Distance/Online Counseling FAQs

What is distance counseling?

Distance counseling is the delivery of counseling by a mental health professional via secure video, phone, chat, email or other technology mediums.

Is distance counseling effective?

Yes. Studies from leading institutions have shown similar treatment outcomes when comparing distance counseling with face to face counseling. Distance counseling improves convenience, reduces costs and enables clients to see counselors who are not located in their geographic area. Please note, in some cases distance counseling may not be an adequate replacement for in person face-to-face mental health treatment. We do not recommend distance counseling for clients in crisis or with chronic or severe conditions and symptoms.

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. All of our counselors are licensed to practice in the state of Georgia.

Is distance counseling secure?

Yes. Security is assured by using Doxy.me for online counseling activities. Doxy.me 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?

In most cases, distance counseling is not covered by private health insurance plans. 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 we cannot guarantee this. We suggest you contact your insurance company directly to verify if distance counseling would be reimbursable.

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. Payments are to be made prior to the beginning of each session. The cost is $95.00 per session with typical therapy sessions lasting 45-50 minutes. However, 30 minute appointments are also available depending on client needs and preferences.  Payments are made by credit card. We accept Visa and Mastercard.

What technology do I need to do distance counseling?

To utilize Doxy.me you will need, at minimum, an internet connection and a webbrowser. 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 Doxy.me 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:

  1. For Audio- A headset is recommended for improving sound quality when communicating via your computer over the internet.
  2.  For Video- We recommend that you use an external HD video camera during distance counseling sessions.
  3.  Environment-  Please be in a quiet, well lit room.
  4.  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.
  5.  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. All of the counselors/therapists in our office are licensed by the State of Georgia to practice in each of their disciplines (whether as a Social Worker, Counselor or Psychologist).

How do I make an appointment?

From our website, go to the “Current and New Clients” page and click on the “New Adult Clients” box. 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  on this website. After the initial session, you will have the ability to make or change appointments online yourself (if you are so inclined).

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 Doxy.me and show yourself as available. Your counselor will contact you via Doxy.me 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 will vary depending on the availability of the therapists. Because distance counseling does not require travel or being present in the office, times are apt to be much more flexible.

Can you do distance counseling with my child or adolescent?  

Sorry, but we cannot.  Since counseling and therapy is confidential, there is no way to assure a child or adolescent would have complete privacy from family members and parents at home.  Also, children and adolescents may not have the capacity to stay focused and attentive during a full online counseling session.