Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you have been to teen counseling or family therapy before or this is your first time, we have provided a list of commonly asked questions to help you in your therapeutic journey. Please reach out to us should you have additional questions and we will be happy to answer them for you.
What can I expect from teen counseling & family therapy at Katy Teen & Family Counseling?
Once you've made the decision to see a teen counselor or family therapist, you still may feel nervous or apprehensive before your first session - that is absolutely normal and to be expected. We can assure you that we provide a comfortable setting where you can feel safe. Typically, the 'pre-session jitters' are no longer present by the end of the first session.
During the first session, the therapeutic process, structure, policies and procedures will be discussed. We will also begin exploring your experiences surrounding the presenting problem(s).
The initial evaluation period may last between the next 2-4 sessions. During this assessment phase, we will be getting to know you. We will ask questions to gain an understanding of your worldview, strengths, concerns, needs, relationship dynamics, etc. During this relationship building process, we will be gathering a lot of information to aid in the therapeutic approach best suited for your needs and goals. After gathering background information, we will collaboratively identify your therapeutic goals.
The intervention phase occurs anywhere from session 2 until graduation/achievement of stated goals. Each client must actively participate in therapy sessions, utilize solutions discussed, and complete assignments between sessions. Progress will be reviewed and goals adjusted as needed. The intervention phase can take 3, 6, 9 months and sometimes more depending on the person, the complexity of the challenges they face, and the frequency of sessions.
As you progress and get closer to completing goals, we will collaboratively discuss a transition plan for graduation.
What if my teen doesn't want to attend teen counseling?
Though the 'stigma' around seeing a teen counselor has decreased over the past decade, your teen may feel that needing to see a teen counselor means that something is wrong with them. We find that when you present it as a 'family need' and explain to your teen that seeing a teen counselor is not just for her/him but for each family member to learn how to get along better, it lessens the pressure a teen may feel regarding seeing a teen therapist. Change does not happen in a vacuum or isolated from others. It happens within the context of the system they belong to and in this case, the family system.
What if my parents don't see the need for me to see a teen counselor?
This is a tough one. As noted above, the stigma around seeing a teen counselor has decreased but when you approach your parents about wanting to see a teen therapist, your parents may feel it's a judgment on them and their ability to be effective parents.
Approaching your parents with empathy and placing yourself in their shoes, you can reassure them that you love them, have learned so much from them as parents but you're still experiencing the problem you have been struggling with and you believe that speaking to a teen therapist may help. Be genuine in your approach with your parents. We find that when a teen approaches their parents this way helps the parents see that they can still be great parents and at the same time need to consult a teen counselor for the benefit of their teen.
If you feel you may not be able to approach your parents in person, an email or note suits this purpose perfectly fine. Your parents may still want to talk with you about you seeing a teen counselor but emailing or writing them a note first will drain off much of the anxiety around talking to your parents in person about seeing a teen therapist.
Are there risks to teen therapy & family counseling?
In working to achieve therapeutic benefits, clients must take action to achieve desired results. Although change is inevitable, it can be uncomfortable at times. Resolving unpleasant events and making changes in relationship patterns may arouse unexpected emotional reactions. Seeking to resolve problems can similarly lead to discomfort as well as relational changes that may not be originally intended. We will work collaboratively toward a desirable outcome; however, it is possible that the goals of therapy may not be reached.
What is the length of teen counselling and family therapy?
Therapy sessions are typically weekly or bi-weekly for 50-60 minutes depending on the nature of the presenting challenges and personal finances and budget. It is difficult to initially predict how many sessions will be needed. We will collaboratively discuss from session to session what the next steps are and how often therapy sessions will occur.
There are a lot of factors that go into the length of time needed. Neurofeedback therapy is able to address the emotional or behavioral problems with pin point accuracy and neurofeedback therapy sessions typically take 25-40 sessions. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can take anywhere from 8-12 sessions however, I have seen clients require 6-9 months.
There are a variety of factors that enter into the length of teen counseling or family therapy. Depending on the complexity of the challenges, the resiliency of the individual, the support system the person has outside of teen therapy and family counseling, the coping skills the individual currently has, all these and more factor into the length of teen counseling and family therapy.
Do you provide teen counseling and family therapy in the evenings and weekends?
Yes to both. We understand that a family that has a teen and/or other children is a busy family. We want to be available during times that would be convenient for you and your family in order to eliminate the potential of adding one more stressor to your life.
Can I bring my whole family to family therapy?
Absolutely! If appropriate and convenient for you, feel free to bring the whole family (including the family dog if you would like - no, really. Animal assisted therapy can aid in the healing process). Call prior to your session to discuss.
Do you take insurance?
