Scheduling, Terms and General Questions Answered

Scheduling is easy. If you are a new client, click on this link and click the “I’m a new Client” button.  The system will step you through the process of scheduling a free phone consult with Sharon to discuss your needs. This avoids typical telephone tag common to trying to engage a counselor.

Within a 24-hours, you should receive an email acknowledgement that your consult is scheduled for the time you chose. Sharon will call you at the number you provided at the scheduled time. There is no need to go to her office for this visit. This call gives you the opportunity to determine if Sharon is the right counselor for you and your concerns.

During the consult, Sharon will schedule you for the first session and provide instructions on how to complete paperwork prior to that appointment.

Coaches work with their clients to reach specific life goals that enhance their growth in the absence of limiting emotional difficulties. For example a coach may help a client set a plan to change their lifestyle, improve their business, plan for a career change, cultivate new relationships, etc. On the other hand, counselors work with people who have thinking, emotional difficulties, or ingrained behavioral problems due to past or recent wounds, trauma, or to a chemical imbalance.

If you are experiencing stress caused by your lifestyle choices, coaching may help you best; but if you have anxiety or depression caused by emotions and thoughts that emerge from how you see and interpret the world, counseling will be a better choice for you.

I specialize in adults, couples, and caregiver families. While I am licensed to see children and adolescents, I know several highly competent counselors who work well with the younger age group and I can give you their contact information.

The idea that counselors and psychotherapists work only with people who have a mental disorder is a myth. Insurance companies require that the counselor give a diagnosis for reimbursement. If you do not use insurance, no diagnosis is given. Why? Because you are not the diagnosis. We work with the person and his/her concerns, not the diagnosis. Our approach to your situation and the strategies that we employ are based on how you experience problems in your life, not how the insurance companies see it.

My license as an LPC does not allow me to bill Medicare directly for services. Medicare, by federal law, currently authorizes payments only to psychologists (PhDs) and Social Workers (LCSW) at this time.

The population of the U.S. is getting older (1 in 8 people in the US are over 65) and there are not enough mental health professionals trained and experienced in older adult concerns. Many of these folks are on fixed income, which also creates barriers to effective treatment. We are lobbying Congress to change that because there is such a substantial need for qualified mental health providers for our aging population. There are several bills in Congress that want to expand to include other trained professionals.

That said, if you are 65+ and on Medicare, we accept a limited number of 65+ clients at a sliding-scale rate. When you call for a consultation, let us know that you are interested in this program.

The length of time spent in counseling varies on several factors: (1) The quality of our working relationship; (2) the complexity of the problem to be addressed; (3) the effort you invest in working on the issue outside the session time.

Telehealth allows us to meet through audio and video over the internet. Once your appointment is scheduled, you’ll be sent a link for the video session. Click on it when our session is scheduled to start. A mobile app is also available for download if they prefer to use a mobile device rather than a laptop or desktop for their session. They can find the free app in the app store by searching for Telehealth by SimplePractice on their mobile device. You can use the camera and audio on your computer or mobile device. More instructions are available under the Client Portal menu.

I offer a limited number of appointments through a program called Open Path Collective (go to OpenPathCollective.org). This is a non-profit organization that connects qualified mental health professionals with people who cannot afford to pay my full fee AND have no insurance. You can look at my profile on that site to see if I am currently accepting new clients for sliding scale before you register for Open Path. To help you understand why I offer a program like this, go to my article that helps explain I participate in this organization.

Before you consider “shopping for ‘best price’” please read my article on “Choosing the right Counselor for You”.

We accept most major insurance health plans that are not HMO plans. We are also EAP providers for several companies, including Military OneSource.

Call your insurance provider on the back of your card to see if Sharon Gayle Counseling is in-network for your plan.