Frequently Asked Questions about the Counseling Process:
Going to counseling, whether for the first time or reinitiating after a break, might feel overwhelming and anxiety-provoking — you are not alone! Here are some FAQs to give you a sense of what to expect in the first session and during the counseling process.
Q: Does going to counseling mean there’s something wrong with me?
Absolutely not! I believe that everyone is born inherently whole and that as we experience life we experience roadblocks and difficulties that can try to deter us from our path. Taking the step to go to counseling means you value and care about yourself and that you’re willing to invest in yourself! We all come across challenging periods in life where we might feel stuck, and having a qualified professional counselor support you through this time can make a huge difference. I can personally attest to the amazing, healing, enriching effects of counseling and I know that going to counseling can be a gift to yourself that will offer solid, long-term benefits. Therapy can help you learn new tools for coping in healthy ways, explore where in your life you might be stuck and it can help you fulfill your needs, enrich your strengths, and connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way!
Q: What is a Licensed Professional Counselor?
A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Colorado is a form of licensure for mental health professionals. Choosing a Licensed Professional Counselor (or one who is pursuing licensure) ensures that your counselor has fulfilled all of the requirements mandated by the state of Colorado to practice and are competent, ethical, and professional.
Under Colorado’s regulations to earn an LPC, one must obtain a Master’s degree (2-4 years) in counseling plus at least 24 months of supervised counseling practice post graduation. This is made up of at least 2000 hours of direct and non-direct counseling hours including 100 hours of supervision by an experienced LPC (or higher degree). One must also pass the National Counselor Exam and the Jurisprudence Exam. Once all are completed, an LPC is earned and must be supported with yearly continuing education credits.
A Licensed Professional Counselor provides mental health counseling and evaluation for a wide variety of mental health issues. LPC’s work in settings ranging from hospitals to mental health centers to private practices.
Q: What does a therapy session typically look like?
A therapy session lasts 50 minutes. The session can look many different ways, but in general it will begin with a quick check-in of how you are feeling today and any pertinent events that have been going on recently. Normally I then do a quick mindfulness body scan with my clients, inviting you to be present in your body and notice any tension, emotion, or blockage that might be showing up for you.
We then utilize the remainder of the session to process what is showing up for you today, to check in on goals we had discussed the previous week, to discuss strategies for coping with upcoming life events or challenges, process past experiences that you would like to heal from, and/or set intentions for the next week. My main hope is to focus on what’s working for you and to empower and enrich that. The direction of the session comes from whatever you are needing at that time and it’s my job to be very present and supportive to help you explore how you can most effectively get that need met.
Q: Are my sessions confidential?
Yes! Your confidentiality is protected by law and the only instances that I would need to break confidentiality is if I was concerned about your safety (ie: you told me you had a plan to harm yourself or someone else) or if you reported child or elder abuse to me. This is something we will go over more thoroughly in the first session as I take confidentiality very seriously and want our time together to be built on trust and for you to feel safe exploring anything you need to.
Q: How much does it cost?
My fee is $125 per 50-55 minute session. I also offer extended sessions of 80 minutes for a pro-rated fee. If you have questions about this, please ask me.
Q: How long will I be in therapy?
Each person comes to counseling with his or her own unique experiences, personal story, and resources. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how long it may take for you to feel as if you have made enough progress to “go out on your own”. Some only need a few sessions to ‘tune up’ your internal resources and feel better; others may benefit from several months to a few years of counseling. In general, I tell people to try to commit to at least ten sessions, as this can be how long it takes to form the therapeutic relationship, set goals, and begin to see some change. This is a topic we will continue to check in about during our sessions and track your progress towards your goals. When you’re feeling more equipped with tools, you can space out your sessions and see how it feels to practice them outside of therapy and in your life. The ultimate hope is for you to not need counseling anymore!
Q: Will I always feel better after my counseling session?
This is a great question. Often times you will feel lighter, more open, and having gained clarity after a session. Sometimes, though, you may feel confused or uncertain after one of our sessions because as we begin to work on some of the underlying issues, this may stir up uncomfortable feelings or emotions. I will do my best to help you contain these emotions before the end of our session. Emotional discomfort is a normal part of the therapy process and this phase doesn’t last forever. Being committed to yourself can entail holding on through the tough stuff and maintaining hope that you will get to the other side (you will!). It’s part of my role to support you, encourage you, and challenge you to stay the course. You will feel better. Trust me J
Q: Does Kate accept my insurance plan? What are my options?
I do not currently accept any insurance plans. This is for several reasons, as I feel that using insurance may present some risks to you. Most importantly, I value your confidentiality and working with insurance companies means giving them protected information about our sessions and your mental health. Some insurance companies limit the amount of sessions you can have, which very often does not coincide with the amount of sessions truly needed or wanted.
I want your mental health to be in your hands, and want you to have the flexibility and room to get to the emotionally healthy place that you crave without our sessions being dictated by someone who is not even in the room with you. Insurance companies require me to give you a mental health diagnosis of a mental illness, and I just don’t view people as “illnesses”! Also, these diagnoses can sometimes present difficulties down the road as they stay on your health record forever. If you have a high deductible, don’t have mental health coverage, or don’t want to use your insurance, this may be a great option. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please call me and we can discuss a plan that will work for you to get the treatment that you need.
I also understand that for some, using insurance is the way you are able to go to therapy. I am an out-of-network provider for many insurance plans and can provide you with the documentation you need to get reimbursed for our sessions if your plan covers this option. Please check with your insurance company about your coverage options before scheduling your first session.
Q: What is the first step to getting started? Can I get to know Kate first to see if we’re a good fit?
It’s very important that you and I feel that it is a good fit to work together. I offer a complimentary phone or in-person consultation, usually about 15-20 minutes. This will offer us a chance to get to know each other, for you to briefly tell me what you’re looking to work on, and for us to discuss what the counseling process will look like. If after this time you would like to schedule again, we will set up an intake session, which is a 60 minute session where I will learn much more detailed information about your story, your goals, and who you are as a person. We would then typically meet once a week until you feel ready to space out your sessions.
Q: What is Kate’s cancellation policy?
As I hold your appointment time just for you, I ask that you give me at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel or change a counseling session. This is because I spend time prepping for our sessions and hold that time for you specifically. You can easily view and manage your sessions on my online calendar. If you do not give me 24 hours notice and it is not a true emergency, I will need to charge you the regular fee for your session.