SANA RAZA HUSSAIN
MA, LMFT ASSOCIATE, LPC ASSOCIATE, NCC
SUPERVISED BY MICHELLE SILVA SEGURA, LMFT-S, LPC-S, SEP
I've never been to therapy before. How does it work?
When you initially contact me, I will offer a free consultation call or we can discuss scheduling your initial intake session. A consultation call allows us to get to know one another, provides space for you to ask questions, and gives us the opportunity to see if we’d be a good fit for one another. As much as I would love to be able to help every person who contacts me, there may be limitations in terms of what you’re looking for and what I have expertise and competence in treating. If you decide to move forward after our consultation call, we will schedule an intake session. Before this appointment, you will complete and submit intake paperwork. During our initial session, we will briefly go over this paperwork and discuss what brought you into therapy and what you're hoping to achieve. Additionally, I will ask you questions in hopes of getting to know you better. Towards the end of the session, we will discuss how the session felt for you and figure out next steps in terms of future scheduling.
What is therapy like with you?
My primary goal in the initial stages of therapy is to establish safety and trust in the therapeutic relationship. I try to accomplish this by maintaining a non-judgmental attitude, highlighting your strengths, and validating your lived experience. During this time, I also pay attention to themes and patterns and offer potential goals to work towards. I maintain an egalitarian and collaborative stance. I empower you to take the lead in your care while serving as a supportive guide throughout the process. As we continue strengthening our therapeutic relationship, I will challenge you in ways that support your growth and your goals. Throughout the process, I provide psycho-education as appropriate to help you make sense of your experience. Because my approach is relational and trauma-informed, you can expect therapy with me to be a long-term process.
The approach described above applies to couples therapy as well with a few additional differences. Couples therapy starts with a session with both partners followed by individual sessions with each partner. These three sessions are part of the assessment and information gathering process for beginning therapy. From there, we'll collaborate to develop treatment goals, utilizing a framework of Emotionally Focused Therapy with elements of other approaches as necessary (e.g., The Gottman Method, Nonviolent Communication). Because of the nature of couples therapy, my approach is more structured and directive when compared to individual therapy.
How come some therapists take insurance and some don't?
This answer will differ depending on the therapist you ask, but I will provide some possible reasons based on my own knowledge and discussion with other therapists.
Some reasons therapists may take insurance:
Accepting insurance allows clients to utilize their benefits and receive care at a more affordable cost.
Being paneled with insurance allows therapists to be part of the insurance's network, thus making it easier for clients to connect with potential therapists.
Some reasons therapist may not take insurance:
Insurance companies do not typically reimburse therapists at the rates they would charge out-of-pocket and reimburse the same amount no matter how much a therapist charges. For example, a therapist who charges $130 a session and a therapist who charges $175 a session would receive the same reimbursement amount, which is significantly less than both rates. This may lead to therapists taking on more clients than they can handle, thus leading to burnout and ineffective care.
Insurance companies typically apply the medical model to mental health care. Mental health care often cannot be simplified to symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment. Each client is unique and a multitude of factors come into play for each client's mental health care. This model also focuses on the individual and ignores the systemic and environmental impact.
In order to receive reimbursement, therapists may be required to confine themselves to insurance company constraints that don't align with their values or therapeutic approach.
Insurance panels typically don't allow associate level clinicians to be on them.
What all factors into the cost of therapy?
Here is a list of factors that come into play when therapists determine what rate to charge:
Years of experience, degrees awarded, licenses held, certifications held, and trainings completed.
The understanding that therapists in private practice are paid per client session and typically see 20 to 30 clients a week if they are working full-time.
If a therapist is an associate, they pay for a supervisor as they work towards an unrestricted license. These fees range from $300 - $500 per month.
Industry average in their area (e.g., the cost of therapy in Austin may be higher than other areas).
The length and type of service offered (e.g., 50 minutes vs. 80 minutes, individual therapy vs. couples therapy).
What is an LMFT and an LPC? What does "Associate" mean?
LMFT stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and LPC stands for Licensed Professional Counselor. What's different about the licenses is the education and training received and the requirements for type of clinical hours. LMFTs are required to take specific courses on marriage and family therapy and to complete a certain amount of marriage and family therapy hours. LPCs, on the other hand, do not have specific requirements in terms of types of clients they see. In order to see marriage and family clients, LPCs must complete additional education and training to gain competence.
If you see the word "Associate" after "LMFT" or "LPC," it signifies that the therapist is in the process of obtaining clinical hours under supervision in order to qualify for an unrestricted license. LMFT Associates and LPC Associates must specify who their supervisor is anytime they advertise themselves or provide their credentials.