This information is provided in the Consent Form that couples would read and sign in my portal before our work together.
By making this decision to seek couples therapy/psychotherapy, you are also making a commitment of time, money, and energy. Always remember that the time we spend together is your time. I make every effort to meet you where you are on your own journey and to treat both members of the couple as fairly as possible.If you should have preferences or questions about anything, please bring it to my attention. We can discuss to your satisfaction and if needed I can help set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
Sessions and Fees
I appreciate the sacrifices you make to pay for your time with me. It will help us focus on you and your therapy quickly if you plan to pay at the beginning of each session. You may choose to use your debit, health savings card or credit card though I prefer bank transfer, cash or check payments due to the fees associated with the other methods. I do not keep your card on file and I will sometimes offer to invoice you via QuickBooks before or after your appointment.Unless we both agree a missed appointment or cancellation was unavoidable and we cannot find another slot in the same week, once an appointment session is scheduled, I will request a $60 fee, unless you provide 24 hour advance notice.Need to cancel? Please try multiple ways of contacting me to cancel and unless you hear back from me, please assume that I did not get the message.The advertised Couples Intensive Package is 1000 dollars for a total of 9 hours of therapy and more than three hours of my preparation for your specific needs. The 9 hours of therapy would typically be arranged to begin with a long session with shorter sessions to follow. In some cases, the last two or three hours could be accomplished via telephone, if needed, due to distance.
If you are paying as you go, there will be a first three hour session for 350 dollars after you have both completed the Gottman Check-up. After that session we may do 2 hour sessions for 280 each, though we can discuss flexible arrangements once we are working together. Additionally, if you would like to commit to the 1000 dollar package after our first long session, I will consider your request. Always feel free to discuss your preferences and needs with me.
I need you to be familiar with the portal and use it for confidential communication. I often create an individual check-up for you before we meet again or to check up on your progress.
After we have finished our work together or if I am unsure of your intentions and it has been some time since our last communication, I may send you a check-up to complete via the portal. Additionally, you may want to contact me again to check in – I will keep your account open so that you can use the secure messaging in this portal and I would welcome your return as a couple.
One more caution: If I begin to work with you as an individual, we will no longer be able to best work together as a couple after individual work. It would be best to seek out an individual therapist if you plan on using my services as a couple in the future.
Insurance companies require providers to furnish a diagnosis for an individual and for that reason and other reasons, couples therapy is not covered by insurance.
Explanation of Psychotherapy Services
You can trust in my skills and experience. I have extensive couples and family attachment training with a background, during my University of Minnesota days, in the early attachment work that now supports many new couples therapy approaches. The Gottman Couples Therapy approach is foundational to my couples work. I am Level 3 trained and often use the Gottman interventions in session to increase your communication and understanding of each other. You will both be completing the Gottman Check-up separately, prior to our first meeting. I will spend at least 2 hours reviewing the combined and analyzed data with suggested interventions in preparation for our first 3 hour session.Keep in mind, that I aim to use short-term methods and usually dispense with an exhaustive history and get straight to the root problem. Therefore, it is important for you to take care to complete the patient history and problem forms completely and carefully. This will save us both time and you money.The intensive, longer sessions have an educational component for intimate couples. You can be assured that the sessions of psychotherapy will require that you take a very active part and I will always aim to end each session with a focus on attaching to your partner with a calming, and encouraging send-off.For the therapy to be most successful, you will need to work hard and practice both during our sessions and at home. Though therapy has many benefits, there are risks. Often things seem worse just before they get better. For example, because therapy often involves dealing with trauma and strong feelings, you may remember repressed and disturbing memories and feel very strong negative emotions.
Though there can be no guarantee, I will do my very best with my innate intuition and empathy as well as all of my skills to help you, and be assured that research shows that therapy is likely to lead to better relationships, better day to day function, solutions to specific problems, and improved relationships and communication.
Regarding confidentiality, if you need specific clarification or advice I am unable to provide, formal legal advice may be needed, as the laws governing confidentiality are quite complex. In general, the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist is protected by law, and I can only release information about our work to others with your written permission. But there are a few exceptions. In most legal proceedings, you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment. In some legal proceedings, a judge may order my testimony if he/she determines that the issues demand it, and I must comply with that court order.
There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to take action to protect others from harm, even if I have to reveal some information about a patient’s treatment. For example, if I believe that a child, elderly person or disabled person is being abused or has been abused, I may be required to make a report to the appropriate state agency.
If I believe that a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another, I am required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the police, or seeking hospitalization for the patient. If the patient threatens to harm himself/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection. If a similar situation occurs in the course of our work together, I will attempt to discuss it with you before taking any action.
I share the office building with Dr. Cynthia Thorp. Though we share an office and the sign out front lists my name, the phone number on the street front sign routes to her voicemail. If you happen to call the number on the sign, you will hear my phone number in her message. I am currently using my Psychology Today protected number as my public contact number. You may also use that number, but I have a personal cell phone that we may use for text and phone calls once we have established a mutual agreement regarding communication. I will make every effort to return your call within a few hours. Generally, the messages should be limited to things like setting and changing appointments, billing matters and other related issues.If you need to discuss a clinical matter with me, please feel free to call me so we can discuss it on the phone or message me in the portal. It will be best if you can wait so we can discuss it during your therapy session.If you are unable to reach me and you believe that you cannot wait for me to return your call, contact your family physician or the nearest emergency room and ask for the psychologist or psychiatrist on call. I have a professional website for my business as a psychologist. You may access and review the information that I have on my website and, if you have related questions or suggestions, we can discuss this during your therapy sessions.I have a web presence that is unrelated to my professional duties as a psychologist and I do not communicate with patients through social media platforms. Nowadays there is an incredible amount of information available about individuals on the internet, much of which may be inaccurate or unknown to me. If you encounter disturbing information about me through web searches, or in any other fashion for that matter, please discuss this with me during our time together so that we can deal with it and its potential impact on your treatment.If we encounter each other in public, I may acknowledge you, but I will not approach you or speak with you unless you approach me. My guarded reaction simply protects your privacy, but I am happy to talk with you socially if you feel comfortable out in public. I play bass and sing in a band and you may see me in a local venue. If you smile or wave at me, I may nod and smile back. You can see how that action might cause someone to ask you how you know me – so be cautious for your own privacy and the privacy of your partner.
The Gottman training suggests video recording of couples for review in session and this would be a possibility for you and your partner. Though you may decline when offered, please indicate below if you consent generally to video or audio recording of a particular activity. You e-signature is for my records, but I will always respect your verbal decline or request to stop recording.