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What type of training is required of my therapist?
Northstar Counseling Center employs Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) whom are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior, assessment and diagnosis of problems and behavior change. These professionals hold Masters’ Degrees and have passed national and state licensing exams. In order to remain licensed, LMFT’s and LCSW’s must obtain regular continuing education in order to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field.
What are the different types of therapy sessions offered?
We offer the following types of therapy sessions:
- Individual Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Premarital Therapy
- Group Therapy
Group therapy typically includes 5 to 8 people and meets once a week. Groups are formed around a specific topic/need. Group therapy topics may include:
- Anxiety Issues
- Anger Management
- Social Skills
- Self-esteem/Identity Issues
- Mood Disorders
- Life Transition Issues
- Trauma Support
- Grief and Loss
New groups can be started when there is enough interest. If you are interested in joining a particular group, please contact Northstar to inquire about services.
How much does therapy cost?
If you want to utilize your health insurance a claim will be filed with your insurance company for each treatment session. Your assigned co-payment should be paid at the time of service. If you wish to decline using your insurance, a private pay option can be discussed with your therapist. For those that qualify, Northstar offers a sliding scale fee.
What should I know about using my insurance?
By allowing Northstar to file an insurance claim, you will be giving your insurance carrier the right to inquire about you. Some insurance providers only request the diagnosis and dates of sessions, but managed care insurances (HMO’s) request much more information to determine the appropriateness and need for treatment. The therapist may be asked by clerical or professional staff employed by the insurance company for details about history, symptoms, therapeutic goals, therapeutic progress, etc. Unless the therapist furnishes this information, you may be denied benefits. The insurance may request to have access to your records or may request to discuss the treatment in detail with a panel of other professionals. You should know that the therapist has no control over the information once it is supplied to the insurance carrier. If this is a concern, you may want to consider private pay.
What will occur during my first therapy session?
Prior to your first appointment with your therapist you will be asked to arrive to the office 10-15 minutes in advance in order to complete intake paperwork. This process will include you reviewing and signing various consents and policies as well as providing information about your health insurance (if you wish Northstar to utilize this information for billing purposes) and information regarding your medical history. During your first session, the therapist will ask certain questions about you and your life. This information helps your therapist make an initial assessment of your situation. These questions include things like why you sought therapy and what you are hoping to achieve. You will also be asked about your personal history and other issues affecting your current life circumstances.
How involved will I be in my treatment?
The therapeutic process involves a working alliance between you and the therapist and for optimum outcomes to occur, your active participation is essential. You identify problems and goals, and try out and report back on new behaviors. Although in therapy progress is often made towards the stated goals, no guarantee can be given that the outcome will be what you seek. In addition, changes are often accompanied by feelings of distress and moments of frustration, anxiety, depression, confusion, and self-doubt. Your therapist will seek to help you through these challenging moments so that progress can continue.
How long will I need to attend therapy?
The time required for psychotherapy varies considerably, and good results are possible with eight to twenty sessions. The severity and number of problems, as well as other individual factors have an influence on the treatment and outcomes. Since the therapeutic process involves an investment by both you and the therapist, the decision to end therapy is preferably discussed before it takes place, so that a sense of closure can be obtained and recommendations of additional resources can be made.
Will my information remain confidential?
Confidentiality is your right as a client. The code of ethics for therapists, as well as state and federal laws, ensure that the information that the client shares in the context of therapy will not be disclosed to anyone else without expressed, written permission, unless one of the following applies:
By filing an insurance claim, you will be giving your insurance carrier the right to inquire about you. Some insurance providers only request the diagnosis and dates of sessions, but managed care insurances (HMO’s) request much more information to determine the appropriateness and need for treatment. The therapist may be asked by clerical or professional staff employed by the insurance company for details about history, symptoms, therapeutic goals, therapeutic progress, etc. Unless the therapist furnishes this information, you may be denied benefits. The insurance may request to have access to your records or may request to discuss the treatment in detail with a panel of other professionals. You should know that the therapist has no control over the information once it is supplied to the insurance carrier. If this is a concern, you may want to consider private pay.
The abuse reporting laws in Kentucky require that anyone with knowledge of actual or suspected abuse should report it to the Child Protective Services (CPS). Abuse may include, but is not limited to, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment of a child or (dependent) adult or spouse, and exposure to drug use.
If you enter into a legal proceeding in which you raise the issue of mental status (for instance a worker’s compensation claim, a sanity hearing, raising “mental distress” as a result of an accident or injury), then the therapist may be ordered by the court to testify about matters discussed in confidence regardless of your consent.
If the therapist has reason to believe that you are likely to inflict bodily harm on someone else, a therapist is, by law, obligated to attempt to learn and to protect the intended victim(s).
If you are in imminent danger of harming yourself, the therapist is required to intervene; which may range from informing and requesting a relative or friend to look after you or arranging an involuntary hospitalization for a three day observation and stabilization period.
If some additional expertise is needed to render the best service, a consult with another professional may be made. In this event, no personal identifying data will be given and you will remain anonymous.
If you bring a malpractice action against a therapist, the therapist is permitted to reveal facts about the treatment.
In order to do couples therapy, the therapist may request you to waive the rights of confidentiality.
Confidentiality of Minors:
Unless parental rights have been limited or removed by the court, both parents have a right to be informed about the treatment of their child. However, children also have a need to develop trust in their therapist and may need a certain degree of security and privacy. Therefore, parents may be requested to limit inquiries about the details of the treatment and may be asked to trust that the therapist will bring to the parent’s attention matters that are important for the parent(s) to know. Children who are 18 or older, or children who have been emancipated have the right to complete confidentiality.
How long do therapy sessions last and how frequently will I attend sessions?
Therapy sessions are scheduled to last 50 minutes unless otherwise agreed upon between you and your therapist. Frequency of sessions will depend on the stage of treatment as well as progress made towards treatment goals. It is not uncommon for clients to begin treatment with weekly sessions and then gradually progress to 1-2 sessions per month as they begin to notice lasting positive outcomes.
Is there an emergency number that I can utilize if I am in crisis?
Each therapist at Northstar Counseling Center has an individual phone number that will be shared with you upon intake. This phone number should be utilized for regular office hours needs as well as for after hours emergencies. If your therapist is away on vacation, they will have a qualified professional cover for them to respond to any emergency needs. During your initial session, you and your therapist will work together to identify a crisis plan in case of emergencies.