Frequently Asked Questions


THINKING ABOUT THERAPY
How do I know if I should start therapy?
Generally speaking someone should engage in therapy when there is psychic pain or stress that’s stopping you from being as happy as you can be or getting what you want out of life.
If I can’t come into the office can we do phone or webcam meetings?
Yes, we can set phone or webcam appointments (Skype or Google video chat) for times you cannot make it into the office. This is generally reserved for clients who have had at least an initial face to face session in the office.

If for some reason you cannot make an initial appointment to the office, we can find a way to complete all the necessary initial paperwork to begin therapy at CTS.
Will therapy help me be happier or get what I want out of life?
Yes, it will. Seeing a counselor helps because sometimes you need an outside perspective to guide and motivate you to achieve your goals. Secondly, we plan out directed paths to help you get where you need to be quickly and effectively. We work together as a team to help you reach your goals.

The best analogy is seeing a personal trainer. You know how to work out, but having the trainer can help get you the results you want quicker and more effectively. Therapy is a personal trainer for your life.
What can a therapist or counselor tell me that I don’t already know?
Counselors are trained to analyze you in a very specific manner. We are looking for patterns and trends that have kept you from achieving your goals and help unblock those pathways to success.

Moreover, we have access to a great wealth of resources that have been studied and shown to work. Meaning we can give you tools that you may have never thought of to help you get to where you want to be.
What method or approach do you take towards working with clients?
My practice is based on short-term solution-based counseling. In the first few sessions we set goals and therapy is directed towards getting you where you need to be as quickly as possible. This is a team effort and we implement new strategies and tools each and every session to teach you new skills to manage life more effectively.

Our goal is to have you reach your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How will I know that you’re the right counselor for me?
Finding the right fit for you is important when seeking a new counselor. It is always a good idea to shop around and find a therapist who you can feel comfortable and safe with. After the initial session, you will know if you can work with a counselor or not.

Please review the information on my Counselor Profile.
Can I ask the counselor personal questions?
Yes, counseling is a two way street. You can ask me anything you are curious about. If I feel comfortable to answer, you can be sure I will give you an honest response.
Will the therapist respect my culture, race and religion?
Absolutely. Every therapist is trained to be multicultural sensitive. Understanding the fabric of a person is more important than any sort of judgments to be made.
Will you prescribe me pharmaceutical drugs?
No, a counselor cannot prescribe medication. If you need medication I can provide you with an appropriate referral to a psychiatrist.

APPOINTMENT QUESTIONS

What happens at the initial meeting?
The initial appointment is generally a bit longer than an hour. You will complete some initial paperwork which takes about 10 minutes. We will then meet for about hour to review the paperwork and have our initial session.
How long is an appointment?
Generally an appointment is about an hour long.
How often do I need to come in?
Generally we meet once per week. Depending on the specific issue, we can adjust frequency of meetings as needed.
Do we set goals in therapy?
Yes, goal setting is a very important part of therapy. Within the first few sessions we will have set clear goals to directly address the issues presented.
What if I have multiple goals and don’t have the time / energy to work on all of them?
Using a short term solution based approach is a uniquely modular method. We can initially work on one specific issue. Once we reach those goals, we can chose to make a new plan for another issue or you can take a break from therapy and come back.
What results should I expect?
We will set goals and expectations in the first few sessions. You will clearly know what goals/results we are striving for in each session. The actual outcome of therapy will largely depend upon your dedication and engagement with the process. The more you work the better the results.
How long will I have to see you?
This all depends on the issues and goals we have set. Some goals can be achieved faster than others. Each session is directed to help you get where you want to be. Remember we take a short term approach which means we will try and have you reach your goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
Can you clinically diagnose me? Will you tell me what it is?
Yes I can clinically diagnose you if you meet the specific criterion for the diagnosis.

Any diagnosis, without question, will be shared with you directly.
Will you work with my psychiatrist or family doctor if needed?
Absolutely. Conferencing with other professionals treating you is always a good idea. In order to do so, we would need to complete a dedicated Release of Information (provide link) for that professional.

