is threatening to harm themselves we will make every effort to encourage this person to seek psychiatric support independently but will break confidentiality, as allowed by law, to ensure their safety if they refuse. In all other circumstances we only share information with others unless a release of confidential information is signed by an adult. Information from sessions with minors under age 18 will not be shared with parents unless risk is imminent.
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