Informed Consent for Psychotherapy
This form is called a Consent for Services (the “Consent”). Your therapist, counselor, psychologist, doctor, or another health professional (“Provider”) has asked you to read and sign this Consent before you start therapy. Please review the information. If you have any questions, contact your Provider.
The therapeutic relationship is unique in that it is a highly personal and at the same time, a contractual agreement. Given this, it is important to reach a clear understanding about how the relationship with your Provider will work. This consent will provide that understanding. Feel free to discuss any of this with your Provider. Please read and indicate that you have reviewed this information and agree to it by signing at the end of this document.
THE THERAPEUTIC PROCESS
Therapy is a collaborative process where you and your Provider will work together on equal footing to achieve goals that you define. This means that you will follow a defined process supported by scientific evidence, where you and your Provider have specific rights and responsibilities. Therapy generally shows positive outcomes for individuals who follow the process. Better outcomes are often associated with a good relationship between a client and their Provider. To foster the best possible relationship, it is important you understand as much about the process before deciding to commit.
Therapy begins with the intake process. First, you will review your Provider’s policies and procedures, talk about fees, identify emergency contacts, and decide if you want health insurance to pay your fees depending on your plan’s benefits. Second, you will discuss what to expect during therapy, including the type of therapy, the length of treatment, and the risks and benefits. If your Provider is practicing under the supervision of another professional, your Provider will tell you about their supervision and the name of the supervising professional. Third, you will form a treatment plan, including the type of therapy, how often you will attend therapy, your short- and long-term goals, and the steps you will take to achieve them. Over time, you and your Provider may edit your treatment plan to be sure it describes your goals and steps you need to take. After intake, you will attend regular therapy sessions at your Provider’s office or through video, called telehealth. Participation in therapy is voluntary – you can stop at any time. At some point, you will achieve your goals. At this time, you will review your progress, identify supports that will help you maintain your progress, and discuss how to return to therapy if you need it in the future.
The outcome of your treatment depends largely on your willingness to engage in this process, which may, at times, result in considerable discomfort. Remembering unpleasant events and becoming aware of feelings attached to those events can bring on strong feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, etc. There are no miracle cures or guaranteed results.
The session content and all relevant materials to the client’s treatment will be held confidential unless the client requests in writing to have all or portions of such content released to a specifically named person/persons. Limitations of such client held privilege of confidentiality exist and are itemized below:
- If a client threatens or attempts to commit suicide or otherwise conducts him/her self in a manner in which there is a substantial risk of incurring serious bodily harm.
- If a client threatens grave bodily harm or death to another person.
- If the therapist has a reasonable suspicion that a client or other named victim is the perpetrator, observer of, or actual victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children under the age of 18 years.
- Suspicions as stated above in the case of an elderly person who may be subjected to these abuses.
- Suspected neglect of the parties named in items #3 and # 4.
- If a court of law issues a legitimate subpoena for information stated on the subpoena.
- If a client is in therapy or being treated by order of a court of law, or if information is obtained for the purpose of rendering an expert’s report to an attorney.
- If a client files a claim or payment dispute against me
- Occasionally your Provider may need to consult with other professionals in their areas of expertise in order to provide the best treatment for you. Information about you may be shared in this context without using your name.
- Occasionally your Provider exports non-identifying information from clinical files for statistical analysis and research. Findings from this research help clients and advance the profession.
- If you and your Provider see each other accidentally outside of the therapy office, your Provider will not acknowledge you first. Your right to privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance to me, and your Provider does not wish to jeopardize your privacy. However, if you acknowledge your Provider first, your Provider will be happy to speak briefly with you, but feel it appropriate not to engage in any lengthy discussions in public or outside of the therapy office.
IN-PERSON VISITS & SARS-CoV-2 (“COVID-19”)
When guidance from public health authorities allows and your Provider offers, you can meet in person. If you attend therapy in-person, you understand:
You may only attend if you are symptom-free (For symptoms, see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html); If you are experiencing symptoms, you can switch to a telehealth appointment or cancel. If you need to cancel, you will not be charged a late cancellation fee. You must follow all safety protocols established by the practice, including:
- Following the check-in procedure;
- Washing or sanitizing your hands upon entering the practice;
- Adhering to appropriate social distancing measures;
- Wearing a mask, if required;
- Telling your Provider if you have a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as through school, work, or commuting; and
- Telling your Provider if you or someone in your home tests positive for COVID-19.
