Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve never been to therapy, what can I expect?
Starting therapy for the first time can be nerve-racking. Or, even if you have gone to therapy before, starting a new type, such as couples counseling or sex therapy can restart the nerves.
Regardless of which clinician you work with, starting therapy looks the same way. The first appointment is considered the intake appointment, and this sometimes can run into a second appointment. During the intake, your therapist will want to better understand what made you decide to start therapy and some background information, both about you and the stressors you have been dealing with. If you have trauma experiences, these are good for your therapist to know upfront, but you don’t have to go into detail. Giving headlines or a sentence or two to give your therapist an idea of what you experienced is completely fine.
For couples or family counseling, the intake process can take several sessions, including individual sessions with each person.
At our practice, sessions last between 45-55 minutes.
What will we talk about in therapy?
Most of the focus will be on the experience/issue/struggle that caused you to seek therapy. Though sometimes clients also need to process day-to-day emotions and thoughts. We try and focus each session on what would be most helpful for you that day. So, topics can vary client to client, session to session.
Will you give me advice?
Many people come to therapy wanting to know what to do and are hoping a therapist can help them. We can’t tell you what the right decision or choice is for you. We can create time and space to help you explore the situation, alternative perspectives, possible resources, and point out details that may not have occurred to you.
How long does therapy take?
The million-dollar question. Every client is different. Some clients choose to enter therapy to focus on one thing and can terminate therapy after 6-10 sessions. Others enter therapy for support around an issue that is long-term and intend to use therapy as a support system over years.
What else should I know?
The one thing we often want our clients to know is it is okay to disagree with or not mesh with your therapist. It is to be expected that not every therapist is the best match for every client. If you think it is a matter of misunderstanding, we encourage you to bring it up to your therapist and allow them the opportunity to correct the issue or repair the misunderstanding. If you think it is more a mismatch of personalities or professional needs, we are equally as happy to help you find a therapist who could be a better fit.
What if I don’t know which therapist to choose?
If you are not sure which therapist would be the best fit for you, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Describe what you are hoping to work on in therapy and what do you want or need from a therapist. This could include the type of approach you want your therapist to take, a topic you want your therapist to feel comfortable with, types of clients you want your therapist to have experience with, or even personality type of your therapist.
Why should I work with Jessica?
From Jessica, “This has always been a hard question for me to answer. I don’t feel like I have any more skill or access to knowledge than other clinicians. I do think my training for both my marriage and family license and sex therapy certification aligns best with what people currently want from a therapist. Which is someone who can sort through, appreciate, and keep track of all the systems that impact people today. I am coming up on 10 years in practice which translates, more or less, to 10,000 hours of sitting across the couch from clients. Even I can admit that is a lot. And a good chunk of the past 5 years has been working with people impacted by chronic pelvic pain. This has given me a tremendous amount of knowledge about topics that most traditional therapists and many sex therapists don’t have and has led me to focus my own research and choose trainings specific to pelvic pain and the physical diagnoses related to it. Many of my clients have told me they appreciate that I understand their experiences, the medical treatment options, including medications, the doctors and providers in Denver Metro, and the physiology of it all. Most importantly, my approach will never start or end with suggesting clients take ibuprofen for the pain or to just drink a glass of wine before sex. My current interest is to try and better understand the research on the role sex hormones play not only in pelvic pain, but also in mental health. I recently had to write a professional philosophy which may be helpful for clients to understand me and my approach better. And I regularly update my curriculum vitae with the trainings I have completed and my memberships with various associations.
What are your rates?
We currently have two different rate options. The first is working directly with Jessica and her rates are $165/individual session and $200/couple session.
The second option is our Affordable Mental Healthcare Program. This program was developed to address the growing need for mental health services, particularly after the pandemic hit. Many people are unable to pay for therapy out of pocket and need to use their insurance but then can’t find a provider who is accepting new clients or are between insurance plans and need something affordable. The Affordable Mental Healthcare Program is staffed with marriage and family therapy interns. These interns are in the clinical phase of their master’s degree program and are accruing client contact hours required for graduation. The interns are directly supervised by Jessica and meet at least weekly to review their clients.
All fees are due at the time of service.
Do you offer in-person or video sessions?
We offer both. We believe the best experience for our clients is therapy in-person and recognize that sometimes video sessions can be more accessible. You can choose in-person or video sessions on the client portal when you schedule your session.
Do you accept insurance?
Short answer, yes. Jessica is currently paneled with Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare. To find out if your plan covers mental health services and to determine your co-pay or co-insurance responsibilities, please call the number on the back of your medical insurance card.
Long answer, insurance companies only cover mental health services that are medically necessary. To determine if services are medically necessary, insurance companies require Jessica to give you a medical diagnosis, but don’t allow her to list chronic pain, sex-related issues, or relationship distress as acceptable diagnoses. For couples counseling, only one person can have a medical diagnosis on the claim. Insurance companies also regularly audit files, requesting clinical notes, assessments, and other documentation that may prove therapy sessions are medically necessary. There is always a risk that after initially approving and paying for sessions, the insurance company may decide to audit a client’s file and determine the treatment wasn’t medically necessary and demand payments be returned. Leaving the client to pay the balance in full.
If I don’t want to or can’t use my insurance, what are my options?
