Welcome! We look forward to helping you with your goals. This document provides information about our office policies. This information is in addition to that details in the Notice of Privacy Practices. Please read them and if you have any questions, discuss them with your counselor.
1. Process of Therapy: In our first session, I will spend some time going through key points to make sure we both have an understanding of how we can work together. I welcome any questions from you in our first meeting and any time following. I will enter our relationship with optimism about our progress. For counseling to be most effective, it is important that you take an active role in the process. I encourage you to discuss with me your goals, expectations and concerns at all points during our work together. We will revisit these goals throughout our work together, as I find these often change over time. As things improve, we may slowly reduce the number of sessions and space out our meetings. You may find it helpful to return periodically as life stressors arise. The Texas State Board of Examiners governs counseling activities for Professional Counselors for LPC’s and the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners for LMSW’s. I do not provide custody evaluation recommendation, nor medication or prescription recommendation, nor legal advice, as these activities do not fall within my scope of practice.
2. Appointments: Individual appointments are scheduled for 45-minute segments unless you scheduled an extended session. Initial appointments are scheduled for 60 minutes. At the end of each session we will make sure to have the following session scheduled. Your appointment time is held exclusively for you. Please arrive on time as you use your own time when you are late.
3. Cancellations: If you find it necessary to cancel an appointment, please do so at least 36 business hours in advance (i.e., if your appointment is on a Monday, notify us by Thursday evening, if your appointment is the day after a holiday, notify us the first business day prior to the holiday) or you will be charged the FULL session fee to your credit card on file as a no-show/late cancellation fee. We may also choose to hold the session over the phone instead of in the office. If I do not hear from you after a missed appointment and have reason for concern, I may reach out to your identified emergency contact to ensure your well-being. Please note that multiple missed/cancelled appointments and late arrivals may require us to discontinue treatment. In this circumstance, I will discuss with you in person or by phone how we should proceed.
4. Confidentiality: Trust is an important aspect of the therapeutic relationship. Your confidentiality is my utmost concern for maintaining this trust. The information you share will be held confidential. I will ask for your consent in writing before disclosing any information obtained from your sessions or in writing to any other person or agency, including family members. State law and the ethics of our profession protect your confidentiality, except in the following cases.
- If you make a serious threat to harm yourself or another person, the law requires your counselor to try and protect you or that other person. This notification may include notifying the victim, notifying the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalization.
- If I believe a child, elder, disabled person, or dependent adult has been or will be abused or neglected, I am legally required to report this to the authorities.
- If you send a health insurance claim form to your insurance for reimbursement, it will have a mental health diagnosis label and will become part of your permanent medical record. This may be relevant in situations where your medical record is necessary such as, but not limited to, qualifying for insurance, such as life, health, or disability insurance. I may also be required to provide additional details about the nature of your sessions to support medical necessity.
- In order to provide you with the best service, I may consult with other mental health professionals about your case without revealing your identity.
- If you are working with a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern or Licensed Clinical Social Worker Intern, your therapist is required to discuss your case on a regularly scheduled basis with his/her Supervisor. The Supervisor is also required to maintain confidentiality.
5. Electronic Transmission: I cannot ensure the confidentiality of any form of communication through electronic media, such as email and text. **You are advised that any email sent to me via a computer in a workplace environment is legally accessible by an employer.** When you send an email it has the potential to be seen by many people prior to reaching it’s destination. For this reason, I will never discuss anything clinical with you via email and I ask you to refrain from doing so, as well. Text messaging and email will be used for administrative tasks only. I may not acknowledge or return emails or text messages that are not administrative. This includes emergency texts and emails. I do not always check email daily. **Assessment Tools** By signing this consent, you authorize your therapist and Eddins Counseling Group to communicate and provide various assessment tools used in the counseling process to the un-encrypted personal email address you provided to Eddins Counseling Group.
6. Records: I am required by law to maintain records of each time we meet or talk on the phone. These records include a brief synopsis of the conversation along with any observations or plans for the next meeting. If records are requested for any purpose, my policy is to provide an appropriate summary, as records can be misinterpreted.
7. Risks: In counseling, major life decisions are sometimes made, including decisions involving changing employment/career and changing lifestyles. It is also possible that as a result of our work together, you may wish to adjust how you interact with people in your life. That may mean engaging in some relationships more or disconnecting from other relationships. The decisions are a legitimate outcome of the counseling experience as a result of an individual’s calling into question many of their beliefs and values. I will be available to discuss any of your assumptions or possible negative side effects in our work together. I cannot guarantee that you will see improvement in your relationships or emotions as a result of our work together. Therapy requires multiple things in order to be considered “successful.” These include involvement from you and a comfortable connection between the two of us, as well as clear expectations for what may be possible as a result of our work together. There are times when therapy may bring up unexpected emotions or reactions to relationships. Some things we discuss may surprise you as you learn more about yourself.
