Frequently Asked Questions

 

I'm ready to get help! How do I become a new client?

The first step is to schedule a free phone consultation so that we can get a feel for one another and decide whether we're a good fit.  You can schedule your free phone consultation by emailing me at sfortelpc@gmail.com, or submitting a request via the "get in touch" button on my website. Be sure to include your email, phone number, and the times you are available for a phone consultation.

What happens during the phone consultation?

The phone consultation is approximately 20 minutes long.  It's a great opportunity for us to learn more about one another prior to committing to working together.  Before we get into anything too vulnerable or personal, we'll discuss logistics like appointment availability and the cost of therapy to make sure there are no barriers to working together.  If everything checks out, we'll move on to discussing the issues you'd like to address in therapy as well as your expectations for working together.  I will ask about your goals for therapy and what qualities you're looking for in a therapist.  Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about my practice during the phone consultation. If you decide to work together, I'll send you some initial paperwork to complete electronically prior to scheduling our first therapy session.

What will my first therapy session look like?

Therapy sessions are 45 minutes long.  In each therapy session, we'll start by checking in on how you've been doing since we last met. Then, we'll move on to discussing and problem-solving any issues that have come up between sessions. I'll also check in with you on the effectiveness of the coping skills we've been building together. At the end of the session, I'll make suggestions of additional coping skills to practice between sessions to help you reach your therapeutic goals.

What types of issues do you treat?

I specialize in helping people with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and those who are having difficulty navigating life transitions including changes in:

  • Education: starting school, switching schools, and navigating life post graduation

  • Relationships: starting a new relationship, navigating changes in a relationship, or dealing with the loss of a relationship- this includes romantic relationships, friendships, and relationships with family members

  • Employment: starting a new job, changes in work responsibilities, adjusting to a promotion, loss of a job

  • Health: coming to terms with and adapting to a new physical or mental health diagnosis

  • Housing: moving to a new home or neighborhood

If you have questions about working together on an issue not listed here, please reach out!  I'm happy to see if I can help or if I know of a colleague who would be a good fit for you. 

What is your therapeutic approach?

I am a strengths-based person-centered therapist.  This means that we will use your existing strengths to help you be successful in therapy while adding and strengthening new skills along the way.  This also means that I see you as an individual and an equal. There is no power dynamic in our relationship.  The resources I offer come from therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness.

How often should I come in for therapy?

When first starting our work together, I recommend meeting no less than every other week.  This is both to establish a trusting and secure relationship with one another and to begin learning and implementing new coping skills so that you see faster progress. After you start seeing progress that you are happy with, we can gradually decrease the frequency of our sessions if you choose to do so.

How do I get the best results with therapy?

I’ve found that clients see the best and fastest results when they are motivated to work on themselves outside of therapy through self reflection and practicing new coping skills. I will help you be successful by providing you with worksheets, articles, and exercises to practice on your own between our sessions.

What is your fee? Do you offer a sliding scale?

My fee is $140 per individual counseling session.  It's possible that I may be able to offer you a temporary reduction in the cost of therapy depending on your current financial situation.

Do you accept insurance?

I do not bill insurance companies for several important reasons. When you see a therapist who accepts your insurance, they will have to diagnose you with a mental health disorder after your first session in order for the insurance company to pay them.  I do not like labeling anyone with a mental health diagnosis and am certainly not comfortable diagnosing someone after only one session.  When working with a therapist using your insurance, the insurance will dictate how often you can be seen, how long your sessions will be, and how many sessions you can see your therapist for.  I believe that the frequency and duration of therapy sessions should be decided by a therapist and their client, not the insurance companies. For these reasons, and more, I do not bill insurance companies. 


If you would like to submit bills to your insurance company for potential reimbursement through your out of network benefits, I can provide you with a statement at the end of each month.  Because I understand that the world of insurance can be very difficult to navigate, I am happy to call your insurance on your behalf to find out about your out of network benefits.

What methods of payment do you accept?

I accept cash, check, credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and payments from a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Do you offer video or phone sessions?

I am happy to offer teletherapy to clients from time to time if they are unable to meet in person due to illness, injury, or travel. I am currently offering teletherapy sessions to clients wishing to meet virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you offering in-person sessions?

I currently have limited availability for in-person sessions at my Fairmount office.  In-person appointments are only offered on Wednesdays at this time.