Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What if I am experiencing a crisis?
A. If you are having an immediate emergency, please dial 911. If you are experiencing a crisis and need to reach a counselor outside of normal office hours, please call your counselor or the GA Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.
Q: Who will answer my call or email message?
A: The therapist you call directly will personally respond, generally within 24 hours during week days. That therapist is the only person with access to their confidential voicemail and email account.
Q: What will my counseling sessions consist of?
A: Your first appointment will be a consultation visit. This is a time for you to let your therapist know what you want to address in therapy and for your therapist to become acquainted with your current life. It is also a time for you to get a sense of who your therapist is and how he or she works. Generally, by the end of this consultation, the therapist will be able to offer some initial observations and recommendations on how to proceed. Most sessions are 50 minutes; however, we find some clients prefer longer sessions. If we decide longer sessions are more useful, we will work that out together.
Q: Is what I share with you confidential?
A: Your confidentiality is protected by state and federal laws and by the ethics of our profession. All information concerning clients is held confidential and is released only through procedures consistent with the law and professional ethics. If you have questions about limits of confidentiality, your therapist will be glad to discuss these with you.
Q: What if I think I need to be evaluated for medications or I am already prescribed medications?
A: Your therapist is trained to practice as a counselor and does not prescribe medications. However, most therapists are well-acquainted with most psychotropic medications and frequently consult with physicians who prescribe these medications in an effort to provide you and your physician with observations that might be helpful in your medication management.
Q: How can I evaluate my insurance plan for mental health coverage?
A: Contact your health insurance provider to determine if outpatient mental health benefits are available with your plan. The customer service phone number should be on your insurance card. There may be a separate phone number for mental health benefits. Some insurance companies have comprehensive information on their websites.
Ask if the full cost of treatment is covered, or only a part. Benefits vary widely. Ask about limits of coverage such as the number of visits per year or annual or lifetime maximums.
Find out if there is a group of "preferred providers" or a "network" that you must choose from or if you can choose any qualified provider. If you are a member of an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), you generally must see a therapist who is contracted with the HMO in order to receive any benefit. Otherwise the entire fee for services will be your full responsibility. If you are a member of a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you must choose from the "network" in order to receive the maximum financial benefit. Generally with PPO’s, you will also have "out-of-network" benefits, which allow you to choose any qualified provider and your out-of-pocket expenses will be somewhat higher.
Q: Do you take insurance?
A: That depends. If you are planning on using your insurance, please contact your therapist to determine if your therapist is a provider for your insurance company. You will need to discuss your benefits with your insurance carrier, and we can assist you in learning more about their coverage through our benefits manager. If at any time there is a change in your insurance carrier, it is your responsibility to make your therapist aware of the change.
If you will be claiming insurance benefits and are covered by plans on which your therapist is not on those insurance panels, the full fee will be collected at the time of service and you will be given a billing statement to use in filing for insurance reimbursements yourself.
Health insurance companies require that a statement of diagnosis of a mental health condition be indicated before they will agree to reimburse for counseling services. Your therapist may inform you of the diagnosis prior to submitting it to the health insurance company. Any diagnosis made will become part of your permanent insurance records. Cancellation of appointments is required 24 hours prior to the appointment. Insurance companies will not pay for missed appointments.
Q: What are your fees?
A: Your therapist agrees to provide counseling services in return for a fixed fee per 50 minute session. We can discuss that when we talk by phone to set up your first appointment. Requests for a reduction in fees will be handled on an individual basis as needed. We believe no one should be denied counseling services because of inability to pay. Payment for each session is received at the conclusion of the session. Cash, personal checks or most credit cards are acceptable methods of payment, and your therapist will provide a receipt for all fees paid. Missed appointments not canceled within 24 hours will incur a fee.
Group fees are determined based on the type of group and the length of group sessions. Individuals participating in groups will be interviewed prior to joining a group and specific fees will be discussed at that time.