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Terms and Policy

Therapist’s Disclosure Statement
I have a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Counseling from The School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. This is a three-year program combining sound psychotherapeutic theory and practice, a two-year clinical internship, which I did at Harborview Mental Health Services, and course work in theology and spirituality, including 12-step.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and abide by the APA Code of Ethics. I am licensed in the state of Washington as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and my license number is LH 60502682.

All mental health professionals are required by the state to complete 36 hours of continuing education every two years, which keeps us current on all areas of our profession. However, I generally exceed this by a great amount because I am a voracious reader, insatiably curious about my work, and because I feel a responsibility to my clients to continue to grow professionally.

I write monthly as a Topic Expert on Autism for GoodTherapy.org, a well-respected online resource for the general public in search of sound information about mental health, and for mental health professionals as a source of continuing education. My blogs are linked from my website.

Also on my website, there is a list of articles I have written, presentations I have given, and information about my book in progress for neurodiverse couples and the therapists who support them.

About my Practice
Mine is a specialty practice. I concentrate on working  with neurodiverse couples (autistic + neurotypical). I understand these two groups very well through many years of education, clinical training, clinical experience, and life experience.

Client Rights and Important Information

You are entitled to receive information from me about my methods of therapy, the techniques I use, the duration of your therapy (if we can determine it), and my fee structures. We can discuss it in our first session. This information is available in great detail on my professional website.

You can seek a second opinion from another therapist or terminate therapy at any time.

Generally speaking, the information provided by and to a client during therapy sessions is legally confidential. If the information is legally confidential, the therapist cannot be forced to disclose the information without the client's consent. There are exceptions to the general rule of legal confidentiality. These exceptions are listed in WAC 18.225.105. You should be aware that legal confidentiality does not apply in a criminal or delinquency proceeding. There are other exceptions that we will identify to you if the situations arise during therapy.

There are other specific exceptions to your right to confidentiality. For example, I am required by law to report cases of any child who is physically abused to the County Child Protection Services. Additionally, if an individual becomes dangerous to him/herself or others, or is incapable of caring for him/herself, confidentiality will be broken in order to arrange for appropriate care.

In a professional relationship such as ours, sexual intimacy between a therapist and a client is never appropriate. If sexual intimacy occurs, it should be reported to the State as outlined in RCS 18.225.080 Uniform Disciplinary Act of the Revised Code of Washington covering licensed counselors. We are governed by all the regulations that appear in Chapter 18.225 RCW regarding Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Social Workers.

For more detailed information about my practice and services, please visit my website at www.swensoncounseling.com.

Duration of Psychotherapy

Each individual counseling session is fifty (50) minutes in length. Each couple counseling session is 50 minutes in length.

The total duration of psychotherapy may vary depending on the nature of the presenting problem(s). Determination of the total length of psychotherapy will be accomplished in our conversations, based upon your progress, your goals and your financial situation. My professional recommendation will also be included in this discussion.

Fee Information
Individual psychotherapy $200.00 per session
Couple Counseling $250.00 per session.
Family Counseling $250.00 per session.
Group Counseling $50.00 per session.

There are times when clients need to call me between sessions. Ordinarily for a brief consultation of less than 15 minutes, I do not charge for my time. However, for conversations that are over that duration I will expect payment, because my office hours are very full, and generally these conversations take place outside my regular office hours.

I am happy to consult with other health care or educational professionals on your behalf, which I generally do without additional fees. If I must make an office or site visit, however, I will expect compensation which will be determined in advance and based on the specifics of the circumstances.

Fees for legal consultation on a client's behalf are outlined in detail on my website.

Presentation, Seminar, and Workshop fees will vary according to content and materials.

Cancellation Policy
Not showing up to scheduled appointments without calling at least 72 hours in advance to inform me will result in your being responsible for the full fee of the missed session. Exceptions will be made for true emergencies.

Phone Policy
To leave a message on the private and confidential Counseling Services Voicemail, call 206-948-4221. I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Email Correspondence
It is important to understand that email is not a confidential form of communication. Therefore, if you wish to send me an email, you are welcome to do so with this caveat in mind. I will read it and acknowledge receipt, and we will discuss the content in our next session together. I will not send confidential client information in an email.

Online Sessions
I have a private and confidential chat room portal on my website developed specifically for online telehealth sessions. You will be able to enter the room in complete privacy and confidentiality. You can log in from any location where you will feel assured of privacy. For busy professionals, this eliminates the need to leave the office or to allow for driving and parking time. It is also an advantage if you are working from home.

Emergency Procedures
In the event of a serious or life-threatening emergency, please call 911. Then notify me at 206-948-4221. I monitor this line frequently during the day. You can also call the Seattle-based Crisis Clinic at 206.461.3222; 866.427.4747; TTY 206.461.3219. Crisis Clinic offers telephone-based crisis intervention and information and referrals to community services for youth and adults in Seattle-King County.
Insurance

Like most psychotherapists in private practice, I expect payment at the time that services are provided. If your insurance carrier covers out-of-network providers and you would like to request reimbursement for your counseling sessions, I can create an end-of-month statement that reflects the time, date, duration, and amount paid for all sessions during that particular month. These statements are created as .pdf documents which you can then submit to your carrier for reimbursement.

There are several considerations to bear in mind when you are thinking about insurance. The primary reason that I leave this up to you to decide is this: I can guarantee confidentiality of all your records as long as they are in my custody in my office, which is HIPAA compliant and protects your health information. Once this information leaves my office, however, the confidentiality is breached, and it is beyond my control and yours to control it or to determine who has access to it.

Insurance carriers require that I submit a DSM-ICD code. This is a psychiatric diagnosis in the form of a number, aligned with specific criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association and outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-5, which is the book used by the mental health profession and the insurance companies to make certain everyone is speaking the same language. This DSM diagnosis goes with a treatment code outlining the duration of each session and it included on your statement with my clinical licensure. This means that you will have a psychiatric diagnosis on your permanent records with your insurance company. It is up to you to decide whether this is desirable. Please let me know if you would like to discuss this in detail at our first session, so that you can make your decision in full understanding of the implications.

I believe it is in your best interest to consider this matter carefully and this is why I do not work directly with the insurance companies.
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