Fourstoneslogo

Frequently Asked Questions

“There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.” - Charles Proteus Steinmetz

FAQ

“There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.” - Charles Proteus Steinmetz



HOW DO I CHOOSE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL?  whut

If you feel nervous about seeing a mental health professional, you are not alone. When we are at a vulnerable point in our lives, opening up to a perfect stranger and trusting that he or she has the clinical expertise and the personal compassion to help are very difficult to do. The right therapist should make you feel as comfortable as possible while simultaneously getting to the heart of your concerns and formulating an effective plan of action for positive change. That is our goal at Four Stones.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM AN INITIAL APPOINTMENT? whut

The initial evaluation is a conversation between you and your therapist that has two main purposes. First, it is an opportunity for you to tell your story, to feel heard and understood. It is also an opportunity for your therapist to gather vital information that will ultimately help you meet your goals for therapy. Though you may not cover every issue raised in the first appointment, you should have a clear understanding of the direction you and your therapist will take in order to achieve your desired goals.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF QUESTIONS I WILL BE ASKED DURING THE FIRST SESSION?  whut

The goal for the therapist who is helping you is two-fold: on the one hand, he or she wants to understand your situation as it compares to other clients. This is the diagnostic aspect of the evaluation. In other words, is there a category in which your presenting challenges fit?
 In psychiatry, we use the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Psychiatry (fifth edition) to determine if a client meets the criteria for a particular mental disorder. Examples would be Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This requires a clinician to ask key questions pertaining to your current symptoms and your past psychiatric and medical history. This part of the interview is absolutely necessary to formulating an effective treatment plan.

Not everyone, however, needs a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. That is why the second and more important goal of a therapist/doctor is to understand you as an individual. At Four Stones, we believe that every person has unique strengths and challenges. We recognize that cookie-cutter solutions to complex relational and emotional problems just don’t work. Because of this, your therapist will want to ask you questions about your personal life: your family of origin and upbringing, your current social situation, your likes and dislikes, your personality style, and even your past experiences with other mental health professionals. The more open you are to answering these kinds of questions, the better we will be at tailoring a treatment plan to your specific needs.

DO I NEED TO BE IN CRISIS BEFORE I SEEK TREATMENT? whut

The answer is a resounding No! Many individuals seek out professional counseling as a form of self-care, much like a fitness enthusiast would seek out a personal-trainer or dietitian. Therapy effectively prevents problems and fosters personal and professional growth as much as it rescues people from crises and heals mental and emotional wounds. At Four Stones, many of our clients are extremely successful, personally and professionally, but they value the unique opportunities that our form of treatment can provide, both in terms of their own self-awareness and their effectiveness in dealing with others. 

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF THERAPY?  whut

There are many forms of therapy, each tailored to specific needs. When you meet with a therapist, they should be able to articulate clearly the type of therapy they practice. At Four Stones, we believe in a process-oriented form of therapy vs. a prescriptive form of therapy. Prescriptive therapy means that you, the client, present with a problem and we, the experts, tell you what to do. Process-oriented therapy sees growth and change in the form of a journey. Every person is on a path toward self-actualization and success. It is our job as professionals to walk beside you in this journey and help you formulate your own decisions through a deeper understanding of the underlying thoughts and emotions that control each of us, day-in and day-out. It is the proverbial difference between the person who gives you a fish and the person who teaches you to fish. The latter might take a little longer, but it’s a much better service in the end.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO TREATMENT? whut

At Four Stones, we are firm believers in the ancient proverb that says there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Being able to process the specifics of a client’s story with a team of multi-disciplinary providers, each contributing their expertise, leads to more effective outcomes in the end. This treatment team approach, however, is optional. We want our clients to feel safe and if you elect to see only one provider, you can do so. In your first session, your therapist will discuss with you the limits of confidentiality and the times at which personal information must be shared. 
Though you may decide against the treatment-team approach to your care, understand that you will still be benefiting from Four Stones unique approach to our own personal and professional development as providers. Our weekly treatment team meetings are not only used to staff cases but to identify psychological factors within ourselves that may be used to further advance our clients’ care. This level of insight is something most mental health practices do not have.  The information gained is used to provide a whole other level of value to your therapy experience. 

WHAT IF MY THERAPIST AND I DON’T AGREE ON AN ISSUE? whut

If your goals in therapy have not been met, there are several actions you and your therapist may decide to take. If you believe that you have not been able to fully or effectively present the issues that brought you to the appointment, you and your therapist may decide to schedule a follow appointment to continue the evaluation process prior to making a treatment plan. Your therapist may also recommend obtaining ancillary information in the form of standardized psychological testing or, in the case of a psychiatric evaluation, medical tests to rule out other illnesses. Finally, it may be necessary for a therapist to obtain collateral information from your family, friends, or healthcare providers. Be assured that this information will only be obtained with your written consent and will not include, except at your request, the revealing of any personal information you have shared in the initial evaluation. 

Of course, there are times when a client and therapist cannot agree on the treatment plan. Though this can be frustrating, it does happen. At Four Stones, we always recommend that our clients obtain a second opinion if they do not feel that their needs are being met. Though we are confident in our clinical expertise, clients must feel comfortable with the professionals they work with if therapy is to be successful. Because of this, we will not only do everything we can personally to help you, we will do our best to connect you with other professionals outside of our practice who may be better equipped to meet your needs.

HOW LONG AND HOW OFTEN ARE APPOINTMENTS? whut

Appointment times vary and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Most therapy appointments are 50 minutes. In order to gain the most out of therapy, professionals recommend weekly appointments. Letting any more time pass between sessions means that you and your therapist have to play “catch-up” before you can get down to the heart of the issues that affect your everyday life and relationships. 
If you are seeing a doctor just for medication management, these appointments are usually 20 minutes. Their frequency varies but usually scheduled monthly while your doctor adjusts medications and then quarterly if you are stable on the medication regimen agreed upon. 

DOES FOUR STONES TAKE MY INSURANCE? whut

Four Stones is a fee-for-service practice. This means that clients pay the full fee for services rendered at the time the services are provided. You may pay with cash, credit card, check, or flex spending/prepaid medical cards. At the time of service and at your request, Four Stones can provide you with a billing statement that you may use to file a claim with your insurance company.  Most of our clients do receive some reimbursement for services depending upon the type of insurance coverage they have. Most insurance companies will also allow services rendered to count toward clients’ deductible costs. 

There are several advantages to a fee-for-service practice, separating us from other mental health groups. Insurance companies remove from the clinician and client the power to decide on an appropriate individualized treatment plan. Mental healthcare, unlike surgery or other professions of medicine, must be individualized to be successful. Unfortunately, insurance companies not only perpetuate a “cookie-cutter” approach to therapy, they also fracture what should be a collaboration of specialists working together for the good of their clients. We’ve seen new clients come to our office from insurance-based practices, sometimes having a list of 10-20 medications they take daily. Doctors who are pressed for time dole out prescriptions to patients based on check-boxed symptoms, sometimes having spent only 10 minutes in a face-to-face encounter. At Four Stones, our clinicians are not only at the top of their respective areas of expertise, but they are passionate about collaboration, knowing that it works the best. We are confident that you will see that difference born out in your care, personally. 

DOES FOUR STONES EVER DO EDUCATIONAL EVENTS? whut

Yes, many of the clinicians at Four Stones are active in the educational world, teaching, writing, and presenting at various conferences, media events, and educational institutions. If you are interested in having one of our staff speak at your next event or activity, please let us know and we would be happy to make arrangements to help.