Frequently Asked Questions about Christian counseling
What is Christian counseling?
Christian counseling is rooted in the knowledge that God is always reaching out to us. When we are hurting and in need of help, remembering that God is the source of wholeness can set us on the path to healing and growth. Christian counseling relies on the Holy Spirit to guide the sessions so that the therapist can use appropriate psychological tools within our Christian identity to bring healing. All of the Christian therapists at the Center have seen healing through the power of the Gospel, and we invite you to the abundant life that Christ promises.
All of the Christian therapists at Center for Family Counseling, Inc. provide a free 15-minute phone consultation. We do this because it is very important for you to feel comfortable with the Christian therapist you choose to see. To set up your free 15-minute phone consultation, please call our office at: 320-253-3540.
Does the clinic take insurance?
As one of the first licensed clinics in the St. Cloud area, we are able to submit insurance claims for most clients to their insurance companies. Most insurance plans do not cover 100% of all charges. If you feel comfortable with the therapist you talked to during your free 15-minute phone consultation then you can set up an intake session (the first session) after that phone call. You can set up the intake session by talking with one of our office staff.
What happens during the first appointment?
If you decide to start Christian counseling you can call us at: 320-253-3540 and set up your first appointment called the “intake session.” We ask that you come an hour early to your appointment to fill out the necessary paperwork, or we can mail the paperwork out to you and you can bring it in for your intake session.
It is important to understand that your first session is not really therapy. Like all licensed counseling, Christian counseling starts with the intake session. It is an intake session because your therapist has to “take in” information about you and your situation in order to provide a billable diagnosis for insurance carriers and to create your individualized treatment plan. During the intake session your therapist also reviews all the important forms that you filled out (confidentiality, informed consent, HIPPA, etc). Sometimes the intake will be continued into your second session; it all depends on how much information is gathered in the first session. Your therapist will let you know if the intake needs to be continued to your second session.
Once the intake is complete, your therapist will come up with an appropriate billable diagnosis and create an individualized treatment plan to address your situation and work on healing. After your intake session is complete your therapist will review your treatment plan and address any questions you may have. Then you and your therapist will sign and date the treatment plan. After the treatment plan is reviewed and signed the intake session is complete and therapy begins.
How long will therapy take?
Although none of us can predict the future, the treatment plan that your therapist creates for you will have a completed section regarding the “anticipated date of resolution” which is the estimated end date for therapy. This date may be 3-6 months of counseling for issues that are more minor (for example, “adjustment disorders”) or maybe 6-12 months for issues that usually take longer to treat (for example, abuse, depression, anxiety, etc.). Depending on your therapist’s diagnosis and treatment plan, your therapist may recommend appointments be scheduled on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly basis. It is our philosophy that a good Christian therapist is about empowering people and families to be open to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and to live abundant lives in Christ (John 10:10). We have seen this happen, but it is impossible to predict how long that will take.
What if there is a lapse in sessions?
If you or your therapist decides to wait longer than a month between sessions, your therapist will probably do a quick “clinical update” at the beginning of the very next session. This update consists of a few questions regarding current symptoms and other information, and usually only takes five to ten minutes.
How does marriage counseling work?
Because we are a state-licensed clinic we always need to identify one “primary client.” This may be the husband or wife in a marriage, depending on who has more symptoms that can be listed as a billable diagnosis. Just because this person is identified as the client certainly does not make this person the problem; it just means that the file we create will be under this name, the client’s insurance company will be billed, and the client will sign all of the intake forms including the treatment plan. Because you want marriage counseling, some of the measurable objectives in the treatment plan will include working on the marriage via family therapy.
I have a child that I think needs counseling, but I want to make sure the child doesn’t feel bad or like they are the problem. What can I do?
The Christian therapists at our clinic working with children do a great job of making sure that the child who is the identified “primary client” doesn’t feel like the problem. We like to say “the client isn’t the problem, the problem is the problem.” The problem can be an attitude or action that the client does. Children love to hear this positive idea. In the Gospels Jesus never made anyone the problem when that person was open to a life-giving relationship with Christ; this relationship frequently took time and wasn’t always perfect. Because of this lesson from Jesus, we like to say “just because someone makes a mistake, doesn’t make them a mistake; they are still a child of God.” Family therapy builds on our identity as children of God and can address many family issues.
What ages of children are seen at the clinic?
We have licensed therapists trained to see school-age children; primarily beginning with five or six years old and up. The therapist will work with Mom, Dad, and / or the guardian very closely to make sure the appropriate interventions are being implemented at home consistently.
What if I have Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services I’d like to use?
Typically EAP services require a direct referral from the company to specific clinics already contracted with their payment agreements. If you have EAP services you’d like to use, please contact your EAP service company before scheduling any appointments with our clinic. If a contract is not appropriately established with Center for Family Counseling, Inc. before scheduling counseling, the sessions might not be allowed or covered by your EAP.
Do you have a sliding-fee scale?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide this type of service. If there are financial difficulties interfering with your ability to pay, we are willing to set up a payment plan. Please contact the office manager for more information before scheduling the intake session. If you do not have insurance at all, we recommend using Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services, both in St. Cloud. These two organizations both have sliding-fee scales.
What does it mean to be a “private-practice” clinic?
This means that each therapist works under the clinic for billing purposes. However, the therapists are still in charge of deciding which insurance companies they become listed providers with and what hours they choose to work at the clinic on a weekly basis.