FAQs Mental Health



    Frequently Asked Questions for Mental Health

    1. What are mental health concerns?
    2. Where do I start if I think my child or youth is having difficulties?
    3. Do you have a particular theoretical approach to counseling?
    4. How long is a typical session and how often should I see a therapist?
    5. What is the first session like?
    6. Are counseling sessions confidential?
    7. Do you accept my insurance?
    8. As a parent, how will I be included in my child’s treatment?
    9. Can I expect to feel better right away if I come in for therapy?
    10. Should I take medications?
    11. What if I know someone in a crisis?

    What are mental health concerns?

    • Mental health concerns can include both emotional problems and behavioral problems. Emotional problems may include concerns about mood (usually sadness) or concerns about anxiety. Behavioral problems can include concerns with anger and violence, as well as difficulties paying attention. All children and youth may experience brief problems with some or all of these, but when the problem starts to interfere with school, family, or everyday living, it may be time to seek help.

    • If it seems to you that your child is not listening to you, your house is chaotic, life is out of control, that nothing you do seems to bring about the changes you wish for, perhaps it’s time to call someone that can help you. We specialize in dealing with children, adolescents, young adults and family issues; many of our counselors have a Type 73 Certification to advocate for your child at school if needed.
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    Where do I start if I think my child or youth is having difficulties?

    • A good place to begin is with your child or youth’s doctor. Many physical illnesses can mimic the symptoms of mental illness. A physical exam can help to rule out certain illnesses. A diagnosis may come from your child’s doctor or from an expert in child mental health problems. It is important that your child receive an accurate diagnosis, especially before considering medication.
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    Do you have a particular theoretical approach to counseling?

    • We use behavior management techniques and various counseling approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Reality Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Insight Oriented Therapy, Behavior Therapy/Modification, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Grief Therapy, Conflict Resolution Therapy and Structural Family Therapy.
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    How long is a typical session and how often should I see a therapist?

    • The first session will be roughly 1 hour long. You will have some paperwork to fill out. Please bring a copy of your driver’s license and insurance card. The second session and any sessions after that will be roughly 45 -50 minutes in length. The amount of times that you will need to see a therapist will depend on the severity of your current issue. The counselor will be able to give you a better estimate of this as you start your sessions.
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     What is the first session like?

    • The first session is a chance for you to become acquainted with your counselor and to learn about your background and history. Your therapist will usually ask more questions than usual during this session so he/she can gain some perspective on whatever problems or issues you are wanting to address. Our goal is to offer you a warm, gentle environment that promotes sharing.
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    Are counseling sessions confidential?

    • Your counseling sessions will be confidential within the confines of the law. Confidentiality is a critical part of the therapeutic process. In order to make the most progress possible, it is essential that you can trust your therapist and feel comfortable in freely talking about the most intimate and personal parts of your life, without concern that those details will be revealed to anyone else.

    • The law in Illinois provides that the rule of confidentiality can only be broken in the most extreme circumstances, e.g. if a person is currently involved in acts of child abuse, if you are clearly likely to cause bodily harm to yourself or others, or if you waive in writing your right to confidentiality.

    • During our initial session, you will be provided specifics information about confidentiality in what is commonly referred to as an Informed Consent Form. You will also be provided information regarding the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA)
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    Do you accept my insurance?

    • We accept many insurance plans. As a courtesy, our front desk staff will verify your coverage and let you know what if any your financial responsibility will be. Insurance rarely covers 100% of all costs. The information provided to us by the insurance company is not a guarantee of payment and is based on the benefit status at the time of service. If you prefer to contact your insurance company, our front desk staff can advise you regarding the important questions to ask.

    • If you have a copay or deductible, we ask that payment be made at the time of service.

    • If your visits are covered by insurance, we submit claims to your insurance company. It can sometimes take two months or more for claims to process. After the claims process, we will send you a statement for any charges not already paid.

    • If your visits are not covered by insurance, we half self-pay rates we can offer patients.
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    As a parent, how will I be included in my child’s treatment?

    • We consider a child’s treatment to be a team effort. You will have an opportunity to meet your child’s therapist and communicate issues and concerns.

    • If you would like to contact your child’s therapist, the best way is through email. Our email address is on our individual business cards. Our providers are not available to take calls when they are in the office; your respect is appreciated. If there is an issue that warrants extended discussion, we would likely suggest setting aside an additional session or family session to address that.
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    Can I expect to feel better right away if I come in for therapy?

    • Some people begin to feel better as soon as they make the appointment to meet with a counselor or at the time of their first session. There is a sense of relief when you make the commitment to address an issue that has been problematic. More often, however, people do not feel better immediately. Therapy is sometimes very emotionally painful, because it involves active effort to look at yourself and your situations in a very deep way, and to make some difficult changes.

    • As you can imagine, if the problems that bring you to therapy were easy to solve, you would have solved them without the guidance of a therapist. Most people can expect uncomfortable feelings in therapy and between sessions: sadness, anger, anxiety, to name a few. In addition, as you make personal changes, you can expect an impact on some of your relationships. Through the short-term distress of addressing problems and making changes, keep in mind the potential long-term gains to help you through the hardest parts of therapy. When therapy is successful, the positive gains in self-esteem, relationships and coping skills can far outweigh the distress of making changes.
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    Should I take medications?

    • As therapists, we are not legally allowed to prescribe medications. However, based on a joint assessment of problems you are facing, it may be advisable to consult with a psychiatrist to determine whether medication is warranted. Typically, clients see someone under their health insurance coverage or we can refer you to a psychiatrist. If you do begin taking medication, your therapist, with your written permission, can collaborate with your psychiatrist to design a plan of treatment most appropriate for you.
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    What if I know someone in a crisis?

    • If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.

    • Call your doctor.

    • Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.

    • Ask a friend or family member for assistance.

    • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.

    • Make sure you or the suicidal person is not left alone.
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