Confidentiality and Release of Information will be discussed in further detail later in the FAQ.
When will the therapy conclude?
Therapy will conclude when you have reached the goals we initially set. These goals are important to help direct your specific treatment and also set a target benchmark to know when to terminate therapy. You will know when it is time because in each session we will have a goal check-in. When you have reached your goals it is time to conclude therapy.
I don’t want to dependent on seeing a counselor, how can I avoid this?
The goals we set in therapy are always realistic and attainable. I only act as a guide to help you get where you want to be. Sessions are collaborative and directed to teaching you new skills to help yourself think, feel and behave differently on a long term time frame. I give you the tools you need to be self-reliant.
Can I have some follow up appointments after we have concluded for a “tune up”?
Absolutely. Having follow-up appointments is encouraged so we can review and practice the skills sets previously taught in session.
In case of a personal crisis, can I call you anytime?
Yes, you can attempt to contact me anytime. If I am unavailable, leave a message and I will contact you at an appropriate time. If you cannot reach me and need to speak with someone immediately, please go to the nearest emergency room where someone will be available to help.

INSURANCE AND PAYMENT OPTIONS

What insurance do you accept?
I accept all private insurance either as an in-network or out-of-network provider. I am currently contracted with (in network):

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois PPO
Do I need to check my insurance benefits and eligibility prior to seeing you?
It is always a good idea to contact your specific insurance provider for benefits and eligibility. At the initial session I will gather you insurance information and provide you a detailed breakdown of covered services.
Will you bill the insurance company directly?
Yes, I will bill the insurance directly.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We currently accept:

Cash
Personal / Certified Check
Visa / MasterCard / Discover
PayPal
Do you offer a sliding scale fee?
Yes, a sliding scale will be considered under specific circumstances.
How long in advance do I need to contact you to change or cancel and appointment to avoid being charged?


Generally rule of thumb is 24 hours in advance. Sometimes emergencies come up, just let us know as soon as possible.


CONFIDENTIALITY

What is confidentiality in counseling?
Confidentiality is a legally protected cornerstone of counseling. In session, nearly everything discussed is protected under the rules of confidentiality. This means we can talk about nearly anything without worry that your personal information will be compromised.
What are the limits of confidentiality?
The only time a counselor can break confidentiality is if a client is planning on hurting themselves or others. We are legally obligated to act in those cases to protect the wellbeing of the client or other.
What information can you release about me?
In order to release any information about you, even that you are a client with CTS, you would need to provide a dedicated Release of Information (Provide link to page) which clearly states to whom and what information is being released.
Are you obligated to report to the police if I share information about illegal behavior that I or someone else was involved in?


No, past behavior will not constitute a necessary breach of confidentiality. Moreover, the laws surrounding confidentiality will protect a client if an unnecessary breach is made.


Are you obligated to report to the police if I share information about harm/abuse done to me or members of my family?


No, past harm/abuse will not constitute a necessary breach of confidentiality.

If the harm/abuse is ongoing or possible in the future, a counselor must, by law, act to protect the well-being of those involved. This rule generally extends to those who cannot help themselves, such as children or the elderly. In some specific cases, this can be applied towards adults.


Will I know if you release information about me?
Absolutely. Any information released will be discussed at the time of completing the Release of Information (provide link).

In cases where the well-being of self or others is concerned, if appropriate, there will be an effort to discuss release prior to.
Where do you keep my personal information? Is it secure?
All paper files are kept on site and do not leave the office under any circumstances. The extent of the paper file is your initial paperwork and possible insurance payment paperwork. All other information will be kept on a secure computer in the office. No information is stored in a “cloud” or otherwise possibly compromised virtual settings.
Will my insurance company know I am seeing you?
They will only know if you will be using your insurance to pay for services. If not, no third party will know of your engagement in services.
What information will the insurance company receive from CTS?
The insurance company will need a clinical diagnosis and the date and duration of our meeting. Any specific information about the meeting, such as what was specifically discussed, will not be released without a dedicated Release of Information.
Will knowledge of engaging in therapy negatively affect my career?
If you chose to utilize your insurance, diagnosis information will be shared with them. If you have questions about what information your employer has access to, contact your specific insurance provider to find out. The insurance company has to tell you the level of access your employer has. This is protected information under HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).