New Clients FAQ
Release of Information
What should I expect with my therapist?
Regularly you will find there are three levels of psychotherapists that you will come across which include students, guides, and expert professionals. Despite most therapists surely having favorite predispositions on how to operate, great therapists know that they have to be adaptable to the needs of the client. There are a multitude of social, psychological, environmental, and various other factors that affect our mental health which determine provider-role decisions by your therapist. Clinicians typically either hold a masters or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field such as social work.
Do you offer free consultations?
We ask that you treat our service as you would any other provider/professional and suitability/treatment questions be made during the time of your in-person intake appointment where your provider can take their time assessing the systemic nature of your current situation. This decision is also largely due to HIPAA constraints surrounding responsible record keeping. Signing our intake packet is not indicative of treatment obligation (you do not have to continue seeing us). This also means that until you sign a consent to treatment, we are not your therapist meaning that we cannot offer advice or interventions until we are.
How do appointments work?
Appointment times, frequency, and format sometimes differ based on your insurance benefits. Make sure you check out our appointments tab for more information on our location, see our next seven day availability, and other important commentary/videos. Please keep in mind that due to current pandemic, teletherapy benefits currently have temporary authorizations across most insurances and may discontinue in the future. Appointment times are generally 53 minutes depending on your insurance eligibility. Your initial intake appointment will be in-person for identification, assessment, payment, and documentation purposes. We also require a credit card to be place on file for private insurances for copay, coinsurance, deductibles, and/or operating fees (e.g., case management).
Do you offer weekend appointments?
Due to our recurring appointment business model, missed appointments mean a disruption in your treatment plan and of course loss of income for us. We have attempted weekend appointments during two separate previous careers in counseling and experienced problems facing clients sleeping past their appointment times and of course the justified family vacation or event that usually happens on the weekends. Lastly, we also love spending time with our family during this time as well! We do offer evening appointments, however, client turnover during these times are extremely rare.
What if I do not see an opening in your schedule?
It is quite common that our availability changes from week to week. Until you are one of our clients there is little we can do if there is not an opening that suites your needs. Unfortunately, most of our prospecting client phone calls revolve around unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate future availability. Change Talk LLC does not have waiting lists due to insurance restrictions against this practice and we do not schedule intakes more than a week in advance. You are welcome to still check our availability weekly.
What do I have to do if I have to miss an appointment?
Please note that your clinician purposely repeats all client appointments. This means that most missed appointments cannot be filled and consequently may likely incur a no-show fee with less than 48 hour notice. A weekly client is allowed three EXCUSED absences every ninety days and biweekly clients are only allowed to miss ONE appointment in a ninety day period of time. Such is the price of consistency and this practice choosing not to double book clients or schedule clients on a week-to-week basis. Please keep in mind that if you "no-show" for two appointments in a row or violate our attendance policy, we reserve the right to cancel all recurring future appointments which may lead to eventual termination.
What does insurance not cover?
Outpatient clinical services are the lowest level of mental healthcare. Consequently, case management/forensic services are not included in MOST insurance plans! If you feel like your child needs more care, intensive outpatient, in-home, clinical day schools, or residential facilities might be your better option. Most people don't realize that most provisions for Court, Department of Children and Families, Family Court, Court Drug Testing, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Guardian Ad Litem, School, and various other exchanges typically are not considered medical necessity by most insurance providers for standard outpatient treatment. The unfortunate reality is that in many cases either the family is responsible for these charges and/or your clinician attempts to be as efficient with their time as they can be in order not to charge you.
Can I see two therapists at the same time?
The short answer is "it depends." The safe answer is to always check with your clinician first since they are in charge of your treatment. Most insurances do not cover redundant services that have the same billing codes. However, couples counseling, EMDR, medication management, group psychotherapy, and other modalities MAY be accepted treatment opportunities by both your insurance company and provider. However, this is as much an insurance thing as it is a liability thing. Always consult with your primary therapist. Historically, concealing seeing another provider leads to automatic discharge in most psychotherapy practices due to liability concerns (e.g., who's treatment plan do I follow?), it being a treatment plan violation, and of course the disruption in the therapeutic alliance (e.g., trusting each other). Don't forget, in any great relationship, both individuals answer to one another.
Is there a preferred type of therapy (in-person vs. teletherapy)?
Teletherapy requires a phone/computer/tablet with a quad-core processor with a minimum usable 1.5 mbps UPLOAD (not download) speeds or greater. The faster your device and upload speeds the better the experience (resolution). Your therapist wishes for you to experience the greatest benefit from your time with this office. In a weird twist of reality, behaviors are much like addiction where we develop these recursive habitual cycles that are often hard to break. For a person with depression or anxiety, this often means difficulty leaving the house. For a person that has ADHD, this means difficulties with focused attention. This is perhaps the most influential reason why we do not allow teletherapy for adolescents. The general secret surrounding your striving towards your mental health goals is that change begets change. Teletherapy also has various risks concerning your HIPAA rights ranging from the propensity of computers to be "hacked" to family members listening in on your session. Due to these and many more constraints, in-person psychotherapy is generally the preferred method for most psychotherapeutic interventions.
