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FAQs

FAQs

What happens in the first appointment?

The first session is focused on informational gathering.  We will work to complete an Initial Evaluation to identify history, symptoms and current concerns.  This helps to ensure a personalized treatment.  We will also review confidentiality, expectations in counseling and demographic information (address, phone number, emergency contact).  Insurance information will also be reviewed.  

How long do sessions last?

Sessions typically run 50- 60 minutes.  Sometimes younger children are only seen for 40-45 minutes due to attention span.  

How much will counseling cost?

Our counselors are often in-network providers for several insurance companies ( UPMC Commercial, UPMC for Kids, Highmark, Blue Cross, Cigna, United, Optum, Aetna and TriCare).  Some insurance companies have out of network benefits; to find out about these benefits you can call the Member Services number on the back of your insurance card.  If you do not have insurance coverage, we also offer self pay rates and a sliding scale program.

Will my discussion be confidential?

Yes. All conversations and even the fact that you have seen a counselor is kept strictly confidential. With few exceptions, we do not communicate with your friends, professors, parents, or family without your written consent.  Only in cases where you disclose abuse or danger to self/others will confidentiality not apply.  Due to confidentiality and in order to protect your privacy, You must acknowledge me in public prior to me being able to acknowledge you (even to say "Hi").

How can therapy help?

We will work with you to identify your personal goals for counseling and then tailor counseling to you and your goals. You can expect I will listen closely to understand your experience and then find ways to assist you in moving towards your goals. Therapy is a personalized experience, so how it helps differs from person to person. It will often involve things such as getting a different perspective on your experiences, exploring and discovering things about yourself, making changes in unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving, processing difficult experiences, and learning healthy coping tools.

How often will we meet?

Frequency of sessions greatly depends on the goals to be addressed and the amount of time you can commit to the process.  Typically sessions start at a weekly or bi-weekly frequency and as goals are achieved session will reduce to monthly.  The goal is to build skills that you can use in your everyday life and a reduced need for sessions.

Can you prescribe medication?

We are qualified to provide counseling in th office to help build skills and reduce symptoms.  If you are considering medication as an option, you can discuss with your Primary Care Doctor or we can refer you to an independent Psychiatrist.

What happens in family counseling?

Family counseling offers a place for the members of a family to explore issues that may be causing tensions and conflict.  Goals may include working to improve communication, reduce frequency or intensity of conflicts and to increase quality family time.  Counselor will act as a facilitator to navigate through concerns to work towards the family goals.  

How do I access my client portal?

We are happy to offer a client portal.  You are able to check scheduled appointments, pay balanced as contact your counselor.  Use the following link to access your client portal:  https://balancsara.mytheranest.com/home/login.

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