Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from the first session of therapy?
The first session of therapy is really about your therapist getting to know you, your concerns and your goals for therapy. The therapist will review the informed consent, discuss the practice policies and provide information on how the process will work. They will then review your intake and find out from you what has brought you to therapy now. This is a chance for your therapist to really understand the issues you are dealing with. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about any of your concerns or worries about the therapy process.

The first session will also help to give a good indication of whether you feel comfortable with the therapist you are working with. It’s important to feel like you can trust your therapist in order to openly share your concerns. This relationship building can take a few sessions to establish. The session will end with the therapist telling you the next course of action and asking you if you would like to move forward with them in the process.

Do you provide initial consultations before booking a therapy appointment?
We do not provide consults for new clients prior to booking. Instead we ask that clients go to the “Meet the Team” page of our website to get a better sense of each of the therapists’ specialties, their approach to therapy and personality. This will give you an idea of how each therapist works. You can also reach out to us and our Client Care Coordinator will help you find a good fit based on what you are looking to achieve. If you do happen to find that the therapist you are working with is not the best fit for you just give us a call to let us know and we are happy to help you connect with one of our other wonderful therapists!
Should I use my insurance for therapy?
This is a question that only you can answer. Although we are in network with some insurances be sure you know that in order for us to bill insurance we do have to provide them a mental health diagnosis. That diagnosis will go into your medical chart. Additionally, insurance can have restrictions on the length and duration of therapy. Some people prefer to keep all of their information private and for that reason they decide to not use their insurance; we are obligated to shared limited information with your insurance company (such as diagnoses, tx progress and dates of service) in order for them to reimburse for services rendered.
What is the difference between a social worker (LCSW), a marriage and family therapist (MFT) and a Psychologist?
It can be quite confusing trying to figure out what the difference is between all of these acronyms! The main piece to know is that all of these allow an individual to practice psychotherapy (i.e. counseling). An LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This means the individual obtained a Masters Degree in Social Work. They then completed 3,000 hours of training, took two licensing exams, passed and are now able to practice therapy independently.

A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) follows along the same path as an LCSW, however, MFTs specialization is in working with couples, the family system and the individual through a relational lens. A Psychologist is an individual who has completed a doctoral degree in psychology, a one-year internship in the field, and 3,000 hours of supervised training prior to sitting for their two licensing exams. Many psychologists also elect to complete a postdoctoral fellowship to obtain additional training in their areas of specialty. Psychologists can have the designation of PhD or PsyD based on their clinical track.

What is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) or Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW)?
What is an Associate? You might have heard that term a lot lately in trying to find a therapist and may have become confused. Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (AMFT) and Associate Social Workers (ASW) have their Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or Social Work, along with clinical hours already under their belt, they are just waiting to complete 3,000 clinical hours and pass the licensing exam before they can drop “Associate” from their title.

Some great benefits of seeing an associate are:

  1. Cost savings – Associate rates are typically lower than Licensed Clinicians.
  2. You get someone who was educated more recently having studied recent theories in school. This means they are likely to have the most up-to-date knowledge on how to best treat and help support clients.
  3. Two great minds for the cost of one! Associates are required to participate in at least weekly supervision sessions with a well trained Clinical Supervisor. This means they are getting regular feedback and support from another trained clinician on how to best help you!

Some additional information about Associates:

Associates are required to have a minimum of 500-700 clinical counseling hours before they even graduate from college, and many AMFTs and ASWs have a couple thousand hours already when starting at a private practice! Associate’s need 3000+ hours before they can apply for licensure, either as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

An Associate must be approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences to provide therapy and are required to have weekly supervision meetings. During the supervision training, they will review each case with their supervisor (either verbally or by showing video/audio of therapy sessions), gain education and training from their supervisor, and discuss the ethics and legal issues of being a therapist. Not only do Associates have weekly supervision meetings, they also are attending trainings and learning new techniques and modalities while they work. The great thing about working with an Associate is that you not only get help from that therapist, but your case is reviewed by their supervisor, essentially meaning that you are getting TWO great minds at the cost of one therapist. Leah Mitchell, LCSW is the supervisor here at Freedom Within Center.

What can I expect from telehealth counseling sessions?
Telehealth is the wave of the future! We know it’s not for everyone, however it has allowed us to provide counseling to individuals and couples who would not have been able to engage in treatment in person. It has also proven to be a great way to engage in therapy amidst a pandemic! Telehealth also allows clients who may not live locally, or those who do not want to leave their house, the means to still access quality care.

A telehealth session typically consists of the client logging into a portal that is HIPAA compliant. The therapist will also meet in this portal and the session with be conducted through a live video call over the computer screen. It can sometimes take a few sessions to get used to the different format, but often times after those initial sessions it begins to feel more comfortable. In order to get the most out of your telehealth sessions you will want to make sure you have privacy, a good internet connection and test your equipment ahead of time.

Telehealth can also be a great option if you have difficulty leaving your job during the day – a lunch break session can be a nice way to fit therapy in. Additionally, if you have medical issues that make it difficult to get places or even if you are sick and still want to see your therapist, telehealth provides a safe option for everyone.

How long does it take for therapy to start working? How long do I have to do therapy until I will start feeling better?
This can vary greatly depending on the individual, the severity and duration of their symptoms and their commitment to the therapy process. Therapy is not a one size fits all approach. The treatment process is shaped by the client’s presenting concerns and their goals. We do know that committing to weekly therapy for at least the first 8-12 sessions can greatly improve outcomes. Engaging in any therapy related homework outside of sessions consistently can also improve outcomes. And finally, keeping an open mind and being honest with your therapist is a key component of success.
Do I need to take psychiatric medications?
We suggest you speak to your therapist about this question. There are many issues/concerns that can be treated by therapy alone. However, there are times where medication can be helpful in order for folks to benefit optimally from the therapy process. None of our therapists can make recommendations about types of medication, however they can inform you whether they think it may be beneficial for you to be evaluated for medication in combination with therapy.
Can a therapist or a psychologist prescribe me medication?
Medications can typically only be prescribed by a Physician, a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Psychiatrist. Psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs have specialized training in mental health issues and are able to prescribe medications for those issues. Currently FWC does not have a prescriber on our team. However, if you are in need of an evaluation for medication we can provide referrals.
How can a dietitian support my mood?
Dietitians specialize in food, nutrients and how they interact with the body. A dietitian can also help in identifying food that may be impacting your mental health. The foods we eat play a huge part on how we are feeling overall. It’s not uncommon for symptoms of depression and anxiety to diminish when eating the right combination of healthy foods. We have an experienced dietitian who contracts with us, Vanessa Imus, who can work with you to figure out a plan of healthy foods to help improve you mental health.

To get more information on these therapy FAQs, or for any other questions about therapy, contact us today!

We look forward to working with you…