How do I choose the best therapist for me?

Choosing a mental health professional can be a difficult process and feeling nervous is a common experience. Opening up to a complete stranger about the deep, vulnerable areas of your life is challenging and may bring up a myriad of emotions. To some degree this is appropriate. It is stepping into the unknown of a new relationship with a professional and trying to determine if he or she holds the clinical skills and personal fit for your healing process. Finding the right therapist to meet your specific needs can be overwhelming. The right therapist should create a safe, compassionate experience, and effectively aid in getting to the roots of your challenges. It’s a fine balance of creating safety and holding the space, all the while, appropriately exploring and challenging each person in the unique way he or she needs to move towards counseling goals. This is our hope at Aspen Haus Associates.

What should I expect when I contact your office?

Our team endeavors to serve all inquiries with respect and dignity. There are times when our team is not the appropriate fit for services. In making these decisions, we are striving to honor the integrity of the counseling process. This includes providing referrals to the best of our ability.

The first step to our process is a free, brief phone consultation to get a sense of your counseling needs, provide further information about our practice, and answer any of your general questions. Not all counseling practices choose to complete this process. We have chosen to invest this time in hopes to serve all potential clients well.

After the phone consultation, if we determine that Aspen Haus Associates can meet your counseling needs, we will schedule an intake appointment. The intake appointment is an opportunity to further evaluate your needs, counseling goals, and for both the client and the therapist to determine if we are the best fit for your counseling experience.

What should I expect from an intake appointment?

The focus of the intake session is a continued conversation from the initial phone consultation and has three purposes. First, it is an opportunity for you to share your experiences and challenges in life. Second, it is an opportunity for your therapist to provide and gather information to ethically meet your goals for therapy. This includes discussing confidentiality, HIPAA compliance, fees, our service agreement, and the ways in which we seek to be aspirational in all we do, including protecting your confidentiality and safety. Lastly, it is an opportunity for both the client and counselor to determine therapeutic fit after a face-to-face experience. Though we may not cover every detail of the issue(s) presented in the first session, you should have a basic comprehension of the potential counseling experience with your therapist. Your therapist should remain committed to pursuing a clear understanding of your experience, needs, and goals in order to provide tailored and customized services for you.

What types of questions will I be asked during the intake appointment?

There are a few basic goals in order to serve you well. First, our goal is to convey an ethical understanding of how Aspen Haus Associates provides counseling services. This process should not be confusing. In the same breath, we do not expect clients to understand best practices, legal and ethical requirements of counseling, or our policies and procedures. We take joy in keeping you informed from the beginning. We will walk through initial paperwork and provide information about our processes at Aspen Haus Associates. Second, in order to provide an effective treatment plan, we will begin to conceptualize your situation in terms of current psychological research and treatment standards. This requires a counselor to ask specific questions pertaining to your current symptoms and your past counseling, psychiatric, and medical history. We also endeavor to listen to the nuances of your experience, as a unique individual. The more you are willing to share, the better informed your counselor will be. With that said, our counselors do not expect blind trust, and we are willing to be patient and create safety as you develop the trust and connection needed to do the deeper work you are pursuing. This part of the process is pivotal and necessary to forming an effective plan to meet your counseling goals.

What can I expect from an intake appointment for Play Therapy?

The focus of the intake sessions is a continued conversation from the initial phone consultation. Depending on your child’s age and presenting issue, you may be asked to attend the intake session alone or with your partner. An intake session without the child present allows the parent and counselor to openly discuss the behaviors, emotions, and experiences that have brought the child into therapy, and make a plan together that adheres to the child’s therapeutic needs and goals. The counselor will also instruct the parent on how to explain therapy to the child, as well as coach the parent on various skills they can implement at home to support and enhance the therapeutic process.

With older children and teenagers, it is common to have both the parent and child present at the intake session. Parent, child, and counselor will meet together for the first 15 minutes of the session to discuss presenting issues and therapeutic goals. It is during this time that the counselor will explain the structure of counseling, boundaries of confidentiality, and gain everyone’s perspective on the presenting issue.

Keeping parents informed on their child’s therapeutic progress is essential. Every 3-4 sessions, the child’s counselor will schedule a 20-minute phone consultation with the parent to update them on general themes and observations with the child’s therapy. During this time, the counselor will gain information from the parent about how they are experiencing the child at home, answer any questions from the parent, and confirm the progress in the treatment plan. These phone consultations are at a lower rate. If the counselor perceives that they will need more than 20 minutes to give a therapeutic update, they will request the parent come in for a full, in-person session. The parent also has the freedom to schedule a full in-person session for a therapeutic update.

Do you offer different types of therapy?

