Distance Counseling

Distance Counseling Services

People travel more than ever before and our world constantly grows smaller in the ways we experience it. We are mobile, fast, and need creative solutions to carve out the space and time for self-care and self-reflection. Video Counseling (Telehealth or Distance Counseling) is a perfect solution to finding ways to accomplish your goals and find peace, especially if you haven’t been able to physically go to an office because of your schedule or health.

Is video counseling right for you?

  1. Are you comfortable with and have access to electronics and reliable internet service or WIFI?
  2. Are you a resident of Virginia?
    (I am licensed in Virginia and am therefore able to provide therapy services to these residents only.)
  3. Do you need flexible therapy? Do you travel frequently, live in a remote area of Virginia, or perhaps have a chronic illness?
  4. Is your privacy important to you?

What does it cost?

My rate is $125/hour.  Counseling is an investment in you that pays you back in resolving old wounds and increasing life satisfaction. Still, while the return is priceless, I support every client in choosing a therapy option that they can actually afford.

Will insurance cover it?

Video counseling services are sometimes covered and sometimes not covered by insurance depending on the company, policy, and plan. To determine coverage, call the member services number on the back of your card and directly find out information about your particular policy and the coverage that you have about behavioral telehealth services.

I am an in-network provider for Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Aetna and out-of-network for all insurances. You may have significant cost-sharing benefits through your out-of-network benefits if your plan reimburses for Telehealth.  If you choose to access them, you will pay for my services upfront. Then, I will provide a superbill, which has all the info your insurance company will need for billing. All you need is the address of where to send it, and in some cases, you can submit it online. Then, in just a few weeks, you should get a check in the mail according to your benefits.

 

In case you have never used out-of-network services, here are some benefits of self-pay you might want to consider: 

  • Confidentiality- With self-pay, no information about your diagnosis and/or treatment is released to your insurance company or employer for payment purposes unless you yourself choose to submit it.
  • Flexibility- Treatment is based 100% on your goals, rather than only the goals an insurance company deems appropriate.
  • Location of Your Choice- Many insurance companies do not reimburse for distance counseling. However, if you travel for work or pleasure frequently or prefer distance counseling for whatever reason, we can continue to meet regularly with distance counseling.
  • Focus on Wellness- Many people seek therapy to improve their lives, rather than needing it to treat a diagnosed mental health illness. However, in order to bill insurance, you must qualify for a diagnosis. If you do not meet criteria for a diagnosis, insurance companies will not reimburse therapy.

Can video counseling services really be as good as in-person therapy?

Some studies find that video counseling is even more effective than in-person treatment. Of course, whether or not you like and find the format effective for yourself will be important.   Your potential outcomes could depend entirely on the goals you want to accomplish, such as working on assertiveness, decreasing anxiety, no longer being a "people-pleaser," healing from trauma, and changing unhealthy behaviors or patterns, to just name a few possibilities.

  • As with in-person therapy, potential benefits are individual and based, in large part, on each person's circumstances, goals, and ability to be accountable to yourself for the goals you want to achieve.

Are there any risks to distance counseling?

  • Sometimes, the process of healing brings up uncomfortable or, at times, scary/painful feelings and/or memories before these are resolved and sometimes, your symptoms may worsen, or new concerns or symptoms may arise before resolving.
  • There may be times that technology could fail, and while I have backup plans in place, if this is something you are not comfortable with, please consider this.
  • While your record's confidentiality is protected under Federal HIPAA guidelines, there are exceptions that might result in your therapist needing to release information about your treatment history that can affect employment, insurance eligibility, and personal relationships.
  • I use a variety of different treatment orientations including (but not limited to) EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Skills Building, Comprehensive Trauma Treatment Techniques, Narrative Therapy, Behavior Modification, and Motivational Interviewing and Supportive Therapy techniques. All treatment decisions will be discussed, and any specific risks will be identified prior to your participation.
  • Ultimately, you are in charge of your own treatment. You can (and should) opt out of anything recommended that you do not support.

Is Telehealth Confidential?

I use an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant web portal called Doxy.me for telehealth services. You can find out more about it by visiting their website. https://doxy.me an easy to use interface similar to Skype or Facetime but provides a higher level of security and privacy.

  • All notes, records and discussions related to therapy are confidential, as protected by law. Information is not disclosed without a written release of information. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
  • Exceptions include:
    • There is suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse.Therapists are mandated by law to report this to the appropriate authorities.
    • You are threatening serious bodily harm to another person(s).Therapists must notify police and inform the intended victim(s).
    • You intend potentially deadly harm to yourself.I will make every effort to enlist cooperation in ensuring your safety. If you do not/cannot cooperate, further measures may be taken without your permission to ensure your safety.
    • A court orders surrender of notes/records.
  • I strive to keep all records confidential. To this end, all records are kept under two locks and/or via government-standard encryption. Therefore, emails, texts, and all electronic forms of communication (including video-conferencing) are handled through HIPAA-compliant vendors.
  • Although nothing is 100% guaranteed, I do everything within my power to protect your confidentiality. I am more than happy to discuss any concerns you might have about this matter.

Are there some issues not appropriate for video counseling?

Yes. More intense symptoms and situations including severe suicidal ideation, domestic violence, self-harm, and substance abuse may be better treated with in-person counseling and I will refer you to a local therapist that will meet your needs for this.

 

What technology is needed for video counseling to work?

A computer, laptop, tablet, or even smartphone can be used.

Your internet bandwidth must be above the minimum requirements of 3mbps Upload and 3mbps Download.

What can you expect from a session?

  • Each session is tailored to the needs of each client.
  • The initial session usually lasts 50-60 minutes.
    • It includes a thorough history, mental health assessment, and discussion of your goals, as well as treatment options.
    • It is a good time to ask questions. We will be getting to know one another. The best indicators of therapeutic success are a good personality match between the client and the therapist.
    • Brief intake paperwork might be completed.
  • Typical follow-up sessions usually last 45-50 minutes.
    • Some are client-led (meaning you bring in an agenda to discuss).
    • Some are therapist-led (meaning the therapist is guiding you through a more structured treatment model).
    • Longer sessions are available, if needed.  Contact me for more details.
  • Sessions might occur weekly or bi-monthly depending on your needs and the frequency of sessions will likely change over time as your treatment needs change and you accomplish treatment goals.

 

How does Video Counseling work? Can I use this service if I am already a client?

  1. If you are an established client, simply contact me, just as you would for a regular session.  If you are a new client, you will need to register and set up an appointment for online therapy.
  2. Online sessions must be prepaid unless other payment arrangements have been made.
  3. A few minutes before the time of your appointment, simply click on the link provided and enter the virtual waiting room.
  4. At the time of your appointment you will be connected.

Do you think Distance Counseling might be an option for you? Click here to schedule a free 15 minute video consultation and let's see if we are a good fit!

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