Psychotherapy can be a powerful life changing experience. Your commitment to your growth and progress will be the greatest determinant of how much you will benefit from it. As with many forms of treatment, there are no guarantees as to the outcome of your therapy and it is important that you understand your rights and obligations as they relate to your therapeutic experience with me.
You have come to therapy because you want to feel better about something, you want to stop worrying or lessen feelings of anxiety and/or sadness. Psychotherapy is a process of exploration and deconstruction. You will know that therapy is working when these symptoms begin to abate and you start to feel better. However, as we begin to address these issues and explore their origins together you may find that you feel worse before you feel better. This is actually a sign that therapy is working and we are making progress.
I encourage you to ask questions about therapy, including questions about procedures, methods and progress. I will answer all your questions to the best of my ability, treat you with respect, discuss your feelings and explain things in ways that you can understand.
You have the right to end therapy at any time. I encourage you, however to discuss your desire to terminate therapy at least two weeks in advance to allow time for working through and closure. I will not keep you endlessly in therapy, and will discuss your progress with you as an ongoing process. I will help you decide upon the best time to end therapy.
Psychotherapy can be a very healing experience yet it must proceed according to a set structure for the benefit of all parties – for you and me. An important part of that structure is to make therapy a priority. The industry standard is to attend therapy at least one time per week. Should your situation warrant more frequent sessions I will discuss my reasons for increasing the number of sessions with you. You have the right to keep sessions to one time per week if you so choose.
FEE: Currently my standard fee for a 45-50 minute session is $225.00, however fees will be discussed and agreed upon during the first meeting. Please have your check made out to Deborah Farnsworth, MFT before the session begins. I can provide you with a “super bill” at the end of the month that documents the charges, payments, and diagnosis when necessary for insurance re-imbursement.
INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT: My services are often covered by mental health insurance policies but I do not personally submit the paperwork to the company. I will provide you with a super bill at the end of the month, which you can submit to your respective providers. The insurance companies then issue a reimbursement check to the policyholder. It is up the insurance company as to whether they pay for services provided by a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Patients are responsible for payment at the time of treatment.
It is your responsibility to know the type of coverage you carry and the limits of that coverage. Often companies offer a higher percentage of fee coverage for those therapists enrolled on their panel. They pay a lesser amount or percentage to therapists not enrolled on their panel. I have intentionally chosen not to become a part of insurance panels because I do not want these companies to dictate the kind of therapy I provide or to set limits on the amount of time I can work with a given patient.
CANCELLATION POLICY: In order to be effective, therapy needs to take place on a regular basis. The best results occur when appointments are consistently scheduled and attended regularly. Appointments cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be charged a cancellation fee at the price of the therapy hour unless rescheduled for another time the same week. Rescheduling appointments is preferred over cancellation due to the need to maintain momentum.
TERMINATION: Your therapeutic relationship with me continues as long as I am providing professional services and until you inform me, in person or in writing, that you wish to terminate therapy, or I notify you that therapy is being terminated. It is customary that the patient agrees to meet with the therapist at least once before stopping therapy.
CONFIDENTIALITY: All information disclosed within your therapy sessions, including case notes and records, will be treated as confidential and, under some circumstances, as privileged. No information will be revealed to anyone not present in therapy without the permission of the patient or a legally authorized representative unless an applicable legal or ethical exception exists. However, I am required by law to report any suspected child, spousal, elder or dependent adult abuse and any situation where the patient threatens violence to an identifiable victim. All actual or suspected acts of such abuse will need to be reported to the appropriate agency. The law also permits me to break confidentiality when you present a danger of violence to others or are likely to harm yourself unless protective measures are taken. In addition, disclosures may be required in certain legal proceedings and actions.
Some courts have held that if an individual intends to take harmful, dangerous, or criminal action against another human being, or against him or herself, it is the therapist’s duty to warn appropriate individuals of such intentions. Those warned may include a variety of persons such as: the person or family of the person who is likely to suffer the results of harmful behavior, the family of the patient who intends to harm him or herself or someone else, associates or friends of those threatened or making threats, and Law enforcement officials. Before informing anyone who should be warned, I will take all possible steps to share that intention with you, the patient. Every effort will be made to resolve the issue with you so as to prevent such breach of confidentiality.
TREATMENT OF MINORS AS INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS: When a patient who is a minor is in individual therapy, the parent or guardian has the right to ask for information about the minor’s therapy, and the therapist, acting in the best interest of the minor patient, has the right to limit the amount of information disclosed. If the minor patient is a participant in any legal proceedings raising the protection of all patient/therapist communications as “privilege,” then no disclosure will be made of any of the content of the therapy except by written waive of privilege, given in writing by the parent, guardian or other lawful representative acting on behalf of the minor patient.
CONTACTING THE THERAPIST: Between therapy appointments, the patient can leave a message or contact the therapist by calling (949) 863-0330. Days and hours of availability for sessions are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. These appointment times vary according to my patient load.