- Your Provider may be mandated to report to public health authorities if you have been in the office and have tested positive for infection. If so, your Provider may make the report without your permission, but will only share necessary information. Your Provider will never share details about your visit. Because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, your ability to meet in person could change with minimal or no notice. By signing this Consent, you understand that you could be exposed to COVID-19 if you attend in-person sessions. If a member of the practice tests positive for COVID-19, you will be notified. If you have any questions, or if you want a copy of this policy, please ask.
Notice of Privacy Practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
MY PLEDGE REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION:
I understand that health information about you and your health care is personal. I am committed to protecting health information about you. I create a record of the care and services you receive from me. I need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by this mental health care practice. This notice will tell you about the ways in which I may use and disclose health information about you. I also describe your rights to the health information I keep about you, and describe certain obligations I have regarding the use and disclosure of your health information. I am required by law to:
- Make sure that protected health information (“PHI”) that identifies you is kept private.
- Give you this notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information.
- Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
- I can change the terms of this Notice, and such changes will apply to all information I have about you. The new Notice will be available upon request, in my office, and on my website.
HOW I MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU:
The following categories describe different ways that I use and disclose health information. For each category of uses or disclosures I will explain what I mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways I am permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Treatment Payment, or Health Care Operations: Federal privacy rules (regulations) allow health care providers who have direct treatment relationship with the patient/client to use or disclose the patient/client’s personal health information without the patient’s written authorization, to carry out the health care provider’s own treatment, payment or health care operations. I may also disclose your protected health information for the treatment activities of any health care provider. This too can be done without your written authorization. For example, if a clinician were to consult with another licensed health care provider about your condition, we would be permitted to use and disclose your personal health information, which is otherwise confidential, in order to assist the clinician in diagnosis and treatment of your mental health condition.
Disclosures for treatment purposes are not limited to the minimum necessary standard. Because therapists and other health care providers need access to the full record and/or full and complete information in order to provide quality care. The word “treatment” includes, among other things, the coordination and management of health care providers with a third party, consultations between health care providers and referrals of a patient for health care from one health care provider to another.
Lawsuits and Disputes: If you are involved in a lawsuit, or dispute I may disclose health information in response to a court or administrative order. I may also disclose health information about your child in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES REQUIRE YOUR AUTHORIZATION:
Psychotherapy Notes. I do keep “psychotherapy notes” as that term is defined in 45 CFR § 164.501, and any use or disclosure of such notes requires your Authorization unless the use or disclosure is:
- For my use in treating you.
- For my use in training or supervising mental health practitioners to help them improve their skills in group, joint, family, or individual counseling or therapy.
- For my use in defending myself in legal proceedings instituted by you.
- For use by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate my compliance with HIPAA.
- Required by law and the use or disclosure is limited to the requirements of such law.
- Required by law for certain health oversight activities pertaining to the originator of the psychotherapy notes.
- Required by a coroner who is performing duties authorized by law.
- Required to help avert a serious threat to the health and safety of others.
Marketing Purposes. As a psychotherapist, I will not use or disclose your PHI for marketing purposes.
Sale of PHI. As a psychotherapist, I will never sell your PHI.
CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES DO NOT REQUIRE YOUR AUTHORIZATION
Subject to certain limitations in the law, I can use and disclose your PHI without your Authorization for the following reasons:
- When disclosure is required by state or federal law, and the use or disclosure complies with and is limited to the relevant requirements of such law.
- For public health activities, including reporting suspected child, elder, or dependent adult abuse, or preventing or reducing a serious threat to anyone’s health or safety.
- For health oversight activities, including audits and investigations.
- For judicial and administrative proceedings, including responding to a court or administrative order, although my preference is to obtain an Authorization from you before doing so.
- For law enforcement purposes, including reporting crimes occurring on my premises.
- To coroners or medical examiners, when such individuals are performing duties authorized by law.
- For research purposes, including studying and comparing the mental health of patients who received one form of therapy versus those who received another form of therapy for the same condition.
- Specialized government functions, including, ensuring the proper execution of military missions; protecting the President of the United States; conducting intelligence or counter-intelligence operations; or, helping to ensure the safety of those working within or housed in correctional institutions.
