Learn more about the process and what to expect in taking your mental health journey with me.
Q: What are the first steps to get started?
A: Before we meet each other by video call or in-person, create a treatment plan, or do anything else, I offer a 20-minute phone consultation free of charge. This consultation lets us get acquainted, so you can skip it and schedule an intake if you feel it’s unnecessary.
During the free consultation, you will tell me what is going wrong right now that led you to seek counseling. I will answer any questions concerning teletherapy, payment, or Informed Consent. For one reason or another, we may not be a good fit. For example, I may not accept your insurance, or you need a therapist for your child, but I don’t see children.
Q: What happens if we don’t move forward?
A: If I don’t accept you as a client, it is never because I’m discriminating based on your religion, orientation, etc. It is always a matter of meeting your needs well. I will give you some direction on finding the right therapist, so you will still benefit from the consultation.
Therapy involves a major commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful when selecting a therapist. If you have any questions while working with me, we’ll discuss them whenever they arise. Should your doubts persist, I would be happy to help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
Q: What happens if we decide to move forward?
A: If we are a good fit, you will send me your email and phone number so I can set you up in my portal. Please note that the consult is free, but missing the appointment or late cancellation will incur a fee. You will use the link I email you to set yourself up in the portal. You will need your credit and insurance cards and possibly an authorization number from your EAP. Then, we will schedule the first session.
Q: What happens in the first session?
A: Your first session is called the intake. In this session, I will answer any questions that may have arisen since the consult. Then, we will do a formal psychiatric evaluation. The evaluation can take up to 30 minutes, but usually only takes about 15. From this, I determine your mental health diagnosis, as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Ed.
A diagnosis helps some people; however, others don’t want one. I will respect your decision if you tell me not to diagnose you. Your insurance company may pay for treatment without a diagnosis, but you won’t know until weeks after the intake. Sometimes they will pay for treatment if your problem is your marriage or you are grieving the loss of a loved one, but not always.
I will also learn about your history and other relevant details, such as your medical, family, and work history.
Sometimes we complete a treatment plan, but we usually run out of time and do this during your second session.
Q: What are the components of the treatment plan?
A: Treatment may require the use of a workbook. I assign some clients a video to watch or a book to read. I occasionally text or email others. The session length depends on your insurance and needs, but they are usually 40 minutes to an hour.
I usually start a session by asking about your week, which allows you to tell me anything pressing. Please take that opportunity when I offer it. As a solution-focused therapist, I will want to move right into working on your objectives.
The first item on the treatment plan is determining how frequently we will meet and where. You already know that I provide treatment via telehealth using my portal. Research indicates this is an effective treatment; however, you are welcome to come to my office, which I prefer.
Next, you describe what ails you: What problems do you hope therapy will fix? What do you want to work on?
After this, you identify your goals for treatment. These goals are not your life goals; instead, they are what you hope to get out of therapy within 8-12 sessions.
The next section of the treatment plan is your objectives. You might view this as your goals broken down into parts. These objectives will be specific, attainable, and measurable.
The last part is my job: the interventions that I will use. Other than this step, you determine your treatment. You can reject receiving a diagnosis, and you decide which problems you want to work on and identify your goals. While I will help you in this process, you drive it. The objectives are a collaborative effort.
During the following sessions, we get to work on your objectives so that you can reach your goals. Hopefully, you can complete your objectives in 8-12 weeks and see the light toward realizing your mental health goals. If not, we will revisit the treatment plan, revise it, and get to work again. Each client has a different journey; however, I don’t usually keep my clients for more than a few months.
Q: What happens after treatment is over?
A: We terminate treatment. At the end of treatment, it is essential to consolidate and have a plan in place for life without therapy. This is when the training wheels come off, and you are doing it on your own now, so don’t terminate without this last session.
Q: How do I pay for treatment?
A: I will expect you to pay for each session when we hold it unless we agree otherwise or your insurance coverage requires another arrangement. I will agree to payment schedules for other professional services when they are requested. You can pay via personal check made out to DeVine Interventions Group, LLC, cash, or credit card. Please do not use bonus point cards because I do not offer rebates to clients (i.e., bonus points are paid by me when you use such cards). You can also use your credit card through the client portal or on this website under Payments.
Q: What if I can’t afford treatment?
A: Although registered as for-profit, this practice is a ministry; consequently, except for the cost of intake, my fee is negotiable. Often, a church will supplement the cost. For clients experiencing unusual financial hardship, I may do the work pro bono.
Q: How do we communicate in between sessions?
A: I offer a few methods of communication, including mobile phone, texting, email, fax, and client portal. I will not be immediately available by telephone because I am often in session, but I will get back to you within a few hours, except on Sundays and holidays. If I am unavailable, leave your name and number and the purpose of your call in my confidential voicemail. If you are hard to reach, please inform me of some times when you will be available. Texts receive the same response time, while emails and the web portal may take over 24 hours.
In an emergency, leave a phone message and text me until I respond, which I usually do in 10 minutes. If you feel that you can’t wait for me to return your call, contact your pastor or deacon or go to the nearest emergency room. If I am unavailable for an extended time, I will provide you with the name of a colleague who can help you.
Q: I’m Buddhist (atheist, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.). Will my beliefs be respected?
A: Yes. Therapy doesn’t work if the client’s beliefs aren’t respected. If a Hindu comes to be treated for panic attacks, my job is to help them remit the panic attacks, not to proselytize. Such a client will be free to talk about their faith and how it informs their values. They will feel free to identify how their faith speaks to their pain and gives it meaning. This is my job, a work that is well pleasing to God.