Q. What is SimplePractice?
SimplePractice, LLC, is the software I use for scheduling Telehealth online counseling sessions. I also use it for managing your account, connecting with you for our session, and keeping notes from the time we spend together. SimplePractice, LLC, is HIPAA compliant; the software keeps all your information secure and private.
Q. Where is this online therapy available?
The client must reside in North Carolina, as that is where I am licensed. At the time of any session, you must physically be in NC.
Q. Why even bother with talk therapy?
I see no point in going it alone when a little help will considerably shorten the time you spend struggling. You don’t have to take my word for it; research via meta-analysis (fancy lingo for a study of many studies) verifies that talk therapy works. People get that it is a more lasting solution than drugs offer to really working out life’s problems. Once you learn new ways to manage your anxiety, no one can take that from you. Online counseling makes talk therapy accessible and convenient.
Q. Are Telehealth and online sessions private?
Your online counseling session is private and confidential, just like an in-person appointment.
Q. What does it cost?
An initial 20-minute phone strategy session is free. Your first online counseling session is $150, and follow up sessions are $100 for 50 minutes.
Q. How do I pay?
All online counseling sessions are changed on your credit card at the beginning of your session. Your current card must be on file electronically. This information is collected when you complete your paperwork electronically. All of that is done via a HIPAA compliant secure online portal.
Q. Will insurance cover online counseling?
With Telehealth, this is still a sticky wicket, as it is relatively new for mental health. You MUST check (Call the number on the back of your insurance card!) with your own insurance provider. I accept Blue Cross Blue Shield (most policies—there are many) and Medicare. Medicare will only cover telehealth in certain zip codes, usually in remote rural areas. BCBS is not required to cover it in NC. So the bottom line is that in NC, telehealth will likely be a direct out-of-pocket cost to you. However, I urge you to check with your insurance provider to find out specifically for your policy if coverage is available. I truly wish this was better, but please know that I have no control over what insurance companies choose to cover.
Q. Is there anyone you cannot do online therapy with?
Yes. I do not see couples online, nor individuals with known suicidal ideation, as local care and referrals are very important for safety. Also, substance abuse is not my specialty, and I suggest you seek treatment with qualified others for this purpose.
Q. How do I tell if we are a good match?
Usually people get a feeling for this in our 20-minute strategy session phone call. That is what it is for, and for you to give me a sense of what the issues are for you.
Q. What is the cancellation policy?
You must cancel 24 hours before a scheduled online counseling appointment. No shows and late cancellations are billed the full fee, the same as in-person sessions. Insurance does not pay for no shows or late cancellations.
Q. How do I schedule appointments?
You will use your laptop, desktop, or smart phone browser for this. Just go to my website and click either the “existing client” or “new client” button. Of course you may call as well, but I’m often in session, and will have to call you back later. It’s best to leave me a good time or two to reach you if you go this route.
Q. How far ahead do I have to schedule?
Appointments must be scheduled 24 hours in advance (at minimum), and it depends on my availability. See details below in set up. If you really need an appointment sooner than you see availability, please call or email, and I will try to accommodate you if I can.
Q. What if I don’t get a reminder with my session link?
Contact me so that I can send you the link by email or text message.
Q. How do I get the best quality connection for our session?
The higher your internet speed, the better your session. If you are using a smartphone, make sure that you have all notifications turned OFF. Move to a location that is both private and where you have the maximum number of service bars.
TIP: Closing other internet windows that are open on your computer, tablet, or smartphone may improve the connection. This includes your email, social media accounts, and online folders.
Q. What happens if my video connection breaks?
It is important that you understand the internet and technology are NOT always reliable.
If we’re only a short way into your session, I will call you and we’ll figure out whether you can reconnect or we’ll finish on the phone. If we are nearly done, and the session stops (likely for reasons unknown to either of us) we’ll pick it up in the next scheduled session.
Q. Where and how do I make my video call?
First, choose a space that is quiet and private, and where you won’t be interrupted. Close a door, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign, and make sure that you can have some stress-free alone time. Use the bathroom, get a beverage, and wear comfortable clothing before we start. I’m fine if you need a snack, or make this a “working lunch” appointment.
Q. What if you are in crisis?
As always, if you feel it is a true emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.