For some people going to counseling is old hat. For others it's a new and sometimes scary experience. And for others, all they know about therapy is what they have seen in TV shows, movies, and memes. It's important to have your questions answered so that you feel as comfortable as possible to get the help you may need and deserve. Below are common questions and answers I have gotten through the years. If you have a question that does not appear below, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I'm happy to help!
What are your fees for counseling?
Amber N. Pilkington, M.Psy., LPC-Supervisor is now in-network with most major insurance panels (excluding BCBS). If you would like to see what your co-pay would be, you can text or email Amber to get an estimate quote before your session. If Amber Pilkington is not in-network with your insurance or you would like to see an LPC-Associate you can still elect to be private pay and use your out of network benefits. More information below.
Private Pay: Counseling is an investment in your health and future. When you go to a counseling session you are requesting the service of someone who has spent 4 years in undergrad, at least 2-3 years of masters education, and an additional 3000 hours of supervised service before they can even open a practice. Texas counselors are required to take many hours in continuing education every 2 years to keep their license. Additionally, LPC-supervisors, like myself, do additional training after at least 3 years in post graduate practice and are able to supervise new licensees during their 3000 hours of service, helping them become independent professionals. Some counselors choose to get more training on top of the required continuing education required by the state to advance their professional skills that requires thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to complete. This is the route I have chosen specifically in my post graduate training with The Gottman Institute. Having completed 3 levels of advanced training and practicum, I am now beginning the final steps to become Certified in the Gottman Method. That is all to say that not on counselors are “equal” in their advanced study because it is not a requirement to stay licensed and these are good questions to ask a counselor before beginning service.
Also important to know is that the “counseling hours” is considered 50min. This allows time for the counselor to do progress notes and prepare for the next session. One of the reasons that I keep a relatively small practice is because it affords me time outside the counseling hour to study your case, prepare for the next session, and even research the most current science on issues that may come up that are unique and specific to you. I often spend at least as much time with your case outside of the counseling as I do with you in the office.
This is all to say that I understand that counseling is an investment and I take very seriously the trust and investment you put in me.
Click HERE to see our services offered by our LPC-Associates at reduced and sliding scale rates.
Private Pay Discounts: A 20% discount on all individual and couple follow-up sessions (excluding intake) to all self-pay active and retired military. Thank you for your service!
Sliding Fee: Sliding fees may be available to some self-pay couples. Contact Us for more information.
Group counseling fees are particular to the group size and length and can be found specifically in the group therapy page here.
What if you do you take insurance? As licensed mental health provider by the State, most insurances will cover sessions according to your out of network benefits. In this case you would pay your full fee at the time of service and I would give you a "superbill" that can be submitted to your insurance. Then you would receive reimbursement from your insurance later for the amount they cover. With insurance, even if you are going to an in network provider, it's a good idea to ask questions BEFORE your session. There are many different insurance companies and each of those have many plans so I cannot tell you exactly what your insurance will cover. There should be a number on your insurance card that you can call to ask questions about your coverage as you are ultimately responsible for knowing what your plan covers. There are many questions to ask but here are some that might be a helpful starting place when speaking to your insurance:
-What are my out of network mental health benefits for out patient therapy? -Do you cover Licensed Professional Counselors service in Texas? -Where can I find the form and procedure to submit my superbill from my therapist to get reimbursement? -Do I have any "flex dollars" I can use for out of network therapy? -Do I have an employee assistance program that will cover therapy? If so, which therapists are covered? -What is my deductible for out of network therapy? -Is there a limit to the amount of sessions you will cover? -If I pay out of pocket to seen an out of network provider and submit a superbill to you, will it at least be counted towards an out of network deductible or maximum out of pocket amount?
Do you offer in-person sessions right now? Currently Amber Pilkington a limited about of spaces open for virtual clients only, however our LPC-Associates offer in person sessions. Are you going to share my information with other people? Confidentiality and trust is a necessary part of the therapy relationship. In general, everything you tell me is confidential. There are limited circumstances in which I would be legally obligated to share information even without your consent. These include if you are a danger to yourself or others, if you tell me about the abuse or suspected abuse of a minor or and elderly person, a judge subpoenas my records, or if you tell me about professional misconduct from another licensed therapist. Additionally, if you are a minor records can be shared with you parents if they request. However, in this case I suggest to parents that they allow you to have a confidential relationship with me and that I would let them know if tell me you are in danger. Parents often agree to this because they understand the benefit of a trusting therapy relationship; however, this agreement is not legally binding.
Do you prescribe medication? No. As a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas, I am not licensed to prescribe medication. However, I commonly work with your physician to coordinate treatment. I believe you are best served by creating a treatment team to support you in all aspects of wellness and health. One of the reasons that I take a limited amount of clients is so that I have time to coordinate with you treatment team if that is something you would like me to do. But please know that I cannot and will not speak to your other heath care providers without a signed release of information from you except where law requires.
What if I can’t see you because of scheduling conflicts or the need to use in-network insurance right now? It’s ok! There are many reasons that a therapist and a client are not a good match. My goal is for you to get the help you need in a way that fits all your life circumstances. I hope that my website can offer you some benefit even if you do not become part of my private practice. Please check out the Resources Page for educational resources as well as suggestions to other therapists and organizations who can help. There are many capable and talented therapists who can help you if I cannot. Don’t lose hope!
Amber N. Pilkington, M.Psy., LPC-S Texas Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor
Virtual Counseling for Texas Residents 4499 Medical Drive Ste 151. San Antonio, TX 78231
firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 210.593.4392 Direct Line: 210.241.0020