Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about psychotherapy services with Emma.
Do you see clients online or in-person?
I see clients both in-person in St. Louis, MO, and online video sessions, depending on your location and preference. Online counseling happens through a HIPAA-compliant platform, which protects your personal information from being seen, accessed, or hacked by anyone but us. It is also possible to do a hybrid of in-person and online counseling. Please note that in the USA, counselors are licensed in specific states. I hold an LPC license in Illinois and a PLPC license in Missouri, and can only see online clients from these states.
What are your credentials?
I hold a PLPC license in Missouri, which means “provisionally licensed professional counselor.” This means that I have completed a 2-3 year graduate degree in counseling which included an internship, I have taken some grueling 3-4 hour exams, and I hold a provisional license issued by the state of Missouri. As a PLPC, I practice under a supervisor (Karen Grayson, LPC, Ph.D.) who gives me guidance, when I need it, on how best to help you.
I have also taken advanced training in Internal Family Systems and Tension Releasing Exercises, and am an IFS Therapist and TRE Provider. You can verify my IFS credentials here.
How much do therapy sessions cost?
My rate for a 50-minute individual counseling session is $120. The rate for a 65-minute individual counseling session is $135. This rate is firm because it ensures I can be present and healthy for my clients for sessions, pay for continuing education and case consultation, and ultimately be the best counselor for you without burnout. If your finances are tight, we can talk about maximizing your time in sessions, scheduling less-frequent sessions, doing self-directed homework in between sessions, and/or doing my online course so you can do more work independently.
Can I use my insurance to pay for counseling?
Yes and no! I am not on any insurance panels at this time. In order to bill your insurance for counseling services, I would need to give you a diagnosis and share your personal health information with your insurance company. I prefer not to work this way.
Many people elect to use their out-of-network benefits to pay for counseling. I am able to provide an “out of network” form, which you may be able to use to get your insurance to cover your counseling services. This means you pay me out-of-pocket, and your insurance company reimburses you individually for what you have paid. This is dependent on your insurance plan and your ability to submit your own documentation to the insurance company. It takes a little work on your part, but the benefits are that you can work with me if you connect with me, and you aren’t limited only to specific therapists who take your insurance, who may not specialize in your issue. I encourage you to read this article about the benefits of out-of-network therapy.
Here are some questions you can ask your insurance provider:
- Do I have mental health insurance benefits that allow for out-of-network services?
- Do I have a deductible, and how much has been met?
- How many mental health sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
- Does my insurance require that I have pre-authorization prior to sessions with a therapist? (If so, please have that information before the first session).
- Do I need a diagnosis to be reimbursed?
How do I get started with counseling?
The first step to starting counseling is to schedule a free 20-minute consultation with me. The purpose of this phone call is for us to connect so you can tell me a little about why you’re seeking therapy and see if I can help you. This also provides a space for you to ask any questions you have about therapy before we initially start.
What can I expect in my first session?
The first session will be a little different from subsequent sessions. In the first session, we will meet each other, you can give me an overview of what you are hoping to work on, we will set goals, we will go over some forms, and I will ask you many questions about your history so I can have a big-picture understanding before we begin working. I may write a lot in this session!
How many sessions will I need?
This varies depending on each unique client’s goals and needs. To see significant and lasting improvements in therapy, most clients generally come for at least several months.
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist?
Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors who specialize in prescribing medication for mental health illnesses. Most psychiatrists do not practice “talk therapy,” but rather monitor your response to medication and make brief suggestions for improvement.
I am a therapist, also known as a psychotherapist or counselor. I am NOT a psychiatrist. A therapist has a graduate or doctoral degree. A therapist develops a therapeutic relationship with clients and typically meet with clients once every week or two for about an hour. Therapists take time to deeply understand clients and their struggles because they primarily help clients make improvements by working through talk-based therapy with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Therapists do not prescribe medication, but may sometimes refer clients to psychiatrists for an evaluation if they believe clients could potentially benefit from it.
What is it like to be in therapy?
When some people think of therapy, they think of an expressionless psychologist asking probing questions and scribbling secretively on a clipboard. This is generally inaccurate for most modern therapists! I believe some of the most important factors for healing and growth are helping you feel safe, relaxed, understood, and cared for. In therapy, you can expect a warm, welcoming, compassionate person who will walk alongside you. Generally, you get to decide your goals, how much you want to reveal, how deep you want to go, and how quickly. I consider you to be the expert, and I help guide you to be able to access your own innate ability to heal and grow.
Copyright Emma Donovan, 2019, 2020. All Rights Reserved.