Thank you for your interest in Foundations Family Counseling, below you will find a list of some of our most frequently asked questions regarding counseling. We understand that therapy is an intimidating process to get started and we really do know it requires great bravery to reach out for help. We hope the answers below will provide some guidance.
If you have a question for us that isn’t listed below, we encourage you to give us a call at 303-393-0085 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will always be our goal to make you feel safe and comfortable.
What happens in counseling?
First, we want you to feel really comfortable and safe. After that, counseling provides a variety of things for you. It’s a place to kind of dump everything out so that someone else can help you organize it and make sense of it. It’s a place where thoughts and emotions can be deeply understood; where the underlying causes and forces can be seen more clearly. One of the most powerful things any of us ever feels is the sense that someone else truly and deeply “gets us.” This feels better than almost anything!
In counseling, we understand how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors influence each other. We understand how we have come to do life in the way that we do. We can discover our expectations, values, and desires, and create goals to help us get to where we want to go.
Counseling is a place to understand our relationships; past, present, and future; with others and ourselves. More than anything, counseling is a hopeful place. A place we believe can foster growth, empower change, and bring holistic healing to individuals, couples, and families.
What happens during my first appointment?
The first appointment is kind of a get-to-know-you session. Depending on the therapist’s style, this may be more or less formal. For many counselors, the first session is an attempt to get the “360 Degrees” on you, your life, and your relationships. We want to know the ins and outs, the backgrounds, the patterns, the struggles, and the hopes.
If you are an individual, we want to know what your life currently looks like, what it has looked like in the past, and how you want it to look. Most people have to learn to ask really basic questions again. What did I dream for myself and my life?
If you are a couple, we want to understand your current relationship and how you got to where you are now. We want to understand your relationship history, especially with your original family when you were a child growing up. The reason we want to know this is because we almost always repeat, in some way, aspects of our original family; roles, patterns, and expectations. And we want to understand what you are wanting to create in your relationship now. All relationships are co-created, so we need to ask the very important question, “What do I want to create and how am I getting in the way of what I am wanting?”
If you are a family, we want to know how you have functioned in the past, how you are currently functioning, and how you would prefer to function as a family. Just talking plainly and openly about these simple questions in a therapeutic setting can be very powerful. What is everyone wanting? Usually, individuals within a family are wanting very similar things (understanding, connection, freedom – to be seen and heard). We just don’t know we are wanting the same things!
If we are working with your child, most play therapists, child-centered therapists, and adolescent therapists will want to get to know both you and your child over time. Our therapists are great at working with your child directly, but also letting you in on the process; offering parent support and coaching. Parenting is the hardest thing ever. And wonderful too. What a strange mix! In the first session, the counselor is going to meet with whoever makes most sense to them for beginning the complex work of strategically conceptualizing both the individuals and the family as a complete unit with its own patterns and dynamics. This is not speedy work. Be patient. It takes time. Children work at their own speed and have a unique way of working through their stuff. It can be frustrating for adults. But all of our child/adolescent therapists know what they are doing and know what they are looking for and how to help you create the family structure, function, and relationships you want.
In any case, we want you to feel, in the very first session, that we get you, we understand where you are wanting to go, and we have some good ideas of how to get you there!
Will my health insurance cover counseling?
Yes, possibly! We have clinicians on Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare. Many clinicians also take Colorado Access Medicaid and Behavioral Health Inc Medicaid, which are the Medicaid providers for Denver, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.
If we can connect you to one of these clinicians, we will! However, since insurance providers are limited, they are usually in high demand and often, they are not able to accept new insurance clients. When this is the case, we are happy to look at your insurance provider directory and refer you to any clinicians we might know on your insurance panel.
Other things to consider is the deductible you must meet in order to receive any insurance benefit. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to limit your therapist search to in-network providers. If you have a high deductible, you may never reach the requirements to receive any benefit. In these cases, you might want to consider going out-of-network. Make sure to check out your out-of-network benefits. If you have them and would like to use your out-of-network benefits, our contract clinicians will be happy to give you a comprehensive statement that you can submit to your insurance company for partial reimbursement. Some insurance companies reimburse up to 80% of the per-session cost.
Regardless, all of our clinicians maintain sliding scale slots for those who cannot pay a full out-of-pocket rate. These sliding scales range from $60 to $100, depending on the clinician. A counselor who offers sliding scale fees is not a lesser therapist! This is an ethical standard of practice for all counselors. We all do some sliding scale and pro-bono work. Access to good care for all people is a priority! Our counselors care taking care of those who need good therapeutic services. In all cases, we want you to get the help and support you need. And we will help you in any way we can!
Is everything I say confidential?
