Frequently Asked Questions
Seeing a counselor for the first time can make some people feel a little nervous especially at a time when you may already be feeling vulnerable. Ms. Ilona’s aim is to make the process as comfortable and stress free as possible. There is some information below to give you an idea of what to expect. If you have any further questions feel free to call or email.
Do I need a referral to see a counselor?
No. You can make an appointment at anytime without a referral.
Why would I see a private counselor instead of a psychologist?
It does depend what your concerns are. If you have a genuine mental health issue you should see your GP and talk to them about the best course of action.
When you are referred to a psychologist on a mental health care plan the information you provide your psychologist becomes part of the public domain. That means interested parties, such as government departments and insurance agencies may access your records for information regarding your mental health.
With Ms. Ilona your privacy is assured, your details do not get passed on to anyone, not your GP, no insurance companies and no government departments.
What are your fees?
You can check fees here. Payment is due in full when services are rendered. For your convenience, you may pay by check, cash, or credit card (accepted all major credit cards.) I am an out of network provider.
How does confidentiality work with the counselor?
All information that you disclose in your session with the counselor is confidential. However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the counselor has a reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
What should I expect from my first session?
At the beginning of your first session your counselor will briefly run through important paperwork with you. This will include completing a form with basic personal information and a consent form that cover issues such as confidentiality, fees and other important information about sessions.
After completing paperwork, the remainder of the session is usually spent discussing the issues that have brought you into therapy.
As well as developing a thorough understanding of your concerns, the counselor will explore relevant background history, for example, information about your family, social relationships, work history and any past counseling that you have done. Based on this information the counselor will begin to help you to understand more about what might be triggering and maintaining your current issues.
How long are sessions with a counselor?
At ip.counseling sessions are approximately 50-60 minutes long.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Do you have a sliding scale?
Yes, ip.counseling provides sliding scale. Please, contact the counselor by phone or email for more information.
What benefits can I expect from working with a counselor?
Counseling and therapy can provide insight and new perspectives into life’s challenges and can help create solutions to difficult problems. Many people find that working with a counselor can enhance personal development, improve relationships and family dynamics, and can ease the challenges of daily life. Sometimes, just having someone there to listen is helpful. Overall, people in therapy tend to have lower levels of anxiety and stress, decreased conflict, and improved quality of life.
What is your cancellation policy?
A 24-hours advance notice is required for canceled sessions. The fee for missed sessions, or sessions canceled with less than 24 hours notice is $60.
Will there be homework?
When you come for sessions Ms. Ilona will aim to improve your understanding of your issue as well as add in some new tools to help you address it. Therapy is most effective when you integrate what your learn during sessions into daily life. Ms. Ilona will usually end sessions with a task for you to consider or focus on. She may suggest you look at some of your actions or thoughts or ask you to consider practicing some of the new behaviors you have discussed. As you progress you will likely be doing more homework between sessions. The idea of homework is improving in your ability to address more of these things at home instead of at the counseling office. This may be readings, discussions, or tasks depending on the specific place you are with your changes. Homework also helps with keeping momentum between sessions so that you are making it a habit to do the things that are becoming helpful for you.