Can I call my therapist?
Currently, there are very few provisions for very select insurance plans that even cover ANY and ALL phone calls with your therapist (teletherapy does not apply). Your clinician will be there to support you during URGENT matters and in times of need. Not for routine matters, or issues that can wait until the next business day when you can schedule an online/in-person appointment with your clinician. This is typically a very hard notion to convey considering the nature of the work we do and this being an relationship-driven business. This is just as much as a fee-for-service related decision as it is a boundary related decision that promotes autonomy and repels codependency with our clients. As a general rule of thumb, if we have to ask ourselves "is this an urgent matter?" that it typically means it likely can wait. 211 or your local emergency department are a great resource for emergency/urgent matters where a professional will either actually show up to your home (mobile crisis unit) or a crisis clinician will perform an initial evaluation. We ask that cancellations be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Texts are permitted during regular business hours to both of our urgent/nonurgent business lines. Urgent communications will be responded to within 1-12 hours which means if you need someone right that very moment to choose either 211 or 911 options.
Does Adam treat Adolescents?
YES! We do see teenage children and young adults. Problem is that 3-7pm availability rarely has any openings and there seldom is a remedy for that! So please, do not make intake appointments for children that are not sustainable (school, sports, etc.) understanding that the intake time you are choosing is the continuing appointment time you will likely be offered. Lastly, everything is included in your child's one hour session. This includes updates from parents or brief case management opportunities that will be conducting during your child's appointment. These processes does not "interrupt" your child's session and is very much a part of it. If you want additional time, please schedule a separate appointment.
Are there other treatment options?
There are a multitude of factors that either lead to successful or unsuccessful treatment plan terminations. Typically, if you are on-time with your payments, followed the rules of this office, and showed up to your scheduled appointments most of these clients remain in "good standing" with this office and can return to this practice outside of ninety-day period of time upon discharge. After your termination we are no longer your therapist. This means if there is a urgent mental health care item you would like resolved you can either schedule another intake appointment with us, find another therapist, speak to your primary care physician, dial 211 (mobile crisis unit), or go to the emergency room/dial 911. If we believe you need a higher level of care (e.g., intensive outpatient, etc.) we will let you know during your discharge or in writing. Future referrals and/or brief phone calls after discharge constitutes a level of post-psychotherapy influence that is discouraged by most governing bodies we follow (implies active treatment).
How do therapist vacations/cancellations work?
We love our vacations as much as you do! With that said, vacations/holiday/absences will be posted on our "home" or "landing" website page three months to a year in advance. We also typically observe most major holidays. During our absence, we would like you to utilize either 211 for all urgent needs and ask that you respect our well-earned days to ourselves. This includes cancellations, case-management, and most other routine matters. If it really can't wait feel free to text us, however, it might be some time before we can respond due to geographical limitations. When it comes to storms, we do our best to predict safety, communications, and power grid obstacles. This means if we don't think that we will have cell service for the following day, we will try to be proactive and cancel in advance of losing this capability (communicating) which includes teletherapy options. Thusly, we also attempt to reasonably predict our client's behaviors as well, and if we believe that four or more clients have/will cancel on us, typically take the stance of taking the whole day off much like the four hour work stipulations of most agencies regarding storms.
What if my search engine tells me something different?
There is a lot of knowledge that is required for both an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan which is representative of your clinician's 10+ years of formal education. This knowledge is both academic, empirical, and experiential. Generally speaking as an example, an untrained individual might diagnose themselves with several diagnosis appearing in our Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5; 5th ed., APA, 2013) since oftentimes symptoms look similar (e.g., confusing dissociation with lethargy, etc.). Combine that with most empirical research indicating a correlational connection ONLY, and treating yourself might spell a recipe for disaster and will likely be contrary to your clinician's clinical impressions. It is actually very common that a client's presented problem turns out to be something completely contrary or different. After all, if you truly knew what the problem was, wouldn't it be easier to solve? When it comes to contradictions, I am confident that you can find empirical evidence for and against video games right? Just because something is online doesn't make it true and by itself means very little. Objectivity is key here.
How do I make payments?
Payments are required during time of service. For private insurances, a credit card will be required to be kept in your file for all incurred fees.
For outstanding balances please send cash, check, or credit card information to:
Change Talk LLC
251 Essex Plaza
Essex CT, 06426
Checks: Should be made out to Change Talk LLC
Credit Cards: Information should include Card Holder Name, Account Number, Expiration Date, three digit security code, and billing zip code.
AUTO PAY: The most common option. We accept all major credit cards that will be placed securely and encrypted in your electronic file.