Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Counseling Services

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.

What hours do you work?

I schedule appointment seven days a week from 12pm-10pm ET. This does not mean I am available ten hours a day, seven days a week. It means these are the hours during which I schedule appointments. Because I run a concierge service, I do not book appointments back-to-back. My schedule tends to book up a or more week in advance, so please keep that in mind if you've got a time preference.

Based on the service package you select, I offer HIPAA-compliant video, phone, and text messaging therapy sessions at different lengths.

Video

I schedule video therapy sessions seven days a week from 12pm-10pm ET, pending availability, with the last video session starting no later than 9pm ET.

Phone

I schedule phone therapy sessions seven days a week from 12pm-10pm ET, pending availability, with the last phone session starting no later than 9pm ET.

Text messaging

For Tier 1 clients, text messaging is limited to appointment-related communications or quick questions. For Tier 2 and Tier 3 clients, I offer text messaging totaling up to one hour throughout the week from 10am-10pm seven days/week. Text time includes messaging in both directions. Additional time options are available.

Response times

Please see here for details about response times and pricing, and see here for a description of the technology used to keep these communications secure.

Do you offer weekend or evening appointments?

Yes to both. Please refer to the above FAQ about my hours.

How do I schedule appointments?

You schedule appointments directly through me after you have completed the intake process. Once I've received your completed intake forms, I will text you a link to install a HIPAA-secure text messaging app and accept my invitation to a secure conversation. I will also send you a secure, encrypted email that you can reply to securely. We will communicate about appointments through secure texting or email - sometimes both.

What do you charge?

Please see my therapy service packages for pricing and plan information.

Do you have a sliding fee scale?

Not at this time.

Do you take insurance?

No. This is a self-pay practice, otherwise known as private pay or direct pay.

I do not take insurance, file insurance, or communicate with your insurance company. I do not provide superbills for you to submit for reimbursement. I do not accept assignment and I do not accept worker's compensation. I am strictly self pay.

I would love to work with you, but if you have insurance and plan to file an out-of-network claim, I am not the clinician for you. You need a therapist who provides superbills, whether they are in-network or out-of-network.

You are under no obligation to accept my policies; you have the option to work with a clinician who accepts your insurance or who provides superbills for out-of-network claims. Please see my find immediate help page for resources to help you locate a provider who can serve your needs, or contact your insurance carrier for a list of contracted providers.

Why not accept insurance?

Involving insurance would make it impossible to offer the features and benefits of a concierge practice. You can read about those benefits on my counseling services page. My business model does not accommodate the restrictions and administrative demands required when dealing with insurance. I want to spend my time working with my clients, not negotiating with insurance companies. Some of my services are not covered under the traditional medical model of treatment (e.g. therapy via texting or phone; psychoeducation via e-learning; collateral consultations).

Can someone else pay for my services?

Sure, but you will need to sign a release 1) allowing me to confirm for them that you are a client receiving therapy from me, and 2) agreeing that I can inform them of the dates, frequency, and duration of the sessions for which they are paying. They will sign an agreement authorizing the charges and acknowledging that they will not have access to any additional information about you or your treatment without your signed, written consent. Both the client who signs the informed consent agreement and the person who signs the fee agreement are financially responsible for all fees. This includes fees for services scheduled and received and fees associated with no shows and late cancellations.

Do you accept clients who live outside Florida?

Not at this time. I am currently licensed as a mental health counselor in the state of Florida only. Legally, I cannot work with you unless you are physically located in the state of Florida at the time of service. Please read my travel policy for more information. You will receive all my policies and procedures via email after I receive your completed initial contact form. If you are located in another state and would like me to consider licensure in your state, please let me know by completing the corresponding form on my contact page.

How long is a session?

Video sessions are typically booked for one hour. One hour means one hour - not 45-50 minutes. I offer additional time in fifteen minutes increments via video, phone, and text messaging if you'd like to go over the hour and the time is available. Please see my therapy service packages for all the details and feel free to send questions via this form.

What happens at the first session?

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What can I expect from therapy?

I will send you a confirmation text or email before every appointment. This email will also contain the link to a self-assessment that you will complete before each session so we can track your progress as you see it.

We will start each session with a few cleansing breaths to ground us in the moment.

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How will I know if we are a good fit?

To some degree, you won't know until we work together for a bit. But it's important that you get a feel for who I am and how I do things before you commit to that first appointment, because if you're going to meet weekly with a therapist, it should be someone you like, have confidence in, and feel comfortable talking to. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the number one determinant of successful outcomes. To help you make an informed choice, I've provided tons of information about who I am and how I work all over this website. Check out my about page, my description of services, and the rest of the FAQs on this page. You will receive my policies and procedures via email after I receive your completed initial contact form. My policies and procedures spell out exactly how I do things. If you are not sure if online therapy is right for you from in terms of the technology involved, see my technology self-assessment screening to help you decide.

