Getting Started with Therapy

Thank you for your interest in my counseling services. If you're seeing this message, please note that my website site is still under construction. There may be links that do not yet work and pages that are incomplete. If you'd like to be notified when the site fully up and running, feel free to let me know using this form. I will start taking appointments in January of 2023.

If you've read all the material on this site, and you are excited to get started, it's time to complete an initial contact form and complete the intake process.

Let's be honest. Everyone's least favorite part of starting therapy is reading and filling out the intake documents. I get it, but it's necessary in order to deliver a high quality of care.

Please leave yourself a few days to read through and sign everything. Do not expect to start counseling the same day you first visit this site. You will need to sign an informed consent agreement before we schedule your first appointment, and to sign that agreement, you will need to read several documents and complete several forms.

I suggest completing the intake in the following order:

  1. Read the description of my services here.

  2. Read my counseling policies and procedures here.

  3. Read my technology and security policies and procedures here.

  4. Read about my therapy service packages, in which you will find information on plans, fees, appointment policies, and cancellation policies.

  5. Read the notice of privacy practices which outlines HIPAA protections and will help you understand your rights.

  6. Create your personal passcodes and passphrases. These will be your sign-in credentials for using teletherapy securely. You will need to either remember them or store them somewhere no one else can find them, and be able to retrieve them when needed.

Password: A combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, generally 6-20 characters. The more characters and the more variety, the safer the password.

Passphrase: Typically a short sentence, such as “I like blue bikes.”

Passcode: Can be either a password or a passphrase.

Passwords, passphrases, and passcodes are case sensitive. You can find helpful tips on how to create safe passwords, passcodes, and passphrases in my HIPAA notice of privacy practices here.

For my teletherapy practice, you will need four sign-in credentials:

  • A password for your Gmail account. This gives you access to your therapy chart and private therapy and training materials. You will not share this password with me and should not share it with anyone else.

  • An identity verification passcode (IVP) that you will set up during the intake process and provide to me at every session so I can confirm you are you. The IVP can be one word, a combination of words, or a short phrase. It should be easy for you to remember but not easy for someone who knows you to guess.

  • A passphrase for signing in to view encrypted emails. You will not share this passphrase with me and should not share it with anyone else. For details on how this works, see my technology and security policies and procedures here.

  • A password for signing into the iPlum app which we use for secure texts, phone calls, and faxes. More on that here and here. You will not share this password with me and should not share it with anyone else.

  1. Complete the HIPAA-secure initial contact form and let me know 1) if you are interested in counseling services, and 2) if you have any questions about my counseling services. This form officially starts your intake process. If you have questions, I will respond via encrypted email. Please check your spam folder if you do not see an email from me within 24 hours. The encrypted email will have a Hushmail address. You will be asked to set up a passphrase to access the message. The passphrase is case sensitive. If you lose the passphrase, you will need to set up a new one and will lose access to prior messages. An example of a passphrase is Skiing is my favorite sport. Use a passphrase that is easy to remember but not easy for someone to guess. To see how Hushmail works on your end, have a look at this.

  2. Complete the identity verification form. This form is not publicly available. You will receive it via encrypted email after I have received your initial contact form.

  3. Complete the informed consent agreement. This form is not publicly available. You will receive the link to this agreement via HIPAA-secure email once you have sent the initial contact form and expressed an interest in counseling services. I will walk you through how to access a copy of your informed consent agreement during our first session. I do not schedule your first session until you have completed the informed consent agreement.

  4. Respond to my encrypted email about scheduling our initial session, which is an evaluation session. In that email, you will receive time/date options for our first session and information on how to install our HIPAA-compliant text connection. Note that you will not receive that email until you have completed the steps above.

  5. Complete the authorization/release of information form. This form is not publicly available. You will receive the link to this agreement via HIPAA-secure email once you have signed the informed consent agreement. You are not required to authorize the release of information and will have an option to check "no release at this time." If you wish for another service provider, a family member, or other support person to know of your presence in treatment, you will need to sign a release. A release will not be necessary for your insurance company because I do not communicate with insurance companies on your behalf. If you intend to file a claim for out-of-network benefits, I can supply you with a superbill at your request, but you will be responsible for filing that claim and communicating with your insurance company. See my payment policy for details.

  6. Complete additional assessments. Based on the information you provide in your initial contact form, I may send you some additional assessment forms to fill out for the initial evaluation process. The cost of these initial assessments is included in your initial session fee. If any fee-based assessments are warranted during the course of your treatment, I will always provide you with a good faith estimate of those costs prior to administering the assessments, and you will have the right to agree or decline.

  7. Choose whether to complete the biopsychosocial history before our first session or during our first session. This semi-structured interview is a psycho-diagnostic assessment that informs your treatment plan. The form for this assessment is not publicly available. After I receive your initial contact form, I will email you the form and you can decide then whether you would like to send it before our first session or complete it with me during our first session.

The purpose of the biopsychosocial history is to help me get a clear picture of where you're at, including what you've gone through up to now, what may have contributed to the circumstances that promoted you to seek therapy, and what problems you need to solve in your life. The more honest and thorough you are, the better equipped I will be to help you.

Advantages of completing it before the first session:

  • We can devote more of your first session to therapy.

  • Reading your responses in advance of our first session makes it possible for me to prepare suggestions for your treatment plan at that first session.

Advantages of completing it during the first session:

  • Completing the biopsychosocial history together gives us a chance to talk in depth about what has brought you to therapy.

  • Conversations that stem from the questions on the biopsychosocial history are an excellent opportunity for us to forge our therapeutic relationship.

If you would prefer to complete this history with me in our first session, please note that the session will likely take a longer. There will be no extra fee for the longer session time. I will need to set aside that extra time during our initial session, so please let me know in advance if this is how you'd like to proceed.

I you decide to complete the biopsychosocial history before our first session, please note that it will take 1-2 hours to complete, depending on the detail in your answers. Please send the completed form two days prior to your first session so I can review it thoroughly.

Intake Required

Note that in this practice, you will need to complete the intake process before scheduling an initial session. Once I've received your intake documents, I will send you an email with scheduling options. In that email, I will also provide a customized good faith estimate in keeping with the No Surprises Act. If you are not comfortable with this process, please see this page for other counseling resources.