What is Therapy? What is Psychotherapy? What is Treatment?
In general, the term "therapy" or "treatment" is associated with the process of healing or recovering. Often, the terms Psychotherapy and Counseling are used synonymously. Psychotherapy is mostly an interpersonal and personal process which aims to help people understand and better cope with conditions, behaviors, emotions, and/or perceptions. A Therapeutic Relationship exists when a licensed healthcare provider, such as a psychologist or licensed counselor or social worker, is contracted by a client to provide diagnosis and/or treatment.
What is a Consult? What is Educational or Expert Advice?
Unlike therapy, consults do not include the full process of diagnosis and treatment. Educational consults are like getting an expert's advice, but without the agreement to diagnose or enter treatment. In most cases, providers of educational consults have no responsibility for case management or follow up.
What are Intervention Services?
Interventions services are time limited and usually occur over a 2 to 3 day period. The services can be provided in our offices or in a client’s home. Usually family members or friends of a loved one hire professional (preferably a licensed professional such as a psychologist) to help confront the loved one about an addiction or unhealthy behavior in order to convince that individual to enroll in professional services immediately. Intervention services are very different than counseling services. Please call Dr. Branton if you are interested in learning more about interventions.
The initial evaluation: Consul, Treatment or referral?
Healthcare service usually starts with an evaluation process. The initial evaluation may take 1-3 sessions. In case the initial evaluation also requires diagnostic testing, the specific purpose, duration and cost of such assessments should be discussed ahead of time. At the end of the initial evaluation, findings, alternatives and recommendations are discussed. Referrals, treatment or consults may also be offered. APC will normally schedule a 1 ½ session (75-90 minutes) for the initial intake session.
Fees, appointments, procedures
The cost of in-office or online/phone service is determined by the clinician or the medical insurance company. Initial brief online and brief telephone consults are often offered for FREE. In case a third party is covering this service, a client's signature and/or insurance company and policy details may be needed to indicate agreement to process the claim and forward the reimbursement to the provider. APC also offers secure processing of credit or debit card payments and accepts personal checks and cash. Fees vary depending on the services selected, e.g., psychological assessment, ADHD evaluation, consulting or intervention services, or counseling services. Contact the selected provider directly to get information about service rates, appointment times and other details.
Managed Care/Insurance: Will my insurance cover these services?
This is a difficult topic for several reasons. It is often difficult to determine when one should utilize insurance for counseling services and what each insurance plan will actually cover. At APC, we will do our best to help you sort out these questions and work toward the most beneficial route for services and payment. Dr. Branton is contracted as an in-network provider for Blue Cross/Blue Shieldof Arizona. For other insurance providers, often times reimbursement is provided to the client as an out-of-network provider. Each client should contact their insurance plan to see how “outpatient mental or behavioral health” is “carved out” in their individual plan. In either case, the client will be responsible for the initial fees at the time of service, but may receive a credit or reimbursement from APC if said fees are collected by the client’s insurance provider. Also important to ask of each individual insurance plan: what is my deductible, co-payment, limitations on visits per year, and exact coverage, ie, does my plan cover couple’s counseling or psychological assessment? If you bring in your BC/BS card, APC will contact your plan and provide you with answers to all of these questions so that the best treatment track can be identified.
INFORMED CONSENT AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Why get informed?
Clients need to fully understand the services they select, the terms and requirements. Your clinician will review recommendations and limitations of confidentiality in the initial intake session.
Are My Records Safe? What is Confidentiality?
An Informed Consent form explains the boundaries of confidentiality and clients are provided with this form at the initial intake session for review and signature. Any questions will be addressed by the clinician at the initial intake session and at any subsequent session upon the client’s request. Confidentiality means that your records are not shared with anyone else unless you provide legal, written permission to do so. Exceptions to confidentiality are explained in the consent form and discussed in the initial intake session.
What is an Informed Consent form?
An Informed Consent form explains the services clients consider. Service price, modality, location, procedure, duration and frequency should be specified. Benefits, risks or alternatives are explained, and instructions for emergencies provided. When/if requested, please return the informed consent form to your selected provider confirming that you have read, understood and accept it.
Online counseling and in-office treatment
Often times in our high-tech, Internet society, you will see clinicians offering “online counseling services.” Please note that healthcare service online is NOT recommended for emergency, life-threatening, physical abuse or crisis situations. In these situations, in-office care is the better alternative. Also, it is difficult to ensure confidentiality when electronic means are utilized to transfer information. Thus, clients are always informed about the risks. Brief E-mail correspondence and phone contact is sometimes utilized by APC, but is not a primary service offered. Correspondence online or by phone may incur a fee if used often by a client or if it requires a significant amount of time by the clinician. Please ask your clinician about this if you will be corresponding often electronically.