-With Marcel Gamboa, Licensed Professional Counselor
Life Cycles Counseling is excited to now offer online video therapy for new and established clients. Online counseling, or telehealth/telemedicine as it’s sometimes called, is becoming a more popular and acceptable way of offering and receiving services. Although it has inherent risks, it provides a viable alternative to traditional therapy. Here some common questions and answers:
Why should I consider online therapy?
- If you live in the rural area and it’s not easy to find a counselor nearby.
- If you have a busy work schedule, and you prefer to schedule something in the morning
prior to going to work.
- If you struggle with health conditions that make it hard for you to come to appointments.
- If you are currently not able to drive.
- If you want more flexibility when things occur, such as bad weather.
What downsides should I be aware of?
- You miss out on face-to-face interactions with the counselor. Some nuances in
counselor’s empathy, warmth and “connection” may be lost in video chats.
- There are more risks involved with confidentiality.
- Technical issues may occasionally arise.
How does it work?
Online therapy is as easy as Skype or Facetime; however, because these means are not secure, Life Cycles Counseling uses a secure HIPAA compliant service, Doxy.me. It has a higher level or security and privacy. Just follow the link I send you, and you’re good to go. There is no need to download anything if you use a computer or a laptop. If you are using a smart phone or a tablet, you will need to download the doxy.me app. Some insurance companies, notably BCBS uses a different platform – LiveMD, which is also user-friendly.
How much does it cost?
Private pay rate is currently $78 for a 50-minute session. Many insurances now cover online therapy, but this is still a relatively new process. As a courtesy to you, I will call and verify your insurance coverage for online counseling. You are encouraged to call as well, since ultimately you will be responsible for the full fee if your claim is denied (this is no different than “regular” face-to-face sessions).
What excludes me from online therapy?
If you are under 18 years of age.
If you are not located in Texas while conducting the sessions.
If you have suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
What is your payment, cancellation and reimbursement policy?
All appointments must be prepaid via the online portal. There are no refunds for payments made; however, if you cancel more than 24 hours in advance, you may use this payment towards you next appointment. If you cancel/reschedule less than 24 hours prior to your appointment or “no-show,” there is a $60 cancellation fee. Please read the full cancellation policy in the ‘Informed Consent for Online Video Counseling”
How do I schedule and secure an appointment?
You can schedule an appointment via any of the contact methods described on my home page (phone call, E-mail, or the ‘schedule an appointment’ tab); however, if you will be doing online counseling exclusively (and not alternating between online and in-person), I will ask you to fill out the client portal and sign all forms online. Your appointment time is confirmed as soon as your visit is paid in full. Appointment times outside of business hours are sometimes accommodated upon request.