- For workers’ compensation purposes. Although my preference is to obtain an Authorization from you, I may provide your PHI in order to comply with workers’ compensation laws.
- Appointment reminders and health related benefits or services. I may use and disclose your PHI to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment with me. I may also use and disclose your PHI to tell you about treatment alternatives, or other health care services or benefits that I offer.
CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES REQUIRE YOU TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT
Disclosures to family, friends, or others. I may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
YOU HAVE THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR PHI
The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask me not to use or disclose certain PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. I am not required to agree to your request, and I may say “no” if I believe it would affect your health care.
The Right to Request Restrictions for Out-of-Pocket Expenses Paid for In Full. You have the right to request restrictions on disclosures of your PHI to health plans for payment or health care operations purposes if the PHI pertains solely to a health care item or a health care service that you have paid for out-of-pocket in full.
The Right to Choose How I Send PHI to You. You have the right to ask me to contact you in a specific way (for example, home or office phone) or to send mail to a different address, and I will agree to all reasonable requests.
The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. Other than “psychotherapy notes,” you have the right to get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record and other information that I have about you. I will provide you with a copy of your record, or a summary of it, if you agree to receive a summary, within 30 days of receiving your written request, and I may charge a reasonable, cost based fee for doing so.
The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures I Have Made. You have the right to request a list of instances in which I have disclosed your PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations, or for which you provided me with an Authorization. I will respond to your request for an accounting of disclosures within 60 days of receiving your request. The list I will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. I will provide the list to you at no charge, but if you make more than one request in the same year, I will charge you a reasonable cost based fee for each additional request.
The Right to Correct or Update Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI, or that a piece of important information is missing from your PHI, you have the right to request that I correct the existing information or add the missing information. I may say “no” to your request, but I will tell you why in writing within 60 days of receiving your request.
The Right to Get a Paper or Electronic Copy of this Notice. You have the right get a paper copy of this Notice, and you have the right to get a copy of this notice by e-mail. And, even if you have agreed to receive this Notice via e-mail, you also have the right to request a paper copy of it.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE
This notice went into effect on September 20, 2013
Acknowledgement of Receipt of Privacy Notice
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), you have certain rights regarding the use and disclosure of your protected health information. By checking the box below, you are acknowledging that you have received a copy of HIPPA Notice of Privacy Practices.
APPOINTMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS
Please remember to cancel or reschedule 24 hours in advance. You will be responsible for the entire fee if cancellation is less than 24 hours. The ONLY exception to this policy is for medical emergencies. Work emergencies or non-medical family emergencies will not be considered sufficient to waive the cancellation fee.
The standard meeting time for psychotherapy is 50 minutes. It is up to you, however, to determine the length of time of your sessions. Requests to change the 50-minute session needs to be discussed with the therapist in order for time to be scheduled in advance.
A $10.00 service charge will be charged for any checks returned for any reason for special handling.
Cancellations and re-scheduled session will be subject to a full charge if NOT RECEIVED AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE. This is necessary because a time commitment is made to you and is held exclusively for you. If you are late for a session, you may lose some of that session time.
All clients must maintain a valid credit or debit card on file. By conducting business with this Restored Life Counseling you consent to having your card charged for services rendered or for cancellation fees. Further, you consent to keeping your card on file for future charges on your account, including possible cancellation fees. If you wish to pay for a session by check or cash, advance notification is required. Payment is due at the start of each session. And payment will not be rendered until payment is received.
Before starting therapy, you should confirm with your insurance company if:
- Your benefits cover the type of therapy you will receive;
- Your benefits cover in-person and telehealth sessions;
- You may be responsible for any portion of the payment; and
- Your Provider is in-network or out-of-network.
Sharing Information with Insurance Companies
If you choose to use insurance benefits to pay for services, you will be required to share personal information with your insurance company. Insurance companies keep personal information confidential unless they must share to act on your behalf, comply with federal or state law, or complete administrative work.
Covered and Non-Covered Services
When your Provider is in-network, they have a contract with your insurance company. Your insurance plan may cover all or part of the cost of therapy. You are responsible for any part of this cost not covered by insurance, such as deductibles, copays, or coinsurance. You may also be responsible for any services not covered by your insurance.
