Eastside Couples Therapy is committed to transparency in our therapeutic process. Check out some of the frequently asked questions in the list below.
If your question isn’t answered here, Contact Us or give us a call at 425-406-8627.
Teletherapy is providing mental health therapy services via a secure online video platform or over the telephone. You receive the same services you would in person, only from the comfort and privacy of your own home. If you have ever used Skype or FaceTime, teletherapy is very similar.
Is teletherapy private?
Yes, receiving teletherapy is private. I use an encrypted service that is designed especially for health care professionals. I also ask that you find a quiet place in your home where you will not be disturbed. You are welcome to put on quiet music in the background if you are concerned other people in the house may hear you.
What do I need to be successful using teletherapy services?
You will need a good connection to the internet through a wired connection or WiFi. Please make sure that your WiFi router is set to private. You will also need a computer or a smartphone with a camera and a microphone. Please test that both of these are working before your first session!
Here is a quick pre-session checklist for you (adapted from PersonCenteredTech):
- Quit out of all other non-therapy programs before the session. Some important examples of programs to quit are:
- Skype. Even when you’re not making a call with it, Skype may be using your Internet connection. Please ensure you’ve quit Skype — not just closed its window.
- Dropbox, Google Drive, and other file synchronization/sharing services. These use your internet connection in the background all the time to sync.
- Cloud backup software. It’s easiest to shut them down for the duration of sessions. Remember to start them back up when you’re done, though!
- Close web browser tabs or windows that you don’t need. Remember that many websites and web applications do a lot of Internet back-and-forth while you have them open.
- Anything else you can find that’s open!
- Either connect your computer to the WiFi router with a cable, or move very close to the WiFi router.
- Make sure your antivirus program and system software updates aren’t scheduled to run during the session.
- Close the door to your room so kids/pets/spouses don’t unexpectedly wander in.
- Get yourself a snack, glass of water, etc. Get comfortable and then log in!
Feel free to reach out to me if you have further questions or concerns about teletherapy.
Absolutely! Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful counseling requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”.
Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
1. Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
2. If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
In these situations, the therapist can and will share information without your written consent to ensure your imminent safety or the imminent safety of others.
I am currently in network with one insurance (Premera) and one EAP (Wellspring). Clients or their responsible legal guardian are responsible for payment of any deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance, which is why I require every client to have a current credit card on file before initiating services.
Out of network clients are responsible for all fees associated with services I provide to you. Payment is to be made at the time of the session in the form of cash, check, or credit card.
If you wish to seek reimbursement for my services from your health insurance company, I will complete a special receipt that you may submit to your insurance carrier. Insurance companies vary greatly in their coverage of outpatient mental health services, so you may wish to call your carrier to make certain that services provided by an out of network provider” will be covered. Since your insurance provider requires a diagnostic code, I will discuss your diagnosis with you before they submit this information.
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- Does my insurance cover couples therapy?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
From my perspective, these words are interchangeable. Other therapists may disagree.
Participating in counseling can help in a number of ways. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from counseling depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from counseling include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek counseling
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, counseling is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking counseling. Counseling provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
People have many different motivations for coming to counseling. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Counseling can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking counseling are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, counseling will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous counseling session. Depending on your specific needs, counseling can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from counseling if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of counseling is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in counseling sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of counseling to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking counseling are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
It is important to know that I cannot prescribe medications. Only a medical doctor or nurse practitioner is able to prescribe.
For many people, medication is a choice of last resort. It has been well established through research that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause typically respond well to psychotherapy. Counseling addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. I often recommend that clients start with 6-8 weeks of weekly sessions in order to determine whether talk-therapy alone will be sufficient.
You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and counseling is the right course of action.
Due to the importance of your confidentiality and the importance of minimizing dual relationships, I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, Instagram, etc). I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
You are welcome to like Eastside Couples Therapy’s Facebook Page or our Instagram company page. This is the best way to stay connected through social media.