We do not take insurance and here are the reasons why:
Private pay leaves you in control of your care, including choosing your teen counselor and family therapist, length of treatment, etc. Using insurance puts the insurance companies in control of your teen counseling and family therapy journey. They will dictate how many sessions and what areas of focus they will/will not cover.
Private pay increases your privacy and confidentiality (except for limits of confidentiality). Using insurance requires us to complete certain documentation that will follow you and your teen throughout your lifetime.
Private pay means we do not document a 'diagnosis' or a 'mental health disorder' on your medical record. Insurance companies require this of counselors in order for the counselor to be reimbursed. Due to insurance companies requiring a counselor to diagnose a mental health disorder, this diagnosis could potentially follow you and your teen into the workforce or education setting.
You can consult with us on non-psychiatric issues that are important to you that aren’t billable by insurance, such as learning how to cope with life changes, gaining more effective communication techniques for your relationships, increasing personal insight, and developing healthy new skills. We also provide other services that insurance will not allow therapists to bill for such as in between sessions follow ups/check in's, longer sessions, parent coaching calls, etc.
After reading our position on why we don’t accept health insurance, you still may decide to use your health insurance. If you provide us with a list of counselors on your insurance provider list, we will do our best to recommend a counselor for you.
How much does teen counseling & family therapy cost?
Teen Therapy & Family Counseling: Initial Therapy Session
For teen therapy, family counseling, and couples counseling, the initial session rate is between $180 and $200. Prior to the session, your teen therapist and family counselor or couples counselor will review the policies and agreements you sign in addition to the assessments that your teen completed. Even before your session begins, your teen therapist and family counselor is formulating the initial treatment approach for your teen and family.
The initial session both the teen and parent(s) attend. Your teen therapist and family counselor will review the policies and agreements with you and answer any questions you may have. The therapist will introduce themselves to your teen and family and will ask the same of you. Don't worry, it's low stress. We like to get to know you and what your interests are, hobbies, activities, etc. are and know what makes you, you. We also think it's important that you get a snapshot of what makes us, us.
After the policy and agreement review and introductions, the rest of the session will be spent exploring what it is that brings you into therapy. By this point, your teen and family have been in hurt, pain, and heartache or fear, anxiety, or worry or a combination of both. We do not do a deep dive into the struggles in this session but do like to get the teen and parent's perspectives on what those struggles have been.
Therapy & Family Counseling: After the Initial Therapy Session
After the initial session, the regular session rate for teen counseling and family therapy is between $150-$170 for a 50-60 minute session. The rate for teen therapy is the same rate for family therapy and couples counseling. When we start with individual therapy with your teen, we may meet with your teen for a number of sessions but at some point, the family joins the therapy sessions and we begin family therapy. There are sometimes where it may be helpful for the teen to work on a few things prior to starting family therapy. However, there are times where the therapist will determine that family therapy is the starting point. If this is the case, we'll jump right in and start family therapy. We want to do what's best for your teen and family and your teen and family will be a part of these discussions about the best way to move forward.
We believe that in order for the teen to get the best teen therapy experience, the family needs to come along for the journey. Family therapy is critical in helping not only the teen succeed in teen therapy, but to ensure those changes last long term. There are always areas where the family members may be able to make some changes themselves in this process. How empowering it is for the teen to see that they are not in this alone, that each person in the family has a role to play in their success, and to understand that long after they no longer see a therapist, their family is now that source of support that helps maintain the changes.
How much does neurofeedback therapy cost?
Brief Primer of Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback is different than traditional talk therapy. In neurofeedback, we have the ability to identify what areas of the brain are over performing or under performing which may be creating the teen depression, teen anxiety, ADHD/ADD, substance abuse, etc. Neurofeedback can also help with teens who would benefit from trauma therapy or PTSD treatment. In fact, neurofeedback is used with veterans returning with war who are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When we can identify those areas of the brain that are over/underperforming and based on the symptoms presented, we can identify a therapy training program. This therapy training program will provide a pathway to help your brain learn to perform, or function, without the symptoms that you entered neurofeedback with.
In order to identify those areas of the brain that are over/under performing and which may be the source of the symptoms, we use sophisticated software to create a map of your brain or -- a brain map. A brain map is a 2d and 3d representation of your brain. With this brain map, we can pin point the likely cause of the teen depression, teen ADHD/ADD, teen anxiety, substance abuse, etc.
Once we have created the baseline brain map, the neurofeedback therapist develops a training program for your brain. Once that training program has been developed, the typical course of neurofeedback therapy is between 30-40 sessions. Teens generally don't need as many sessions. Yet, the number of sessions is based on the severity, intensity, and how long the teen has been struggling with teen depression, teen anxiety, ADHD/ADD, substance abuse, etc.
