Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you accept insurance?
Yes. However, we do not accept all insurance. Thus it is your responsibility to check if we accept your insurance (i.e., if we are in-network) before making your appointment. Clients must pay for out-of-network services up-front, in cash, check, or credit card (i.e., Mastercard, Visa, or Discover). Clients seen on an out-of-network basis will be given a receipt for the client to file with their insurer. Houston Mind-Body Counseling cannot accept responsibility for the amount of money reimbursed by the insurer or for denial of a claim. That responsibility lies with the insurance carrier and client solely.
2. I cannot afford the standard charge, can you do something for me?
Yes. First of all, credit cards are accepted which allows clients to personally finance their own services. If you find that you still cannot afford standard fees, please mention this to us. We may be able to assist you in some other way or refer you to a public or sliding-scale clinic.
3. Do you prescribe medication?
Yes. Dr. Rodriguez is an advanced-practice registered nurse with prescriptive authority. Dr. Rodriguez will inform you when medication is advisable for you.
4. Do you recommend not taking medications?
No. Psychotherapy and the mind-body methods used by Dr. Rodriguez are meant to complement a client’s medical care not replace it. Some illnesses and problems of living can be handled using non-medical techniques especially when the problem is not of a severe nature. Nonetheless, that decision is based on an individual’s needs, circumstances, and preferences. Psychotherapy and mind-body methods are often more effective when used in combination with medications.
5. How is it that psychotherapy can help with something like depression?
Depression is a complex mental illness with a physiological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and social web of causation. Thus, psychologically-based and behaviorally-based treatments can act to cause a remission or at least to improve symptoms and coping. Likewise, more medically-based treatments can do the same. Currently, research supports the combined use of these treatments for improved outcomes or for more severe cases.
6. What do you do in therapy?
This depends on the needs and desires of clients as well as the theoretical tendencies of the provider. In almost every method however, a discussion of the client’s difficulties is central to understanding the problem and how best to address it. So a brief answer could be “one talks about one’s problems.” There are various aspects of the mind such as thinking, learning, and feeling as well as various ways clients cope with problems such as denial, somatization, communication, and the development of deeply-held convictions and attitudes. Among other things, different schools of psychotherapy differ with respect to what aspect of mind and what coping capacities are targeted or emphasized. Dr. Rodriguez utilizes many different schools of thought but is particularly fond of psychodynamic and existential approaches, Transactional Analysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal-process therapy, and mind-body techniques including hypnotherapy.
7. What are mind-body techniques or therapies?
What is referred to here as “mind-body techniques” is also called “stress-management techniques” in other circles. Nonetheless, in Dr. Rodriguez’s opinion, the term stress-management can underestimate the utility of such methods. For example, these methods are not just applicable to stressful situations. Mind-body techniques are being used nationwide to improve blood pressure and heart health, to help clients cope with chronic pain and other chronic disease processes like diabetes, even to improve fertility! Further, these methods are not voodoo. They work by causing changes in the endocrine, immune, and/or nervous systems.
8. If I’m running late, can I have therapy over-the-phone or Internet?
No. Phone and Internet sessions are offered for convenience in individual therapy but require that the client prearrange the services and provide credit card information so that charges are settled immediately. Most insurance plans do not cover these modalities. Charges are the same for in-person, telephone, and Internet sessions and are based on the length of the session in minutes. Sometimes the desire to have therapy over the phone versus in-person should be discussed in sessions.
9. My treatment is confidential right?
Yes of course, but only to the extent allowed by law. Although rather limited, there are situations where providers are obligated by law to disclose information. Some of these situations are as follows:
When required to process an insurance claim or to provide care at the request of the client,
When a client gives consent to release of information,
When there is a potential for imminent harm to the client or others,
When the situation involves abuse or neglect, and
When ordered by a Court with the appropriate jurisdiction.
Further, all identifying information, such as a date of birth, will be kept confidential unless required as in the above situations or at the consent of the client for whatever reason. Aside from this, clients’ personal and identifying data are never shared nor sold to other businesses for marketing or any other purpose.
10. What should I do if I’m running late or can’t make it to my appointment?
Like in any other situation, clients should call to explain what is happening. Clients must understand that their therapeutic time cannot be extended to cover their tardiness. For example, if a client is 40 minutes late to a 50 minute appointment, the session will only last 10 minutes and will be charged at a regular rate. Clients should always be ready to discuss what is happening to cause them to be late or miss sessions. This is important for many reasons. If a client misses an entire session for whatever reason without giving at least 24 hours notice, the client will be billed a missed session fee as time cannot be made up. Also, sessions may NOT commence again until payment for the missed session is made. Finally, treatment will be terminated by the provider if two sessions are missed without calling to cancel 24 hours in advance.
