Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q: What is counseling like? 
Historically, the media has portrayed counseling as the following scenario: Client lies on the couch, prattling on and on while staring at the ceiling. Therapist sits behind the client with a pen and pad and occasionally nods his head and, even less occasionally, offers a short comment or question. While this scenario might be accurate for some, our clinical staff, and the more typical scenario, offers a 50/50 engagement. This means that you, along with your KSC clinician, collaboratively develop a treatment plan designed just for you. Together, you will work towards goals that make sense, and both you and your clinician are an active part of the therapeutic process. Play and art may even be involved, especially for our younger clients. By keeping your information private and confidential, our clinical staff work together, with you, using a range of evidence based techniques and methods. The first goal of therapy is to form a trusting therapeutic relationship where you feel comfortable to share yourself with your therapist. Once that is established, may the path to wellness unfold.

Q: Who benefits from counseling?
Anyone, as long as the need for help is recognized and the desire for change is present. There is an awful stigma out there that suggests one needs to be “crazy” to seek help. This is simply not true. Most people can benefit from counseling because, truth be told, life is complicated, and, sometimes, having an outside perspective with a trained eye is all you need to reset your course. If something more in depth is needed, we can offer that as well. If, however, your clinician decides after meeting you that a more intensive treatment is in your best interest, your clinician will help connect you with a more appropriate agency.

Q: What is faith sensitive counseling? Do I have to be Christian to seek help at KSC?
Typically, mental healthcare providers are trained to keep faith and spirituality out of the therapy office. We see this differently. We believe that an individual’s faith belief system is just as important as one’s family history, life situation, and even physiological makeup. It is an important part of who you are, and we treat it as such. Our clinicians are specially trained to integrate one’s belief system, whatever system that is, into your care if that is something you choose. While the majority of our staff hold Christian beliefs, we do not push these beliefs onto you. We help all walks of life, no matter your beliefs, and we integrate your beliefs into your care. Our mission is treat the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.

Q: What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, etc.?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who primarily treat and help manage your symptoms with medication. They typically do not provide counseling although there may be exceptions.

Psychologists are doctorate level therapists. They spend an average of 5-7 years in graduate education, training, and research before receiving a doctoral degree. As part of their professional training, they must complete a one-year supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting and at least one year of postdoctoral supervised experience before they can become licensed and practice independently. Typically, they receive specialized training (e.g., psychological testing).

LPC’s, LMFT’s, and LCSW’s are master’s level therapists. They spend an average of 2-3 years in graduate education and training before receiving a master’s degree. As part of their professional training, they must complete 3,000 supervised clinical hours before they can become licensed and practice independently.

Practicum students, interns, and fellows are graduate or post-graduate level counselors-in-training who are unlicensed and working under the direct supervision of a psychologist or board-approved counselor.

Q: How do I know who to choose?
Our trained intake coordinators will ask you questions such as (1) why are you seeking help, (2) have you been to counseling before, (3) are you taking any medication, (4) who will be involved in your sessions, (5) what insurance do you plan to use, (6) where do you live, (7) and when are you able to come. Based on how you answer her questions, she will do her best to find the right match for you.

Keep in mind that no single therapist will work for every person. Research and many therapists suggest a "trying out" period of 2-4 sessions to warm up and to build a therapeutic relationship, just like starting any other relationship. Research shows that the quality of your therapeutic relationship is the most important element for treatment success.

Q: Do you accept insurance?
Yes. We accept most major insurance plans, including but not limited to Aetna, BCBS of Texas, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare, Tricare, Medicaid, and Medicare. While your plan may have mental or behavioral health coverage, it is important to know the nuances of your plan. Not all plans are alike. Some cover marriage and family counseling whereas others do not. Some have diagnostic exclusions, meaning your plan may not cover your services based on your diagnosis. Some may require pre-authorizations before services may begin. While the healthcare and insurance industries are complex, we will do our best to work with your insurance company; however, you are your best healthcare advocate.

Q: What if I don’t have insurance or my deductible is incredibly high?
That’s okay. Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, we are able to offer our counseling services on a sliding scale. Our sliding scale is benchmarked against the Federal Poverty Level and takes into account your annual income, number of dependents, and any other major expenses such as child support or hospital bills.

Q: What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Unexpected situations arise in your daily life so you can certainly cancel or reschedule appointments but generally with 24-hour advanced notice. In other words, please contact our office 24 hours prior to your appointment time. Once an appointment hour is scheduled, the office will charge a late cancellation fee unless you provide 24 hour advance notice or your clinician and administrative staff both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. Please keep in mind that you are reserving a space in your clinician’s appointment book, and without advance notice, they are unable to fill this space with someone else in need of their time and attention.

Q: What if I have a mental health emergency?
If you have an emergency (e.g., thoughts of harming yourself or someone else), you have two options. We have a staff clinician who is on call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. This service is reserved only for our current, active clients. Just call our main number (281-480-7554) and press option 1. However, it may take up to 20 minutes for the on-call clinician to return your call. If you need something more immediate or you are not a current client of the Center, then immediately call 911, go to your nearest emergency room, or call an emergency hotline (e.g., 1-800-273-TALK). Communication through our website, email, and clinician’s extensions are not to be used for emergency situations. These services are not intended and are not appropriate for such situations, and these services lack the support and immediacy needed for emergency situations.

Q: Are you accredited?
Yes. We are accredited with the Samaritan Institute, (http://www.samaritaninstitute.org), an international organization that oversees the policies and practices of 75+ affiliated centers throughout the United States and Japan. The Samaritan network is one of the largest providers of professional outpatient counseling. All accredited centers must comply with nationally benchmarked behavioral health quality standards, standards that are comparable to JCAHO and CARF.

 


16441 Space Center Blvd. • Suite C-100 • Houston, Texas 77058
info@samaritanhouston.org