8. Fees and Payment: Full payment is due at time of service including testing fees. Payment methods include: Check, Cash, Visa/MC/Discover & FSA/Health Savings Cards. We do require that a credit card be placed on file (but not charged) to secure your appointment, but you are free to use any payment method at the time of service. You may also update/change your card on file at any time. In addition to the regular session fee, you may incur fees for the following services. This will be discussed with you in advance of providing the service: – Testing including personality, premarital, career, or psychological testing. – Non admin related phone/email communication with your therapist greater than 5 minutes (billed in 15 min increments) – Report writing and preparation (ie., for disability, legal or other purposes) – Court/attorney consultation or time spent in litigation – Banking fees charged for returned checks. You may receive a receipt for your payments upon request. If no other payment method is provided, we will charge your card on file at the time of service.
Telephone conversations, site visits, report writing and reading, consultation with other professionals, release of information, reading records, longer sessions, travel time, etc.… will be charged at the standard rate in the fee schedule, unless indicated and agreed upon otherwise. Cost of business increases may occur periodically. You will be notified well in advance of any increase.
Clients who carry insurance should remember that professional services are rendered and charged to the clients and not to the insurance companies. If requested, I will provide you with a copy of your statement on a monthly basis via the client portal, which you can then submit to your insurance company for reimbursement if you so choose. You must be aware that not all issues/problems dealt with in counseling are reimbursed by insurance companies and filing may require the release of confidential information such as mental health diagnosis, which could be utilized in future insurance decisions. It is your responsibility to verify the specifics of your coverage and determine if pre-authorization is required.
9. Emergencies: If an emergency situation for which you feel immediate attention is necessary, please contact emergency services (911) immediately, the 24-hour MHMRA Helpline, 713-970-7000, who will determine the need to go to the Psychiatric Emergency Service located at 1501 Taub Loop in the Texas Medical Center (24-7 walk-ins), or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. I will follow those emergency services with standard counseling during regular business hours. Keep in mind that while I may be in the office I do not answer the phone while in session with a client. Please do not use e-mail, text, and faxes for emergencies.
10. Litigation Limitation: Due to the nature of the therapeutic process and the fact that it often involves making a full disclosure with regard to the many matters which may be of a confidential nature, it is agreed that should there be legal proceedings (such as, but not limited to, divorce and custody disputes, injuries, lawsuits, etc.…), neither you (client’s) nor your attorney’s, nor anyone else acting on your behalf will call on me to testify in court or at any other proceeding, nor will a disclosure of the psychotherapy records be requested unless otherwise agreed upon. If you do become involved in litigation requiring your therapist’s participation, you will be expected to pay for the professional time even if your therapist is compelled to testify by another party.
11. Social Media Policy: I maintain multiple business social media accounts for my practice. These accounts serve to offer encouragement and resources. They are not a substitute for treatment by a licensed mental health professional and nothing shared should be interpreted as a personal message. I do not interact with clients via social media. I also do not expect you to follow any of my accounts based on our work together. If you choose to follow one of my accounts and do reach out to me via that method, we will discuss that further in our next session. I may remove your communication/comment/message from my account if I feel it violates your confidentiality. To protect the boundaries of our relationship no connection will be created to any counselor’s personal social media account such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
12. Online/Phone Counseling: You can elect to schedule your appointment via phone or webcam if you are unable to make it to the office, reside further away, or would simply prefer distance counseling. By signing this consent form, you understand and agree to the following:
- Distance counseling relies on technology that may involve a shutdown or disconnect in the middle of a session. We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen problems that occur due to technical difficulties. Should a disconnect occur, the client will attempt to establish a reconnect by either phone or computer as soon as possible.
- You understand that online and telephone counseling is not appropriate if you experiencing a crisis or having suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
- To have a release of information for an emergency contact for the location from which you will be calling. – To be domiciled (primary residence) in the state of Texas or be located on a US military base if outside of Texas.
- Online/phone counseling is only available when scheduled within a regular appointment time.
- There are both benefits and drawbacks to distance counseling. Online/phone counseling sessions may not be as complete as face-to-face services. If my counselor believes I would be better served by another form of services, I will be referred to a counselor who can provide services in my area.
- You understand that distance counseling is not a substitute for medication under the care of a psychiatrist or doctor.
- We do not agree to have sessions recorded.
- Please specify your preference of phone (and provide your preferred number) or video when scheduling. All confidentiality during phone or videoconferencing is subject to the rules and limitations within the produce used. You understand that communicating via technology, confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed.