Interior Decor

WHAT TO EXPECT

Initial Phone Consultation (Free)

The process begins with an initial screening (via phone or email) during which I will gather additional information so that I may determine if my services may be of benefit to you.  I will ask you a few questions and get an overview of your concerns, and you will have the opportunity to ask me questions as well. If we both mutually decide my services may be a good fit for your needs, we then proceed with scheduling an appointment for Initial Assessment.

 

Initial Assessment Session
Our first in-person meeting lasts 50-60 minutes and will involve an initial assessment of your needs. This is a time for me to become acquainted with your current struggles and what you wish to address in therapy. It is also an opportunity for you to get a sense of who I am and how I work. At the end of the initial assessment, I will share with you my initial clinical impressions and treatment recommendations.

I will tailor treatment recommendations based on your unique needs and specific concerns, and may include individual psychotherapy, couple's counseling, group psychotherapy, or a combination of these services. If we determine that I am not the right therapist for you to work with, I will be happy to provide you with referrals to other professionals who may be better able to serve you.  I may recommend short-term or long-term individual psychotherapy. The severity of the issue and the level of need determine the course and length of treatment.  Typically, I meet with an individual once a week or every two weeks, depending on your needs and your financial resources. As treatment progresses and we make active progress on your goals, we may meet less frequently or an as needed basis to continue supporting your progress.

INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

Individual psychotherapy involves you, the patient, talking to me, the therapist about your concerns, issues, desires and goals. These sessions may focus on current or past problems, thoughts and feelings, relationships, etc. Together we will explore the factors that are contributing to your distress and and thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may be keeping you from achieving your goals. There are many approaches to dealing with these issues. Often, the process will include learning new coping skills, increasing self-understanding, exploring life patterns, and gaining a better sense of how you interact and relate to others. You can read more about my clinical approach to therapy here.

Clients who work with me can expect to focus on their emotion, which means we will seek to accept and deepen an understanding of reactions to various emotions as a means to working through the pain. I may also utilize cognitive, mindfulness-based, and creative arts interventions to find ways to expand your thinking patterns and change unhealthy behaviors. Determining how I adapt my clinical interventions relies heavily on the unique background, presenting concerns, and motivation of you as the client.

 
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GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY

Group psychotherapy is one of the most powerful therapeutic tools for growth and change. The power of a group lies in that a therapy group allows for the creation of a person's social microcosm: group members bring their issues to the group and usually re-experience or recreate some of the interpersonal difficulties that prompted them to seek therapy in the first place. Thus, while you speak about your struggles in individual psychotherapy, you live out your struggles in group therapy. For example, if you tend to feel alienated or disconnected from others in your life, you will probably experience similar feelings in the group. Group therapy provides you the unique opportunity where you can receive honest, helpful, and challenging feedback from your peers allowing you to develop deeper awareness of your struggles and relational patterns ( ie, how they impede you from having more satisfying relationships with others and with your own self). Equipped with this new insights, the  safe, supportive therapeutic atmosphere of a therapy group provides the ideal place to experiment with new, more effective ways of relating to others, with the goal being that you can then apply these insights and skills in your life outside of group. 

Furthermore, there is a vast amount of research which shows that in many cases group psychotherapy is more effective that individual therapy, especially when interpersonal difficulties are a primary concern or when a person's alienation, isolation and lack of support exacerbates their symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

To learn more about group therapy and current group offerings, please visit my Group Therapy page.

 

ONLINE THERAPY

I believe that it is important for therapy to be accessible for everyone - including busy Latinx professionals. Online therapy (also known as Telehealth or telepsychology) increases the accessibility of therapy by reducing some of the barriers that the demands of daily life and busy schedules can impose. In addition to being practical and convenient, recent research has demonstrated that is just as effective, and in some cases, more effective than in-person therapy. I provide the same quality of care, warmth, and connection and  utilize the same therapeutic interventions as I do in person, but through virtual face-to-face online sessions. My clients are often surprised that our sessions through online therapy is just as in-depth and enriching as are our in person sessions. 

As a psychologist credentialed with PSYPACT,  I can provide

online therapy in the following states:

  • Georgia (fully licensed)

  • Oregon (fully licensed)

  • Alabama

  • Arizona

  • Colorado

  • Delaware

  • Kentucky

  • Illinois

  • Missouri

  • Nebraska

  • New Hampshire

  • Nevada

  • North Caroline

  • Oklahoma

  • Pennsylvania

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Virginia

  • Washington DC

​Online therapy gives you the benefits of traditional therapy from the comfort and convenience of your own home (or other private place such as an office, car, hotel room, etc. ), without having to deal with traffic, long commutes, or taking time off work.  Additional benefits of online therapy include:

  • higher level of privacy and confidentiality as no one will see you entering and exiting from a therapy office

  • the comfort of meeting from your own home, in your own environment

  • the convenience of receiving therapy even when you are traveling or out of town

  • time to gather your thoughts before and after our sessions, by eliminating the need to rush back to your car

Benefits of Online Therapy

​The video conferencing platform that I use is through Simple Practice and it is very simple to access and extremely easy to use.  Most importantly, it is secure (encrypted to the federal standards) and HIPPA-compliant. To access online therapy services, you will need a high speed internet connection and private, secure location free from interruptions.   Once we have scheduled an online therapy session, I will send you a link to connect with me, and then, a few minutes before the start of your appointment, you can use your smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC to log in to your session. It's that simple!

