Many people have questions about therapy.
It is also common to feel nervous about meeting a therapist for the first time, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you get to know our practice.
We are committed to making quality mental health treatment more accessible, so whether you ultimately choose us or another treatment center, please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything we can do to support you.
Are you accepting new clients?
Yes! One of our core values is accessibility and we make every effort to be available to our clients when they need us most, not six weeks later. In most cases we are able to schedule new client appointments within 48-72 hours. However, if you have scheduling limitations, need to see a therapist who accepts your insurance, or if you are only interested in meeting with one specific therapist, there might be a longer wait. We will do our best to schedule your first appointment as soon as possible.
What are your hours?
Because we have many therapists on our team, we are able to provide a wide range of scheduling options. Our therapists meet with clients from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and our administrative staff is available to serve you from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. We do our best to answer every phone call; however, if you have to leave a message we will work hard to call you back within one hour.
Where are you located?
We have three therapy offices conveniently located throughout the Austin area. Our therapists are available to meet with you in Round Rock, Westlake, and the Allandale neighborhood of Austin. We also provide online video sessions (teletherapy), which appeal to many of our clients due to the time saving convenience of being able to meet with a therapist from home or work. Teletherapy also provides a practical opportunity to practice therapy skills in anxiety provoking environments without the additional expense associated with in-home therapy sessions.
What ages do you serve?
We work with clients across the lifespan. Our child psychologists work with children as young as three years old and our adult therapists work with adults of all ages.
Do you work with out-of-state clients?
While most of our clients are local to the Austin area, we have worked with clients from across the state of Texas and across the United States. If you will be traveling to Austin for treatment, please contact us for assistance with travel arrangements. If you are interested in pursuing teletherapy from out-of-state, we will need to verify that your therapist meets licensure requirements in your state before beginning therapy.
What are your areas of specialty?
We are fortunate to have a talented team of therapists with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our primary areas of specialty are anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, panic attacks, health anxiety, phobias, etc.) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). All of our therapists have received specialized training in these areas. We also have therapists on our team with the following areas of expertise:
- Body Focused Repetitive Disorders (e.g., hair pulling, skin picking)
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
- Tic Disorders
- Couples and Family Therapy
We are a big believer in specialized treatment, so if we think someone else in our community would be better able to help you meet your treatment goals, we will help you get connected with one of our trusted colleagues, so you receive the best possible care.
What levels of treatment do you provide?
We provide outpatient individual and group therapy. We also provide intensive therapy services for clients experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and OCD and clients seeking more accelerated progress toward treatment goals.
What is your approach to therapy?
We take an evidence-based approach to treatment, meaning that our approach to therapy is supported by decades of research. We believe that each of our client’s unique story, strengths, growth areas, and values should inform our approach to therapy, so we take an individualized approach to therapy specifically tailoring each treatment plan to meet our client’s needs. Our team has experienced anxiety firsthand and we know how overwhelming it can be, so every decision we make is driven by our commitment to treating our clients with compassion. Our psychologists and therapists are trained to provide the following forms of therapy:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT)
- Habit Reversal
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions)
If you are seeking a specific approach to therapy please let our scheduling coordinator know, so she can schedule you with the best therapist.
Do you prescribe medication?
We do not prescribe medication; however, we work closely with several great psychiatrists in the Austin area that we can refer you to. We believe that medication can be helpful; however, for many symptom presentations, research indicates that medication combined with therapy yields the best results.
What are the benefits of pursuing therapy at a group private practice?
Because we have a diverse team of therapists we are able to match you with the therapist best suited to help you meet your individual therapy goals. Our clinical teams attend monthly clinical trainings together and annual conferences to ensure that we stay up to date on the latest research. We also meet formally once per week for clinical consultation, which provides an opportunity for our clients to receive the benefit of different perspectives and ideas while only meeting directly with one therapist.
While our group practice provides the benefits of seeking treatment in a larger healthcare organization, our therapists do not face the productivity expectations and pressure to maintain large caseloads often experienced in larger organizations. This means our therapists can focus on YOU and YOUR goals.
If your family has more than one person in therapy, we try hard to schedule appointments at the same time, so you are only making one trip to the office. Should you ever need to transfer to another therapist, that process is relatively seamless because our clinicians work so closely with one another, you already know our administrative staff, and you don’t have to worry about transferring records and “starting over” with someone new.
Do you accept insurance?
