Q: What may I expect from counseling?
A: Once you have made a decision to see a counselor or therapist, you still might be apprehensive about this process. Many people feel nervous before the first appointment. Counseling is a shared journey; a shared process. And, although you and I will travel together, it is ultimately your journey and you will make your own decisions. 

Counseling is not a journey for the faint hearted, but I will travel with you. I do not have answers for all your concerns, but I do have the ability to listen carefully, and will ask thoughtful questions. 

Your answers to these questions will help shape the direction of our work. You can expect to be respected. You can expect that I will offer opinions and suggestions from time to time but I will not tell you what to do.  

Q: How long does a session last?
A: We schedule sessions for 50 minutes. 

Q: What happens during the first session?
A: The initial session is the time for you to start to share your story, to talk about why you are here and to begin to talk about how I may be able to help you. Sessions last about 50 minutes. Another important aspect of the first session is that you are deciding if we are a good fit. Do I seem like someone you can trust? We are establishing a relationship that will become the foundation for working together. You begin to figure out some goals; I begin to figure out how to help you get there.

Q: Is what I say confidential?
A: In general, the answer is yes. Your right to confidentiality is protected by law. I take this professional and ethical responsibility seriously. However, as part of your care, you may decide to give me permission to share information with others, such as your physician, another therapist, a family member or your employer, but you decide what information you want disclosed. 

Exceptions to my ability to maintain your confidentiality would be  
  • If you disclosed being a perpetrator of child sexual or physical abuse 
  • If you reveal thoughts that would lead me to believe that you are at immanent risk of seriously harming yourself or someone else and are unwilling to contract for no self harm 
  • If you have been ordered to attend counseling sessions by your employer or court. 
  • I also must share a certain amount of information, including a diagnosis, with your insurance company if I am filing claims for insurance reimbursement.

Q: Do I have to use my insurance?
A: No. Many people choose to pay for their treatment by themselves to avoid the disclosure of personal health information (PHI) to third parties like insurance companies. The decision to self pay or to use insurance is entirely up to you. This is something we might discuss before or during your first visit.

Q: How many times do I have to come?
A: A simple answer is that you are not forced to come, and may stop coming at any time. I don't ask you to sign a contract or other document that commits you to a specific number of sessions. Many people find there is great benefit in coming weekly, at least at the beginning of therapy. 

Other factors that can impact the number of times you would see me would be the goals you've established, the length of time your problems have existed, and the intensity of the work you want to do. Some insurance plans set limits on the number of visits permitted per calendar year, so insurance limitations might be a factor we need to consider.

Q: I don't want to have to take a lot of time off from work to come see you.  Do you have office hours that can accommodate my work schedule?

A: I have flexible office hours. I am available until 7pm Mondays through Thursdays, and I see people every other Saturday morning. Please see the schedule for my hours for more specific information.

Q: Can you complete forms for disability cases or write correspondence with other professionals for me?

A: I will be happy to do that for you. 
Fees for forms and documentation are equal to that portion of my hourly fee.
For example one half hour of documentation would equal one half my hourly fee. 

Q: How do I know if you are covered by my insurance plan?
A: I participate in most insurance plans. These are listed on the same page as my office schedule. A number of insurance companies "carve out" their mental health benefits to a separate managed care organization so it is best to verify coverage with your insurance company directly. 

I can help you with this if necessary, as dealing with insurance companies can be confusing and complicated. My services are also available through many EAP plans. EAP is Employee Assistance Program. Under an EAP plan, you may have access to a preset number of employer-paid visits. These visits would be at no cost to you, and can be an excellent way to explore the therapy process. There are usually some limitations to most EAP plans, so check with your company HR Department for details.

Q: How much experience do you have?
A: I have been in practice since 1989, and I have maintained a full time private practice since 1993. Early on, I worked for a private psychiatric hospital, and I spent several years working for a private non-profit family service agency. I attend conferences and workshops regularly and I participate in a supervision group with a number of other experienced therapists.

Q: Do you see children or families or individuals?
A: I work primarily with adults, either individually or as couples. As a general rule, I do not see individuals younger than 16, unless I am working with the entire family. I work with several colleagues who have terrific experience working with children so I refer younger individuals to them.

Q: Do you prescribe medication?
A: No. Only an MD can prescribe medication in Georgia. I work closely with several psychiatrists in the Decatur and Midtown areas and will refer you to one for a medication evaluation if that seems appropriate.

Q: What are parking fees at your location?
A: I provide a parking validation for 1 hour for people who park in the visitors garage. 
There is no charge to park in the lined spaces in the driveway after 6pm 
or on Saturdays
Julie F Wilson, LCSW
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