Updated: May 18, 2022
What should I expect when I first contact 316?
Whether you contact 316 Counseling Center by phone, email, or our website, we want you to have a positive first impression. You may have never been to counseling or know how the process works, and we understand that. Our wonderful office manager Kristen will ask you a few questions, like how you heard about us, a brief description of what you are seeking help with, and your preferred appointment day and time.
Also, because we provide counselor supervision to therapists in training, you may be asked if you are comfortable seeing a student counselor. The great part of seeing a student counselor is you are provided with quality therapy at a substantially reduced rate, and they often have more scheduling flexibility and availability. Our student counselors are highly trained, and our Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisors oversee their counseling.
Fees and Billing
During this initial conversation, we will also explain our fees. As a non-profit center, we have made the choice to operate on a sliding scale fee
schedule based on gross annual household income and the therapist's level of experience. Our office manager will provide you with all this information so you can make an informed decision about choosing to schedule. Additionally, at this time, we do not currently take insurance; however, we are happy to provide you with a Superbill.
A Superbill is a receipt for a session(s) for out-of-network counseling services that can then be submitted to insurance companies for potential reimbursement. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee reimbursement, but we encourage you to contact your health insurance provider, who can help verify your out-of-network benefits and walk you through the submission process. Typically this will involve a 10-20 minute phone call but can often save you a substantial amount of money in the long run.
After deciding to schedule with us, our office manager will send you an email with some basic information and a link to our client portal. Our center utilizes a system called Simple Practice. One of the helpful parts of Simple Practice is that all the forms to be completed can be electronically signed and viewed at any time. Simple Practice also allows you to book appointments online, set up payments, upload documents, and send secure messages to your therapist or our office staff. As part of the onboarding process, you will be asked to sign and complete some basic forms just like you would at any doctor's office.
A client intake form may be different from what you are used to filling out. This form provides your therapist with valuable information regarding your family background, physical history, basic demographics, and questions related to your current and past mental health. It may seem to you that some of these questions are odd, feel invasive, repetitive, or just plain unnecessary. We understand these feelings, and all that we ask is that you complete the questions to the best of your ability. Answering these questions provides us with a better understanding of who you are and how we can help. However, if there is a question(s) you are uncomfortable with answering, please feel free to skip it or bring it to your therapist's attention to discuss together.
The Intake Appointment
The first appointment with your therapist is called an intake. During this session, your therapist will inform you of our center's policies, session fees, the therapist's rights and responsibilities towards you as the client, and your rights and responsibilities towards them. Therapy is a two-way process, and it is essential you feel your therapist is the right fit for you and vice versa! In this intake session, your counselor will also go over some of the forms you filled out and may even ask you some of the same questions. This doesn't mean they haven't already read your forms or our ill-prepared; it just means the therapist wants the opportunity to talk with you face to face about some of your answers and make sure they understand you and your needs.
Additionally, your therapist will ask you if you have any particular goals in mind for counseling or issues you would like to address. Don't worry, and it's ok if you don't know yet! You and your therapist will work together on creating goals as your therapy progresses.
The most important thing to remember about therapy is that it is a collaborative effort. Your counselor is not the expert of your life, and their goal is not to tell you what to do or what not to do. The hope is that you will feel more empowered and clear-headed about your life and decision-making abilities over time.
Also, don't be alarmed if your intake appointment feels a little long. It often takes longer than a typical 50-minute session for your therapist to gather all the information they need from you and go over all the forms. Next week, we will discuss how the therapy process progresses and go over some of the therapy tools and techniques your counselor may use with you.