Your first visit
"See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things."
- H. Jackson Browne Jr.
Q: What should I expect for my first visit? Is there anything I can do to prepare?
A: It's NORMAL to be nervous. Therapy is unlike most other experiences we have as human beings. It may feel awkward. After all, you're coming to a stranger's office to attempt to trust them with your secrets, fears and feelings! All I can promise is that I will do my best to make you feel comfortable, heard and accepted. We will spend some time getting to know one another. On your first visit, I will ask you to fill out a few forms. Then we will go over them in detail, as required by law. If you'd like to print them out now, read them and bring them with you to save time, here they are:
For couples counseling appointments (I will let you know which forms I will need):
Intake Form (couples): Each individual should complete one of these. This is great to do ahead of time in your free moments.
Weiss-Cerretto Relationship Status Inventory (married couples only)
For family counseling appointments:
Intake Forms: Each adult should complete the Individual Intake Form. In addition, please have someone in your family (or several of you as a team) complete the Family Questionnaire. Thanks!!
For parents/guardians of minors who will be seen without parent:
Consent form for parent/guardian signature
Intake form for minors: Questionnaire to be completed by parent of child under 18
Early Development and Home Background Form (DSM-5)
For minors to complete (under 18). See Q&A below re. minors and laws:
Letter of agreement
Questionnaire for ADOLESCENTS ONLY: Tell me about yourself
DSM-5 Self-Rated Symptom Measure for minors ages 11-17
Q: What are your fees? How much will this cost?
A: My fees are as follows:
$90 per 50-minute individual counseling session
$110 per 50-minute family or couples counseling session
I accept credit cards via PayPal, checks, or cash. I also am a network provider for EAP and PPO members of Mines and Associates, P.C.
I strongly believe that counseling should be accessible to everyone. So, sliding scale fees are available on an individual case by case basis. My services may be covered in part or in full by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. I will be happy to provide you with an invoice that you can submit to your insurance or to your flexible spending account. I also offer a discount for military/veterans and first responders -- on individual AND couples counseling.
Q: Why couples counseling? What is the point?
A: The website Goodtherapy.com, dedicated to helping people find good therapists and advocating for ethical therapy, outlines the "why" on this summary page -- http://www.goodtherapy.org/marriage-counseling.html. You are also free to call or email me to ask any questions you may have.
Q: Why family therapy? How does that work?
A: Another great article provided on Goodtherapy.com outlines the great reasons to try family therapy -- http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/why-family-therapy.
Q: Do you take individual clients?
A: Absolutely. I have just as much experience working with individuals as I do with couples and families. What my training as a couples and family therapist has taught me is that we are all connected -- no one lives in a vacuum. We are all embedded in a series of relationships and systems and these relationships affect us and how we live. These systems consist of not just our partners, but our children, our parents, our work, our neighborhood, our culture, our church, our pets... even people who are no longer with us.
Here is a great article about individual therapy and what you can expect -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/22/first-time-at-therapy_n_4612858.html.
Q: Do you counsel children and teens?
A: Absolutely! I have experience as an elementary school counselor and love counseling children! When working with minors, however, I want to work closely with the parent(s) or caretakers, as well. I believe it's important for the whole family system to work together for positive change.
Q: Who is considered a minor in Colorado and what are the laws and regulations involved?
A: Any child under the age of fifteen (15) must have a parent or legal guardian consent to the mental health services to be provided. (Consent form for parent/guardian signature here.) Any child fifteen (15) years of age or older may consent to mental health services without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
The law generally provides parent(s)/guardian the right to examine the treatment records of a minor under the age of eighteen (18), with some exceptions. However, it is critical for treatment for the child/minor to trust their therapist. With your agreement and understanding of that need, I will keep what your child says/does confidential. In other words, If I think it would be helpful to share a specific detail with you, I will first ask the child's permission to do so, or encourage the child to do so. It is important to the therapy process that he/she does not think the parent and the therapist are conspiring against him/her in any way. You have the right and responsibility to question the therapy process, to understand the nature of activities with the child, and to be informed of the child's progress. I have the right to use my clinical discretion as to what is appropriate disclosure. I will review the child's progress in therapy with you, and want to obtain feedback from you regarding your interactions with the child and observations of the child in various settings. In this way, we shall work as a team. I will value your consultations with me and your involvement. I will discuss with you how you can participate effectively in the child's treatment and progress outside of therapy.