Frequently Asked Questions

What is counseling?
While counseling is difficult to define, it is essentially a relationship in which someone seeks help for personal problems by talking with another person who is professionally-trained to help by listening and discussing whatever issues the person brings.  Oftentimes a person seeks counseling because he/she has not been able to solve a problem on his/her own, or with his/her everyday relationships, and can benefit from the aid of someone with both the training and the outside, objective perspective.

There are many forms of counseling.  Whether you are seeking help for psychological problems, relational issues, or just wanting to understand yourself better and improve your quality of life, professional counselors are available to help.  Professional counselors, psychotherapists, or therapists are professionally-trained and licensed by the state.  The professional counselors fully licensed in the State of Georgia are:

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW’s)
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT’s)
Licensed Psychologists
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC’s)

The State of Georgia also certifies or “licenses” those working toward full licensure after candidates have completed their education requirements, and required number of hours of counseling experience, and possibly other requirements, depending on the discipline.  These counselors are: Associate Professional Counselors (LAPC’s), Master Social Workers (MSW’s), and Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (LAMFT’s).

All counselors at ACCESS are professionally-trained counselors who are either licensed by the State of Georgia, are working toward licensure, or are in training to become professional counselors in their particular discipline.  Pre-licensed counselors are all under supervision by a licensed counselor.

Counseling is a process with different factors which shape the process, depending on the person(s) involved, the issue presented, and level of motivation and personal skills to work on issues involved.  Because the process depends on various factors, counseling will be different for different people, but usually begins in the first session or few sessions with information gathering so the counselor can understand the situation and help to set goals to work toward.

How long is one session?
A typical counseling session at most places is 45 or 50 minutes long, but at ACCESS, we usually give 50 – 60 minute sessions.  Other options are also available, for example, if one would like to meet for longer periods of time (i.e., 1 ½ hrs., 2 hrs.).  Appointments are usually on the hour or half hour.

How much does counseling at ACCESS cost?
At ACCESS, we currently have one regular session fee for licensed counselors, and one regular session fee for pre-licensed counselors.  Please call us for the current rates.  Fees are pro-rated based on the length of the session, if the session is longer than one hour.  If the regular fees are not affordable, we have sliding scale discounts based on total household income and number of dependents to reduce the fees.


Office Interior

Can I use my insurance?
Each insurance plan is different, even within the same insurance company, so those who wish to use their insurance to cover counseling will need to check with their insurance carrier to see if their particular plan will cover our services.  Most insurance plans will require a licensed counselor, and some will require a counselor only on their network of providers, but in some cases we have found that insurance companies will cover our services even if we are not on their network if we provide services that meet a need they cannot meet from their network, such as a Chinese-speaking counselor.  Asian language and cultural needs are frequently not met by most insurance networks in the area.

Depending on the insurance plan, coverage may also be limited to a certain number of sessions per year and/or only a portion of the fee.  It is important to note that insurance companies will often require information about a person and his/her treatment, especially a formal diagnosis.  Insurance companies use the medical model, which labels counseling-related problems as “mental disorders,” and they may require additional information, such as a description of symptoms, to justify coverage.  They may also only cover more severe diagnoses, so for example, marriage counseling is often not covered by insurers, unless one of the spouses is clinically depressed.