How Online Therapy Works

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is your cancellation policy?

If you do not show up for a our scheduled appointment, and you have not notified me at least 48 hours in advance, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session as booked. Group sessions can not be rescheduled and you will be charged the full fee for missed group sessions. Please note that in the case of a late arrival, appointments will still end at their scheduled time.

 

Who will answer my phone call or email message?
I will personally respond, generally within 24 hours during week days for my established patients. If you are inquiring about becoming a new patient, e-mail is the best way to reach me, and it may take 2-3 days to receive a response.

Why do people enter therapy?
People come to psychotherapy for varying reasons and with different hopes and expectations. Some have tried psychotherapy before and found it useful. Others have had a mixed or even sub-par experience with therapy but in a difficult time, recognize the need for outside assistance and hope for a better experience this time. Frequently, the impetus for therapy is some kind of a life crisis or difficult passage. Many arrive sad, confused, overwhelmed, hopeless and may be going through a “dark night of the soul.” In such times, a skilled and caring therapist can make the suffering bearable and help facilitate change.

Some patients are already doing quite well in their lives and are looking to uncover additional energy and creativity with the help of a trained guide. Together, we carefully investigate potential blocks and defenses that are no longer working, discovering new ways of being in the world. A renewed and deeper sense of self begins to emerge.

How long will therapy take?
The severity of the issue and the level of need determine the course and length of treatment I provide both short-term (typically less than 15 sessions) or long-term individual psychotherapy. Short-term psychotherapy can be very helpful for a specific problem, while more complex concerns (such as trauma, abuse, etc.) usually require longer-term therapy. The length of therapy will be discussed early on your treatment, and will be revised as needed as treatment progresses.Some indicators that it may be time to end therapy:

  • You have found positive or rewarding ways to take care of yourself such that your distress is reduced or eliminated.

  • You have gained enough insight into your behaviors such that you can be clear about what you want from the world

  • and from yourself.

  • You notice that you are free of the problems you first brought to therapy.

  • You have a life that works on many different levels and is satisfying, most of the time.


How can I get the most out of therapy?

  • Attempt to clarify your goals, and/or what you hope to get out of the experience

  • Consider how you feel about the counseling relationship

  • Be an active participant

  • Focus on what is most important to you

  • Recognize and express feelings

  • Be patient with yourself

  • Ask questions


Is therapy confidential?
I am ethically and legally constrained not even to acknowledge that you are my client unless you give me written permission. You may say anything, with confidence that I will not repeat it, EXCEPT... 

The law requires me to report the following potential dangers:

  • Suspected child abuse or adult dependent abuse.

  • If a patient poses imminent danger to another person.

  • If a patient poses imminent danger himself or herself. I will make every effort to work with a patient to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

Do you accept/bill health insurance?

I am an Out-of-Network Provider for commercial health insurance companies (with the exception of  GA Tech Student Health Insurance Plan, Pacific Source, MODA, and I do bill directly on your behalf for these 3 in-network insurance plans). However, should you choose to use your health insurance benefits, I will be happy to assist you through this process by providing you with documentation for your sessions (a superbill) that you may submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. It is up to you to submit this to your insurance company for reimbursement. Typically, the process is very simple and makes working together very affordable. 

To find out IF you have out of network benefits and what portion of my fee they may cover, please call your insurance company directly by calling the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card (there is often a separate phone number for mental health or “behavioral health” services information).  When speaking with your insurance company, you will want to ask them the following questions:  

  • What are my “out-of-network” outpatient mental health insurance benefits?

  • What is my deductible and how much of it have I met?

  • Is it possible to meet with a provider that I choose and submit receipts for reimbursement?

  • What is the process for seeking reimbursement?

  • Are there any limitations on how many services a year that will be covered?

  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session (CPT codes: 90837 (55 min)  or 90834 (45 min))?

  • How long will it take to get my reimbursement?

  • Do I need a referral from a primary care physician?

  • Do my benefits cover telehealth services (online counseling)?

If you have any other questions not covered here, please don't hesitate to reach out and contact Dr. Sophia Aguirre!