How can I set up an initial consultation?
Initial consultations are complimentary, 15 minutes in length, and offered by phone or video.  For families or couples, it is best when all members can attend.  For children and adolescents, it is preferred to divide the time between parents and child, which may require 20 minutes.  The purpose of the consultation is to briefly gather information on an individual’s history, current challenges, and goals for working together.  You will also have an opportunity to ask questions about the therapist’s treatment approach, specialties, style, fees, and intake process.  Though not essential, it is helpful if you come prepared with a list of questions such as:
  • What is your availability?
  • What is the cost per session?
  • Is therapy offered in person or online? 
  • What is your approach to therapy?  Any particular philosophy or tools used?  
  • Do you have any specialties or specific trainings?  
  • How much experience do you have working with concerns like mine?
  • What are the steps to getting started?  
What are your rates?
The standard session fee is $200 for a 50 minute session and $115 for a 30 minute session.  Additional meetings or requirements beyond 10 minutes in a business week will be prorated based on the fee of a 50 minute session. A typical session length is 50 minutes.  A stand alone eating disorders evaluation, which involves 150 minutes of direct face-to-face time, correspondence with other providers, and treatment plan recommendations, is $650.  Additional fee information is outlined in the Fee Agreement & Financial Policy intake form.  If unable to afford the fee, please contact the therapist, who will help discuss options.  You may be able to find in-network options, community mental health centers, university or medical center training programs, or religious organizations offering high-quality services at low cost.
How do I set up an initial appointment?
In most cases, it is recommended to schedule a consultation to determine fit.  Once the consultation is complete, client or therapist may reach out with follow-up information or to initiate therapy.  The initial appointment will be scheduled, and clients will receive a secure link via email to complete intake forms.  These forms need to be read and signed by all participants in treatment prior to the initial appointment and will be stored in a secure practice management system.  Billing information will also need to be entered and kept on file for secure automatic payments.  Fees are collected the day of service.  All major credit cards, debit cards, FSA, and HSA cards are accepted.  
Do you take insurance?
Olson Counseling Services is an “out of network” provider, meaning we do not have a contract with health insurance plan providers.  However, many clients are able to receive reimbursement from their insurer, particularly with PPO plans.  An insurance claim, called a Superbill, will be provided automatically on the first of each month, including services from the previous month, which can be submitted to your insurance company for potential reimbursement. This is the client’s responsibility.  Before beginning therapy, it is recommended to research your plan’s benefits and call your insurer to ask the following questions:
-Does my plan cover mental health services?  If so, what is my co-pay or co-insurance?
-How much of the cost is covered for a therapy session with an out-of-network provider?
You may need to provide common service codes including individual psychotherapy (90832, 90834, 90837), family psychotherapy with client (90846), and family psychotherapy without client (90847).  
-What is my deductible, and how much of this deductible have I met?
-Is there a limit to how many sessions per year are covered under my plan?
-Is there a way to negotiate a single case agreement to see this provider?
What is your cancellation policy?
Typically, sessions are scheduled at consistent days and times weekly for your convenience and your therapist’s. Olson Counseling Services maintains a 24 hour cancellation/rescheduling fee policy. You will be responsible for the entire session fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment time, unless we are able to reschedule within the same business week. Please note that 24 hours means 24 hours from time of scheduled session. Requests received on weekends may not be received, so we ask that you be mindful of your schedule and inform the therapist of changes on business days. Rescheduling is not guaranteed.
Do you offer in person and online session options?
Yes, we offer in person options in our office in San Jose, CA and also internet or telephone sessions for individuals who are residents of California. Outdoor therapy or “walk and talk therapy” can be offered at a higher fee for those interested in this option and requires a specific consent form.  
Do I need to be in California to work with you?
Yes, due to state licensing guidelines, we can only provide services to clients located in California.
What if I have an emergency?
If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are not in immediate danger but need to speak to someone urgently, please contact the 24–Hour Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255 or Suicide Prevention Line at 415-781-0500.  It is also recommended that you familiarize yourself with local emergency resources.
Is it okay to email or text my therapist in between sessions?