How often do we meet?

My business model is built around weekly services. For the first month, that includes a minimum of one hour-long video session and 24/7 access to a HIPAA-secure, individualized, self-paced therapy and training website that I tailor to your needs. That's the base package at Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 offer additional therapy time via text messaging and phone using HIPAA-secure technologies. Please see my therapy service packages for all the details. If you have questions about these packages, please feel free to send questions via this form. I do not offer counseling services without the full Tier 1 package.

I base my business model on my training, field experience, and evidenced-based practices. Research in both counseling and education confirms that these methods and materials help you achieve your therapeutic goals and lead to lasting change.

Every six months, we will review your case and decide together whether to meet less frequently. I will provide you with an update to our pricing structure and informed consent agreement at that time.

Do you offer a complimentary phone consultation so I can talk to you before scheduling?

Generally speaking, I do not. There are two reasons.

First, free phone consultations are often mistaken as an opportunity to take the therapeutic relationship for a test drive. That's not a realistic goal. You can't build trust in 15 minutes. You might get a good feeling from talking to a therapist, and they might make a positive impression on you. But if you're ready to unconditionally trust someone you've never met after a 15 minute phone call, then let me tell you - that's something you might want to work on in therapy. Trust comes with time and consistency. The best way for you to determine if my services are a good fit for you is to look through my website, familiarize yourself with my clinical approach, service packages, and getting started page. Once I receive your initial contact form, I will send you my my policies and procedures via secure, encrypted email. In my policies and procedures, I've thoroughly described what you can expect from me, and what is expected from you as a client. I've given you a ton of information here, and I have probably addressed most of your concerns. If I haven't, please send me your questions via this form. As I've said often on this site, research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the most important determinant of success in therapy. If you decide to work with me, we will work together to establish that relationship. It will develop over time - not over a 15 minute phone call.

Second, when you commit to an appointment with a counselor, even a free consultation, you create a contract. You expect me to show up, and I expect you to show up. Your time is valuable, and so is mine. An exploratory phone call is similar to speed dating - there's no commitment from you, and no obligation. I am available for appointments when you are ready to make a commitment. You wouldn't want me to take your phone call without the willingness to work with you, would you? Well, same here. If you're not sure my business model is a good fit for you even after reading all the material on my website, take my technology self-assessment screening and see for yourself. I think the assessment will help you make an informed decision. If reading, watching videos, and interacting online are unappealing to you, then I can save you some time: My services are not a good fit for you. My services are 100% virtual, and they offer substantial, meaningful content. Yes, we will spend a lot of time just talking. But I will also give you learning materials to work on between sessions. Sometimes, you'll get them all done. Sometimes you won't, and that's okay. But this practice is built on combining talk therapy with education and real world application. If you're interested in learning, I'm the therapist for you.

What if I cannot make my scheduled appointment?

Please see my appointment and cancellation policies, which you will receive via email after I receive your completed initial contact form.

How do you protect my privacy?

Please see my notice of privacy practices and my technology and security policies and procedures for details. These policies discuss:

  • Safeguards I have in place to protect you

  • Safeguards you can put in place on your end

  • The applications I use and why I chose them

  • How I comply with HIPAA

How do you define recovery?

I tend to favor the SAMHSA definition, which is inclusive enough to cover mental health, addictions, overall wellness, and personal growth.

Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, n.d.)

If you identify as a person in recovery, then I consider you to be "in recovery."

Which recovery program is right for me?

That is something you will decide after reading about the options, attending some of the meetings, and processing your experiences in therapy. I do not advocate one type of program over another. I do strongly suggest you try as many as possible so you can make an informed decision. What all recovery programs have in common is some type of mentorship, whether it be individual or group mentorship. Support from like-minded people who share your experiences, issues, and feelings is crucial for any type of recovery.

To clarify what I mean by meetings: Meetings may be self-help, facilitated, task-oriented, process-oriented, 12-step, educational, or just two people getting together to work on recovery. Work in this context may mean formal activities or it may mean conversation and emotional support. Meetings may be structured or unstructured.

