Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first session like?
Your initial session is mainly a time for information gathering. We’ll spend some time getting to know one another and reviewing relevant information that you’ve listed on your Intake Form. We’ll discuss the reasons why you’ve decided to begin counseling. From there, we’ll come up with a list of goals and a plan to help you achieve those goals. We'll also discuss things such as privacy policies, attendance and financial agreements, and we will set a schedule for your sessions.
How do I know if counseling is “working’?
While therapy isn’t always “pain free”, you should typically notice a reduction in symptoms after a few sessions. You should start to gain a sense of “being on the right track”. When you have insights or opinions about going in a different direction in therapy, you should voice these to your therapist. Counseling is a collaborative relationship, and both you and your therapist are responsible for making sure your time is productive. Your therapist will check in with you regularly to discuss the effectiveness of therapy, and any challenges of areas that need improvement. Attending therapy is hard work! And it typically involves some discomfort. But when you begin to feel the gap closing between where you are and where you want to be, it is most definitely worth it.
How long does counseling take?
The length of therapy largely depends on the issue(s) you want to discuss and work on. Most individuals experience some symptom relief within a few sessions, but lasting change takes more time to build. On average, clients are in therapy for 6 to 12 months. Depending on the issue at hand, clients typically come once a week, though some come every two weeks. Issues such as infidelity or trauma often require a longer therapy duration. Each individual session lasts approximately 50 minutes, but specialized services, or sessions for couples or families often last longer.
How much does counseling cost?
The cost of a counseling session is dependent upon several factors. One determining factor is the education level and experience of the therapist. Your fee pays for more than the counseling hour. It also goes toward the therapist’s time preparing for session and file processing after session. Please refer the the rates and insurance section on the website for specific rate information.
Do you accept insurance?
At this time, Life by Design Therapeutic Solutions is credentialed with Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, Cigna, United Healthcare, Optima, Carelon, and Multiplan Network, and the credentialing process is underway with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Tricare. Once completed, all clients will be informed so that they can contact their insurance companies regarding payment. If we are not credentialed with your particular insurance company, and you may still be eligible for some coverage and/or reimbursement for some or all of your counseling expenses via the out-of-network service options in your insurance policy. Payment is made to the therapist at the time of service and you will be provided with a receipt to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement purposes upon request. In some instances, a separate deductible must be met for behavioral/mental health services.
What are the advantages of private pay?
In order to use your insurance benefits, your therapist is required to give you a mental health diagnosis, and the diagnosis must be reported to the insurance company. A higher level of privacy tends to be achieved through private pay options.
Insurance companies often set limits on the amount, length and types of therapy sessions that can be covered. Some specialized treatments that require longer session time, or couples/family work that require that multiple sessions take place on the same day, can often create problems with insurance payments and reimbursements. Private pay clients are able to choose the focus, duration, and frequency of therapy. You are even allowed to choose the length of sessions.
By choosing a private pay option, insurance premiums and life insurance policies will not increase based on mental health diagnosis and treatments, as the information is not required to be reported.
You will be able to stay with your therapist even if your insurance plan coverage changes or lapses.
Research shows that clients who have to pay something for their treatment have more positive outcomes that those who receive free treatment.