Yes, of course. By law and by ethical standards, everything you say is privileged information and cannot be shared with others. We all have a sense of exposure when we share unknown and vulnerable things. We get that sense that someone could be watching or listening; that someone could find out! But you can be certain that what you say in the therapy room stays there. And it is important to know that really good, compassionate therapists hold their clients in a special high regard. They do not talk about their clients in demeaning ways to other counselors or talk about how “crazy” their clients are. We know that the energy we have with our clients outside of session affects the energy we have with our clients inside of a session.
Our clinicians really like their clients and want the very best for them! And because of this, they will consult with other clinicians to get their feedback and ideas of ways of helping them do their best work with their clients. You need to know that your name will never be mentioned. Nor will any identifying information be shared with other professionals. But consultation is just good practice. It helps everyone!
There are a couple exceptions to confidentiality that are important to tell you about. And they are there simply to maintain the safety of everyone. We, as therapist, must break confidentiality if we think you or someone else might be in physical danger of some kind. And we must protect children and the elderly at all costs. Most people can understand this as reasonable and necessary. You can read more in our intake and disclosure packet.
Do you accept Medicaid?
Yes. Many clinicians take Colorado Access Medicaid and Behavioral Health Inc. Medicaid, which are the Medicaid providers for Denver, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.
When you come to us with Medicaid coverage, you can know that you are getting the same level of care that you would get at a top-of-the-line mental health clinic. We are all human and we all share the same struggles. How we pay for therapy is unimportant. The care we receive is paramount. Medicare clients can only be seen by a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), so just a couple of our therapists can do Medicare work. But if we can make that happen, we will!
How much does counseling cost?
This depends on the therapist you see. Our clinicians are Independent Contractors so each counselor determines their own rates for each service they offer. Our suggested full fee as an organization (based on industry standards in our area of town) is $140 per session (50-60min in length). Some of the therapists we contract with maintain a certain number of sliding scale slots for those who need an adjusted fee.
When we take your call and find out what you are looking for in counseling, we will also talk with you about how you plan to pay for therapy. Are you planning to try and use your insurance? Are you going to take advantage of an out-of-network benefit? Or are you planning to pay out-of-pocket? If you will be paying out-of-pocket, then we can find out what fee range works for you. Then we will reach out to the clinicians who might be the best fit for what you are looking for and see what kind of rate we can negotiate. At times, our clinicians’ available sliding scale slots are full and that will limit the number of therapists available to work with you. When all is said and done, we work hard to accommodate the financial reality of as many potential clients as possible.
How can I get the most out of my counseling sessions?
In general, the more goal-oriented we are in our approach, the more effective counseling will be. We have to know what we are moving toward. Usually, the goals we work on in counseling aren’t about ultimate life outcomes, which can feel too big, too distant, too unknowable, and too unattainable. More often, the goals we work on are more immediate, practical, and incremental.
Here are some examples of common therapeutic goals:
- Figuring out what I’m struggling with and why
- Getting more aware and comfortable with my feelings and emotions
- Effectively managing my feelings and emotions
- Exploring my identity so I can figure out who I really am and what I’m wanting
- Experiencing less anxiety or managing my anxiety more effectively
- Doing things to elevate my mood
- Discovering my values, expectations, and desires in life and relationship
- Shifting negative or problematic behaviors
- Changing my relationship dynamics
- Healing from hurts and traumas
- Figuring out my life trajectory – career, community, and family
- Creating a better relationship with myself
For more information, read our full blog on getting the most out of counseling: How to Get the Most Out of Counseling.
I Think My Friend Needs Help. How Do I Get Him or Her to See a Counselor?
For whatever reason, even in this day and age, there is for many people a stigma around therapy. It seems a bit strange to us therapists, because we think therapy is great! Regardless, many feel that going to therapy must be a sign of weakness, failure, being completely lost, innately flawed, or just plain crazy. And, of course, this is simply not the case.
Going to therapy for strength, healing, clarity, discovery, personal development, and growth is one of the most courageous and wise things any of us can do. So, very simply, take that stance with your friend. Share with them your positive view of counseling and your appreciation of their courage. If you have ever been to see a counselor, tell them about your experience in therapy. And help resource them by sharing potential referrals. More than anything, we want to know that we are not alone. So, if you have ever struggled in similar ways as your friend, be vulnerable and tell them about it. If your relationship has a degree of authenticity and vulnerability, offer to be a supportive friend by making yourself available for processing outside of counseling. And keep in mind that people will not go to therapy if they are really not ready. And pushing too hard or trying to force them to go to therapy does not usually work very well. Even if they end up going to counseling, the work will not be very effective if they are not ready to engage in the therapy process.
Lastly, keep in mind that people are responsible for their own lives and must ultimately take full responsibility for the changes they want and need to make. Treating someone who is struggling like they are helpless is not usually helpful. People are generally stronger and more resilient than we think. Reflect the strengths you see in your friend and compassionately encourage them. Then, just follow this up with support.