We offer several forms of therapy, each tailored to your needs and the needs of your relationship or family. We also have a diverse team of specialist, and each has a unique therapeutic style. We do our best to communicate our specialties, training, style, and personality in our bios. When you meet with a therapist, they should be able to clearly articulate the type of therapy they practice and his or her approach to growth and healing. Aspen Haus Associates offers several types of therapy for several populations including individual, marital, couples, pre-marital, sexual, trauma, EMDR, adolescent, and child counseling. We offer a comprehensive and, when appropriate, a team approach to address complex issues and meet the unique needs of each client. We endeavor to offer effective counseling that addresses each aspect of your life, relationship, and family. We believe in working ourselves out of a job, as our hope is that clients leave not only experience healing but also feeling equipped for future challenges.

What do you mean by a “team approach” to counseling?

We believe in the power of team. When you receive counseling from an Aspen Haus Associate, you have the unique opportunity to gain the insight, training, and specialty skill set of the entire Aspen Haus Associates team. At a minimum, when you have an Aspen Haus counselor, you get the team behind the counselor. We also specialize in customizing treatment approaches to meet your specific needs. Our team specializes in customizing treatment plans for complex individual and relationship needs, which can include the involvement of more than one counselor. Examples of customized treatment plans may include finding ways to meet your individual counseling needs while helping your marriage stay healthy, strong, and unified with a combination of individual and couples counseling. We may help your marriage while also helping your child learn to express their needs through play therapy.

In order to offer high-quality, comprehensive approach, our team meets weekly, and additionally if needed, to confidentially staff cases, stay in sync on shared cases, and identify areas of growth for our therapist. This helps us provide unique and effective counseling for our clients.

What if my therapist and I don’t agree on an issue or process for treatment?

We value transparency and congruence. This includes the invitation to our clients in sharing concerns regarding your treatment plan or counseling process. We want our clients to ask questions, seek clarity, and share how they experience the process. We value this information and feedback. It allows us to pursue an ongoing customization of the counseling process. Though counseling is a profession, it is a relationship, and we ask that our clients take ownership in sharing their concerns with their therapist. If you believe you have not been able to fully or effectively present an issue that brought you to your counseling process, then we encourage you to follow up with your therapist. Your therapist may need to access further information in order to effectively provide the best form of counseling treatment. We believe that therapy is a collaborative effort and want clients to engage fully as they are ready.

There are times when clients and therapists do not agree on a treatment plan. This is not unusual. We understand that our therapists cannot be the fit for every client and the process of finding the right therapist is an integral part of the counseling process. Poor fit can be due to training, wanting a specialty we do not offer, personality or style preference, scheduling conflicts, and other various components. Thus, you may need a second opinion or alternative referral. Though we believe in the quality of our expertise, our clients need to feel comfortable and safe with any professional with whom they work with in order for counseling to be successful. We will do everything we can to provide referrals or coaching for the best ways to find the counseling you need. Our office is honored and happy to serve you in this way.

How long are appointments, and how often will I meet with my therapist?

Appointments may vary and may be tailored to specific counseling needs and based on counselor style. The majority of counseling appointments are 50 minutes (hour). We often recommend weekly appointments initially to allow for progress and allow you to get to root issues most effectively. At times, it is necessary to pursue 80 (1.5 hour) appointments depending on the case and form of therapy. Our counselors will communicate and inform each client about his or her suggestion for appointment length and frequency while endeavoring to honor the client’s resources and schedule when possible.

Do you take my insurance?

Aspen Haus Associates does not currently participate as a provider with insurance plans and is a fee-for-service, or private pay, practice. This means clients pay the full fee for services at the time the services are provided. You may pay with cash, credit card, or check. We want to focus on client care and avoid cookie cutter processes that intrude on client confidentiality. We have carefully and thoughtfully explored the advantages of offering fee-for-service counseling. In many instances, utilizing insurance removes power from the client and clinician to decide on appropriate individualized treatment plans and at times requires inappropriate use of diagnoses. Because we offer specialized and individualized treatment plans, using insurance for many of our services would hinder our ability to collaborate with our clients and offer these specialty approaches to counseling. The Aspen Haus Associates team remains committed to being the best at what we do and seeks to be at the top of our respective areas of expertise. Thus, we choose the most individual and specialized path for our clients and currently do not accept insurance. Thus, by not participating with insurance plans, we are not obligated to follow insurance guidelines that require us to provide records or follow insurance guidelines that may not be helpful in client treatment and care.

Many of our clients use their medical reimbursement or HSA/FSA cards for their treatment. We specialize in fee for service counseling services that provide the highest standards in training, expertise, privacy and confidentiality. In some instances, Aspen Haus Associates can provide you with a billing statement that you may use to file an out of network claim with your insurance company. Some of our therapist can provide you with a super bill for you to file with your insurance company. It is up to the discretion of each therapist to provide such a statement. All therapists can provide a receipt for service at each session.

Do you offer educational or CEU events?

Yes, our clinicians are active in higher education arenas including teaching, writing, and presenting at various conferences and educational institutions. Aspen Haus Associates offers educational and continuing education events for clinicians and other professionals including Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist believe in receiving and providing on-going education and training as it allows us to be the best clinicians for our clients.