What to Expect / FAQ

I thought all I needed was the Church:

Did you know that “to give therapy” is a beautiful biblical word? In Greek it means “to serve,” “to attend to someone with care,” or “to heal.” It occurs some 35 times in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ healing work.

Some people are disappointed in themselves when they need to turn to a counselor. They have been told that all they need is in the Church. There are good reasons for that: Counselors and therapists come with a wide range of training and personal belief systems. Clients have at times heard them suggest that they break away from the Church or its guidelines. With pastoral counseling it is not an either/or situation: Your pastoral counselor is exercising a ministry of the Church and is trained to help you grow in your faith while you move through the “stuck places” in your life. Your pastor may not have the time to sit down with you every week or the training to help you with your particular areas of concern. Your pastor may be glad for you to have a seminary-trained counselor to talk to.

I don’t trust Church people—I’ve been hurt too much:

Some people are estranged from the Church because of hurts or a sense of betrayal by those entrusted to care. Your pastoral counselor is trained to help you find your way through those hurts to a life with meaning and purpose. You retain the right to talk about faith on your own terms, if and when you wish.

What to expect in session:

I have worked with people who tried to find a “good fit” with other therapists before, and with others who were embarking on counseling for the first time. It is not unusual to be hesitant, nervous, or curious about what spiritual direction or psychotherapy will be like. You are not alone in those feelings. I will work with you to make your sessions as productive and comfortable as you need and we will go at your pace.

The first sessions:

Your first session is called an “intake” or “assessment.” I schedule it for 75 minutes if we agree on that time frame. You will need to fill out some initial paperwork. You may request an introductory packet by mail or arrive 15 minutes early to fill it out before your appointment. At the beginning of the assessment I will explain confidentiality and policies, answer any questions, and ask you to sign your consent for treatment. Together we will review the papers you filled out and you will be able to discuss why you are seeking help. This is how I get a feeling for what you really want out of spiritual direction or therapy.

For the first few sessions I will ask you various questions that help me to understand your strengths, your background, your support network, and the various areas of life that may be contributing to your desire for help. I want to understand you and to take into consideration all contributing factors.

The first few sessions are also a time to set goals of your progress together. These will be reviewed and renegotiated, if needed, as we go along. I want to be sure that you are reaching your goals as directly as possible, whether for healing or personal growth.

Many clients say that they begin to feel better after the first few sessions–—they really get a chance to feel heard and understood through talking about their concerns in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Many begin to gain insights from the beginning. You may be given things to do or practice between sessions that will allow you to get the maximum benefit from our work together.

What if I am on medications or wonder if I need them?

As part of the intake I will ask you what medications you are currently taking. If you need a new prescriber or an evaluation to see if you are a candidate for medication, I will be happy to give you a referral to an appropriate psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

How long will I need to come for sessions?

How quickly we move through the therapy process depends on various things such as the intensity and the number of issues that need to be addressed, as well as the effort spent in working through the issues. We will begin talking more about ending the sessions when such services are no longer required or no longer serve your needs or interests. On an ongoing basis we will talk about what works and doesn’t work for you. We’ll check your progress against your goals: Did you accomplish what you expected? Do you have other areas that still need to be discussed or did you grow in areas of your life that you did not initially expect? Change and growth are ongoing processes in life. As you move through barriers you will gain tools that you can use on your own after treatment is over. Of course, you can always feel free to return in the future if you need someone to talk with.

Fees:

The initial evaluation fee is $150 for 75 minutes. Regular 50-minute counseling sessions are $100. I have some times available to see clients at reduced fees as needed and will be happy to discuss this with you by telephone. I accept checks and money orders but not credit or debit cards.

Insurance:

Clients who wish to use insurance first pay the therapy fee at their appointment time and then request reimbursement from their insurance company. I provide a detailed receipt that has all the information most insurance companies need for reimbursement. I will be happy to assist you with the paperwork initially. I am able to provide you with a lower fee by not taking insurance directly.

As a first step, call the number on your card that says Customer/Member Service or Mental Health/Behavioral Health Services. Confirm that you have out-of-network benefits. Then ask what your deductible is for out-of-network outpatient therapy, and what percentage of the $100.00 per hour fee will be reimbursed after the deductible is met.

Medicaid and Medicare:

Weston Counseling, LLC, is proudly enrolled as a Medicaid provider for the MDwise program. Please be ready to provide your Member ID when you make your initial phone call.

We regret that we are not presently enrolled to see Medicaid clients under any of the following health plans: Anthem, Managed Health Services (MHS), or ADVANTAGE Health Services. We are not a Medicare provider, but individuals with Medicare are entitled to come as self-pay clients and to use other health insurance plans.