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Gary DeVine’s Blog on Faith-Based Therapy

What is the Process?

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Written by: Gary DeVine

December 21, 2022

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 treatment starts, I would like you to know that I offer a 20-minute phone consultation free of charge. The point of this consultation is to get to know each other (although you can skip the consultation if you feel it isn’t necessary and just schedule an intake).   

During the free consultation, you will tell me all about what is going wrong right now that led you to seek counseling.  I will answer any questions you have around teletherapy, payment, or the Informed Consent.  It sometimes happens that we are not a good fit. For example, I may not accept your insurance or you’re looking to put your child in therapy, 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 provide you with some direction on finding a therapist that is right for you, so you will benefit from the consultation either way.  

Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. If at any point in working with DeVine Interventions you have questions about my procedures, we should discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, I will 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: The next step is to send me your email and phone number, so that I can set you up in my portal (assuming that you haven’t already done so). Please note, the consult is free, but missing the appointment or a late cancellation will incur a fee. You will respond to my email by using the link to set yourself up in the portal. You will need your credit card and insurance card, and sometimes an authorization number from your EAP. Having done that, we will schedule the first session.

Q: Then we start treatment?

A: Yes. Your first session is called the intake. During the intake, I will answer any questions that may have arisen since the consult.  Then we will do a formal psychiatric evaluation. This can take as much as 30 minutes, though it usually only takes about 15. From this comes your mental health diagnosis, which is according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Ed.

Some people are helped by a diagnosis; others don’t want one. I will respect your decision if you tell me not to diagnose you.   Sometimes an insurance company will pay for treatment without a psychiatric disorder, but you will not know until weeks after the intake. Sometimes they will pay for treatment if your problem is your marriage or if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, sometimes they will not.

During the intake, I will gather more information about your history and all the other facets of your life, such as your medical history, family history, and work history.

Sometimes we might complete a treatment plan, but usually we run out of time and do this during your second session.

Q: What are the components of your treatment plans?

A: Treatment may require the use of a workbook. I may assign a video to watch or a book to read.  I may text or email you on occasion.  Sessions are usually 40 minutes to an hour, depending on your insurance and treatment needs. 

I usually start a session by asking about your week, which gives you an opportunity to tell me about anything that is really pressing. Take that opportunity while it is offered, because I will want to move right into working on your objectives. I am a solution-focused therapist.

The first item on the treatment plan is determining how frequently we will meet and where. As you already know, I provide treatment via telehealth using my portal. Research indicates that this is effective treatment, but you are welcome to come into my office for a session, which I prefer.

The next section is a description of what ails you. What are the problems that you hope therapy will fix? What do you want to work on?

The next section are your goals for treatment. These goals are not your life goals, but what you hope to get out of therapy within 8-12 sessions.

The next section of the treatment plan are your objectives. You might view this as your goals broken down into parts.  Objectives are specific, attainable, and measurable.

The last part is my job, the interventions that will be used. Treatment is determined by you.  As stated above, you can reject being given a diagnosis. You identify the problems that you want to work on. You identify the goals. I will help you in this process, but they are from you. 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 is different, but I don’t usually keep my clients for several months.

Q: What happens after treatment is over?

A: We terminate treatment. The end of treatment is very important to consolidate and have a plan in place for life without therapy.  The training wheels come off and you are doing it on your own now, so don’t terminate without this last session.

Call me for a free consultation to determine if I am the right fit for you!

Q: How do I pay for treatment?

A: You will be expected to pay for each session at the time it is held, unless we agree otherwise or unless you have insurance coverage that requires another arrangement. Payment schedules for other professional services will be agreed to when they are requested.  Payment can be made by 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; except for the cost of intake, my fee is negotiable. Often, a church will supplement the fee. In circumstances of unusual financial hardship, I may do the work pro bono.

Q: How do we communicate in between sessions?

A: I offer a few channels 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, I seldom answer my phone, but I will get back to you within a few hours, except on Sundays and holidays.  When I am unavailable, leave your name and number and the purpose of your call on my confidential voice mail. If you are difficult 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.

If you are in the midst of an emergency, leave a phone message and text me until you get a response, and I can usually respond in 10 minutes. If you are unable to reach me and 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 will be unavailable for an extended time, I will provide you with the name of a colleague to contact, if necessary.

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 for the treatment of 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 ways in which their faith speaks into their pain, and how it gives meaning to it.  This is my job, a work that is well pleasing to God.