Paying out of pocket is always an option. Most insurance companies allow their members to submit receipts for reimbursement against their out-of-network coverage. These receipts are called superbills. The requirement for reimbursement varies from company to company and from plan to plan. Your best option is to call your insurance company, learn their requirements for submitting a superbill and get a detailed list of exactly what needs to be listed on a superbill for reimbursement. Keep in mind, most insurance companies require a diagnosis be listed on a superbill and may ask for copies of clinical notes to determine medical necessity.
How do I schedule a session?
Click here to be taken to our client portal. From there you will be able to see everyone’s availability and select a day/time that works for you. Once your session request has been approved, you will receive a portal-generated email with information on completing your intake paperwork. It is important to keep an eye out for this email, including checking your junk/spam folder. All intake paperwork must be completed a week prior to your appointment, if is not completed, we will need to reschedule your appointment.
If you would like to start with a phone consultation with any of our therapists, you can email us at email@example.com we can get you set up.
Um…is Jessica’s availability really scheduled that far out?
From Jessica: “Right?! My current availability is ridiculous, and I can understand if it leaves potential clients overwhelmed. The good news is I have a cancellation list that allows most people to see me sooner than my online availability suggests. The more flexible a client’s schedule is, the higher the probability of this happening. I also have an agreement with the physical therapists and medical providers I work with regularly that if they refer a client to me, that client will get priority on the cancellation list. To join the cancellation list, potential clients can email me at Jessica@areasofgrowth.com, be sure to include the name of the provider who referred you. I will respond with details on next steps.
Why do I have to input a credit card to make an appointment?
What is your cancellation policy?
We ask clients to cancel at least 48 hours prior to their session start time. We understand this is different than the more common 24 hours notice many providers require. This is due to the high demand for services. By asking for 48 hours notice, it allows us to offer a cancellation list to reduce the wait time for services. Managing a cancellation list efficiently and fairly is almost impossible with a shorter cancellation policy.
Canceling with less than 48 hours notice will result in a late cancellation fee which is your full session fee. Please note that insurance companies do not cover late cancellation fees. Late cancellation or no-show fees must be paid prior to the next scheduled appointment.
However, life can be unpredictable and rarely gives 48 hours notice. The exception to our cancellation policy includes inclement weather and each client is allowed a day-of cancellation exception every 6 months.
Do marriage and family therapists work with individual clients?
We have seen a shift in what clients want from their therapist. Many people want a long-term relationship with their therapist. Not because they have a laundry list of problems, but rather because they want someone who can hold all the pieces of their lives and help them to build a story from it. Having a therapist can be like having a friend who you can dump all your “stuff” onto, and they take it and find understanding, patterns, and insight and then hand it back. A long-term therapist means they know your history, know your values, know your milestones, which allows them to help you in deeper, more meaningful ways.
What if I need a letter from my therapist or other paperwork completed?
The most common request is proof the client attended sessions. The reason for this type of request varies from excused absences from work or school to courts mandating therapy. Sometimes receipts for session fees are enough to meet the requirement for most people.
Sometimes client need disability paperwork completed, either for a government agency or for their employer. It is not within our scope as mental health clinicians to state whether a client can work or not, since usually our clients are filing for disability due to a physical disability. As well as most disability forms require it be completed by a medical doctor.
Any request for letters, paperwork, or records need to come from the client directly. We do not respond to or acknowledge release of information requests from third-parties, including, but not limited to attorneys, Social Security/Disability Insurance, or short-term/long-term disability insurance. This is because it is rare for third-party requests to include adequate proof that the signature on the release does belong to our client.
Is therapy confidential?
Colorado law requires therapist to report actual or suspected child abuse, elder abuse, and at-risk adult abuse. If you are an imminent threat to yourself (suicide) or others (homicide), your therapist is required to call emergency services and, in the case of homicide, has a duty to warn the person or place you have threatened.
Other situations in which your therapist would have to break confidentiality include security clearances, your insurance company requesting records, or if a judge issued a court order.
Individuals in couples or family therapy are required by law to maintain confidentiality.
What should I consider about confidentiality?
You could inadvertently be breaking your own confidentiality. You may be leaving evidence you are going to therapy through text messages, emails, calendar entries, location trackers on your devices and apps, credit card statements, or insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOBs).
Using your insurance means you give permission for your insurance company full access to your records. Many non-insurance record requests can be satisfied through a “Treatment Summary” letter. However, insurance companies want the full record and often use third-party companies to request them. Your therapist is legally obligated to comply with your insurance company’s records request and once your therapist complies with the request, they have no control over who has access to or how many people see your records. This includes case notes, that often outline the topics discussed in each session.
Some clients may become involved in a lawsuit and their attorney asks them to sign releases of information for medical records. This also includes your therapy records. In our experience, most clients view medical records different than their therapy notes. Often, therapy notes feel more private than general medical records. Also, during a lawsuit, client’s records must be shared with the other legal parties and could become part of the public record. There is no way to know how many people will have access to the records, between attorneys & law firm staff on both sides of a lawsuit, court employees and staff, and other people that make up the legal system. Most often, lawsuits are built on medical records from doctors proving physical injury and attorneys don’t need therapy notes to build their case. Sometimes, a treatment summary letter written by a therapist can be enough evidence if a client needs proof they are in therapy. On the rare occasion, a client needs proof of a mental health diagnosis, such as PTSD, we encourage them to seek out a psychiatrist or psychologist who have assessments and tools to meet the burden of proof required by the legal system.