Debra L. Poepping, MA, LMFT
License # LF 60281197
This document is to introduce you to my therapy practice, and to the counseling process in general. The following information is designed to help you in making thoughtful decisions regarding your therapy. Please ask any question or raise any concerns that may occur to you as you read through this now or at any time in our work together.
Provision of the following information and written acknowledgement of its receipt are required by Washington state law.
Education, training, and experience
I am trained as an individual and family therapist. I am a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Washington, Credential Number LF 60281197.
Theoretical orientation and approach to therapy
I am a family systems therapist. When I work with individuals I always consider the family history, culture, beliefs and interactions between family members that may have contributed to a problem or situation. Family dynamics and relationships can also have an impact on the solution. In addition, my training in human development and family cycles, along with my feminist orientation, influence how I understand life stage transitions. I am an interactive therapist who believes that therapy is a collaborative and supportive process.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A CLIENT
1. Influencing the course of therapy: Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about my work as a therapist, the approach we are taking together, or your progress. It is your responsibility to choose the therapist and therapeutic modality which best suits your needs. You always have the right to request a change in treatment, or to refuse treatment. It is important that we work together to meet your needs. If you believe that you are not being helped, please let me know so that we can work through the difficulty together. If we are unable to do so to your satisfaction, I can assist you in finding another therapist.
2. Confidentiality: Our sessions are held in the strictest confidence, and no information can be released about you without your written permission. State law requires the following exceptions:
a) when a client poses a clear and present danger to self or others,
or is unable to provide minimal life-sustaining self-care;
b) when a client reveals contemplation of a major crime or harmful act;
c) when the counselor receives a court order to share information with
d) if the counselor has a reasonable suspicion that a person under the
age of 18, or a dependent adult (aged, or developmentally delayed)
is or has been physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected.
This report must occur within 48 hours of the counselor receiving such
I meet occasionally with colleagues so that we may gain a better understanding of how we can work with our clients more effectively. In these consultations, your identity will be protected, as will unique identifying information. The other professionals with whom I meet are bound to the same standards of confidentiality as I am.
3. Complaints: If you believe that I have behaved in an unprofessional or unethical manner, please advise me so that the problem can be clarified and resolved. If you feel that negotiation has not worked, you may contact one or both of the following:
Department of Health Counselors Program
PO Box 47869
Olympia, WA 98504-7869
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
112 South Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3061
4. Social Media Policy: I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CLIENT
1. Scheduling: Consistency in keeping appointments is integral to the counseling process. I prefer to schedule each new appointment at the end of each session. If you and I agree that you have a standing appointment at a certain time each week, I will not schedule another client during that time, as long as you are consistent with attendance. If you have made an appointment with me and need to cancel it, please let me know 24 hours in advance, or you may be charged for that session. (This way, I have the opportunity to try and schedule another client during your hour.) If I cancel an appointment with you with less than 24 hours notice, I will see you for free at the next session.
2. Session length: Therapy sessions are 50 minutes, unless we have negotiated a different length of time in advance. If you arrive late for a session, you will be seen for the remaining time and will be charged the full fee. If I begin a session late, I will either see you for a full fifty minutes, charge you a pro-rated fee, or schedule a subsequent (and proportionately longer) session.
3. Fees: I charge a standard fee of $130 for individuals and $150 for couples for a 50 minute session. I reserve a few appointments for low income individuals and families. Please discuss this with me if you have a need. The initial fee will be determined prior to the first session. I prefer that you pay at the end of each session. If you need a different arrangement, please let me know and we will discuss it. As a general rule, if a client owes me for two sessions, I prefer to put our meetings on hold until the client has caught up with their payments.
I accept and bill First Choice Insurance, as well as several EAP programs. I am an "out-of-network" provider for most other health insurance plans. I provide a statement of service with treatment codes and diagnosis for clients to send to their insurance companies for a possible reimbursement.
4. Attendance: I see most clients on a weekly basis, and prefer to start with all new clients in this way. If another arrangement is appropriate for you, please discuss this with me. If you have a regular weekly appointment time, I will reserve it for you. If you come on a less regular basis or do not know your schedule week by week, I will offer you what openings I have.
5. Termination: I believe that we should end our relationship in person, rather than over the phone whenever possible. For this reason I strongly suggest that you take from one to three sessions to complete your therapy. This will provide us time to wrap up the work we doing and end on a good note. However, you have the right, at any time in the therapeutic process, to ask for a change of direction, or to discontinue.
6. Temporary distress: Counseling can be difficult, and even painful. At times, discussing therapeutic material may leave you feeling worse, or may make your symptoms stronger. Even though this is often normal or even to be expected, please do not be alarmed, and please do keep me informed of how you are feeling. I need to know how you are so that I may treat you effectively.
7. Contacting me: You may call my voice mail at any time. The recorded message will tell you when I am in the office and when you can expect to hear back from me. If you call me, I will call you back.
Email: I prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and my Internet service providers. While it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider. You should also know that any emails I receive from you and any responses that I send to you become a part of your legal record.
Text messages: I prefer using text messaging to change or cancel an appointment or to let me know if you will be arriving late to our appointment. I cannot guarantee that I will see it as soon as you send it. I do check my messages throughout the day.