Yes! Some of our therapists accept Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and Lyra. We can check your insurance benefits for you; however, we encourage you to check your benefits as well to ensure you are receiving the most accurate information regarding any possible deductibles, session limits, or copayments.
If you have another type of insurance we would be happy to provide you with all of the necessary documentation to obtain reimbursement if you have out of network benefits. Many of our clients have 40-100% of the session fee covered by their insurance after they have met their out-of-network deductible.
What are your private pay rates?
Our private pay therapy rates range from $60-$185 depending on the service provided (individual or group therapy) and your therapist’s license type. There is a wide range of cost for testing, intensive outpatient therapy, and home-based services, so please contact us for additional information regarding those services.
What is your cancelation and no-show policy?
While we hate to charge for late canceled and missed appointments, it is necessary as our therapists do not get compensated for the time they have reserved exclusively for you if you do not provide enough notice for us to offer that time to someone else who needs our help. New clients will be charged a $40 fee for unattended new client appointments canceled with less than 24 hour notice. After the initial appointment, established clients will be charged 100% of the full session fee for unattended appointments not canceled with at least 24 hour notice. Insurance will not pay for missed appointments.
What is the difference between a therapist, counselor and psychotherapist?
Generally speaking, these terms are used interchangeably to describe a licensed mental health practitioner with a masters or doctorate degree. In Texas, the use of the terms therapist, counselor, and psychotherapist are not governed or regulated by a specific professional licensing board. As such, it is important that you do research to ensure you are receiving therapy services from a licensed therapist with specialized training. In Texas, fully licensed therapists have one of the following licenses: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP), Licensed Psychologist (LP).
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
A psychologist is mental health provider who has received specialized training in human cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes. Psychologists earn a doctorate degree (PsyD or PhD) after attending 4-6 years of graduate school consisting of formal coursework, supervised clinical training and experience, dissertation defense, and a one year supervised internship. In most states, including Texas, psychologists most also receive an additional year of postdoctoral supervised clinical training and pass state licensure exams. Psychologists often specialize in psychological assessment, therapy, and/or consultation. In some states, psychologists can prescribe medication after completing advanced training in psychopharmacology; however, Texas psychologists do not have prescriptive authority.
A psychiatrist (MD or DO) is a physician who attends medical school and completes a residency in psychiatry. People typically establish care with a psychiatrist when they are interested in addressing their mental health concerns with medication; however, some psychiatrists also provide therapy and counseling services. In Austin, it is most common for people who are interested in both therapy and medication to see a psychiatrist for their medication needs and a psychologist or counselor for their therapy needs. Consultation and collaboration is important to us, so with your permission, we will remain in close communication with your primary care physician and/or psychiatrist.
How do I choose a therapist?
Our scheduling coordinator would be happy to help you narrow down which therapist might be the best fit based on area of expertise, personality, schedule, location, etc. You might also find it helpful to read our therapists’ bios.
What should I do if I don’t think my therapist is the best fit for me?
Research supports how important goodness of fit is between a client and therapist. We also know that it can be uncomfortable to express concern. We want to assure you that your therapist wants you to share this feedback. If you feel more comfortable having this conversation with someone else you can also speak to our clinical director (Dr. Misti Nicholson) or our practice manager (Katie McAvoy). We have a diverse team and would be happy to match you with a therapist who would be a better fit. We also have close relationships with other therapists and psychologists throughout Austin and would be happy to connect you with someone outside of our practice if you prefer. What matters most to us is that you find a therapist who is a perfect fit to help you meet your goals.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step is scheduling a new client appointment. You can schedule an appointment through our client portal or by calling our office at 512-246-7225. Prior to your appointment, you will receive a link to our secure client portal where you will electronically complete a questionnaire to help your therapist get to know you and prepare for your first appointment. You will also complete some informed consent documents, which will orient you to our practice policies and outline our commitment to you.
What should I expect during my first appointment?
Your therapist will spend the first few minutes of your session reviewing the paperwork you completed and answering any questions you may have. Your therapist will then invite you to share your story and describe any current concerns or challenges you may be experiencing. Sometimes clients tell us they don’t know where to start or what to say. That’s ok. Your therapist will ask you questions to help guide you in an effort to better understand your experience. We are committed to individualizing therapy to meet each of our client’s unique needs. As such, getting to know you and understanding your experience is of utmost importance. We are conservative in our diagnostic and treatment planning approach, so your second and third sessions are often a continuation of getting to know you, your strengths, areas for growth and values. You may also be asked to complete some rating scales to establish a baseline measure of how you are doing. This will be helpful in measuring progress toward your goals. Your therapist will provide you with feedback and, collaboratively, you and your therapist will identify specific, measurable treatment goals that are consistent with your core values.