11. My treatment record is mine isn’t it?
A client’s treatment record belongs to the maker and keeper of the record, i.e., Houston Mind-Body Counseling. Clients have a right to see information in their record but must request that information ahead of time. Further, they must also specify what information they wish to access and pay for any copies necessary per page. Finally, if there is information in the record that the provider believes in good faith may have a negative impact on the client’s mental health, that information will not be released.
12. What if I don’t like the therapist?
It is well known that not all people can work well with the same psychotherapist. Clients should and must feel free to discuss positive or negative feelings toward their therapist during their treatment. This is expected and can help clients make great strides in their therapy. The only thing asked in such situations is that these discussions be characterized by civility. On the other hand, if you decide you don’t want to work with us, you are free to terminate your treatment at any time and to seek an alternative provider.
13. Are there any side effects to treatment?
Yes. Medications have numerous unintended effects. Also, going through psychotherapy sometimes causes anxiety. Sometimes the client doesn’t know “whether things are going well” and should discuss this with the therapist. Sometimes old traumas are revisited and can be accompanied by strong emotions. Sometimes clients change aspects of their lives as a result of treatment. Nonetheless, for most people, the end results more than warrant these mostly- temporary effects.
14. May I call you outside of therapy if I need support?
Absolutely. However, please realize that we may be in session or otherwise unavailable. If a client is needing frequent support outside of his or her therapy, the client will be asked to increase the frequency of sessions to better meet these needs.
15. What should I do in an emergency?
First of all, the client is primarily responsible for his or her own safety. Thus, in any situation requiring emergency medical or psychiatric assistance, clients are to go to the nearest emergency department immediately! Houston Mind-Body Counseling cannot and does not function as an emergency room for either physical or psychiatric emergencies. Also, do not worry about contacting us during emergent situations. One should get help first and in a timely manner! All else can wait until later when the your safety and welfare are secured.
16. What do I do if I need to reach you when the office is closed?
Clients are to call and leave a detailed message on the answering machine. However, we cannot be on call 24 hours-per-day. Again, if clients experience any kind of emergency, they are directed to go to the nearest emergency room immediately. They must not expect nor wait for us to return their call after hours.
17. How much do you charge?
45 – 50 Minutes
15 – 20 Minutes
45 – 50 Minutes
|$115||Combined Psychotherapy and Medication Visit
45 – 50 Minutes
50 –60 Minutes
|$1 per minute|
|Group Therapy and Workshops
45 – 50 Minutes
|$40||Missed Appointment Fee||$30|
|Phone or Video Sessions||Same as in-person charge||Returned Check
18. What should I expect on the first therapy session?
At the beginning of therapy an assessment must be done. Clients will be interviewed relative to their current problems as well as past medical and psychiatric history. Later, sessions progress to accomplish an in-depth understanding of problems and to the setting of treatment goals as appropriate.
19. What’s important in choosing a psychotherapist?
This varies depending on who one asks. However, it is very important that you feel comfortable talking to your psychotherapist. This cannot be over-emphasized. One should also look for credentials that establish whether the psychotherapist is adequately prepared educationally. In most disciplines, a masters degree or a doctoral degree in a helping profession is required to prepare therapists educationally. It is also important to discuss expectations because sometimes clients have ideas about therapy that come from TV and are not entirely correct. If you have a particular interest in a particular school of psychotherapy, this is also good information to mention to us.
20. How many sessions will I need?
This depends on what goals the client sets for him or herself. If the goal is easy to achieve, short courses of psychotherapy will suffice. If the goals are more challenging, it could take a good deal of time. All things being equal, the more time one invests in psychotherapy, the better one’s end result. It is most important to realize that problems aren’t usually created in a week. Likewise, they cannot be fixed in such brief periods of time. It is very important for clients to discuss their notion of how many sessions they will need with the psychotherapist.
21. Do you do psychological testing?
When clients require formal testing, they are referred to psychologists who specialize in testing. However, there are lots of psychometric instruments that don’t require the expertise of a testing psychologist. These may be used at Houston Mind-Body Counseling.