Q: What kind of work do you do? Are all therapists the same? Do they specialize in the same areas of counseling?
All counselors are not the same. No therapist is competent with every issue or with every population, so know what you want and find a therapist who does that type of work. There are as many different types of therapists as there are physicians. In addition, there are vast differences between the quality of service and training available in the field of counseling. Picking just any therapist is a sure recipe for disaster and is probably the number one error that people make when looking for a therapist. There is too much on-going training needed in each area of specialty for someone to treat all clients.
That being said, most therapists in private practice are generalists, which means that they are capable of working with most clients with most kinds of problems but will refer to a specialist when necessary. I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy to treat anxiety, depression, life transitions, OCD, PTSD, and other mental illness. I also specialize in couples work and adolescent issues.
Q: Are you a provider on my insurance list?
I can tell you if I am provider for your insurance, including Aetna, BC/BS, Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIPS), Cigna, Tricare, and United Health. While this is a common way to pick a counselor, it may not be the best way. You should select a counselor based on quality of work and reputation as well as training and experience. Make sure you feel comfortable with your counselor.
Q: What if I have unique needs?
If you have unique needs, please ask if I can accommodate you. You may need weekend or evening appointments. You may need insurance billing or may prefer not to have mental health issues run through your insurance coverage.
Q: How long should counseling take?
The answer to this question depends on the severity of the problem and how motivated you are to do the work to solve it. Counseling could be effective in a session or two or it could take much longer. Counseling is tool to resolve emotional, psychological, behavioral or relationship problems, and a tool is only useful if you use it. Counseling is no different. Sometimes you may need a specialist; therefore, you should find the right therapist to help you with your problem area.
Q: How are counseling goals set?
Some problems must be addressed immediately or severe consequences are likely to occur. Some problems are important but not urgent. Some problems are minor and can be solved or ignored. You are always in charge of what you choose to work on and how many issues you would like to address. I will make an assessment and make recommendations. Then you will choose what you want to accomplish.
Q: What are your credentials and training?
I am licensed as a Professional Counselor by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors. Only licensed mental health professionals may provide counseling services in this state. In addition, I am certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors, a private certifying agency that recognizes counselors who have distinguished themselves through meeting the board’s standards for education, knowledge, and experience. I hold a graduate degree in counseling from Mississippi State University, the program I completed is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. In addition to my graduate education, I have had additional training in cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, Adlerian psychotherapy, stress management, Internal Family Systems Therapy, counseling and spirituality, solution-focused brief therapy, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I hold professional memberships in the American Counseling Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Mississippi Counseling Association, and the Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselors Association.
Q: What are your fees? What forms of payment do you take?
My fees are currently $120 per 50 minute session. The initial session is $180 for an 80 minute session. My fees are reasonable and competitive for this area. I am a provider for most insurance companies, including Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Tricare, and United Behavioral Health. If you call, I can tell you if I am a authorized provider of mental health services for a particular insurance company. Furthermore, if I am not a provider for your company, I can sometimes get approval.
I usually expect to be paid when services are rendered, but I will work with you to make payment as easy as possible. I take cash, checks and credit/debit card payment. If you are a member of a EAP, HMO, PPO, or some type of managed health care plan, I can tell you if I am an authorized provider of services under that plan. If I am an authorized provider, services will be provided to you under the terms of that plan’s contract. Fees will be billed and collected according to the requirements of that plan. If I am not an authorized provider, you may still receive services from me for a fee, but your plan will not reimburse you for the cost of my services. Plans often will reimburse for only a limited number of visits per year. If you exceed that limit, you may still receive services from me, but your plan will not reimburse you for the cost of services that exceed their maximum number of visits.
Q: How quickly can you provide me with an appointment?
I realize that if you call me, you need help right away. I can usually schedule an appointment with all new clients within two to three days. If you have an emergency, I may be able to see you within 24 hours.