Frequently Asked Questions
A F.A.Q., or Frequently Asked Questions, page offers answers to common questions that we encounter frequently. If you have a question that is not addressed below please contact us.
What is Discovery Counseling?
Discovery Counseling is a non-profit Christian ministry that has provided thousands of hours of services to adolescents, adults, couples, and families since 2008.
What is counseling?
Counseling is a collaborative process between you and your counselor. This process begins with identifying your goals, setting objectives, and measuring your progress along the way. Counseling then helps you objectively look at your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors so you can develop more effective ways of dealing with life struggles.
Change can happen! Nine out of ten Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports said that counseling had helped them. In other studies, half of the clients were making improvements after eight sessions of therapy, 75 percent after six months of therapy.
There are some risks to counseling. It is important to consider how major psychological changes may impact your current relationships. Treatment may be emotionally painful at times and not all people experience improvement. Sometimes there is a need for psychiatric consultation and/or medication during periods of depression, agitation, or other emotional difficulties.
Sessions between you and your counselor may be emotionally and psychologically intimate. The relationship, however, will remain on a professional level rather than a personal one. Therefore, contact will be limited to the paid sessions in the office or over the phone. You and your counselor will not engage in physical contact, socialize, give gifts to each other, nor establish any relationship other than the professional counseling relationship. The only focus of the counseling sessions is on your concerns.
Should I seek counseling?
People seek counseling for various reasons. Some of the common reasons are:
- Prolonged feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and/or hopelessness
- Marital or family unhappiness
- Concerns about a child’s behavior or adjustment
- Distress over personal relationships
- Inability to set or attain goals
- Worry about eating patterns or weight
- Frustrations with employment or co-workers
- Sadness due to death, separation, or divorce
- Struggles with unhealthy habits or patterns
- Disappointment with life
What about a crisis?
If you are in need of emergency services, please call or do one of the following: Call 911; or Go to the closest emergency room.
How much does counseling cost?
The fees for therapy at Discovery Counseling are charged by the clinical hour (which is 50 minutes). As of January 1, 2010 our fees are: $30 for graduate students, $75 for registered interns, and $105 and up for Licensed Master level clinicians. Group rates vary by group.
Some of our therapists accept insurance. We currently have therapists that are on the following panels: United Healthcare, CIGNA, Aetna, and Orlando Behavioral. Please allow us to verify your coverage, benefits and copays before you start therapy. If you have other insurance plan coverage, we will provide you with a receipt needed to submit directly to your plan for reimbursement.
Payment for counseling is expected at the start of each session. We accept cash, check, credit and debit cards for payment. The fee for service covers one, 50-minute therapy session. If you do not cancel a minimum of 24 hours prior to any scheduled appointment, you will be held financially responsible for the full fee for that appointment. As a courtesy, Discovery Counseling is willing to provide a receipt for you to send to your insurance company if you provide the proper information.
You are expected to pay the prorated session fee for phone calls made by the counselor at your request. The charges for letters, assessments, consultations, copying records, legal research, testimony, etc. need to be arranged with the counselor prior to these services being provided.
If at any time you are unable to make a payment or if your financial situation should interfere with your treatment, your counselor will work with you to develop an acceptable plan.
How do I get started?
Our counselors will be happy to schedule an intake appointment for you with a counselor. At the initial intake you will be advised of your rights as a client, fill out the necessary paperwork, and develop a strategy for pursuing ongoing counseling with your therapist.
When does counseling end?
Stopping treatment is usually a mutually agreed upon ending of the therapeutic relationship but some circumstances may result in premature termination. You may discontinue services whenever you choose, for whatever reason you choose. Some examples of circumstances that a counselor may stop treatment may include but are not limited to: nonpayment for services; not following treatment recommendations; three missed appointments; no appointments in two consecutive months unless advised by the counselor; threats to the counselor, the counseling center, or others associated with the counselor or the center; and/or some problem emerges that is not within the scope of practice or competence of the counselor.
What is confidentiality?
Confidentiality means that information about you is never released to others without your written permission. Everything said in therapy is confidential and will not be disclosed except when reporting is required or permitted by the HIPAA Privacy Standard (see below) or Florida law. Exceptions to confidentiality include the following:
- suspected abuse of a child, developmentally disabled person, or a dependent adult;
- potential suicidal behavior;
- threatened harm to another, which may include knowledge that the client is HIV positive when there is an unwillingness to inform individuals with whom the client is intimately involved; and
- when required by compulsory process.
Information may also be disclosed if you sign a written authorization or in the event that you file a complaint against your counselor. Payment by check allows bank employees to view names of Discovery clients. If you have caller identification on your phone, the name of the agency may appear on the monitor. Further, if you seek insurance reimbursement, you will need to sign a form allowing Discovery to release confidential information to the insurance company in order to facilitate payment. In keeping with generally accepted standards of practice, supervision and consultation may be made regarding the management of your treatment with other mental health professionals, including other counselors in the center, who are bound by the same rules of confidentiality. In some situations cell phones may be used by counselors to contact clients. Please note that e-mail is NOT a confidential means of communication.
What are my rights as a client?
Therapy is understood to be a choice made by you, among available options. Options include other counselors, counseling centers, therapies, support groups, self-help resources, and other modes of treatment. Medical treatment may also be a viable option. You may also choose not to seek treatment at this time.
If therapy is chosen, your symptoms may worsen before improving, fail to improve, or continue to worsen. Some clients need only a few sessions to achieve their goals, while others may require months or even years of counseling. You have the right to terminate at any time, however, it is understood that premature termination may result in the return or worsening of the initial problems and symptoms.
It is appropriate for clients to raise questions about the counselor’s orientation and training, diagnoses, fee policies, and course of treatment. We try to answer these questions during the intake. All communication between you and counselor is considered to be part of the clinical record, which is accessible to you upon written request to view or to obtain copies. Records are maintained for a period of seven years from the date of your last appointment.
You are encouraged to talk with the counselor directly if dissatisfied with services received, desirous of a second opinion or referral, or if intending to discontinue appointments. You may contact the Executive Director of Discovery if the counselor is not able to resolve your concerns. If you believe the counselor has acted unprofessionally, a complaint may be filed with the Florida Department of Health, Health Professions Quality Assurance Division.
Each of the counselors at Discovery are registered or licensed with the State of Florida.