Neurofeedback: Initial Session Rates
Before the initial session, the neurofeedback therapist will review the assessments that you or your teen have completed. This is an important step so that the neurofeedback therapist can begin to plan the initial pathway forward.
The initial neurofeedback session rate is $200 for a 90-120 minute session. During this session, the neurofeedback therapist will review the policies and agreements with you and your teen. Any questions you have related to the policy and agreements can be answered during this session. But, if questions come up after the session you are always free to reach out to your neurofeedback therapist.
During the initial session, the neurofeedback therapist will introduce themselves. They'll provide a bit of personal and professional background so that you can get to know them better. Then, they'll ask you for the same. Totally stress free as it's really just about your interests, hobbies, what you enjoy doing, what school you go to, etc. We want to know what make you, you and help you know what makes us, us.
The rest of the first session will be spent with the neurofeedback therapist diving deeper into what neurofeedback is, how it can help, and the typical course of neurofeedback therapy. We will also explore what brings you into neurofeedback therapy. We like to get the perspectives from both the teen and the parents as it helps us gain a clearer picture of what the teen may be struggling with.
Neurofeedback: 2nd Session Rate - Brain Map
After the initial session, we will schedule a time to return to create a brain map. It is a very comfortable and non-invasive process for the teen in recording brain activity used to develop a brain map. The teen wears a cap that has sensors in the cap which records the brain activity. With the aid of sophisticated software, the neurofeedback therapist analyzes the data and creates a brain map based on the data.
Development of a brain map to guide neurofeedback therapy is $500 per brain map. We develop 3 brain maps during the training process:
The baseline brain map to target regions of the brain for neurofeedback training
A brain map around the mid point in neurofeedback therapy to assess progress
Once neurofeedback therapy has concluded a final brain map will be developed to examine overall total progress
During the course of neurofeedback, additional brain map(s) may be recommended. We will discuss such recommendations with you and your teen before proceeding.
Neurofeedback Therapy: Training Session Rates
After the initial session and brain map sessions, we begin neurofeedback therapy training. The rate for each neurofeedback therapy training session is $170. This is where the teen will begin their journey towards healing by training the regions of the brain that are the source of the struggle.
We have had reports of people experiencing improvement around session 10-15. Others report experiencing improvement around session 20. It's different for each person on when they start to experience improvements. Neurofeedback is a highly effective approach in treating emotional and behavioral struggles and most people who choose neurofeedback do experience improvement.
Just like traditional talk therapy, we get out of it what we put into it. During neurofeedback training, we recommend that:
The teen get at least 8 hrs. of sleep per night. Sleep is essential to proper brain health.
They avoid coffee or other caffeinated drinks during neurofeedback session.
That they have a healthy diet avoiding overconsumption of processed and/or sugary foods.
It is important that if your teen is taking any medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD/ADD, that they continue to take the medication as prescribed.
If your teen is taking medication, we do require a Release of Information to the teen's psychiatrist or family doctor. It is important that we coordinate care with the psychiatrist or doctor. Working together with your psychiatrist, our neurofeedback therapist can provide the optimal training for your teen.
Investment in Your Teen and Family's Future:
Jason Drake, LCSW-S, EMDR Trained, Neurofeedback Professional
Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Part of what drives me at Katy Teen & Family Counseling, is looking back at my teen life. I STRUGGLED as a teen with teen anxiety which led to teen depression. I didn't know what it was. No one really talked about mental health and we didn't know what we know today. We know so much more about teen depression, teen anxiety, ADHD/ADD, teen trauma therapy, teen PTSD treatment, etc. and the large role the brain plays in these teen struggles.
Had I had available what we are providing today, the struggles that I had as a teen would not have followed me into the young adult years. And let me tell you, it would have been much 'easier' to manage them during my teen years. College, work, family, bills, mortgage, car payment, insurance all the adult responsibilities complicated working through anxiety and depression.
As a young adult, I succeeded. Some young adults with these struggles do not. Had the 80's and 90's known what we know now about mental health, the brain, and therapy, I could have avoided trying to overcome those things while also learning how to figure out the being an adult thing.
This is what plays in the back of our minds as I and the therapists who work at Katy Teen & Family Counseling work with your teen and family. We understand that the work we do is vital to your teen's happy, healthy future. We want them to realize their FULL potential by removing the barriers that hold them back such as teen depression, teen anxiety, teen substance abuse, teen trauma, and more.
Are there other policies I should be aware of?
We have a cancellation policy that if you cannot keep the scheduled teen therapy or family counseling appointment, you must notify your counselor within 48 hrs. of your scheduled appointment time to cancel or reschedule. If you do not notify your therapist within 48 hrs. of the scheduled appointment time, you will be billed half the regular session rate for a weekday appointment (Mon-Fri). For a weekend appointment (Sat or Sun), you will be billed the full regular session rate.