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Frequently Asked Questions 

Have a question you would like to ask? Client care is my top priority. Please review the answers to the FAQs below. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, feel free to use the "get in touch" button on the home page to contact me with any additional questions or concerns.

 

What are your fees?

Fees are based on a sliding scale per annual family income. 

< $30k annual income - $45/session

$30k-$50k annual income - $65/session

$50k-$75k annual income - $85/session

> $75k annual income - $105/session

Do you accept insurance?

I do not accept insurance. The group practice I am affiliated with is private pay, with competitive rates based on annual family income.

What types of payment to you accept?

We accept all major credit cards, checks, and cash for payment. We also offer auto pay for your convenience. Payment is due at the time of your session, unless previous arrangements have been made.

What is your cancellation policy?

I require a minimum of 24-hour cancellation notice. Your scheduled session is time set aside specifically for you and I to travel together on your counseling journey. Please provide adequate notice of cancellation so that other wait-listed clients may have the opportunity to be seen. For appointments cancelled with less than 24-hour notice and for no-shows, you will be charged the full session fee. Future appointments will not be scheduled until your account is settled. Exceptions made due to extenuating circumstances are at the full discretion of the therapist.

How do I schedule my first appointment?

Please complete the form by clicking on the "get in touch" button on the home page, or choose "request appointment" from the home menu. You may also email me directly at christybirgen.lpc@gmail.com. When we are able to find a mutually acceptable time, you will receive an email to complete the intake paperwork through the client portal.

What is the client portal?

The client portal is a HIPPA compliant platform that my group practice uses for paperless client forms and to communicate with clients. Please be assured that all information is private and secure.

How long is each counseling session ?

Each session is 50 minutes long. With client care as my top priority, beginning and ending on time is important. The nature of counseling at times requires some flexibility, but my standard is to not let it vary by more than 5 minutes. Beginning and ending on time will ensure that each client receives the proper care and attention.

What can I expect during my first counseling session?

I know taking this first step can bring a little bit of nervousness; that is normal! The first time we meet is more like a "getting to know you" session. I want to hear your story. We will talk about what brings you to counseling, any experience you have had with mental health services, personal and family history, and what you hope to accomplish through counseling. I will also share with you "housekeeping items" such as practice procedures, informed consent, and the best way for you and I to communicate. By the end of the first session, we will have identified our direction of counseling and schedule your next appointment.

What is your approach to therapy?

The most important thing I would like to share with you is that my approach is collaborative. Although I am the "mental health expert", I consider you as the expert on your life. I view my role as coming alongside you as we work together to being you to a better place of hope and well-being. Since each client is unique, my approach with each client will also differ in order to utilize what will benefit them in the best way possible. Generally speaking, my approach utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to provide primary level change relatively quickly while giving you skills to implement on a regular basis going forward. Since we are not strictly cognitive beings, other facets of wellness are also integrated such as emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions in order to help you find your desired place of personal balance.

Do you work with couples or families?

Yes! I am certified in marriage, couple, and family therapy.

What is your approach to couples counseling?

My primary approach to couples counseling is emotionally focused therapy. Most couple issues are the result of feeling disconnected from your partner. Often, fear or loss of trust is at the root. Work will be done to explore emotions in a safe setting in order to gain awareness and learn how to cope/regulate emotions. Concepts such as safety, security, and bonding within your relationship will be explored to establish new healthy ways to connect rather than disconnect.