Frequently Asked Questions
How many sessions should I/we expect?
This question is similar to the question “When can I expect to get into physical shape?” or, How long will it take me to lose my weight or a certain number of inches around my waist? No one can guarantee results. Counseling success depends upon a number of factors; some of which are beyond the control and ability of the counselor or of the client. As in weight loss, in therapy a lot depends on the effort a client puts forth to achieve his/her goals in counseling. Typically the accepted frequency of sessions is once or twice weekly; more for more acute or serious issues, and less frequently for the minor, less difficult situations. As a problem gets resolved over time, as progress is made in therapy, the sessions are spaced further and further apart until counseling is no longer necessary because the person can assume continued progress on his or her own. Occasional future appointments are available and often appropriate to monitor and confirm the consistency of the progress that has occurred throughout the past therapeutic process.
When do I know that I should seek professional help?
Each person’s decision to get counseling is a personal one. Sometimes the individual may find that modern day stress makes it difficult to gauge when it is time to find a therapist. With so much hectic living, how does one stop and gather a moment to recognize what is going on inside the heart and mind of the individual person and family?
When the stress of daily living becomes too much, and daily functioning seems too heavy or actually becomes impaired, perhaps it is time to seek counseling. When a person feels unsettled and wants personal insight and growth, perhaps it is time for counseling.
Personal Growth counseling assists the person to define and become who he/she wants to become; less stressful, less anxious, more relaxed with improved self-esteem. Personal Growth counseling can help the client become more goal or task oriented, or more focused on achieving change in a particular area of life.
Relationship counseling helps in the healing of friendships, families and marriages. Disharmony, anger and un-forgiveness within relationships may be creating chaotic interpersonal behaviors that are harmful to the individual and the group.
Undue daily, prolonged stress, anxiety and depression may be symptoms of other underlying problem areas that are best addressed before they cause more serious dysfunction or before they become chronic or serious stress, depression, anxiety or other emotional conditions. Serious mental illness can become debilitating to the person, affecting performance of daily tasks, thereby creating even more symptoms. The symptoms may in turn, affect physical health as well as psychological balance.
Therapy is essential for treating addictive behaviors, i.e. use of alcohol, substance abuse,issues of sexuality and gambling, and other related obsessions such as extreme fear and insecurity, tendencies toward and full blown paranoia.
Crisis counseling deals with unbearable emergency situations such as a serious incident resulting from or in the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage or the cause of a death. The client may need temporary intervention to cope with the loss of a loved one or with a major life change.
Whatever the presenting need is, counseling is often a tremendous aid to assist the client in sorting out thoughts, feelings, and priorities in daily life.
What can I/we expect of counseling?
Counselors provide experienced, skilled therapy by a trained and licensed professional. With the use of these skills by the therapist, and the honest work by the client, the person can expect to resolve issues. Maintaining confidentiality is the therapist’s gift and responsibility to the client. The counselor will conduct clinical interviews, and make an assessment of the problems. Together the therapist and the client will identify the goals and make a strategic plan to achieve those identified goals. There will be an ongoing evaluation of progress, closure and follow-up monitoring. There will be equitable market fees for service. There are no guarantees in counseling. Human problems are too complex and varied for counseling to offer guarantees. What is available is counseling time through scheduled appointments and the availability of counselors for unforeseen emergencies.
What can I expect in the first session?
Most clients want the full attention and the listening sensitivity of a good therapist. In a clinical interview and assessment process, there is goal identification, explanation of the counseling process, methods, and evaluation criteria. The client will be asked to sign a statement of agreement (contract) which states what counseling is and what counseling is not, what will be considered confidential and what legally cannot be held confidential by the therapist. The client will fill in papers with basic demographic information. There is a lot to accomplish in the first session, and anything from this session that may not get accomplished will be carried over to the next session. This first session usually lasts from 50 to 90 minutes.
The counseling process of the first session allows both client and therapist to get to know each other. Establishment of a “comfort zone” in the counseling interaction will help set the tone and put the client at ease for the coming sessions. Being comfortable in the setting with the particular therapist allows the client to more easily disclose personal information, perhaps private information that the client has never before shared with anyone. The therapist establishes this trust with the manner of acceptance and listening offered to the client. This counselor then assures the client of confidentiality according to the state code of ethics and the limitations of the state law.
As the client discloses personal information, this very disclosure helps release stress, tension, anxiety, fears and other pent up emotions. This therapeutic bond serves as a bridge toward achieving counseling goals. Hopefully the client may then become more healthy emotionally, spirituality, and physically.
What can I/we expect in the continuing sessions?
In the second and continuing sessions there is a review of the problem since the first session, and any pertinent information or interaction that has come up since. There is a continuing clarification. Often there is a need to renew or revamp the manner of assessment. Sometimes goals have to be changed or a different approach has to be taken to resolve, evaluate and monitor the progress. Subsequent sessions follow this pattern until the issue is resolved.
How long is a session?
The first session is scheduled for a 50 minute time slot, with the availability of extending this session to 90 minutes or as much as two hours maximum, depending upon the presenting issue. The following sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes.
Can we have an extended or shortened session?
Yes. Usually the length of sessions follows an agreed upon treatment plan.In this treatment plan sometimes the therapist and client agree to shorter sessions. If there is an emergency or an unforeseen crisis, a session is extended to appropriately and functionally alleviate this personal difficulty.
Is there a cost for a missed session?
Yes. As written in the signed contract of the first session, the client agrees to a 50% fee for a missed session. A half-hour counseling fee will be added to the next session unless a cancellation is arranged 24 hours in advance.
What is the method of payment?
Payment of “fee for services” is expected at the end of each session unless other arrangements are agreed upon at the first or previous session. We accept cash or check.
Will medical insurance cover any sessions?
Depending upon the client’s medical plan, insurance could cover some of the cost of therapy. Due to wide differences of coverage offered by various and numerous medical plans, Santa Cruz Counseling requests payment at each session. Though Santa Cruz Counseling will gladly assist in filling out forms for reimbursement, this reimbursement is between the client and his/her medical plan agents.
How do I make the first appointment?
Simply pick up the phone and dial (602) 843-4003 to schedule a mutually convenient time for therapy. Sessions are available Monday through Thursday; mornings, afternoons, and evenings. When a therapy session is in progress, an answering machine will receive your message. We will call immediately after we complete the session at hand, or as soon as possible. If you have a special time that you prefer that we return your call, please specify this time, and we will do all that we can to accommodate your request. You may also leave a brief message on the website, and we will also respond as soon as possible. We recognize that it is not always easy to request a therapy appointment; therefore, we want to respond quickly and with an understanding heart.
What is the cost?
Current rates for Master’s level therapy range from, $75 - $90 per fifty minute session. Longer sessions are pro-rated at this cost. Gambling or substance abuse assessments are $100 per assessment.
Do you offer Services for companies?
Yes. We offer Critical Incident Crisis Counseling, Management Consultation, Educational Services and Seminars. Current market rates will apply. These rates are also influenced by the specific and varying management needs and requests. Fees are based on tasks performed and costs incurred.
Upon request for Educational or Management Seminars, a contract and design meeting will be scheduled between Santa Cruz Counseling and the company or institution. In this meeting the company/institution and Santa Cruz Counseling will set goals, methods of delivery, dates of presentations, costs and other specific details. Both parties will sign the proposed contract.