Distance Counseling FAQ

Does distance counseling work?  In a word, yes.  There have been several formal studies which have shown it to be an effective means of therapy for those clients who use it.  Obviously there are some differences between distance and face-to-face work, but as long as both client and counselor are committed to the process the only thing that changes are the mechanics of communication.

What are your qualifications to practice?   I am Licensed Associate Professional Counselor by the state of Georgia (License # APC001806 - in the Prof. Coun./Soc. Work/Marriage category - click  here  to verify with my name and license number).   This license requires a Master's Degree in Counseling, which I earned from  Mars Hill Graduate School  in 2007.  Further, I carry professional liability insurance from HPSO.

Who can use it?  Distance counseling by video is effective for just about anyone who can has the equipment to use it.  Text and email are a bit more limited to those who are comfortable expressing themselves in writing...using techniques that are becoming more and more popular as we move into the digital age.  There are some mental health conditions (such as severe dissociative disorders) for which it is not appropriate, but those need to be discussed with your therapist.

 
           
 
 

Are there special benefits to distance counseling?  If you live a long distance away, have physical limitations to travel, want to minimize your environmental impact, or you're just plain busy, distance work has some benefit beyond the counseling work.  For some stories (especially those with a lot of shame), the lack of direct face-to-face contact can make it easier to disclose things that need to be talked about.  If you are visually- or hearing- impaired, it may be one of the best options for getting the help you need.

Is distance counseling private and confidential?   Yes it is.  If we connect via Skype or use an encrypted service for text, then our communication is protected while it's traveling between computers.  Eavesdropping is virtually impossible.  HOWEVER there are programs which could be running on your computer itself that records information as it is typed or shown on the screen.  I scan my equipment on a regular basis to make sure that no unauthorized records are being made of what happens on my end, and I can assist you in finding or preventing such records on your equipment.  Also, be aware that if you use a computer and/or network which belongs to your employer, they have a legal right to access everything that is communicated to or stored on the equipment that they own.  For this reason, I strongly recommend that you do not use a "work" computer for counseling.

How much does it cost?   Distance counseling costs the same as face-to-face work.  I use my normal sliding fee scale for a 50 minute session of video, voice, or chat and $25 for therapeutic emails.  Brief business-related emails are handled at no charge.  Some sliding-scale fee arrangements are available for special circumstances - just drop me an email to discuss it.

Is it covered by insurance?   That depends on your insurance carrier.  Some insurance companies cover distance counseling just like traditional face-to-face services, some do not.  That is something that you will need to work out with your carrier, since I don't take insurance payments directly for any of my services.

How do I pay for it?   Payment for all services can be made by credit or debit card at the time of service.  Text and voice messaging are good ways of transmitting this type of information.

How do I get started?   By law and standard of care, there is information I need to collect about you before we can begin.  You can fill out the intake forms electronically (requires Adobe reader, available for free  here).  Be sure to include both the emergency contact and financial agreement forms, which are also included in the intake packet.  Once I have that information, we can schedule an appointment or, if you are using the email option, you can send me your first message.

Intake Packet
Secure e-mail link

I want to discuss this a bit more before I dive in...   That's fine - I'm happy to discuss any concerns you may have with you before we get started.  Feel free to send me an email or call me at (770) 841 1410.  Please do NOT send confidential information to my normal email address, however - it's not protected by encryption.

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Charles E Anderson | Messages and Appointments: 770.841.1410
Story Restoration
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