HOW LONG IS A TYPICAL SESSION AND HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK SHOULD I SEE A THERAPIST?
The first session will be roughly 1 hour long. You will have some paperwork to fill out. Please bring a copy of your drivers license and insurance card. The second session and any sessions after that will be roughly 45 -50 minutes in length. The amount of times that you will need to see a therapist will depend on the severity of your current issue. The counselor will be able to give you a better estimate of this as you start your sessions.
HOW LONG SHOULD I BE IN THERAPY?
The length of time a person is in therapy largely depends the nature of the problem and the identified goals. Some patients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a course of brief therapy. Other individuals see therapy as an on-going learning process and choose to be involved in therapy for a longer period.
DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR THEORETICAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING?
We use behavior management techniques and various counseling approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Reality Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Insight Oriented Therapy, Behavior Therapy/Modification, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Grief Therapy, Conflict Resolution Therapy and Structural Family Therapy.
WHY DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR THEORETICAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING?
ARE COUNSELING SESSIONS CONFIDENTIAL?
Your counseling sessions will be confidential within the confines of the law. Confidentiality is a critical part of the therapeutic process. In order to make the most progress possible, it is essential that you can trust your therapist and feel comfortable in freely talking about the most intimate and personal parts of your life, without concern that those details will be revealed to anyone else. The law in Illinois provides that the rule of confidentiality can only be broken in the most extreme circumstances, e.g. if a person is currently involved in acts of child abuse, if you are clearly likely to cause bodily harm to yourself or others, or if you waive in writing your right to confidentiality. During our initial session, you will be provided specifics information about confidentiality in what is commonly referred to as an Informed Consent Form. You will also be provided information regarding the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA)
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MY INSURANCE BENEFITS?
Our receptionist will call your insurance and verify your benefits prior to you scheduling an appointment, this way you know what your financial obligations are before your initial appointment.
DO YOU ACCEPT MY INSURANCE?
We accept many types of insurance, but you should contact your insurance company to see whether they would cover your costs and how much they would pay. Insurance rarely covers 100% of all costs. Mental health benefits are generally administered by a managed care company. For some managed care companies, a counselor must be on the specific panel for your insurance in order for you to receive “in network” benefits. You must call your insurance to see if they restrict your benefits to counselors in their network, or if they have some “out of network” coverage. While there may be a certain advantages to accepting services only from a provider who is in your network, often the savings does not justify the loss of the ability to choose your provider. Look on the back of your insurance card and call the member service line and ask them the following questions. What is my deductible? What is my coinsurance? What is my co-pay? How many visits am I allowed per year? Do I need to get pre-authorization?
You should tell your insurance company the Healing Center at Silver Lake Gardens, Shelley Skas, Caitlin Knight, Meghan Garland, or Dr. Joy Prepejchal to see if we are in network or out of network with them. Generally, there is a phone number on the back of your insurance card to call for information. When you call your insurance company, be sure to ask for “outpatient mental health benefits.” Also, many companies require the insured to call to pre-certify the first session. It is always best to contact your insurance company before coming for your first visit.
After we submit the claim to your insurance company you will be sent a bill for the amount not covered by insurance. Sometimes it can take two months or more before your insurance company responds to claims I file on your behalf. Because of this, we ask that you pay your co-pay or other amount not covered by your insurance on a weekly basis in order to avoid having the charges mount up while your insurance company processes your claims. If you have a deductible, we ask that you pay a minimum of $50.00 per session until your deductible has been met.
Please note that the patient billing statement is a remainder statement. Therefore, it shows only what the patient’s outstanding amount is after the insurance pays the claim. Claims are submitted with the Healing Center at Silver Lake Gardens, as the billing claims address. If you leave therapy and then return after a few months, I will need to get a copy of your insurance card again, in case of any changes to your coverage.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT E-MAIL COMMUNICATIONS – INCLUDING CONFIDENTIALITY?
Our email program employs encryption technology via a SSL Socket. Be advised however that the confidentiality of email has limitations and that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Do not use email during a crisis. In the case of a medical emergency, call your local emergency response number – which for many areas is 911.
WHAT IS THE FIRST SESSION LIKE
The first session is a chance for you to become acquainted with your counselor and to learn about your background and history. Your therapist will usually ask more questions than usual during this session so he/she can gain some perspective on whatever problems or issues you are wanting to address. Our goal is to offer you a warm, gentle environment that promotes sharing.
CAN I EXPECT TO FEEL BETTER RIGHT AWAY IF I COME IN FOR THERAPY?
Some people begin to feel better as soon as they make the appointment to meet with a counselor or at the time of their first session. There is a sense of relief when you make the commitment to address an issue that has been problematic. More often, however, people do not feel better immediately. Therapy is sometimes very emotionally painful, because it involves active effort to look at yourself and your situations in a very deep way, and to make some difficult changes.
As you can imagine, if the problems that bring you to therapy were easy to solve, you would have solved them without the guidance of a therapist. Most people can expect uncomfortable feelings in therapy and between sessions: sadness, anger, anxiety, to name a few. In addition, as you make personal changes, you can expect an impact on some of your relationships. Through the short-term distress of addressing problems and making changes, keep in mind the potential long-term gains to help you through the hardest parts of therapy. When therapy is successful, the positive gains in self-esteem, relationships and coping skills can far outweigh the distress of making changes.
SHOULD I TAKE MEDICATIONS?
As a therapists, we are not legally allowed to prescribe medications. However, based on a joint assessment of problems you are facing, it may be advisable to consult with a psychiatrist to determine whether medication is warranted. Typically, clients see someone under their health insurance coverage or we can refer you to a psychiatrist. If you do begin taking medication, your therapist, with your written permission, can collaborate with your psychiatrist to design a plan of treatment most appropriate for you.
HOW DOES THE ‘WAITING LIST’ WORK?
IF I DO NOT HAVE A TIME SLOT AVAILABLE ON DAYS YOU COULD COME FOR THERAPY…. FEEL FREE TO ASK TO BE ON A ‘waiting list’ for any day that week you could come for therapy. I then can contact people in order to offer a TIME FOR THAT DAY….This is why my clients and I appreciate and need a 2 day notice
WHAT IF I KNOW SOMEONE IN A CRISIS?
If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.
1. Call your doctor. 2. Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. 3. Ask a friend or family member for assistance. 4. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor. 5. Make sure you or the suicidal person is not left alone.