Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I start?
Q: What should I expect on my first visit?
A: Your first visit will consist of an interview between you and your Therapist in which the two of you will determine if the Therapist is a good fit for your counseling needs. If you and the Therapist agree that the Therapist is not right for you, the Therapist will refer you to another Therapist.
Q: How often do I need to see my Therapist?
A: The usual appointment schedule is once a week, though you and your Therapist may decide to meet every other week. At your first session, you and the Therapist should agree on a regular day and time for your appointment.
Q: How long is each session?
A: Therapy sessions are typically 50 minutes. To maintain the secure frame, your Therapist will hold you to that time. If you arrive late, you still must stop at the agreed time. If, on the other hand, the Therapist is late, he/she should give you the full appointment time.
Q: What happens if I'm late or don't come to my appointment?
A: Your absences and lateness, as well as persistent silence, wanting to leave therapy, forgetting to pay or delaying payment, are often symptoms of “resistance”, or fighting therapy. These may (or may not) reflect outside issues, and should be discussed with your Therapist. In most cases, you will be responsible for paying for any regularly scheduled sessions that you miss or cancel; you are not responsible for paying for sessions cancelled by the Therapist.
Q: What are the fees for counseling?
A: Prior to your first session, the Therapist will inform you of the counseling fee. The fee for your initial assessment and ongoing therapy is typically $125 per session. Fees vary enormously with the geographical area, the Therapist’s qualifications, and the setting. See Payment Information for more.
Q: Do you accept health insurance?
A: Your health insurance may pay a portion of the fee and a receipt will be provided to you for insurance filing purposes. Barnwell Counseling & Family Therapy is an out-of-network provider and each client is responsible for filing and reimbursement through their own individual insurance company. See Payment Information for more.
Q: Are my counseling sessions confidential?
A: It should go without saying that you can expect absolute privacy and confidentiality. Under no circumstances may your Therapist ever reveal, without your permission, even the fact that you are a client, let alone any information at all about you or your case, to anyone. There may be instances when you choose to allow information to be released; in that case, your Therapist should obtain a signed consent form from you. If your therapy is provided as an employment benefit, there should be no requirement for the Therapist to report back to an employer about your progress. Managed health care programs increasingly intrude on this.
Q: How long I will need therapy?
A: In most cases, you will be the one to decide when it is time to stop therapy. This decision should be discussed in great depth with your Therapist to make sure you are not terminating prematurely as an unconscious reflection of some important issue in your life. If, however, you both agree that problems have been resolved and termination is appropriate, set a specific date for termination and stick to it. The frame should remain absolutely intact right to the end. After terminating, you have no further contact with your Therapist unless you experience some new emotional disturbance, in which case you can arrange another course of therapy.
Q: What is the cancellation policy?
A: Sessions are generally scheduled for 50 minutes. The appointment is reserved for you. If you fail to come to your appointment or you give less than a 24-hour notice, you will be charged a late cancellation or missed appointments fee of $65. Subsequent late cancellations or missed appointments will be charged at the full session rate of $125 for individuals/ couples or $150 for families. Any outstanding balances must be paid prior to scheduling your next session. After two consecutive absences, Michelle Barnwell may, at her discretion, refer you to another counselor if the client is non-compliant with the treatment process agreed upon in prior sessions.