It is my goal to answer all of your questions as thoroughly as possible. To get started, read through my answers to some of the questions people most frequently ask about counseling.
How do I choose a counselor?
There are many things to consider when choosing a counselor. I recommend asking a few questions (click here to see my blog post about it):
- What is your fee and do you accept my insurance? My average out-of-pocket fee is $90 per session (it may be higher for family session, adjusted based on income, etc.). I’m in-network with Highmark, United Behavioral, Optum, and CIGNA. I also offer out-of-network services (such as UPMC) as covered under your individual plan. Questions about what your specific plan covers (as well as copay fees) should be directed to customer service by calling the number on the back of your insurance card.
- When will you be accepting new clients? My availability depends on preferences such as location and appointment time. Although I do keep a running no-obligation wait list, I strive to meet with all new clients as quickly as possible.
- What is your theoretical approach? My goal is to meet all of my clients where they are. Some sessions may be more talk-heavy to process a sudden crisis. Other sessions may be focused on CBT, DBT, or ACT strategies. I do family systems history work (genograms) with all clients. All work depends on the goals set by my clients.
- Do you have experience dealing with my presenting issue? I’ve got almost a decade of experience in the private practice world, so I’ve met a lot of people in the middle of all kinds of messes. Contact me and I’d be happy talk about whether yours is in that ballpark! I’ve got most of my experience with adult individuals and couples (especially those in crisis). I do premarital counseling, but only with a couple’s agreement to have a followup counseling session six months after the wedding. Areas of expertise: communication and conflict resolution; couples counseling; codependency and setting healthy boundaries; sex and intimacy; depression and mood issues; parenting support; anxiety diagnoses; depression; military/veterans and their spouses; grief counseling; and marital enrichment.
- What are your qualifications? I call this the “alphabet soup” after my name: degree, licensure, certification. I earned a Masters in Counseling from Geneva College. I am licensed by Pennsylvania’s Board. I’m a national board certified counselor. I was invited into the Chi Sigma Iota honor society for counselors, and I’ve been recognized by Steel City Vets for my work with that population in our area.
What is therapy like?
Every counseling session is unique and will revolve around each client’s goals. Sessions are typically once a week and about an hour long. It will also be important to work toward your goals between sessions to maximize your efforts.
How will I pay for counseling?
If counseling isn’t affordable, you probably won’t schedule as regularly as you need to. It is also important to consider what your current difficulties have already cost you. The money you invest in good counseling can help you to stop wasting time and money on things (shopping, eating, drugs/alcohol, etc.) that you have been using to avoid the deeper concerns. I accept two options for payment: out-of-pocket payments and some insurance plans. For more information about my payment options, click here.
How long does the therapy process take?
Everyone’s counseling journey is different, and you have the ability to end our counseling relationship at any time and for any reason. I recommend each client schedule a minimum of 2-3 sessions to start and figure out whether counseling is something they would like to continue. After that, the number of sessions can vary, but usually lasts between 8-10 sessions. Some clients want to go deeper and extend the number of sessions, while others will discover new topics they would like to address. We will check in regularly to assess what you would like to choose. You are free to end any counseling relationship at any time.
Is therapy confidential?
Confidentiality is the most fundamental piece of counseling. It is in this safe, protected environment that deep therapeutic work can occur. Individuals aged 14 and older are protected by HIPAA laws. This means that the information you provide on forms and in sessions is kept completely confidential, with only a few exceptions, including:
- If there is suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, all therapists are required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, all therapists are required to notify the police with just enough information for safety to be met.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, therapists will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure his or her safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
Do you prescribe medication?
I am not qualified to prescribe medications of any kind. I can offer referrals for psychiatric services, and you have the ability to sign release forms to allow me to consult with your prescribing physician.