Deciding to Begin Therapy
Coming to therapy was probably not an easy decision to make. Usually someone has suggested that you get involved in therapy, or you have begun experiencing some frustration or stress in your life.
What is a therapy session like?
It is important that you feel as emotionally and physically safe as possible when you engage in therapy. In order for this to happen, it takes time, patience, vulnerability, and persistence to build trust and get to know one another. Your first few sessions are dedicated more towards information gathering about who you are as a person. Because you are more than the challenges you are trying to address, you'll be asked about your interests, family (both current and past), previous life experiences, and physical health, to name a few. It may feel like you're being asked a lot of questions, and sometimes people report feeling frustrated because, "what does this have to do with why I'm here?" The purpose of this is to help the therapist understand how different areas of your life, past and present, may be contributing, or have contributed, to your current challenges. With a better understanding of who you are, the therapeutic process can be more effectively tailored to meet your needs. You are not required to share anything that is too uncomfortable or overwhelming for you.
Early in the process, with your therapist's help, you will identify both short and long term goals for yourself, which will help to know when, or if, things are changing or getting better. Over time, if nothing is changing for you, there is an opportunity to re-examine how your sessions are approached and consider alternative options to help you make progress. Most of the time, therapy simply feels like a conversation between two people. The therapist will make observations, reflections, and sometimes offer suggestions. You may be asked to complete exercises or practice new skills in between sessions in order to develop new behaviors and beliefs that create positive changes in your life for the long-term.
It's important to understand that therapists have no special powers, do not magically fix problems or give you advice. We contribute our education, training, and experience and ask you to contribute your knowledge, understanding, and experience of the issue. Together we can find a way to help you feel better. If you have concerns or questions about your therapy sessions, either before or during treatment, you are encouraged to share them so that you can get the answers you need to feel confident and satisfied with your services.
How Long Therapy Lasts
This is an individualized process. Some issues take only a few sessions, while others may be more long term. The number of sessions, and frequency of meeting can be discussed with your therapist. Most sessions are 45-50 minutes in length; however, some may require more time.
Your relationship with your therapist is confidential. Robin will not reveal anything you say without written permission from you. Exceptions to this are: If records are subpoenaed, disclosure is necessary to prevent serious, forseeable, and imminent harm to you or other identifiable persons, or when laws or regulations require disclosure without your consent (i.e., child abuse or child endangerment).
Fees and Billing
You have choices when it comes to paying for your therapy. Often times, insurance providers do provide some mental health benefits. Coverage varies depending on the provider. To determine your mental health benefits, contact your insurance carrier by calling the phone number for customer service located on your insurance card. When checking your coverage, the following questions may be helpful to ask:
- What are my mental health insurance benefits?
- Do I have a deductible and if so, has it been met?
- Do I have a co-pay for each session?
- How many sessions does my insurance plan cover per year?
- What is the coverage amount per session?
- Is prior authorization required from my primary care physician?
Some people choose not to utilize their health insurance benefits, which in that case you would pay out of pocket at the hourly rate. You do NOT have to utilize your health insurance if you don't want to.
If you do not have health insurance, you are required to pay out of pocket for your therapy services. Based on your annual income, a sliding fee adjustment may be arranged given appropriate documentation is provided.
Fees vary depending on the amount of time therapy lasts, as well as the type of therapy being provided.
- Be treated with dignity and respect.
- Choose the services in which you participate.
- Ask questions and get answers about services.
- Participate fully in all decisions about treatment.
- Request changes in treatment.
- Refuse treatment or service unless ordered by the Court to participate.
- Participate fully in decisions regarding your discontinuation from counseling services and receive advance notice regarding the proposed ending of services.
- Have your family involved in your treatment.
- Refuse family participation in your treatment, if you choose.
- Not be subjected to verbal, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse; harsh or unfair treatment.
- Make complaints, have them heard, get a prompt response, and not receive any threats or mistreatments as a result.
- Have access to written information, before entering therapy about fees, methods of payment, insurance coverage, anticipated range of number of sessions, emergency planning, and no-show/cancellation policies.
- Be aware if your therapist plans to discuss/disclose your case with others (for example, supervisors).
- File a grievance if you are not satisfied with the response to a complaint.
- You must be given an opportunity to inspect your clinical record when you have submitted a written request. The law does allow some limitations on this access, based on clinical justification.
- Not be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or marital status.