FAQs

FAQs

Are you currently seeing clients for in-person sessions?

Currently, I am seeing clients both in-person and online via teletherapy. With regard to current covid-19 pandemic safety policies, I am requiring all in-person clients to wear masks regardless of vaccination status while Traverse City remains an area of substantial to high transmission. I look forward to returning to unmasked in-person sessions once it is safe to do so. For those clients that prefer teletherapy, I’m pleased to share with you that online appointments are going well and I’m finding that both parents and kids like having sessions from the comfort and convenience of their home. If your child needs support, I suggest giving it a try.

How do I make an appointment?

You can call me at (231) 620-0015 for a free phone consult to determine if I will be a good fit for you and/or your family. If we determine that I can help you, we will schedule our first appointment. Otherwise, I will provide you with referral sources for other providers.

How do I prepare for my first appointment?

After scheduling the initial intake appointment, I will send you online forms to complete before your first appointment. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your first appointment.

What can I expect during my first appointment?

During your first session, I will greet you in the waiting area. I will likely meet with you and your child together and then – depending on the age of your child – I may meet with you each separately as well. First, I will get your and your child’s informed consent to participate in therapy. Consent of both parents is generally required for children to participate.

After we have completed the informed consent process, I will conduct an initial intake evaluation, which is a diagnostic assessment. This means I will ask a lot of questions to understand why you have sought therapy and how I can best help you and your family. I will ask questions about the concerns you are having about your child, their concerns, and any symptoms they are displaying. I may ask questions about your current home situation and your child’s developmental history, school, and social experiences. I may ask questions about past experiences your child or family has had with therapy. And I will explore your goals for therapy and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your answers will help me arrive at an initial diagnosis of the problem and decide on the best treatment plan for your child or family, so it is really important I get accurate information. Some of the paperwork you complete before the first session is designed to get you thinking about the questions I will ask. The assessment takes 1-2 sessions to complete, depending on how much information we need to cover.

We will also see if I am going to be a “good fit” for your family. Often it takes a few sessions to get comfortable. It is okay to talk to me and let me know if you have any concerns about my approach or the treatment I suggest – I value your feedback and want to make sure you get the best treatment possible. If you or your child don’t feel we are a “good fit,” that is completely okay! I will help you find another qualified professional to help you.

How long are therapy sessions?

Therapy sessions are approximately 45 minutes of in-session (face-to-face) time but in reality you get the whole hour. After the session, I spent the next ~15 minutes documenting your progress and planning for your next session.

Is what I share with you during therapy confidential?

Yes! Therapy is most effective when you can be open and honest. I understand that you need to feel comfortable and safe talking about private information, without fear of that information being shared with others without your permission. Like adults, therapy for children and adolescents also works best if they can feel comfortable and safe talking to me. That is why what you and your child share in therapy is protected by law (the HIPAA Privacy Rule) as well as the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics for psychologists. In some cases there are exceptions to the privacy rule, such as if a client discloses information about plans to harm themselves or serious plans to harm others. Psychologists are also required to report ongoing domestic violence, abuse or neglect of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. At your first visit, confidentiality will be discussed in detail and I can answer any additional questions about privacy you might have then. In sum, psychologists are legally and ethically bound to protect your privacy with a few reasonable safety exceptions.

Do you take insurance?

I am a private pay therapist. For families with insurance, I am happy to provide you with an insurance reimbursement statement that you can submit to your insurance provider for possible out-of-network (OON) reimbursement. Another option is to use your Health Savings Account (HSA). Before you call to schedule your intake, I suggest that you consult with your insurance company regarding their out-of-network mental health coverage as benefits may differ across companies. When using OON or HSA reimbursement, you are responsible for paying full fees at the time of service. Check out my Rates & Insurance page for more information on what questions to ask your insurance company.

Many clients choose to use private pay instead of their insurance for therapy. There are many benefits of private pay. First, private pay allows for increased privacy and control over your treatment. Insurance companies require providers to communicate with them about clients’ diagnoses and treatment progress, and can limit the number of sessions and type of treatment allowed. Additionally, mental health diagnoses become part of your permanent medical record when you use insurance, which can affect eligibility for certain types of employment in the future. As such, many clients prefer the greater privacy and control over their treatment offered by private pay. Whichever option you use, mental health care is a worthwhile investment in your future.

How do I get reimbursed by my insurance?

Prior to scheduling your intake, consult with your insurance company first to find out if you have out-of-network (OON) benefits for mental health services and what your rate of reimbursement for these services would be (go to my Rates & Insurance page for the specific questions to ask your insurance company). If you do have OON benefits, you can submit your documentation directly to your insurance company for reimbursement. You will need to ask your insurance company how you should submit the documentation to them (mail, fax, email, upload, etc.). After you have had your initial intake appointment, you will be automatically emailed your insurance reimbursement statements on the 1st of every month from “Client Portal” (check your spam folder if you don’t see them). However, you can also access your insurance reimbursement statements from the portal at anytime if you wish to submit them more frequently than monthly. To access the statements,  go to the Birchwood Psychology homepage and select Client Portal under the  Get Started dropdown menu or simply go to https://rebecca-swenson.clientsecure.me/. (Tip: bookmark this page so you can find it easily the next time you need it!). Select “I’M AN EXISTING CLIENT” and enter your email to have a link to sign in to the Client Portal sent to your inbox – no password necessary. Once in the portal, select Billing & Payments, then scroll down to Insurance Reimbursement Statements. These statements are generated monthly and contain all of the information required by insurance companies for reimbursement. Download and submit! Your reimbursement payment will be sent directly to you.

What are your fees per session?

  • Initial Intake Evaluation (90 minutes): $225
  • Individual Therapy Sessions (45 minutes): $150
  • Family Therapy Sessions (45 minutes): $175
  • Parent Coaching (45 minutes): $150

What are your cancellation and no-show policies?

  • To cancel or reschedule: 24 hour notice is required
  • Late cancellation fee: 100% of session fee billed (anything less than 24 hours)
  • No show: 100% of session fee billed

Where are you located?

My office is located at 818 Red Drive, Suite 260, Traverse City, Michigan in The Grand Traverse Commons (next to Spanglish restaurant). I am on the second floor, accessible via stairs or elevator.

Is there parking nearby?

Yes, there is plenty of free parking throughout The Commons, including a large parking lot directly in front of my building. Parents can feel free to enjoy a coffee at one of the many coffee shops in the Commons or take a walk on the beautiful hiking trails behind my office while their child is in session.