FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is distance counseling effective?
Yes. Studies from leading institutions have shown similar treatment outcomes when comparing distance counseling with face to face counseling. In today’s busy world, distance counseling improves convenience, reduces costs and enables clients to see counselors who are not located in their immediate geographic area.
Is there a time distance counseling will not work effectively?
While distance counseling is an appropriate mechanism for the delivery of services, there are times when distance counseling may not be appropriate. This includes counseling for clients in crisis or for those with chronic or severe conditions and symptoms. The potential for distance counseling will first have to be evaluated by the treating counselor.
Is distance counseling legal?
Yes. Distance counseling is recognized and regulated by many state licensing boards. At this time, to assure legal compliance, the online counselor must be licensed in the state you reside in. Dr. Ivankovich is licensed in Illinois and holds a Distance Counseling Credential.
Is distance counseling secure?
Yes. Security is assured by using Skype for online counseling activities. Skype uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer encryption). SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers.
Is distance counseling covered by insurance?
Some commercial insurance plans do not cover distance counseling services. Since 2004, distance counseling may be reimbursable through Medicare, Medicaid and a growing number of insurance plans. Clients may submit receipts for online counseling directly to their insurance companies for possible reimbursement although there is no guarantee that it will be covered. It is suggested that you contact your insurance company directly to verify the reimbursing for distance counseling.
How much does it cost for a counseling session?
Since most private insurance companies do not yet consider distance counseling a reimbursable health expense, all payments are made by the client directly to the office. Payments are to be made prior to the commencement of each session. The cost is $60.00 per session for those sessions lasting 45-50 minutes. Payments are made by credit card. We accept Visa and Mastercard.
What technology do I need to do distance counseling?
To utilize Skype you will need, at minimum, an internet connection and a web browser. For video/audio session, you will also need a working microphone and a web cam. Most modern laptops come with a built in camera. We also advise that you have a basic understanding of the Skype program and how it works as we are not able to provide technical support for software/hardware issues. In most cases, mobile devices, mobile hotspots and mobile device tethering will create an inferior connection and counseling experience. We cannot be held liable for defective or inferior equipment or connections on the client end.
With minimal preparation you will be ready to have a fantastic distance counseling experience. Here are a few factors that impact sound and video quality:
- For Audio: A headset is recommended for improving sound quality when communicating via your computer over the internet.
- For Video: We recommend that you use an external HD video camera during distance counseling sessions.
- Environment: Please be in a quiet, well lit room.
- Internet Connection: If possible, avoid mobile devices and mobile hotspots when engaged in distance counseling. Also, a wired network connection ensures consistent connection during a session.
- Preparation: Log in and set up your equipment ahead of time. Don’t waste your time and money turning on your computer and setting up your equipment during “session time”. Often when we are hurried and rushed, our computers become mysteriously uncooperative which increases everyone’s frustration.
Are counselors licensed/credentialed?
Yes. Dr. Karla Ivankovich holds a Distance Credentialed Counselor certification and is licensed in the State of Illinois. Similarly, all of the counselors/therapists in our office are licensed by the State of Illinois to practice in each of their specific disciplines. Those working with clinical interns should be aware that interns are closely supervised by a licensed professional as required by law.
How do I make an appointment?
From the website, go to the “Book Appointment” page. This will take you to the intake form which should be completed (the insurance section can be skipped since this is a cash pay service up front). Once completed and submitted, we will receive an email and will contact you back to schedule your first appointment. You must also complete and send the “Distance Counseling Consent form which is found by clicking on this link. After the initial session, you will coordinate appointments with your therapist directly.
We understand that other things arise throughout any given day. As such, we do not adhere to the standard 24 hour cancellation policy for distance therapy. It is our policy that any appointments needing cancelled must be done so no later than 12 hours prior to the appointment. Appointments that are not cancelled within the 12-hour window will be charged a $50 cancellation fee.
How do I meet my counselor on the day of my appointment?
On the day of your appointment, allow 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time to get onto your computer. Please be logged into Skype and show yourself as available. Your counselor will contact you via Skype at the start time of your appointment.
How do I make my payment?
During the initial call to schedule your appointment, we will obtain your credit card information and will bill your credit card prior to your scheduled appointment. If for some reason you are unable to make the appointment or need to cancel, your fee will be used for the next scheduled appointment.
What times are available for appointments?
Appointment times vary depending on the availability of the therapists. Given that distance counseling does not require travel or being present in the office, times are likely to be much more flexible.