Why do people seek therapy?
People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you
- Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and develop new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?
If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
If you have insurance which provides coverage for this treatment, we will be happy to assist you in completing your claim forms if you provide us with the appropriate form. You are responsible for mailing it to the insurance company and tracking your reimbursement. We do not accept assignment of benefits, nor do we participate in managed care insurance plans (HMOs and PPOs). We will gladly discuss your proposed treatment with your insurance company if they call us and you provide us with a release of information form directing us to do so. We do not call to request authorizations. You are responsible for the full fee regardless of your insurance company’s reimbursement policies.
If you are seeking marriage counseling, insurance companies typically do not pay for this (even if you find someone on your panel). Most insurance companies require a diagnosis of a mental disorder by one or both participants before marriage counseling will be covered. Regardless of where you go for your marriage counseling, you will most likely be required to pay out of pocket or your therapist will need to diagnose you with a mental disorder, which will stay with you when you go to seek future medical or mental health treatment, possibly even future employment. The average cost of services for LMFT's (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists) is $125 per session and as high as $200 per session. Family Matters makes every effort to keep our overhead costs to a minimum, allowing us to keep our fees well below the average.
Your regular fee will be charged for any additional professional services rendered by your provider at your request, such as phone contacts over five minutes, preparation of special forms, insurance reports, court time, consults with other professionals, etc.
Why don't you bill my insurance company?
We do not accept managed care (health insurance) for mental health services because of the decrease in confidentiality, the risk of "over-diagnosing" to meet an insurance company’s requirement of demonstrating medical need, and the direct involvement of managed care case managers in determining the number of sessions to which you are entitled.
All managed care plans (MCPs) involve direct clinical management by the plan’s case managers. This information is used by the MCP for determining benefits, which they allocate at their own discretion. This impacts your right of confidentiality, and it is possible that your information will be stored in a computer system which could be accessed by anyone. This information could be used to your disadvantage should a legal problem arise.
Due to the direct care management by MCPs and their desire to keep costs to a minimum, getting therapy sessions authorized often becomes cumbersome and time-consuming. Every plan has different requirements and standards for authorizations.
What about EAP's?
EAP's (Employee Assistance Programs) are employee paid benefits that differ from insurance in several ways. Your supervisor may formally recommend that you go to an EAP session(s) to address specific work-related issues such as anger management or an addiction that is affecting work performance. In this case, the provider is expected to report back that the employee did attend sessions and possibly report on participation. In other cases, employees are given the benefit to use at their disgression and confidentiality is upheld (with the exception of paperwork filed for reimbursement). Typically, EAP's provide short-term, solution-focused counseling or an immediate referral to a physician, drug treatment program, or other provider on their insurance panel. Most EAP's allow 3-6 sessions for the employee and/or their family members to either solve their problem or refer for more long-term care. Marriage counseling is considered a legitimate EAP covered service.
Do you participate in any EAP's?
Yes, we occasionally participate in EAP's. Please check with your employer to find out if you are eligible to receive EAP benefits. Rates for EAP coverage are expected to be the same as those paying out-of-pocket. If there is a disparity, the client will be expected to pay the rate difference.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.
How Long Will Therapy Take?
Typically, MFT's use brief therapy models that are shorter in duration than those used by other mental health care providers. If you attend therapy weekly, marriage counseling averages about 20 sessions or less. If there are more complicated issues, including individual mental disorders, counseling can take up to 2 years. Individual therapy tends to take longer than couple or family therapy. Many individuals/couples choose to continue therapy on an as-needed or maintenance basis every other week or once a month as a "check up."