Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT HAPPENS IN A FREE 15-MINUTE PHONE CONSULTATION?
A free 15-minute phone consultation is offered to all potential clients. It is a time for both you and your potential therapist to figure out if Healing Matters Counseling Center (HMCC) services are appropriate for you. We will discuss the credentials and therapy style of your therapist, what brings you to counseling, fees for services you are interested in, your previous therapy experiences, your previously diagnosed mental health conditions, and give you the opportunity to ask your potential therapist any questions.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST SESSION?
The first virtual session will be a 55-minute session focused on getting to know you better. During this session, your therapist will share about their approach to counseling, review policies including confidentiality and cancellations, and learn about what brings you to counseling. Then, the therapist will conduct an interview to get to know you better, including previous counseling experiences, childhood, employment or school, religious/spiritual beliefs, medical history, etc. We use multiple approaches to then identify the best course of treatment for you. We typically use a combination of standardized assessment, clinical interview, and record review (if provided).
It's a common experience in the first session for the therapist to ask a lot of questions, seeking information into how to best serve you and to tailor our approach to your needs. Our priority is making the intake process as comfortable as possible and we encourage you to speak up if there are questions you are uncomfortable answering.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY FIRST SESSION?
We recommend bringing information on any relevant mental health or medical history to your initial appointment. We often ask for access to prior medical records. While this is voluntary, HMCC believes that open and honest communication about your history gives us the best approach to meeting your needs in the therapy process. A release of information form will be provided in the intake paperwork via our HIPAA compliant software Simple Practice.
We ask that you log into your customized therapy portal via Simple Practice at least 24 hours before your first session to familiarize yourself with the software. We also ask that you complete all intake paperwork at least 24 hours before your initial appointment to allow our therapists to review your information and send you a Good Faith Estimate.
DO I HAVE TO SHARE MY STORY ALL OVER AGAIN?
HOW LONG ARE THERAPY SESSIONS AND HOW OFTEN DO I MEET WTIH MY THERAPIST?
The simple answer is yes, we will ask you to share your story again regardless of previous counseling experience because it is important for your therapist to understand what brings you to counseling and what you hope to get out of therapy services. That being said, we often hear from clients that the first session can feel overwhelming because you've shared your story multiple times already. While we cannot skip this important step, we can slow the process down to quiet that overwhelmed feeling. We are sensitive to new therapy goers or people who have been around the block with therapists previously. Either way, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with you and guide you through Healing Matters Counseling Center's approach to therapy.
For individual tele-therapy, the initial tele-therapy session takes 55 minutes to give us ample time to to get to know one another. All follow up tele-therapy sessions are typically 50 minutes in length to get the full benefit of the therapeutic process. We also strive to meet your needs, so if 50 minutes feels too long, we encourage you to talk to your therapist to see what accommodations can be put into place.
Most clients start meeting weekly with your therapist. This being said, you and your therapist will determine the frequency of virtual sessions based on various factors, including but not limited to safety assessments, client need, diagnosis, and scheduling availability.
HOW DO I ACCESS MY VIRTUAL TELE-THERAPY SESSION, AND WHAT IF I RUN INTO TECHNICAL ISSUES?
Approximately 24 hours before your session, you will receive an appointment reminder that contains a personalized website link to your Simple Practice tele-therapy session. If you run into issues while trying to log in, contact your therapist immediately for technical support by phone or email.
If your therapist does not see you log in to the virtual session within 10 minutes, they will make all attempts to contact you via your contact information provided. If your therapist cannot reach you and you do not notify us of the technological challenges at the start of your appointment, you will be charged for the full session, per our late policy.
If there are technical issues during a therapy session, our therapists are trained to act quickly and assess the next best step to ensure access to HMCC's therapy services. Typically this means switching to a phone call until the technical issues can be resolved.
WHAT ABOUT MY PRIVACY IF WE ARE MEETING VIRTUALLY?
Your privacy is very important to Healing Matters Counseling Center. We understand that you may be doing tele-therapy from a busy home with other family members, roommates, or even pets. We encourage you to find a private, quiet area of your home or car. If needed, we are happy to go on a virtual walk around your neighborhood if that gives you the most private setting.
Additionally, therapists at Healing Matters Counseling Center take specific measures to take your privacy into account. All therapists use headphones, sound machines, and a private office space to protect your confidentiality. If you do not feel safe talking about particular topics in your current space for tele-therapy, please let your therapist know ASAP. Our therapists are responsive in the moment to these issues and will create a plan on the spot to protect your information.
DOES TELE-THERAPY WORK AS WELL AS MEETING IN PERSON?
From our experiences and the research developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer is yes. The research says that tele-therapy is equally as effective as in-person therapy for most people. One research article can be found here.
If you have questions about whether tele-therapy is right for you, please contact us here.