I find it works really well for most folks to approach each program with a "keep what you can use and leave the rest" attitude. You may love the concepts of one program, but dislike the structure, and vice versa. You may consider the ideology problematic but find the strategies useful. You may like the mantras and catch-phrases but prefer a different interpersonal dynamic. You may gravitate toward spirituality but prefer to avoid religion. You may eschew spirituality altogether and prefer language that is more clinical or business-like. You may decide to embrace one program primarily or exclusively, or you may decide to participate in several. You will figure out what works for you over time.

I will not push you in any one direction, but I will push you to gather as much information and experience as you can until you can make an education choice. See my references page for a list of recovery programs.

Do you require drug testing if I'm being treated for addiction recovery?

I do not refer my clients for drug or alcohol testing. If you are recovering from an addiction, you do not need a drug test to tell you whether or not you are using alcohol or other drugs. You know. Generally speaking, I know too. It's pretty easy to tell when someone is still struggling with alcohol or drug use, or is acting out on a behavioral addiction. Since I do not deal with insurance companies, I am not required to report negative substance screenings to justify continued treatment coverage. I do not think anyone benefits from me asking you to pay for drug or alcohol screenings except for the company that bills you for the labs. Making someone else responsible for tracking your drug or alcohol use may provide accountability, but it does not improve your personal sense of responsibility and can contribute to your feelings of shame and guilt. You'll benefit a lot more from developing an honest therapeutic relationship in which we can work on your coping skills, relapse prevention skills, and self-monitoring skills.

Where do you stand on harm reduction versus abstinence?

I have mixed feelings about it.

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Do you offer group therapy?

I do not have standing group sessions. I set up groups when the need presents, and they differ in purpose and frequency. I offer group therapy when there are a number of clients who 1) have expressed an interest, and 2) are working toward the same task or processing the same concerns. I have a screening process to make sure group members are a good fit for the group's purpose and dynamic, and there is a separate informed consent process to ensure as much protection of confidentiality as possible.

Do I need to be tech savvy to use your counseling services?

You do not need to be a tech expert, or even be comfortable with the programs I use, but you do need to be willing to use them. I am happy to spend time acclimating you to the technology. But if you are tech-resistant or using apps to communicate causes you such anxiety that you will avoid scheduling or keeping sessions, please find a local counselor who provides in-person services and save your self the stress. If you are not willing to create and safely store passwords and passcodes, virtual counseling is going to compromise your security and privacy. If you are not willing to spend time learning how to use the programs I use to deliver services to you, either with my guidance or on your own, this practice is not the right fit for you. See my technology self-assessment screening for more detailed information.

How can I learn more about you?

Read the Who is my counselor? section on my counseling services page, and check out my company vision, mission, and core values on my about page. Browse the rest of the website for more information about me and what I do.

Can I refer my friends and family to you?

Absolutely! I appreciate your referrals. But please be aware that due to confidentiality laws, I cannot tell you if they have engaged in services with me or not unless they have signed a release saying it's okay for me to share that information with you. If they have not, my answer will be, "I'm sorry. I cannot confirm or deny whether someone is or has been a client, or even if they have contacted me."

What tech will I need?

For teletherapy to work smoothly, you will need, at minimum:

  • A computer and/or smart phone.

  • A reliable internet connection.

  • An email address you check regularly.

  • A free HIPAA-secure mobile app (I will send you a link for this).

  • The willingness to access communications and materials online.

  • The willingness to either use secure sign-on methods or sign a waiver to use unsecured methods.

  • The willingness to remit payment online through secure applications.


Please read my notice of privacy practices and my technology and security policies and procedures for detailed information about the apps I use, and visit my technology self-assessment screening to help you determine if teletherapy will work for you.

Why do you ask me to complete the intake process before our first appointment?

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Is there anyone you won't work with?

I do not work with clients under 18 years of age.

I do not work with clients whose diagnoses are outside the scope of my training and experience. My specialty areas are listed here.

I do not work with clients whose presentation indicates that they would be best served by treatment at an inpatient facility. This may be determined from the initial contact, but depending on the information provided, it may not be possible to determine until the initial evaluation has been completed. Some clients may develop the need for inpatient treatment during the course of counseling. If this becomes apparent, I will make an appropriate recommendation.

I do not work with clients who are looking for in-person sessions, or whose diagnosis or current circumstances make in-person therapy a better fit. My practice is 100% virtual.

In keeping with the ethics and laws of the counseling profession, I cannot engage in a counseling role with you if:

  • We are friends.

  • We are family.

  • We are FB friends.

  • We have a past personal relationship.

  • You are located outside the state of Florida at the time of treatment.

Do you provide documentation for people with emotional support animals?

Please refer to my ESA letters request policy, which you will receive via email after I receive your completed initial contact form.

What is instructional design and what does it have to do with counseling?

