Do I really need therapy? This is an individual decision. Everyone experiences struggles in his or her life, but if these struggles are hindering or negatively affecting one’s life then psychotherapy may be an appropriate option. Sometimes having an unbiased mental health specialist offering extra support and guidance can allow an individual a safe place to open up. Therapy can offer a better insight into handling struggles and an opportunity to learn constructive coping tools.
How will therapy help me? Therapy will allow you to understand yourself better, find resolution to a problematic issue, improve communication skills, and provide the opportunity to develop healthy coping skills to stressors and triggers in everyday life and relationships.
What can I expect from my first counseling session? If time allows, you could expect the first session to cover client registration, financial assessment (for sliding scale requests only), client’s rights, orientation to the practice and informed consent to treat. In addition to the therapist collecting personal history and history of the problem, it is also a time for the client to ask relevant questions of the therapist. Furthermore, we will copy your ID or driver’s license (except for active military soldiers. We will only check these clients’ identification) and health insurance card. Please bring your ID/DL and health insurance cards to the first session. Is the information discussed during sessions kept confidential? All communication between the client and psychotherapist is privileged & confidential and is protected by law. In order for information to be disclosed the client must present a signed Consent to Release/Exchange Information. Only in rare & special situations that confidentiality is breached - such as if a client poses an imminent risk of harming oneself or another person, if a judge issues a subpoena or if a client’s health insurance company needs information to process a claim. Do you accept private insurance, Medicaid, or employee assistance programs (EAP)? We accept most health insurance plans including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, BlueCross BlueShield, Magellan, Integris, Insure Oklahoma, HealthChoice, Aetna, Oklahoma Health Network, Global Health and select employee assistance programs. Payment-in-full is due at the time of service (payable by cash and check. Visa, MasterCard and PayPal payments add 3.6% service charge). Please ask about other health insurance plans accepted. Check Fees/Insurance for further information.
How do I know if my insurance will pay for counseling? Contact your health insurance company and ask about psychotherapy coverage (also known as counseling, mental or behavioral health coverage depending on your plan). Ask about the particular service your are needing, individual and/or family therapy. Don’t forget to ask about co-payments, premium met, percentage allowed and any out of pocket expenses that you may have before your insurance company makes a payment.
Do I file claims for my counseling with my insurance company? Full payment is due at the time of service. We will provide you with a detailed receipt in order for you to file with your health insurance carrier.
Do you offering a sliding scale, and if so, what are the qualifications? Yes. There is required paperwork that you will need to complete to evaluate your financial capabilities. Please contact the office to learn more.
What if I can't afford counseling? If you are unable to afford our counseling fees and you are unable to participate in our sliding scale program, we have community resources to which we may refer you and your family. We cannot endorse the practices or services of these resources but we empower you and your family to make healthy decisions and to explore what is in your best interests and needs.
How long does a counseling session last? Typically a session will last 45-50 minutes unless more time is needed to address a difficult problem or to gather history of the problem or intervention (as in the initial assessment). Couples counseling may run longer than individual sessions (longer sessions cost more). Number of clients participating in the session, problem(s) being addressed, and health insurance and EAP allowances are also factors that may affect the length of a session.
What is the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist, Licensed Clinician Social Worker (LCSW), and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)? A psychiatrist has a M.D. and specializes in prescribing psychotropics and monitioring psychiatric medications. Psychiatrists’ sessions tend to focus on the affects of medication on your emotions, brain and body. Usually sessions are shorter and less frequent; rarely do they provide counseling. A psychologist has a PhD or PsyD in psychology and may focus on psychological testing, teaching, research, & psychotherapy. Under the umbrella of Social Work, only Licensed Clinical Social Workers are qualified to provide psychotherapy. They have a MSW and/or doctorate (i.e. DSW or PhD) in addition to licensure focusing on psychosocial, emotional, and behavioral factors in psychotherapy. More recently, Licensed Professional Counselors have established themselves as Master-level counselors within the Counseling field. Psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors are governed by their own specific boards.
When may expenses paid by a client to a social worker for counseling and treatment, including marriage counseling, be claimed as a deductible medical expense on the client's federal tax return? The NASW's legal counsel's stated, "The Federal Internal Revenue Code, as interpreted by the Tax Court of the United States, permits the deduction of amounts paid by an individual for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, including significant mental and emotional problems, or for the purpose of affecting any structure of function of the body. Expenses that are primarily for such purposes will be deductible. The nature of the service and the qualifications of the personnel providing the service are not determinative so long as the rendering of the service is not illegal. The burden is on the taxpayer to show by appropriate proof that the expense for services rendered by qualified social workers is primarily for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a significant mental and/or emotional problem." Currently the IRS is inclined to recognize marriage counseling payments as nondeductible personal living or family expenses so it is important for the taxpayer to document severe marital difficulties as manifestations of mental or emotional problems. (Third-Party Reimbursement for Clinical Social Work Services, NASW, 2005)