Therapy FAQs


Is counseling for me?

People seek counseling (also known as psychotherapy, or therapy for short) for any number of reasons. The common factor all these reasons share is that symptoms or difficulties persist or worsen over time. Counseling can help if you find yourself engaging in a pattern of behavior, thinking, or feeling that just won’t change. Too, counseling is a good option for those whose attitudes or thinking are negative or otherwise destructive. People also seek counseling when problems mount to the point where they interfere with social, interpersonal, academic, or occupational functioning. In short, counseling is for you if, in spite of your best efforts to change, your problems remain and you continue to suffer.

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How do I find a good

therapist?

When it comes to matters of the heart, only the very best will do. You might be able to get by with an average plumber to fix your drains, but you don’t want an “average” counselor (a.k.a. “therapist”) tinkering with the things that matter most to you. Finding someone you can trust; who is sensitive, warm, and personable; and who has the expertise to get you from where you are to where you want to be isn’t a task that can be accomplished by simply thumbing through your insurance provider list or the yellow pages.

PATS provides several tools that simplify this process. After finding out a little about you and your situation, our clinical director will recommend a therapist that is a good match for you and together we will find an appointment that works for you. To get to know our therapists and their expertise better you can visit the Clinical Staff page and learn more about each therapist. Still undecided? Come meet us in person! You can schedule a free, no obligation 15-minute consultation with any of our counselors to help you make your decision.

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What is counseling like and how long does it last?

Unlike what you may have seen in the movies, counseling does not involve lying on a couch talking to a serious, stern, cigar-smoking type. We offer personality — and lots of it – with our counseling! You and your therapist sit across the room from each other in an office and discuss your problems and possible solutions to them. Sessions with children often take on a less formal “let’s sit down and talk” approach. The sessions typically last around 55 minutes and are held on a weekly basis, though the frequency is subject to what you need, what you’re comfortable with, and the progress you’re making.

Counseling is a collaborative process where your feelings, problems, and needs are paramount. The nature and severity of problems plays a central role in how long your treatment lasts. We work with you to regularly gauge how you’re doing in solving the problems you came in with. For some people, this is accomplished in just a few sessions; for others, counseling may last a few months; and for a few, treatment may be measured in years. Whatever your needs and however long it takes us to get you there, know that we will accompany you in your journey every step of the way.

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How much of what I share is confidential?

Confidentiality is at the heart of effective counseling. Not only will your counselor keep everything you share private but special care will be taken to guard the privacy of your clinical and billing information. We recognize that you can only improve to the degree you feel you can be honest with and confide in your therapist. Please, if you have concerns about the confidentiality of what you share, ask questions until you feel reassured.

You should know that there are limits to confidentiality. State law requires the mandatory reporting of abuse or neglect of a minor, elderly, or disabled individual to authorities; that steps be taken to protect a) a client with suicidal intent and/or b) potential targets of homicidal intent; and that the public health department be made aware of any life-threatening communicable diseases (e.g., AIDS). With the above exceptions, your therapist will only release confidential information (e.g., to your doctor, to a spouse) at your request and with your written and signed permission.

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What types of mental health professionals are there, and what’s the difference between them?

Psychiatrist . . . Psychologist . . . Certified Psychology Resident . . . Social Worker . . . Marriage and Family Therapist . . . Licensed Professional Counselor. It’s easy to get confused about the different professionals found in the mental health community. Here’s a brief description of each of those listed above:

A Psychiatrist is one who has completed medical school and, just as Pediatricians focus on treating children and Cardiologists focus on the heart, specializes in the biological and psychological bases of mental health problems. At the conclusion of formal training, completion of a two-year long residency is required. Psychiatrists tend to spend most of their time prescribing psychotropic (i.e. mental health) medications.

A Psychologist has attended graduate school and received broad training in areas such as the assessment and treatment of psychological problems, research methods, and has completed a thesis and dissertation. A year-long internship is required as a part of training. While there are many types of psychologists (e.g., school, industrial, experimental, forensic), clinical psychologists are found working in clinics where they provide testing and counseling services.

A Certified Psychology Resident has completed the same formal educational and internship requirements as a clinical psychologist and is being supervised in his/her work until (s)he becomes licensed (usually a year-long process). Services provided by a Resident are billed under the name of the Psychologist who supervises him/her and are covered by most insurance plans (exceptions: Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield).

Clinical Social Workers (CSWs) complete a graduate program that emphasizes the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. The training program includes practica/internships and usually a master’s thesis. CSWs receive training in diagnostics, developmental theories, counseling models, and family systems. CSWs are found in a variety of settings including psychiatric facilities, substance abuse treatment centers, foster care programs, hospitals and hospices, and outpatient mental health clinics.

A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) has attended graduate school, with a focus on understanding how marital and family systems work. Like their colleagues of other disciplines, marriage and family therapists evaluate and treat emotional and behavioral problems, with a particular emphasis on how the problems develop and can be solved in the context of family relationships.

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) are a relatively new breed of mental health professionals in the state of Utah, first granted status here in the mid-1990’s. The LPC degree is a generic two-year degree in counseling, rehab counseling, school counseling, etc.

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Does PATS offer psychiatric (medication) services?

