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What is the difference in therapy and counseling?

Technically, counseling is about giving advice and therapy is about resolving internal or interpersonal struggles. However, in practice, the terms are often used interchangeably. If you are looking for guidance or resolution of struggles, it is best to talk about that in an initial session. At IDEALS for Families and Communities, we create an treatment plan with you about exactly what you want from a counseling/therapy experience and help you work towards your goals.

What if I do or do not have insurance?  What are accepted methods of payment?

We do not bill insurance, but if you do have coverage, we will see you for your co-pay as long as it is at least $20.

If you do not have insurance, IDEALS for Families and Communities has a sliding scale fee from $20-$80 per session. The amount is based on your income.  For example, if your household income is $50,000 per year, your sessions will be $50.

Accepted payment is by cash, check, or money order.  We DO NOT accept credit or debit cards.

What if I need therapy now but can’t pay for it?

We will work with you to make therapy affordable. If you truly cannot afford the sliding scale fee or co-pay, we can discuss other options.

What are the rules of confidentiality?

The ethical codes of mental health professionals direct therapists to maintain confidentiality. This means that, as a rule, whatever you tell a counselor or therapist is not shared with anyone else. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. All professionals are required by law to report abuse, dangerous behavior, or neglect. If you have questions about what constitutes abuse, dangerous behavior, or neglect that must be reported, ask your therapist or your local social services agency.

But what about confidentiality within families?

What if one family member tells the therapist something that another family member needs to know, such as information about a child’s drug use? When doing therapy with more than one person in a family, our therapists work out a family confidentiality agreement during an initial session so all family members are aware of what might be shared with another family member under what circumstances.

Also, in the case of child problems, parents may sign a confidentiality release of information to enable therapists to talk with school staff, physicians, or others about your child.

Do I have access to my own records?

IDEALS for Families and Communities keeps required clinical records. A client may ask to see his/her clinical file at any time and copies may be made and given to you as needed. The original record always remains at IDEALS for Families and Communities.

Can I get medication through IDEALS?

IDEALS for Families and Communities therapists provide counseling and education.  We do not have a psychiatrist on staff and do not prescribe medications.

What if I’m uncomfortable with a therapist?

Moments of discomfort in therapy are to be expected; you are dealing with tough issues that probably are wrapped in lots of uncomfortable feelings. However, generally therapy should be a supportive, safe-feeling experience. If it is not, discuss this with your therapist. It may be possible to make minor changes which would resolve the situation, or you may need a different therapist. Not every therapist can work effectively with every client.

At IDEALS for Families and Communities, if things don’t feel right to you, please tell us. If we can’t work it out, we will happily refer you to someone who is likely to be a better match.

What if I want therapy but my partner doesn’t?

There is no doubt that couple issues are best resolved when both people participate in the process. However, often much can be accomplished if even one person wants the relationship to change. Many times, once that person enters therapy and the partner sees changes, he or she is motivated to enter therapy, too. At IDEALS for Families and Communities we are happy to work with one partner.

What other questions do you have?

If you have other questions, contact mary@skillswork.org for answers.