Individual counseling involves working with the individual on a one-on-one basis in order to address his or her needs and difficulties. With the psychotherapist, individuals can share their innermost thoughts and feelings. This sharing helps individuals to understand themselves better and helps them to address their emotional difficulties in a more adaptive fashion.
The majority of Couples Counseling is self-pay because it falls under the category of education. The goal is to first assess each couple’s communication & interaction style and determine the strengths and weaknesses in the relationship.
Assessment consists of a couples interview followed by individual interviews as well as completion of the Gottman Relationship Checkup, an online assessment you take from home. (You never see each others’ answers!)
Following that, an individualized educational plan is put in place on a weekly basis to allow each couple time to learn & practice new skills within the comfort of our office. Homework is assigned weekly. Topics we frequently address include affair prevention and/or recovery, conflict resolution, lifestyle disputes including money management, in-law issues, and blended family situations, & many more.
The self-pay rate is $120 for the first therapy hour of any day and $60 an hour for subsequent additional time. The average couples session is 1 ½ to 2 hours long. Tl;dr Most relationship issues require down to earth education & skill building, not deep psychological interventions- so- since not getting along is not an illness, insurance doesn’t cover it.
Couples Counseling Using Health Insurance
Individuals suffering from a mental health disorder frequently need family therapy to assist with the management of their illness. Family therapy is frequently recommended as an adjunct to individual counseling. However family therapy designed to help an identified person or patient with their mental illness is not the same as the Gottman Relationship Counseling offered by Couplescience.org & designed to help a couple experiencing frequent conflict and communication problems.
In family therapy, the individual with the mental disorder is the patient.
Health insurance has proven to be extremely reliable in covering care for individuals with legitimate mental disorders. That said, it is still all managed care. So the length of each session is highly restricted, usually to about 45 minutes of counseling. And the number of sessions allowed is also restricted. There is usually no set number; each patient requires a thorough assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan. All of the care is subject to review at any time (even a year AFTER treatment is completed). Information about the family sessions is part of the patient record, and pertinent to the treatment plan so the insurance reviewers have a right to that information also.
It is not unheard of for both individuals in a relationship to be experiencing a diagnosable mental health disorder that merits treatment under their health insurance. Again, exactly what treatment and how long is dependent on each individual’s condition & subject to insurance review.
In some cases I will refer couples to an LMFT (Lic Marriage and Family Therapist) or to another specialist in order to maximize the chances of a positive outcome. Tl;dr If you have a legitimate mental condition you can probably use your insurance but under managed care your time & treatment options are more limited & subject to review by your insurance company. (In our Couples’ counseling, the Relationship is actually the focus/patient.)
Frequently Asked Questions
It's recommended that you go ahead and start as long as it's safe for you to do so (ie; your partner isn't physically abusive/you could attend without endangering yourself)
Think of your safety and the safety of your children first. Call a domestic violence hotline such as:
Hubbard House- Jacksonville/Duval county PHONE 24-HOURS A DAY CALL (904) 354-3114. TTY: (904) 354-3958)
Quigley House- Orange Park/Clay County (1-800-339-5017 or 904-284-0061)
Betty Griffin House- St. Augustine/St. Johns County (904) 824-1555)