I am so happy that many people have decided to get mental health counseling but I also know that so many therapists are booked right now. It’s been a tough spot for many of me and the counselors I know right now. We’re trying to find the right balance for our own time and energy while trying to meet the demands of the many people who need help right now. I decided to put together some tips for trying to find the right counselor for you.
Many times, when people decide to start therapy, they realize that things have been slowly declining over many months or even years. Typically, if people could have handled their problems on their own, they would be fixed by now. I believe counseling is a good place to start when trying to get things back in balance and to find more peace in your life. I believe you have the tools to heal, you just need someone objective to come alongside you in your healing. It’s hard to know what to expect from counseling. So below is a list of some of the most common questions I get about counseling.
Why start therapy now?
Oftentimes, when I finally talk to someone who is ready to start counseling, they have been thinking about it for several months or years. The thought of finding a complete stranger to tell all your problems to seems daunting to say the least! There are many reasons it takes people awhile to get up the courage to finally get outside help. But we don’t think twice about getting opinions from doctors or financial advisors when we have questions about our health or money, so why should your emotional health be any different? Counseling might be able to help you:
Attain more clarity on your life goals, ambitions or values
Develop a deeper understanding for how you view and process your world
Find resolution to past hurts or traumas
Improve your relationship with others by communicating your wants and needs more clearly
Learn new coping skills to help manage your symptoms of anxiety, depression, grief or other emotional stressors
Change ineffective behavior patterns and develop more effective ones
Discover new and healthier ways to have good communication with your spouse, family or friends
Improve your self-esteem and self-confidence using your new found skills
What to do first:
Although I love helping people find the right counselor, it is also really difficult for me to know what you’re looking for because I think you’re the expert on your life (or your child’s life) so here are a few tips to get you started:
Decide if you want to use your insurance, if so, start with the list your insurance provides.
Do your research please! Again, I love helping people, but it is really overwhelming when people send me a list from their insurance and say, “Can you tell me who to see.” Well, I can, but I don’t know what’s going on, and I definitely don’t know all of the counselors on the list.” While I do have a good network of therapists that I know either first hand or through my client’s experiences, I don’t know if they will be a good fit for you. So, take an hour to look up their bios, and narrow it down to 2-3 that feel like a good fit for you.
Be prepared to either get put on wait list right now, or be scheduled a few months out before your first appointment.
Be prepared for most therapists to not take your insurance. There are many reasons why private practice therapists don’t like to take insurance but suffice it to say, you can file the cost of therapy to your insurance as an out of network claim and usually people get reimbursed about 80% of the cost of therapy services. Most of the time you can use your HAS or FSA cards.
Be prepared to be flexible in the time you come to therapy. Everyone wants after school and evening appointments. But it can be difficult to find a therapist who has evening sessions.
If you can be flexible with online sessions, that can provide more flexibility with scheduling. Be sure to call your insurance company because some insurance plans don’t cover teletherapy.
How long is each session?
Each therapy session is 50-minutes. I find this is the right amount of time to reflect on things that have changed over the last week and address treatment goals. It is my job to notify you when our session time is nearing the end and I appreciate your understanding in adhering to the 50-minute time limit. This allows me to ensure that I am on time for the next appointment. The electronic medical record system I use only allows me to choose from the following billing times: 30-minute (90832), 45-minute (90834) or 60 minute (90837). If your appointment time was longer than 50 minutes, I will switch it to the 60 minute time to more accurately reflect the amount of time spent in therapy.
Do you accept my insurance company?
I am an out of network provider (OON) for all insurance plans except Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. This has been a difficult decision, as I know how expensive monthly insurance premiums are, and I do understand you want to be able to use them for counseling. Since I believe therapy is a short-term commitment with long-term benefits, it is a financial investment in yourself and your future. I am unable to take Medicare or Medicaid since they require therapists to be in-network providers.
I’ve decided to use my insurance, how do I submit the claims?
I do my best to try and submit electronic claims to the insurance company on your behalf. There is a different billing rate for submitting insurance claims, since the insurance companies require I submit my full fee. When this is the case, I try to submit the first claim, if it goes through, I will submit the rest electronically. If the claims are rejected, I can either switch you over to the self-pay rate or I can give you a monthly Superbill via email that you can fax or mail to your insurance company for reimbursement. I do not accept assignment of benefits (meaning the insurance company sends me a check) for tax reasons. When insurance companies do issue a check to me on your behalf, I void the check and return it to the insurance company with instructions on reissuing the check to the primary insured.
What can I expect at my first session?
You will be sent the intake paperwork after the initial phone call and once an appointment day and time has been set. Please complete the paperwork a day in advance as this allows me time to review your paperwork and the concerns that are bringing you to treatment. During the first session, I will get a more complete picture of things that have and haven’t worked for you in the past, as well as your goals for counseling. This session lays the groundwork for future sessions and I want you to feel confident by the end of this session that I have a clear understanding of what you need from counseling in order to find healing and peace.
What is the process for counseling?
Treatment times will vary based on the reason you are seeking counseling in the first place. I typically recommend people commit to 6-weeks of weekly sessions. I find that this gives people enough time to start making progress and feel like they are gaining traction on the original issue that brought them in. There are some exceptions to this, such as a history of trauma. It is my opinion that the job of a therapist is to work themselves out of a job with you! Counseling should be a safe place for you to get back a sense of control in your life and bring you healing, not a lifelong commitment. I also recommend people phase out of treatment rather than stopping abruptly. So, after that initial 6-weeks of weekly sessions, I move people to ever other week, then every 3 weeks then once a month. And I have some clients who like to come see me once a month as part of their own self-care, just as they would for a massage or haircut.
Will other people know?
Confidentiality is my number one commitment to you. People will not know you are in counseling with me unless you tell them. Occasionally you may see people you know in the waiting room. Don’t feel obligated to explain why you are being treated. Be confident about your decision to heal and get outside help!
Will you prescribe medication?
I am unable to prescribe medication. In the state of Indiana, only licensed medical professionals can prescribe and manage prescription medications. Usually this is your family doctor, a psychiatrist or a nurse practitioner.
I hope this helps you find the answer to questions you may have about counseling in Greenwood, IN. If you are still feeling uneasy about this process, please feel free to contact me at 317.496.0456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right fit for counseling. If you are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or behavioral concerns, you can read more about how I can help at my website peacefamilycounseling.