FAQ

What about insurance?

We accept many different insurances. If you have insurance coverage through your work or private insurance, you may want to call them first to find out who they have locally to help you. It could be us or someone else. If you are having a hard time understanding insurance coverage for counseling, call us and we can direct you properly (no charge.) We do not take Medi-Cal at this time.

Why should a person seek counseling?

If you feel anxious or depressed for more than a two or three weeks or you think the anxiety or depression is more than just a "mood" you should seek help.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most common emotional problems. Anxiety can range from a constant feeling of restless uneasiness to being so nervous you cannot concentrate, eat, or sleep. Anxiety is closely related to other mental health problems, particularly depression and misuse of alcohol and other substances. It is normal to feel anxious when facing threatening or dangerous situations. However, if your level of anxiety becomes so severe that it significantly interferes with your ability to cope with daily life, you may have a mental health problem. For example, it may interfere with you doing things you want to do, such as shopping, talking in a meeting, driving, or going out socially.

What is Depression?

We all feel sad, unhappy, or overwhelmed from time to time—these unhappy feelings are a normal part of the emotional ups and downs of everyday life. Depression lasts longer than sadness and is accompanied by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and sometimes guilt that are so intense that they get in the way of going about your everyday life. Insomnia and decrease or increase of appetite can also be part of Depression.
Depression is not a mood that you will usually get better by itself.  If your depressed mood gets in the way of your daily living, it would be a good idea to get some help. One in five people have depression at some time in their lives. There is help for depression. Counseling or psychotherapy are some of the ways to get help. You do not have to face it alone.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Therapist

Sandra Bell

Edited from a Yahoo Answer July 21, 2006

Be sure that your therapist is licensed. There are several different kinds of licensed therapists: psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, and marriage and family therapists. All these have very good therapists and very bad ones.

Here are some questions you should ask a prospective therapist:

1. What is your location? This may seem like a no brainer but you don't want a long drive to an iffy part of town with no parking or very expensive parking.

2. What is your availability? You need to know the hours your therapist works. You also need to know if she is available 24 hours a day for emergencies.

3. Do you specialize in or have experience with my problem? If your problem is fear of flying, you want a therapist who knows specifically how to treat this.

4. How long have you been in practice? Research has shown that at least 10 years of experience is usually needed to produce a really good therapist.

5. What does the therapy cost? Psychiatrists are usually the most expensive while psychiatric social workers and marriage and family therapists are often the least expensive.

6. Do you deal with my insurance company?

7. If not covered by insurance, are you willing to adjust your fees? If not, can you refer me to someone who will? Most therapists set aside a percentage of their practice for low cost patients but your therapist may also have filled his quota. There are lower cost, non-profit community mental health centers you can go to. Their therapists are often younger and less experienced than those in private practice are.

8. What is your treatment philosophy and what are your treatment methods? You may not be at all familiar with this topic but if the therapist seems to be a rigid adherent of one philosophy or treatment, this is a warning signal. In general, if the therapist is a psychoanalyst you will spend a long time in therapy but if she is a cognitive- behavioral therapist, the therapy will be relatively short and time limited.

9. What is your position on medications? If the therapist is flat out against medication for all conditions, run don't walk. Most therapists, however, will feel that some conditions, depression, for example, will benefit from a combination of medication and therapy.