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Elizabeth C. Gregory

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What to Expect From Counseling

Depositphotos 8178278 xsFor many people, this is the first honest relationship they have ever experienced. I have no pre-conceived idea of how you “should be” or what you “should do”. My role is to be of support, guiding you to recognize your own values and make the decisions that you believe are in your best interest. Counseling is a non-judgmental and honest way of relating. There is nothing you can tell me that is likely to shock me or make you unacceptable to me. Further, what you say to me stays in the counseling room. If you have some secret you need to share with a family member or loved one, I will help you gain the strength to share your secret, if you decide it is in your best interest to do so.

The only exceptions are when I believe you are in danger of harming yourself or another person. Then, as a mental health professional, I must take action to protect you and others.

Counseling is usually short term, lasting 6 to 12 sessions. Each session is 50-60 minutes long. My role is to help you be able to independently function at your highest level. I do not want you to become dependent on me or expect me to tell you what you should do with your life. You are the expert on you and I will listen closely to what you share with me, offering unbiased feedback to help you gain confidence in yourself. I value your confidence in me as a sacred trust.

Prior to your first session:

Depositphotos 24652265 xsContact your Insurance company by calling the Member Services number generally located on the back of your insurance card. Ask for information on your mental health benefits. Many companies may be insured under a major carrier such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but have the mental health benefits managed by a different company. If your plan is managed, you will be given a number to call for a referral. Ask for a list of providers for counseling. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). You may request to see me specifically.

If your plan covers only Psychiatrists and Psychologists, it will not cover my services. If your plan does not list me as a provider, ask if there is an “out of network provision”. This will often pay 50% of the cost after your deductible is met. Write down the information you received by phone and the name of the person you spoke with.

Most insurance plans will have a deductible (the amount you have to pay before insurance starts paying) and a copay (the amount you pay for each session after the deductible is met). If your company has an Employee Assistance Plan, your counseling may be free to you.

If your problem is related to your own or someone else’s drinking or drug use, be sure you also ask about experience in that field when choosing a counselor.