Frequently Asked Questions

Scheduling a Session

How do I setup an initial counseling or therapy appointment?

Scheduling an initial appointment is as easy as comparing schedules for an available time. This can be done either by phone or email. If you let me know when you're available to meet, I can be ready with available appointment times when I return your call or email. Use can call me directly or email me through my CONTACT page.

How long is a therapy session?

A clinical hour is generally 50 Minutes. Longer sessions may also available.

What can I expect from a first therapy session?

First sessions, or intake evaluations, are a little different from subsequent sessions. This session is primarily for assessment, history gathering, and establishing your therapeutic goals. It's generally your second session that we'd start working on your goals at a pace that fits you. MOST people are at least a little nervous during their first therapy session; and I want you to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. You're welcome to put your feet up on my reclining couch, and I'm happy to make you coffee, tea, or supply cold water. Although some clients like to think about their goals beforehand, the only thing you really need to do in preparation for your first session is show-up and be yourself.

Payment and Fees

How much does counseling or therapy cost?

Although counseling is not an inexpensive investment, I encourage people not to use price as the primary factor in choosing the right counselor or therapist. Most therapists' fees are within a similar range, and differences are generally nominal. It's most important to consider which counselor is the best "fit," and fees won't tell you this. Current Fee Schedule Individual Counseling: $140 per 50-minute session. Couples Counseling: $140 per 50-minute session. Group Therapy: $200 per month. * Longer sessions may be available.

Do you accept my insurance, or will my insurance reimburse me directly?

I do not bill or accept payment from insurance. However, you MAY be able to be reimbursed by your insurance company. Upon payment I can provide you with a receipt for services rendered that you can use to request your insurance company reimburse you directly for out-of-network psychotherapy. When asked directly, some insurance plans that don’t advertise or generally include out-of-network coverage MAY be willing to create a "single-case-agreement" directly between yourself and your insurance company. Ask your insurance for this specifically if they do not include out-of-network coverage.

for information about significant risks for some people involving insurance in mental health treatment.

General Questions about Psychotherapy

Is the information I share in therapy confidential?

Client-therapist conversations are both legally and ethically private, privileged communications. There are some legal exceptions to client-therapist confidentiality, mostly intended to prevent harm to self or others. If you have any questions or hesitation about sharing information with me, please ask me to clarify these rules before sharing information with me. Additionally, clients who include their insurance or court related business into their therapy give up some of these rights to privacy.

Will I have to take medication as part of my treatment?

My role is to provide you with counseling, and as a Marriage and Family Therapist I cannot prescribe any medication. Some of my clients who are under the care of a physician (Psychiatrist, Internist, General or Family Practitioner, etc.) do take medication, and others do not. Whether or not you and your doctor decide to use medication as a therapeutic tool, my role will remain working with you in therapy. If I strongly suspect you may benefit from medication, I'll direct you to your doctor for further evaluation, but will always respect your decision.

What is the difference between counseling and therapy?

There are many methods and types of counseling and therapy. For simplicity we're using the general meanings of these terms, which are frequently used interchangeably. "Psychotherapy" is a legally defined term that can also be used as general term for therapy when performed by a mental health professional.

What does LMFT, MFT, or MFCC stand for?

Simply put, it's all the same. LMFT, MFT, and MFCC are all variations on the title of same license issued by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and are commonly used interchangeably. Originally we were called 'Marriage, Family and Child Counselor' (MFCC), but this title was officially changed in the mid-1990s to, ' Marriage and Family Therapist' (MFT). To differentiate themselves from unlicensed interns (to be called 'Associates' as of January 2018), many therapists further clarified their qualifications and licensure status as, 'Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist' (LMFT). Although the title of MFCC has largely gone out of fashion, all three forms are acceptable today for professional use. They indicate the exact same license, although one might assume a therapist using MFCC has likely been practicing since the 1980s. To become a Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFTs must have a qualified Master's Degree and minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised counseling experience before qualifying to sit for state boards.

Are you a Christian Counselor?

I am a Christian Counselor, and I work with both other Christians and non-Christians. Many Christian clients have the option to integrate faith into their therapy, but I am primarily hired for my expertise as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and this is never imposed on those who do not wish to do so. For further information, please see my explanation of Christian Therapy at the bottom of the SERVICES page.

Bob Parkins, MS, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist