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Frequently Asked Questions
The Therapy Process
The Therapy Process
- What is your treatment approach?
It takes incredible courage to recognize a problem and deal with it. And it takes something more- it takes hope. That's why we specialize in a unique counseling approach that gives you hope. You'll discover effective therapy that doesn't depend on endless talk, therapy that produces solid results for you in a way that respects your time and resources.
Our therapy approach is also pro-active. Things will go better the more you participate in the process. First, you'll learn how to identify the goals you want to achieve in your life. We'll work out a reasonable plan for your success - specific to you. You'll learn and practice behavior, replacing old, negative patterns. Finally, we'll help you discover personal resources that keep you focused on your strengths. You'll experience changes that can last a lifetime.
When your life is going through a painful transition, a caring therapist can make all the difference. At Okerberg & Associates, personal attention is what we're all about.
- What are your values?
Building Relationships from the Inside Out
- We are dedicated to asking the question "So what do you want different?"
- We want to facilitate making differences in life.
- We are honest (especially with our significant others).
- We are available, vulnerable, and educable.
- We will do whatever it takes, without causing any harm.
- We will apply these principles to ourselves, each other, and to everyone else in our world.
- Our identity will be defined by the impact of our work on the lives of others.
- How do I choose the best therapist for me?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a therapist. One is your own goals and what type of issues you plan to address in counseling. Our staff members have different specialties. Second, think through what qualities and qualifications are most important to you in a therapist such as area of expertise, gender, years of experience, etc. Once you have done these preliminary steps, you can use resources such as recommendations of friends, internet sites, or insurance provider lists to help you find some leads. You can also contact a few counselors to discuss your needs by phone or to set up an initial interview. Finally, keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to find the best fit between you and a therapist. We are all unique individuals with needs and preferences and there is no one right person for everyone. The effort to find a good fit between you and your counselor is an investment worth making.
- Is counseling for me?
Counseling is the process of getting help in the midst of difficulty or change. At Okerberg and Associates each therapist seeks to create a safe context for you to discuss your concerns and discover options not previously considered. This process can be difficult at times, but often the rewards far outweigh the investment of time, money, and energy.
- How long does counseling or therapy take usually?
There are many factors that influence the length of the therapy process. Common issues that influence length of time are the duration and severity of the issue(s), family of origin, support system, and personal style in response to change.
- What if the problem is my family (or someone else) and not me?
Often, dealing with others involves learning how to help yourself. Clarifying personal boundaries and responsibilities, improving quality of communication and making new decisions are all changes that can improve the quality of a relationship.
Certainly, if you are in a situation where the threat of being physically harmed exists, we recommend that you remove yourself immediately and remove those whom you can protect including elderly people and children.
- What are some common concerns for which people seek counseling?
Often, an individual or couple will seek counseling when they feel "stuck," that is, when despite their efforts things don’t seem to change and distress increases. The focus of therapy might include addressing anxiety, depression, marital problems, adolescent and parenting issues, eating disorders, sexual addiction, co-dependency, inappropriate anger including domestic violence, grief or loss, and historical trauma/abuse. Current circumstances may be the driving factor behind seeking counseling including such issues as divorce, post divorce co-parenting issues, job change or loss, problems at school, social isolation, or the starting and ending of relationships. We have helped a great number of clients in these and other circumstances.
- What can I expect on my first visit?
On your initial visit, it will be of most significance for your counselor to learn what is on your mind and what currently brings you to therapy. You may desire to ask questions of your counselor and anything you might be curious about concerning the process of therapy and how it relates to you. With the initial visit also comes the typical amount of paperwork, such as identifying information, privacy forms, insurance forms, etc.
- What about my faith?
Few things are more important to a person than their personal faith and relationship with God. In working on areas of personal change or difficulty the dynamics of faith can be quite relevant. Personal faith is an important aspect of the life of each staff member at Okerberg and Associates.
- Will my insurance cover the cost of sessions?
This depends upon the plan you have with your specific insurance company. Coverage varies widely between insurance plans. You will need to check with your insurance company to see if your sessions are covered, and if so, how much will be covered. For more information and a complete question guide please see the Client's Guide to Verifying Benefits (PDF).
- What if my insurance does not cover my sessions?
There are cases where some insurance companies will not cover your mental health needs. If your insurance is in this category, you have a couple of choices. You may decide to pay for your sessions out-of-pocket, or you may decide to reduce the frequency of your visits or participate in group counseling.
- When I call my insurance company, how do I go about getting the answers I need?
Download our complete question guide
- What are the Benefits and Risks of Using Insurance?
The use of insurance can be a helpful way to help cover the costs of therapy. In some situations insurance coverage might be the only way you or a member of your family can afford the care needed. Further, Okerberg and Associates has agreed to discounted fees with some insurance providers. Our administrative staff will file claims on your behalf and you will be responsible for payment of any balance insurance does not cover such as deductible, copayments or coinsurance.
There are, however, some considerations you may want to keep in mind in deciding whether or not to use insurance. The most obvious concern is privacy, especially in situations where benefits may be administered through your employer’s human resource department or a managed care company. Many managed care programs may require additional information beyond a diagnosis and sessions dates, such as treatment summaries and goal statements to determine eligibility for benefits. Okerberg and Associates is committed to preserving your privacy according to Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) and to providing insurance companies only what is required to attain coverage. Unfortunately, we can not make assurances about what happens to information after it leaves our office. Further, use of insurance of any sort creates a record that might come into play later on when completing applications for life, health or disability insurance.
There are also situations where the insurance benefit for mental health may be quite limited or situations where a deductible may be quite large. In such situations you may need to weigh the expected benefit against the cost of sessions anticipated.
We can not advise you regarding your decision to use insurance but feel an informed decision is the best pathway to a good decision.
- What is the difference between PPO, HMO & POS?
("Understanding the Managed Healthcare Alphabet: HMO, PPO, & POS" www.about.com)
Managed Healthcare Plans are types of health insurance policies that help employers offer their employees discounted services by negotiating reduced charges with hospitals and physicians. There are three basic types of Managed Healthcare Plans:
HMO: A Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO, provides employers a way to take care of all their employees' health care needs with reduced costs by negotiating with specific doctors, hospitals, and clinics. These specific providers must be used by the employee for the reduced fees.
PPO: In a Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO, an employer can also provide employees with reduced costs as with an HMO, but the employees can choose the physician they want to see instead of being restricted to the HMO providers. An employee can choose between a member or nonmember provider. The member provider would be the least expensive choice for the employee.
POS: With a Point of Service plan, or POS, employees can choose their own physician that has previously agreed to provide services at a discounted fee. In a POS the employee would have to use the chosen physician as a gateway first before moving on to a specialist. In other words, whenever the employee would have a medical issue the POS physician must be contacted first in order to obtain the most benefit from the insurance plan.
Issues discussed in therapy are legally protected as privileged and confidential.
However, privilege of confidentiality may be broken when required by law.
These situations include:
- suspected abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person, or disabled person
- when your therapist believes you are in danger of harming yourself or another person or you are unable to care for yourself
- if you report that you intend to physically injure someone
- by court order
- when dealing with insurance companies (e.g., filing a claimes, audits, case review, or appeals)
- when attempting to collect on overdue accounts,
- when otherwise required by law.