Frequently Asked Questions

A lot of insurance companies and providers are now using the term “behavioral health.” Simply put, behavioral health refers to services an individual receives to address mental health or substance abuse issues

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, creative blocks and many more. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include: 

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools, you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much-needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.

Does treatment (therapy) work? Will it work for me?

At ARK, we work collaboratively with each client developing a unique course of treatment that is guaranteed results. As long as a client puts forth the effort (including letting the therapist know if he/she disagrees with the treatment plan or route therapy is going), progress will be unavoidable. Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a mental health clinician. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.

You should be aware, however, that if you use insurance benefits to pay for all or part of your therapy, some information about your treatment will need to be reported to your insurer.

However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations: 

  1. 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.
  2. If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person. we will attempt to de-escalate crisis situation but if unsuccessful we may need to take additional steps to ensure his/her safety. Review our privacy practices for further information.
  3. If the court orders a release of information as part of a legal proceeding, or as otherwise required by the law.

We recommend that you tell your teen that he is required to come to one session, but that after that session, he can determine whether or not he would like to return. This is often very effective because by the end of the session, the teen typically feels heard and understood and many of the misconceptions the teen may have had about therapy are dispelled. In most cases, the teen chooses to return to therapy. This is also very effective because it allows the teen to participate in therapy by choice and not because the parents are requiring it. The teen is then more committed to therapy and to the change process.

Consider your first session as a learning experience. You are learning about your therapist and your therapist is learning about you. You may bring in questions. Your first session does not obligate you to more sessions.

Your session may take many forms but will typically involve the following:

Introductions

  • Discussion of ARK Counseling Philosophy
  • Discussion of confidentiality, procedures, and your rights as a client
  • Discussion about why you are coming to therapy

While in the group, members have some rights.

1.Informed ConsentInformation clients deserve BEFORE JOINING- A participant needs a clear statement of the purpose of the Group.

  1. Pre-group Disclosure
  • A description of the Group format, procedures, & rules
  • A pre-Group interview to determine appropriateness
  • An opportunity to seek information, pose questions, & explore concerns
  • A statement outlining the education, training, and qualifications of the Group leader
  • Information concerning fees and expenses
  • Information concerning the length of the Group
  • Information concerning the frequency and duration of group meetings
  • Group goals and objectives
  • Theoretical Orientation and techniques generally employed by the counselor
  • Information about the Psychological Risks associated with group counseling
  • Understanding the circumstances when confidentiality must be broken because of legal, ethical, or professional reasons
  • Clarification of what services can and cannot be provided within the group experience
  • Assistance from the group leader in developing personal goals and objectives
  • Clear understanding of the division of responsibility between the group leader and the participants
     
  1. CLIENT’S RIGHTS DURING THE GROUP

Instructions concerning what is expected of them

  • The freedom to leave the group if it does not appear to be what they expected, or what they need or want
  • Procedures for leaving the group should be fully explained at the initial session
  • Clients have a responsibility to the leader and the group to explain why they desire to leave the group
  • Notification of any tape/video recording of group sessions
  • A consultation with the Group leader should a crisis arise as a direct result of participation
  • The exercise of reasonable safeguards on the Group leaders’ part to minimize the potential risks of the group
  • Respect for member privacy with regard to what the person will reveal as well as to the degree of disclosure
  • Freedom from undue group pressure
  • Observance of confidentiality by leader & membership
  • Freedom from having values imposed
  • The opportunity to use group resources for personal growth
  • The right to be treated as an individual and accorded dignity and respect
  • The fact confidentiality cannot be guaranteed is clearly communicated to group members.
  • Group leaders should oftentimes reaffirm the importance of not discussing content from group sessions with those outside of the group.
  • If a certain member poses a threat to themselves or others, the group leader is ethically and legally obliged to intervene.
  1. The freedom to leave a group: Group member has right to leave the group at any time the individual sees a need for it.
  2. The right to confidentiality: Counselors are responsible for securing the safety and confidentiality of any counseling records they create, maintain, transfer, or destroy whether the records are written, taped, computerized, or stored in any other medium

Although it may appear if your therapist was being rude, she was actually respecting your privacy and confidentiality. By acknowledging that she knew you, there would be a greater risk that someone could connect her as your therapist

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