Great question—we all have really busy schedules, right? Engaging in any kind of therapy is an important decision. Because of that, we want to be sure to have time to gather all of the information from you that we need to provide as comprehensive of an assessment as possible. We are able to give you our undivided attention and determine, with you, your treatment needs, if you have completed all of your paperwork by the start time of your scheduled appointment.
Please come early so we have this information! Our 2019 Patient Satisfaction Surveys rated our practice a 4.8 out of 5 on comprehensive care! We want to keep that up for you!
This is an important question that has several different answers! The NS/LaCa policy is in the policy and procedure document that every prospective client signs (and gets a copy of) because we want clients to understand the policy and the reason for it!
We take patient care seriously and for that reason, we do not double book appointments, we do not ask clients to justify (or not) the reason they missed, we don’t ‘verify’ reasons for not attending; we respectfully reserve your time exclusively for you and if you have to cancel late for any reason or don’t come, we cannot offer that time to another person. We then are faced with the inability to provide care to another person and to support our practice to continue to provide excellent care. For these reasons, there is no exception to this policy, except for severe weather conditions. In fact, many practices have a 48-72 hour NS/LaCa policy but we feel that 24 hour notice works for us and for our patients.
In our 2019 Patient Satisfaction Surveys, many of our clients have said that while there may be a ‘sting’ in paying a fee for NS or LaCa, they understand it and are willing to do it because of the quality of care they receive at BHA, LLC.
The first THERAPY appointment, in our practice, is for parents/guardians only. (However if you are bringing a child or adolescent under 18 years old to see our psychiatrist, John Shin, MD, for MEDICATION CONSULTATION and management, the child AND the legal guardian(s) must come to the first appointment.) This is in order to gather as much information as possible about what might be prompting the need for treatment in an honest and forthright manner. This will include inquiring about adult issues and family history that may be influencing some of the presenting concerns for the child/adolescent. There is an expectation that even if the child is identified as the patient, there will be parent/guardian involvement in the treatment process because any therapeutic interventions must be applied outside of the therapy office. Parents/legal guardians may be guided in ways to interact and relate more effectively as a way to influence behavior change; and parents/legal guardians may be included in the treatment plan to assist a child/teen with symptom reduction using skills learned in therapy.
In fact, the research, along with our experience, shows that only treating a child in individual therapy has very limited benefit because the child lives in the family! We want the family to be very well equipped to work with the child for the best possible outcome!
When working with a couple, the ‘couple’ is the patient. For insurance purposes there is often one identified patient for processing insurance claims; yet clinically we are providing therapeutic interventions to address the treatment goals that the couple has. Your therapist cannot see or communicate with either person privately and potentially become the gatekeeper of secrets or private information. Meeting with one person, without the other present, can result in a lack of trust in the therapeutic relationship and a belief that the therapist may be biased. In fact, sometimes one of the most important parts of couples therapy is to help couples share information with each other that is difficult to put into words.
We are always glad when couples ask about this because we want you to know the skill and commitment that we bring to the effective treatment of couples!
The information you share is confidential. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality and these include information that indicates suspicion of child, disabled adult, or elder adult abuse, immediate threat of suicidality or homicidality, or Court Order from a judge.
When we meet, please ask us if you have any concerns about confidentiality!
If you have concerns about someone, don’t assume it is a “phase”, and, let them know that many treatment options are available. It is important that they know they have your support and encouragement.
We encourage people with concerns about themselves to seek support from friends and family members if this is possible AND to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional. There is much research that indicates that the sooner a mental health or substance use disorder is identified and effectively treated, the likelihood is greater that an improved quality of life can be established and maintained.
One myth we are passionate in addressing—someone does NOT have to want help or “hit bottom” in order for treatment to be effective. Frequently, the loving, assertive and well-orchestrated efforts of family and trusted friends are the best influence on someone agreeing to seek help. Be sure to seek the services of a therapist who is well-versed in motivational enhancement strategies to engage your friend or loved one in the treatment process.