Questions & Answers
Even though therapy at SCS is free, when you come for therapy, it’s similar to buying a service. Like any service one seeks, one’s own unique needs are better served if we acquire information that helps us to choose the kind of service that best suits our needs. To help you begin to think about what therapy could offer to you, we compiled a list of questions you might have about therapy. Actually, we did not compile this list. The list is a slightly adapted version of the list created by Drs. Andrew Pomerantz, M. Galvin, and Mitchell Handelsman. Their questions are reprinted, with their generous permission, below.
If you come to SCS, you will receive a “Consent for Treatment” form. You can also access this form here. If you’d like to, you can read it over before coming to our center. On the Consent for Treatment form we try to answer most of the questions you might have about receiving services at SCS, but we are aware we might not touch on everything that is important to you. Feel free to ask your therapist any or all of these questions—or others that you think of that are not on this list-- when you meet with your therapist.
About Your Therapist and the Treatment
- What is your training and experience? Are you licensed by the state? Supervised? Board certified?
- Are you a psychologist? Psychiatrist? Family therapist? Counselor? What are the advantages and limitations of your credentials?
- Who do I talk to if I have a complaint about therapy which we can’t work out (e.g., supervisor, state licensing board, etc.)?
- What is the name of your kind of therapy?
- How did you learn how to do this therapy? Where?
- How does your kind of therapy compare with other kinds of therapy?
- How does your kind of therapy work?
- What are the possible risks involved? (like divorce, depression)
- What percentage of clients improve? In what ways? How do you know? (e.g., published research, your own practice experience, discussions with your colleagues, etc.)
- What percentage of clients get worse? How do you know?
- What percentage of clients improve or get worse without this therapy? How do you know?
- About how long will it take?
- What should I do if I feel therapy isn’t working?
- Will I have to take any kind of tests? What kind?
- Do you follow a therapy manual with predetermined steps?
- Do you do therapy over the phone? Over the Internet?
- What other types of therapy or help are there? (like support groups)
- How often do they work? How do you know?
- What are the risks and benefits of these other approaches? What are the risks and benefits of NO therapy?
- How is your type of therapy different from these others?
- Do you prescribe medication? Do you work with others who do?
- (If I am taking medications:) Will you be working together with the doctor who prescribed my medication?
- How much do you know about the medications I am taking?
- How are appointments scheduled?
- Is there any limit to the number of times we can meet—per week or per month or per day?
- How long are sessions? Do I have to pay more for longer ones?
- How can I reach you in an emergency?
- If you are not available, who is there I can talk to?
- What happens if the weather is bad, or I’m sick?
- What kind of records do you keep? Who has access to them? (insurance companies, supervisors, etc.)
- Under what conditions are you allowed to tell others about the things we discuss? (suicidal/homicidal threats, child abuse, court cases, insurer demand, supervisors, etc.)
- Do other members of my family, or the group, have access to information?
- What if a professor or a staff member refers me to you—do they have access to my counseling record?
- What if I tell you about a campus policy I violated—do you have to tell campus personnel?
- How do governmental regulations (such as federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) regulations) influence how you handle the confidentiality of my records? Under these regulations, is confidentiality equal for all types of information?
- How does FERPA impact how you handle my counseling record?
- What is your fee?
- Do I need to pay for missed sessions?
- Do I need to pay for telephone calls, letters, or emails?
- Do I need to pay for ADHD testing?
- If I do not pay my fee, will you pursue legal or debt collection activity? Under what circumstances?
- How much and what kind of information will you be required to tell the insurance company about our sessions? (diagnosis, symptoms, etc.)
- How much influence does an insurance company have on the therapy(length, goals, etc.)?