Whether you have been in counseling before or this is your first time, it can be intimidating to start new. Here is some information to help you begin...
What is therapy? Therapy or counseling is an opportunity to talk about any issues or concerns which are interfering with healthy living. Due to confidentiality, it provides a safe atmosphere to explore issues that you may not feel comfortable talking about with friends or family. Together, we develop a treatment plan so that you can decide what you want to work on during each session. I use several different evidence-based treatment modalities to not only listen to what is going on, but to help you gain insight and clarity about what next steps you would like to take. Therapy can have many benefits but there are also risks. Sometimes people feel worse before they feel better! This is normal and it’s because we might need to discuss aspects of your life that can cause unpleasant feelings. If you can hang in there and tolerate the discomfort, therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.
What is confidentiality? Confidentiality is an ethical mandate that all conversations and information shared during therapy remain confidential. There are some important exceptions to confidentiality. These include:
If you are making threats to harm yourself or someone else, I may need to break confidentiality to protect the safety of you or others.
I am a mandated reporter of both child and elder abuse in the state of Pennsylvania. I am mandated to file a report if any abuse is suspected of a person who is unable to protect themselves.
If you are using insurance to help pay for the session, I will need to provide the insurance company with basic information regarding a diagnosis and treatment progress. There is a release that must be signed giving me permission to bill for insurance.
When required by federal or state law (for example, if records are subpoenaed.)
What is privacy? All medical records are kept in compliance with HIPAA to protect your privacy. Although e-mail and text messaging are useful tools for scheduling appointments there are some issues to consider when communicating this way. E-mail/texting are not guaranteed to be secure. While I will not knowingly share your information without your consent (except as outlined in the Confidentiality section,)I have no control over what happens to our messages once they are electronically transmitted. Please do not use them to share confidential information. Please also know that in order to maintain confidentiality and privacy I do not accept friend requests on any Social Media websites (e.g.,Facebook, Linked In, etc.),
How long do sessions last? Each session lasts between 50 and 60 minutes. That includes actual working time as well as scheduling future sessions and taking care of payment. The first few sessions are focused on assessment. I will ask you questions about the issues you want to work on, your history, and family background. Then we develop a plan that will serve as a road map for future work.
How often are sessions scheduled? This is individualized to meet everyone's unique needs. At the beginning of treatment, we will typically meet once a week. Sometimes if there is a significant crisis I do see clients more frequently. As therapy progresses clients typically shift to every other week and then monthly. We will discuss the frequency of sessions continually throughout treatment to determine what works best for you.
Can we communicate between sessions? While I make every effort to be available to my clients, I can't promise to be able to respond immediately to email, texts or phone calls. These forms of communication are not appropriate if you are in crisis or if you are sharing confidential information that is better addressed in person. If you are having an emergency, please call 911 or Lebanon Crisis Intervention (24/7) at 717-274-3363. You can also visit the nearest hospital emergency room for crisis treatment.
What if I need to cancel an appointment? Please call, text, email or visit the patient portal if you need to cancel or change an appointment time. I do request 24 hours advanced notice. This is important because 1) insurance companies do not reimburse me for missed sessions, and 2) I often have a waiting list, so by letting me know you can’t come, you may be helping someone else get an appointment. If you cancel without contacting me 24 hours in advance, I will charge you $45 for the missed visit, unless we both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. If you are going to be late, please call or text to notify me.
What does a session cost? The standard rate for an hour session is $120. If you are planning on using insurance it is important to verify that it is an insurance that I am credentialed to be able to accept. Please note that in order to bill insurance an appropriate mental health diagnosis will need to be given. I recommend contacting your insurance provider by calling the number for mental health benefits on the back of your insurance card. They will be able to tell you if I am an in-network provider and let you know if you have a deductible or a copay. Payment is expected at the time services are rendered. I can accept cash, personal checks or credit cards.
What insurances do you accept? I am currently credentialed with Capital Blue, Highmark Blue Shield, Geisinger Health Plan, Magellan, Quest, Optum, ComPsych, Aetna, Tricare East and UPMC Health Plan- Commercial, Value, Value Select and UPMC Partner. If you have an insurance not listed please check with them to see if they cover out-of-network services. I am able to provide a 'superbill' which can be submitted to some insurances for partial reimbursement. I am not able to accept any plans which are through Medicare or Medicaid.
What about medications? I am not a psychiatrist and I do not prescribe or discuss medication treatment. I understand that medication can be helpful in treating mental health issues and I recommend contacting your family doctor or a licensed psychiatrist if you are interested in medication for symptom management.
What if I see you outside of therapy? It is possible that I will run into you at the store or out in the community. This can feel awkward. Please know that due to confidentiality I will not acknowledge that I know you. If you would like to approach me and talk I would be happy to chat briefly, but I will not discuss anything of a confidential nature outside the therapy room.
Copyright 2021 ~ Cornwall Counseling Services ~ 101 Cedar Street Lebanon, PA 17042