How many times have you been to individual or group therapy where the therapist hands you a photocopy of a chapter and says, "We're going to read this and talk about it?" Bibliotherapy is a fabulous tool, and I use it often. But reading can get tedious and time-consuming and - let's face it - sometimes it can be a little boring. Think about the groan you can't hold back when you see a PowerPoint slide covered with text. Think about how you feel when the facilitator then adds insult to injury by reading it to you! Human beings cannot listen and read at the same time. And people process information at different paces. Some of you may prefer reading to watching videos. You may even prefer one over the other at different times of the day or week, or in different settings. Part of good instructional design is about giving learners options - choices about how they want to absorb the material, and choices about how they want to process and apply that material.

An instructional designer

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What does your logo mean?

Please see the branding section of my about page for a discussion of my logo and color palette.

Do you offer in-person appointments?

No. My practice is entirely virtual. If you're a potential client and you are looking for an in-person provider, I have a few names in the Palm Beach County, Florida area I'd be happy to refer you to. Please reach out for those names using this form.

Do you accommodate people with disabilities?

Please see my disability accommodations page for information about therapy accommodations for clients with disabilities.

Why don't you accept insurance?

Involving insurance would make it impossible to offer the features and benefits of a concierge practice. You can read about those benefits on my counseling services page. My business model does not accommodate the restrictions and administrative demands required when dealing with insurance. I want to spend my time working with my clients, not negotiating with insurance companies. Some of my services are not covered under the traditional medical model of treatment (e.g. therapy via texting or phone; psychoeducation via e-learning; collateral consultations).

What is HIPAA?

Please read my notice of privacy practices for a detailed definition and discussion of HIPAA.

What's the difference between counseling and therapy?

That depends on whom you talk to. I use the terms interchangeably. Many of my colleagues do as well. Some professionals gravitate toward the term counseling to avoid confusion with professions that also use the term therapy, such as physical or massage therapists. Other professionals favor the term therapy instead of counseling to avoid confusion with professions such as school counseling or career counseling. Some colleagues think of counseling as a short-term service and therapy as long-term service.

Another factor affecting how professionals refer to themselves is the difference in terms used by state licensing boards. Licensed clinicians who provide therapy/counseling have many titles. In Florida, we are called Psychotherapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). In addition to these titles, in other states you might also see the terms Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor of Mental Health (LPCC), Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (LMFC), Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCMFT), and Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP), to name a few.

I tend to favor the term counseling because my professional license and certification titles are Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Board-Certified TeleMental Health Counselor (BC-TMH). You will see both terms on this website, and for the purposes of my practice, you may consider them synonymous.

What's the proper term for telemental health therapy?

Ah, the terminology debate. There's an argument for or against just about every term. "Virtual" implies that something is not real. "Online" isn't associated with texting. "Digital" isn't associated with video conferencing. Web-based leaves out phone calls and text messaging. "Remote" and "distance" are applicable to therapy delivered via video conferencing, phone, and text messaging, but these terms are seldom used by therapists or clients. In the field, we use the terms telehealth, teletherapy, or telemental health therapy. You'll see all three of those terms on my website. I also use the term "online" because it's the term folks tend to search for when they are looking for therapy via distance.

Terms for therapy via telecommunications:

  • Online therapy

  • Online counseling

  • Teletherapy

  • Telecounseling

  • Telemental health therapy

  • Telemental health counseling

  • Telehealth

  • Virtual therapy

  • Virtual counseling

  • Remote therapy

  • Remote counseling

  • Digital therapy

  • Digital counseling

  • Distance therapy

  • Distance counseling

What should I do in an emergency?

To receive help immediately, please contact one of the following:


The NAMI Help Line (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET.

1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

https://www.nami.org/help


SAMHSA National Helpline (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service).

Open 24/7, 365 days a year. Confidential and free.

1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889

English and Spanish.

This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline


Call 211 from most states in the U.S.A.

https://www.211.org/about-us/your-local-211


Call 911 for local emergency services.


Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-8255. Available 24 hours.

English and Spanish.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

What if I don't want to go through all this to start therapy?

To receive help immediately, please contact one of the following:


The NAMI Help Line (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET.

1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

https://www.nami.org/help


SAMHSA National Helpline (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service).

Open 24/7, 365 days a year. Confidential and free.

1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889

English and Spanish.

This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline


Call 211 from most states in the U.S.A.

https://www.211.org/about-us/your-local-211


Call 911 for local emergency services.


Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-8255. Available 24 hours.

English and Spanish.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

What if I want to let you know about a company I represent?

If you are a marketing or outreach professional, please contact me via this form.