WHAT IS COUNSELING?
Counseling, or psychotherapy, is a professional relationship with a therapist to help you with personal problems or becoming more acquainted with your most authentic self. The counseling relationship differs from both social friendships and traditional patient-doctor relationships. Rather than giving you specific advice, counselors serve as skilled listeners who help you clarify issues, discover wishes and explore feelings, which can help you deal more effectively with your problems.
HOW LONG DOES COUNSELING TAKE?
It varies from person to person, depending on goals, needs, and interests. I recommend clients initially attend counseling sessions weekly to build momentum and start seeing results sooner. Just like going to the gym consistently will help you achieve results faster than going to the gym once a month, it is recommended clients meet regularly with a counselor. Because you are learning and practicing new skills, the more frequently you practice them, the easier it will be to master them. Counseling ends when clients feel confident they can manage things on their own and can return any time as needed.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT A FIRST
The intake appointment consists of building a mutually supportive rapport and obtaining a detailed history of your presenting concerns. The more information I have, the better I can help you. Just as a doctor would do a thorough exam before diagnosing a medical condition, I will ask questions about how long you have been dealing with your presenting issue/s, their impact on your life, the intensity and duration of your challenges, how you have managed them so far, what has been effective and what hasn’t. I will also find out what has helped you overcome challenges in the past and apply this knowledge to help you overcome your current concerns.
HOW DOES COUNSELING WORK?
It is therapeutic to talk about yourself and your concerns. As you talk, your perspective on the problem often begins to change. I may be the listening expert but you are the YOU expert. When we combine our efforts, you are much more likely to create and sustain lasting change.
Some of the things we will do together:
Identify things you feel are getting in the way
Identify any problematic thinking patterns that contribute to the issue. You might be surprised to find out what's under the surface.
Explore learned thoughts and behaviors that create or maintain problems.
Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.
Discover strengths you have and how to use them to grow stronger in other areas.
Counseling goes beyond the obvious, and helps get you "unstuck." It is often the case that you know what would make you feel better but can't seem to be able to do it. Counseling helps you work through the obstacles that keep you from doing what you know would be helpful.
HOW DOES ONLINE COUNSELING WORK?
I meet with clients on a platform called Doxy.me. The interface is simple and can be accessed from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone as long as you have an internet connection. I also conduct therapy sessions over the phone, when preferred.
Meeting online or over the phone saves you the trouble of commuting to appointments, finding parking and taking extra time off work in some cases to get to therapy and back. It also helps with consistency in therapy because you don't have to miss sessions based on weather or illness.
Aside from access, online therapy can be more comfortable because in many cases you are at home or somewhere you feel more like yourself. Many of my clients report they are surprised at how much more they get done in therapy by meeting in this way.
HOW DOES INSURANCE WORK?
Using health insurance for counseling can be frustrating at times and I try to be as helpful and accommodating as possible. I am in-network with Premera Blue Cross (therefore most all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans), Lifewise, and First Choice Health Network (not to be mistaken with First Health). For all other plans I am "out-of-network" and do not bill directly but do offer a superbill so you can seek reimbursement from your insurance plan. I am also able to bill HSA accounts, regardless of network status.
Before engaging in counseling I encourage you to contact your insurance company and ask them about your outpatient mental heath benefit. Be sure to specify whether you are asking for in- or out-of-network benefits and ask if your plan covers Telehealth.
It is also important to ask about and understand whether or not you have a deductible. A deductible is an amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance will pay anything toward your care. This amount can be anywhere from $100 to $10,000 (and beyond) per year so it's important you know what it is. Make sure you ask, "Do I have a deductible?" and, "Does my deductible apply to my mental health benefit?" That way you can have a better estimate about what your out-of-pocket costs will be for your mental health care.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?
I have day and limited evening office hours available. Please call or email to schedule an appointment.
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