What will future sessions look like?
Future sessions will be tailored to meet your treatment goals and your therapist will teach you practical skills that are supported by decades of research. We take a feedback centered approach to our work with clients, so we will be asking for your feedback along the way to ensure that we are providing you with the highest standard of care and that you are experiencing observable progress toward your goals.
How long are therapy sessions?
Most sessions are typically 45 minutes.
How often will I meet with my therapist?
Usually patients meet with their therapist once per week; however, if you are experiencing severe symptoms or if you prefer to accelerate progress, you and your therapist may discuss meeting more frequently and/or for longer sessions.
How long will I need to see my therapist?
The length of therapy varies significantly depending on your specific situation, how long you have been experiencing your current concerns, your level of engagement, the frequency and length of sessions, how much you invest in practicing skills outside of your scheduled sessions, etc. It is difficult to predict exactly how many sessions you will need; however, your therapist will be able to answer your questions and discuss any related concerns after getting to know you. Some of our clients have met their treatment goals in as few as four therapy sessions while other clients have continued therapy with us for much longer. On average, the length of therapy is between 12-15 sessions.
Should my child attend the first appointment?
Most of our therapists and child psychologists prefer to have a parent-only session first; however, you are welcome to bring your child to the first appointment. Having a parent session first allows us an opportunity to candidly discuss your concerns and goals for treatment. It also provides an opportunity for you to get to know your child’s therapist and determine whether or not the therapist’s personality and approach to therapy will be a good fit for your child.
Will I be involved in my child’s treatment?
Yes! We strongly believe that parents should be involved in their child’s treatment. Far too often, parents come to our practice feeling frustrated after spending years in therapy with no observable progress toward treatment goals. In these situations, we are often shocked to learn that parents aren’t able to describe their former therapist’s approach to therapy and that they rarely received information regarding their child’s progress. If you have had a similar experience, this isn’t your fault and we hope to be a breath of fresh air in your journey.
Parenting is hard and parenting a child with anxiety is especially hard. In fact, best practices for supporting a child with anxiety often seem counter-intuitive and go against all of our natural parenting extinct, so we believe it is important to coach parents on best practices for parenting an anxious child. We also think it’s important for you to know the skills we are teaching your child, so you can help reinforce practice outside of sessions and avoid unintentionally making the situation worse. Our therapists will also provide you with feedback for other important adults (e.g., grandparents, teachers, coaches, etc.) in your child’s life, so everyone who loves and cares about your child can provide the best support.
Many children, especially teens, desire autonomy and independence in therapy, so we aim to strike the balance of honoring your child’s emerging sense of independence, providing a safe space for your child to talk, and keeping you informed.
Do you provide play therapy?
When working with young children, our child psychologists and therapists incorporate games and play into therapy to make therapy fun and engaging. Games and toys also help our therapists explain concepts and teach skills in a way that is developmentally appropriate. However, we do not provide traditional play therapy because it does not meet our standard of providing evidence-based therapy supported by scientific research.
How should I talk to my child about beginning therapy?
We are strong advocates for reducing stigma associated with mental health treatment by having transparent conversations about it in an age appropriate manner. All kids are familiar with going to the doctor, so it might be helpful to tell younger children that a psychologist or therapist is a “feelings doctor” who helps kids when they are feeling worried or sad. Since many children worry about shots, it might be helpful to emphasize the difference between their pediatrician and therapist. We encourage parents to find a calm moment to reference a time when your child recently struggled and explain that a therapist will teach them how to feel better in those moments. We also suggest normalizing your child’s emotions and the experience of seeing a therapist.
What should I do if my child refuses therapy?
Children tend to grow into anxiety rather than grow out of anxiety, meaning that, left untreated, anxiety typically continues to worsen rather than improve. While it is common for children and teens to initially feel resistant to therapy, our experience has been then they usually warm up to their therapist pretty quickly. However, that isn’t always the case and sometimes we suggest parent-only sessions. Our therapists can coach you on how to best support your child and we are often able to help parents meet their goals for therapy without ever even meeting their child. If you are concerned about your child feeling opposed to therapy, please let our scheduling coordinator know so she can schedule you with the therapist best suited to support your family.