When your Provider is out-of-network, they do not have a contract with your insurance company. You can still choose to see your Provider; however, all fees will be due at the time of your session to your Provider. Your Provider will tell you if they can help you file for reimbursement from your insurance company. If your insurance company decides that they will not reimburse you, you are still responsible for the full amount.
Refunds may only be issued before the date of service and before services have been rendered, pursuant to and consistent with the above cancellation policy.
If you need to contact your Provider between sessions, please leave a message on your Provider’s voice mail, or send an email. Your Provider is often not immediately available; however, your Provider will attempt to return your call within 24 hours. Please note that Face- to-face sessions are highly preferable to phone sessions. In the event that you are out of town, sick or need additional support, phone or telehealth sessions are available. If a true emergency situation arises, please call 911 or any local emergency room.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATION
Due to the importance of your confidentiality and the importance of minimizing dual relationships, your Provider does not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). Adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and the respective privacy of both you and your Provider. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up with your provider.
Your Provider cannot ensure the confidentiality of any form of communication through electronic media, including text messages. If you prefer to communicate via email or text messaging for issues regarding scheduling or cancellations, your Provider will do so. While your Provider may try to return messages in a timely manner, your Provider cannot guarantee immediate response and requests that you do not use these methods of communication to discuss therapeutic content and/or request assistance for emergencies.
Services by electronic means, including but not limited to telephone communication, the Internet, facsimile machines, and e-mail is considered telemedicine by the State of California. Under the California Telemedicine Act of 1996, telemedicine is broadly defined as the use of information technology to deliver medical services and information from one location to another. If you and your therapist chose to use information technology for some or all of your treatment, you need to understand that:
- You retain the option to withhold or withdraw consent at any time without affecting the right to future care or treatment or risking the loss or withdrawal of any program benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled.
- All existing confidentiality protections are equally applicable.
- Your access to all medical information transmitted during a telemedicine consultation is guaranteed, and copies of this information are available for a reasonable fee.
- Dissemination of any of your identifiable images or information from the telemedicine interaction to researchers or other entities shall not occur without your consent.
- There are potential risks, consequences, and benefits of telemedicine. Potential benefits include, but are not limited to improved communication capabilities, providing convenient access to up-to-date information, consultations, support, reduced costs, improved quality, change in the conditions of practice, improved access to therapy, better continuity of care, and reduction of lost work time and travel costs. Effective therapy is often facilitated when the therapist gathers within a session or a series of sessions, a multitude of observations, information, and experiences about the client. Therapists may make clinical assessments, diagnosis, and interventions based not only on direct verbal or auditory communications, written reports, and third person consultations, but also from direct visual and olfactory observations, information, and experiences. When using information technology in therapy services, potential risks include, but are not limited to the therapist’s inability to make visual and olfactory observations of clinically or therapeutically potentially relevant issues such as: your physical condition including deformities, apparent height and weight, body type, attractiveness relative to social and cultural norms or standards, gait and motor coordination, posture, work speed, any noteworthy mannerism or gestures, physical or medical conditions including bruises or injuries, basic grooming and hygiene including appropriateness of dress, eye contact (including any changes in the previously listed issues), sex, chronological and apparent age, ethnicity, facial and body language, and congruence of language and facial or bodily expression. Potential consequences thus include the therapist not being aware of what he or she would consider important information, that you may not recognize as significant to present verbally the therapist.
COURT SUMMONS AND PROCEEDINGS
Time spent in preparation, sitting in court, or giving testimony, or interacting with any third party regarding any legal matter is billed on an hourly basis at three times the fee for a regular session.
If you are a minor, your parents may be legally entitled to some information about your therapy. Your Provider will discuss with you and your parents what information is appropriate for them to receive and which issues are more appropriately kept confidential.
Ending relationships can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to have a termination process in order to achieve some closure. The appropriate length of the termination depends on the length and intensity of the treatment. Your Provider may terminate treatment after appropriate discussion with you and a termination process if your Provider determines that the psychotherapy is not being effectively used or if you are in default on payment. Your Provider will not terminate the therapeutic relationship without first discussing and exploring the reasons and purpose of terminating. If therapy is terminated for any reason or you request another therapist, your Provider will offer you a list of qualified psychotherapists to treat you. You may also choose someone on your own or from another referral source.
Should you fail to schedule an appointment for three consecutive scheduled appointments, unless other arrangements have been made in advance, for legal and ethical reasons, your Provider must consider the professional relationship discontinued.