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Frequently Asked Questions

What populations do you serve? 

I provide counseling for adults and adolescents aged 14 years and older. HappyCat Counseling is proud to provide LGBTQIA+ affirming care. 

 

What is therapy like? What should I expect?

My counseling style is warm and direct. In our sessions, clients will work to find a balance between self-exploration and skill-building, with the purpose of actively creating positive changes. In the first therapy session (intake), I will review important information about informed consent and confidentiality. The first session will also involve answering a lot of questions about yourself, your life, and your goals. As therapy continues, each session is tailored to the needs and goals of the client. The clinician and client collaboratively create a treatment plan which serves as the blueprint for future therapy sessions. This plan is flexible and is adjusted as client circumstances and goals change. 

 

How often do you meet with clients?

The frequency of sessions varies based on client needs. Many clients find that meeting weekly for the first 4-6 sessions is helpful. The time between appointments is then gradually increased depending on client progress and goals.

 

How long will I need to go to therapy?

The length of treatment depends entirely upon the unique needs of each client. Some clients find that they feel much better after just a few sessions. Others may see the same therapist for many months or even years. There is no "right answer" to this question. Clients are encouraged to share their preferences with the clinician. 

Do you offer teletherapy appointments?

Yes. Teletherapy appointments are conducted via a HIPPA-compliant patient portal. Clients engaging in teletherapy appointments must be physically located in the state of Alabama at the time of the appointment. Clients must also have access to a stable internet connection and a quiet, secure, and private location for teletherapy appointments. 

Do you offer "walk and talk" sessions?

Yes. "Walk and talk" therapy sessions are similar to regular in-person sessions, except that the client and the provider take a light stroll outdoors during the session. These sessions are available during periods of temperate weather: outdoor temps 55 - 85 degrees, no rain, no snow or ice. The therapist reserves the right to transition to a regular in-person appointment if the weather is not cooperating. Because these sessions take place outdoors, they are inherently less private. The therapist is unable to control foot traffic along the walking route and therefore cannot guarantee that the discussion won't be overheard by others. 

How much does therapy cost? 

The fee for a 50-minute therapy session is $105. A limited number of sliding-scale fee slots (fee adjusted to a lower rate based on client need and income) are available with approval from the provider. Longer appointments may occasionally be scheduled for an additional fee with prior approval of the clinician. Credit or debit card and cash are accepted forms of payment.

Do you take insurance?

No. I am not currently in network with any insurance providers. However, I can provide a superbill so that you can request reimbursement from your insurance provider. I am unable to guarantee that your insurance provider will approve reimbursement for services provided. 

 

What are your hours?

Office hours are by appointment only. I generally see clients Tuesday-Friday. The earliest available appointment is usually 9 AM. The latest available appointment typically starts at 5 PM. Note that high-demand appointment times, particularly afternoon appointments, tend to fill up quickly and may not always be available. 

Will my appointment always be on the same day and time?

Not necessarily. Appointment scheduling is managed on a case by case basis according to the needs of the client. If you prefer a set appointment day and time (a "standing appointment"), please discuss this with your provider and plan to schedule your appointments out 1-2 months in advance to secure the preferred appointment slot. Changes in life circumstances for the client or clinician may affect the ability to schedule standing appointments long-term. 

What is your cancellation policy?

Appointments may be cancelled up to 48 hours in advance of the appointment without any fees. Appointments cancelled 47-24 hours in advance will be assessed a $35 fee. Appointments cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be assessed the full appointment fee. 

 

I do not want to take any sort of medication. Is medication required for therapy?

Though many clients find a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be most helpful, taking medication is not a requirement for participating in therapy in most cases. Sometimes clients are struggling with severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to receive care or participate fully in therapy, and stabilization via medication is necessary in those cases before therapy can progress. In those cases, referral to a psychiatric provider will be recommended. 

I am interested in taking medication for my symptoms. Can you provide me with a prescription? 

No. Therapists do not prescribe medication. Medication for mental health concerns is prescribed by psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners. Referrals are available upon request. 

Is "homework" recommended between sessions?

Yes. I believe that therapy is most effective when clients work toward their goals both in and out of session. Homework is discussed between the clinician and client and is tailored to the needs of each client. 

Do you give advice for how to deal with specific problems? Can you help me make a major decision?

In general, therapists avoid giving advice for specific problems or making choices for their clients. The role of the therapist is to remain neutral. When therapists give personal opinions or directive "advice" about client concerns, they risk imposing their values and desires onto the client. This can cause damage to the therapeutic relationship, erode trust, and violate the autonomy of the client. My rule of thumb is that I only give advice about topics in which I hold expertise. I cannot make a major decision for a client because I'm not the expert on the client - the client is the expert on themselves! What I can do in that situation is provide support to the client and help them identify pros and cons of various options, process feelings surrounding the upcoming decision, and reframe any unhelpful thoughts surrounding the decision and potential upcoming life changes. 

What is the best way to contact the therapist?

E-mail is the preferred contact method. E-mails are answered after 9 AM on Tuesday - Friday. Please allow up to 72 hours for a response. Keep in mind that the privacy of digital communication, including e-mail, cannot be guaranteed. Current and prospective clients are encouraged to avoid sharing sensitive personal information via e-mail. Call 911 for emergencies. Existing clients can schedule, reschedule, and cancel appointments using the client portal. 

What is the practice's mailing address?

HappyCat Counseling, LLC

c/o Common Ground

604 Davis Circle SW

Huntsville, AL  35801

How can I schedule an initial appointment (intake)?

To request an initial appointment, e-mail the clinician at counseling@laurengrider.com or request a new client appointment via the client portal. The clinician may request a brief (10-15 minute), free phone call with you to determine whether the clinician is the best fit for your individual needs. 
 

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