PATS doesn’t have a psychiatrist on staff; therefore, no medication-related services are available. If you need a psychiatric evaluation or medication management and don’t currently have someone to help you, we can give you referrals to such professionals here in the community.

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How much does counseling cost?

PATS has two per session rates, one for services provided by PhD and the other for LCSW therapists. The first visit is $160/$130 and all remaining sessions are $130/$100 (PhD/LCSW); however, if you aren’t using insurance, a lower “cash rate” may be available (please call us for details). If you have insurance that covers outpatient counseling, the rate may be less if the therapist you see is on your insurer’s provider panel. In the event none of our therapists are providers on your insurance plan, you still may be able to access our services via out-of-network-benefits.

Most insurance plans cover services provided at our clinic; a quick call to your insurer or brief peek at their website will answer any questions you might have. Relevant information you want to know about include:

  • Does my plan cover outpatient mental health services, and which providers are covered?
  • Is my plan a calendar or fiscal year policy?
  • What is the individual/family deductible? Is the deductible specific to mental health services or a combined deductible (e.g., with medical services)?
  • What, if any, limit on visits is there during my plan year?
  • What percentage or amount of the cost does my plan cover?
  • What will my co-payment be?

We accept VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and flexcards; we do not accept American Express. In the event an ecclesiastical leader is helping pay your portion (e.g., deductible, co-payment) of counseling, a 10% discount may be available.

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What therapeutic approaches are used by your counselors?

The diversity of education, training, and experience among our counselors provides a wide array of therapeutic styles and approaches. These therapy types include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based upon the idea that our emotional states derive from the way we think and act. This approach challenges and corrects errant ways of thinking and behaving, thereby producing changes in feelings. Research has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in particular.
  • Holistic: A treatment of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit interconnected and affecting each other.
  • Client-centered: Therapy that is designed to create a comfortable, empathic, and non-judging environment for clients to find solutions to their problems.
  • Play Therapy: An approach based upon the idea that children communicate their internal thoughts and feelings through their play. Adults use language to share and communicate their thoughts and feelings, but children will do this either through their play or through their talk as they play. The Play Therapist uses the medium of play to both gain a better understanding of a given child’s inner emotional struggles as well as to communicate important and helpful messages to the child regarding himself, his behavior, and different solutions to his problems.
  • Insight-oriented: An approach that highlights how current situations and ways of interacting and relating to others are tied to dynamics and relational patterns from the client’s family-of-origin and upbringing as a whole. Such insights allow the client to begin to better understand why he does what he does and, more importantly, to choose to make changes accordingly.
  • Interpersonal: Interpersonal therapy involves identifying dysfunctional patterns in an individual’s relationships and experiences. The client-therapist relationship is often instrumental in breaking these patterns and developing new ones that create more personal and interpersonal happiness for the individual.
  • Conjoint: Conjoint therapy includes two or more individuals (usually family members) working together on a common problem. Such an approach is used when counseling couples. It can also be effectively applied to behavioral and emotional problems in children and adolescents. In this case, the therapist works with both the parent(s) and child to define the problem, generate solutions, and follow-up on efforts made to improve.
  • Solution Focused Therapy:  Focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problem(s) that made them seek help. The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future.  Solution building is the goal, and as the client changes the language that shapes how he/she thinks about the problem, they can change the language that shapes how they think about the solution.
  • Narrative Therapy:   Allows people to consider their relationships with problems, thus the narrative motto: “The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” This allows the person to see him/herself apart from the problem and create a new narrative of having control over the problem.
  • MRI Therapy:  Focuses on exploring the ‘rules’ of a relationship by looking at past attempts to fix the problem. Often times, an individual or family gets stuck in trying ‘more of the same’ when it comes to solving the problem and doesn’t create change. MRI therapists assist in change by exploring the cycle of negative interactions and identify the behaviors which maintain the problem.
  • Mindfulness: Awareness of one’s present state of being (including one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) in the absence of judgment; being fully “in the moment” and mindful of the current environment.

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Can my therapist or counselor help me in legal matters (e.g., by testifying in court)?

PATS doesn’t accept for counseling clients who need, or who have a high likelihood of needing their therapist or counselor to testify in some type of legal venue or court proceeding. Naturally, if subpoenaed to testify in court a therapist or counselor would have to comply. However, there are several disadvantages to having him or her do this for you:

  1. When placed under oath, your therapist or counselor must answer honestly, and this may hurt your case.
  2. Providing testimony regarding a client has the potential to damage the client-therapist relationship.
  3. We are neither trained nor experienced in issues related to court appearances; such an expert is called a Forensic Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
  4. There are subtle legal nuances that limit or nullify a therapist’s or counselor’s effectiveness as a witness on your behalf. Too technical and esoteric to detail here, such nuances revolve around when the client-therapist relationship was established, its nature and focus, etc.
  5. Involving a therapist or counselor in your case can be time-consuming for your therapist or counselor and therefore very expensive for you.

At PATS we are happy to provide therapeutic support and counsel to help you through the stress of your legal matters. However, if you know you need a therapeutic voice to help you in the courtroom, you need someone with more expertise than what we offer. We would be happy to give you a list of professionals in the area who make their living as forensic specialists.

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