Clients are welcome to text, email, or call in between sessions.  This is sometimes important for scheduling, sharing resources or referrals, homework assignments, or significant updates.  However, when possible, it is best that important issues be addressed in sessions. The therapist reserves the right to charge for greater than 10 minutes of time spent in additional communication or case management outside of session.  If you wish for a return phone call, please leave your name, phone number, and a brief message concerning the nature of your call.  Non urgent phone calls will be returned during normal workdays within 24 hours. 
Am I able to connect with my therapist on social media?
Our aim at Olson Counseling Services is to protect the privacy of clients. If you are, or are planning to become, a client of Olson Counseling Services, I recommend you do not follow the therapist’s social media account in order to protect your privacy and preserve the therapeutic relationship.  If you attempt to interact, the therapist will not respond. The therapist also will not solicit or respond to reviews of services from clients on online business pages, as it is unethical to do so and a potential breach of confidentiality.  
Is information delivered by electronic means protected?
Services by electronic means, including telephone communication, Internet, fax and email, are considered telemedicine by the state of California.  It is important that clients understand risks and benefits.  Potential risks may include inadvertent sending of an email or text containing confidential information to the wrong recipient, theft or loss of computer, laptop or mobile device storing confidential information, and interception by an unauthorized third party through an unsecured network.  Olson Counseling Services takes every effort to follow HIPAA guidelines and protect client privacy, including use of secure emails as indicated, a secure practice management software, and an encrypted server known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  It is important that clients review the Notice of Privacy Practices at the outset of therapy.  
How do I prepare for session?
For sessions, it is best when clients come prepared with topics to discuss, maybe something that feels present from the past week or day, recent thoughts and feelings, or a particular problem area that they are working on.  If a client is not sure of a direction for session, the therapist will help guide a topic. For Internet sessions, it is important that the following are taken into consideration:
1) A confidential, quiet space. Consider using headphones, a white nose machine, or fan.  Inform family or friends you are living with that you cannot be disturbed for the next hour.
2) Technology.  A laptop or computer is ideal for visibility and comfort. Prior to the appointment, it is recommended to check that the telehealth link provided works with your computer software; audio is working; there is proper lighting; and you have a good WiFi connection. It may help to move close to your WiFi router or close out any unnecessary programs.  
3) Timing. It is important that you arrive on time to appointments and that we end on time.  Please plan accordingly in order to maximize session time.  It is recommended to leave a 5-10 minute window before sessions to prepare mentally/emotionally and ensure proper set-up, as well as after sessions to integrate content, jot notes, or complete any follow-up tasks. 
What is a "Good Faith Estimate," and what are my rights?
Under the law, clients have the right to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” (GFE) of expected charges. The GFE requires health care providers to give clients who do not have insurance or are not using insurance an estimate of the bill for medical/mental health services.  You have the right to request a GFE before you schedule a service, or at any time during treatment.  If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your GFE, you can contact the health care provider or facility listed to dispute the bill. To learn more visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call HHS at (800) 368-1019.  You are encouraged to keep a copy of the GFE.  
What is your COVID-19 policy for in person visits?
We believe that some clients may benefit most from in person services. In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak and guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local, state, and federal authorities, we have implemented measures to ensure safety and comfort while maintaining consistent and effective services for clients.  We are constantly monitoring updates with a commitment to the welfare of clients, therapists, loved ones, and the broader community.  Safety measures in place include using face masks (currently optional for clients according to County guidelines), maintaining 6ft social distancing, personal and office sanitization, and limiting the amount of individuals in office to no more than four. A HEPA air filtration system is also located in office.  If either the therapist or client is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or is presenting with undetermined symptoms of illness, it is requested that the session be conducted virtually. Clients who visit the office in person will be asked to sign a COVID-19 Safety Protocol Agreement and Waiver.  

Notice to Clients: The Board of Behavioral Sciences receives and responds to complaints regarding services provided within the scope of practice of marriage and family therapists. It is our goal at Olson Counseling Services to provide professional and ethical services. However, if you have any questions or complaints that are not resolvable with us directly, you may contact the California Board online at www.bbs.ca.gov, by calling (916) 574-7830, or by mail:
1625 N Market Blvd S-200, Sacramento, CA 95834.