Office Policies for Bill Herring, LCSW
"Good fences make good neighbors", as the poet Robert Frost wisely observed. Your clear understanding and agreement of the following policies, rights, responsibilities and safeguards will insure the optimal management of our professional relationship.
Office Hours and Service Fees:
- My standard rate is $200 for a 50 minute session.
- I am available weekdays from 8:00 AM. My last session generally starts at 4:00 PM.
- Payment may be made by cash, check and credit/debit cards.
- Even though I don't accept insurance, many of my clients receive substantial reimbursement for my fees when they file directly with their third-party payer. I can provide you with the proper documentation to do this if you like. I encourage all consumers to be aware of the many benefits of paying privately for counseling and psychotherapy services.
The fee for missing an appointment or cancelling with less than 48 hours notice is $100 for the first occasion, and full fee after that . Even if you can't give me 48 hours notice, contact me anyway – I won't charge you if I can fill your time slot with another client.
Communication And Other Services Between Sessions:
- There is no charge for communication related to scheduling or related administrative matters.
- Non-administrative telephone, electronic or other communication is billable in ten minute increments.
- As part of my commitment to exceptional service I do not charge for the first ten minutes of communication between sessions.
- Electronically-sent written communication is considered part of your confidential clinical record.
If you experience a crisis requiring my immediate personal attention, call my cell phone at (678) 773-3083 for quickest response. If I am unavailable a colleague will respond. Of course, in a life-threatening situation, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
I maintain a modest clinical record that includes information that we discuss. You may see this record if you like. I archive your records after three months of inactivity, and destroy them after 12 years.
I will not release information that identifies you to anyone without your written permission. Here are the exceptions:
- I will release information necessary to warn or protect a person in imminent danger of being physically harmed.
- I will release to a court of law information required by court order.
- I will inform the Department of Family and Children Services about the possibility that a minor is being abused or neglected.
- I may consult with a colleague about your case without sharing information that identifies you personally. I may also need to provide identifying information about you to colleague if you agree for that person to provide services to you when I am not available.
Policy on Electronic Communication
Electronic email is not a secure medium. Therefore, the privacy of email messages cannot be guaranteed. Don't use email to communicate sensitive information with me if you are concerned about any breaches of privacy that may inadvertently occur. If you initiate email with me you are accepting the inherent risks of this form of communication. I prefer to use a secure email program called Hushmail which is password encrypted. If you receive an email from me via Hushmail you will enter a password that we agree upon ahead of time to grant access only to you.
Your Personal Dignity and Autonomy:
- My unwavering goal is to treat you in a consistently competent, ethical and respectful manner.
- I will respond promptly and courteously to any questions or concerns you have about my approach and methods.
- You are free to decline any advice or suggestions I give and to discuss any available alternative options.
- Your ongoing feedback helps to assure the highest quality counseling experience. I encourage you to provide me with feedback about our relationship at any time, either in person or by completing a quick and anonymous satisfaction survey .
Benefits and Risks of Treatment:
- There are no guarantees that any or all of your problems will be remedied by working with me. You may experience stress, strained relationships, or other difficulties as a result of our work together. At times, therapy requires the sharing of painful feelings and thoughts. You may experience anxiety as you face major life decisions. For couples, there is no guarantee that therapy will ensure the continuation of a relationship (although research has established that therapy improves the odds).
- There are many benefits to therapy that have been established by scientific research as well as by clinical experience. My philosophy is generally optimistic and hopeful. When your agenda is one of healing and problem solving, there is usually always something that has not been tried that will be helpful, even if your prior counseling or therapy experience has been less than fully satisfying or successful.
- Sometimes therapy can generate strong feelings toward the therapist -- angry, fearful, or even sexual feelings. It is my job to help contain these feelings in such a way that you feel safe in the therapeutic relationship. While I may experience strong emotions with you, I will not act on any feelings in any way that could be destructive to your therapy experience.
- You can stop seeing me at any time, with no obligation to me other than to pay for services that have already been provided and to give me adequate notice of a decision to cancel an appointment as discussed above.
- You are free to schedule as infrequently as you like, depending on your particular situation and needs. Except in rare and/or potentially dangerous circumstances, I leave it up to you to contact me to request an appointment. I generally don't call or write to follow up with you unless you have requested this from me. I will no longer consider you an active client if we haven't had contact for more than three months.
- I may make a decision to terminate treatment under rare circumstances, such as if I am not able to provide therapy that fits your specialized needs, if you are not benefitting from our work together, if you don't pay your bill, if you become violent, abusive or litigious, or if the therapy relationship is compromised in any way due to unforeseen circumstances. If I terminate services with you I will provide an appropriate referral for you.
Thank you for reviewing these policies which will help insure that our work together is as meaningful and productive for you as possible. In order to insure the highest quality experience, I encourage all clients to read my article "How To Gain The Most From A Counseling Session" prior to our first meeting.