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Archive for the ‘F.A.Q.’s’ Category

What Do You Need to Know Before You Marry Again?

Monday, February 25th, 2013

StickFIgureFamilyA frequently observed pattern is for those who remarry to repeat the mistakes from their previous failed marriage.  Second marriages are even more likely to fail than first marriages.  This occurs far too often, yet there are things that can be done to prevent it.

It is extremely important to gain some understanding and insight into what we may have contributed to the failure of our earlier marriage(s).  It is never so simple as to have been entirely the blame of our first spouse that a previous marriage ended.  If we do not have understanding and insight, we cannot take the necessary responsibility in order to correct past mistakes, and therefore, not repeat the same mistakes.

Marriages end due to many factors, including rushing into a marriage without an adequate courtship period to get to know the person we are marrying, not knowing our partner’s history and character, rushing into sexual intimacy, failing to be prepared for the demands of marriage, not being financially secure, failing to manage anger and other emotions, not knowing how to communicate well or resolve conflicts, just to mention a few.

Counseling is an important experience in getting help understanding how a past marriage failed.  It can make the difference between a failed or successful second marriage.  Pre-marriage counseling is also a very important experience, to insure that future relationships are on track to becoming a successful marriage.  Premarriage counseling should begin as soon as possible after the first talk of a life together for the future.

The Bible speaks of the importance of the “safety in a multitude of counselors,” (Proverbs 11:14), and that we should walk in wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 19:20).”  Making important decisions on our own without counsel increases the odds of our making an error in judgment.

Dale Doty, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Dale Doty, Ph.D.

FAQ Will my Counselor Pray with Me?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Yes.  If that is what you want.  Some clients prefer that our counselors do not pray with them. Part of the process of therapy is for the counselor to assess each client in order to determine what the problems are and how best to help them. It is during this assessment—which can last more than one session—that the question of prayer is addressed.

FAQ Do I Have to Read the Bible if I Attend?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


Therapists use a number of resources, in finding help for their clients.  As Christian therapists, those resources include many things that are faith specific.  One of those tools is the Bible. We consider the clients preferences when determining what tools to use.  If a client expects and desires Bible reading to be a significant portion of their work then we will certainly consider that.  If a client is uncomfortable of that focus, then we can utilize other tools.

FAQ Why Does my Kid Cut (him/herself)?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Cutting often signifies intense emotional pain. Teens sometimes cut to distract themselves from it.  A list of negative feelings may be associated with cutting and includes feelings of hopelessness, abandonment, threat, fear, isolation, guilt, abnormality, overwhelmed, self-hatred, trapped, ignored and confused.

Cutting represents more than just trying to deal with negative feelings, it may signify a need for greater help.

FAQ Who Can Come to Counseling Sessions?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

At Christian Family Institute, we work with people in a variety of contexts.  We see many individual clients.  We also work with couples, families, children, adolescents, partners, business associates, pastors and staff, and many combinations of relationship dynamics.   For marital therapy, we prefer to see both partners together when possible.  If a family has a concern, we like to see the family together.  When you begin working with one of our counselors, bring whoever is willing to attend and who you believe is concerned about the issue, and your therapist will let you know who else might be invited to be a part of the solution.

FAQ Can You Fix My Marriage?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

We will work with you and your spouse to improve communication, teach you conflict resolution and discover how to meet each others’ needs adequately.  Even if a marriage doesn’t need to be “fixed”, it can be improved and become more fulfilling if the couple is willing to work towards positive change together.



FAQ Can You Help a Two Year Old?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Two year old children do occasionally need professional services. When parents have concerns for the welfare of their young children, professionals trained to deal with children can assist parents with an objective assessment. We also work with parents to help them with parenting plans and teach parents how to deal with the stressors that might be affecting the child. For young children, play therapy can sometimes be helpful and is available.

What does “Out-of-Network” Mean?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

One of the most asked questions we hear is “Do you take my insurance?”. We love it when the answer is a clear-cut “yes” or “no”. Unfortunately, we find ourselves frequently saying “it depends”. It depends not only on your insurance company, but on which of the dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of policy’s your insurance company offers that you might have. Just because you have XYZ insurance doesn’t mean we know which particular policy XYZ offers that you have.

For some policies we are “in-network”; for others we are “out-of network” but can still work with you and your insurance. For still others, we are out-of-network but cannot work with your insurance.

In-Network. This means that we have a contract with your insurance company. Our contract with the insurance company may spell out what we can charge, how many session we can provide, or how often we have to report back to the company on the progress being made in treatment. Some contracts are with Christian Family Institute as a group and others are with individual therapists. The therapist you originally requested may not be in-network but one of our other clinicians is; in other words, one of our therapists is likely to be able to work with you and your insurance.

The sad truth is that insurance companies are requiring more and more from therapists while paying less. Also, it appears that insurance companies have a preference for contracting with large hospital-based networks: they can do one-stop-shopping as they negotiate fees for surgery, oncology, pediatrics, etc. as well as mental health. This may mean that some companies prefer not to contract with individual providers or small groups. For these reasons we are constantly re-evaluating our insurance contracts.

Out-of-Network. This means that we are not contracted with your insurance company. Some policies will reimburse you for counseling services that are provided by a clinician who is not under contract with them. Usually you will be reimbursed at a somewhat lower rate than if you had seen someone in-network. Other policies (usually HMO’s) will not reimburse anything to you if you see an out-of-network clinician.

It is important to remember that out-of-network means we have NOTHING to do with your insurance, co-pays, or deductible. This is YOUR insurance: you are the one with a contract with the insurance company, not CFI. We may, if you request it, offer to submit claims on your behalf. We do this as a courtesy and convenience for some of our clients. It does not mean that we are offering to act as if we were in-network; it is merely a free service we offer so your counseling experience will be as simple and hassle-free as possible.

The trend among counselors is away from offering a convenience filing: more and more mental health professionals are giving clients a “super-bill” (an insurance friendly receipt) and leaving the client to navigate the insurance-billing waters completely on their own. So far, CFI has been able to resist this trend and continues to offer our clients assistance in billing their insurance.

Why see an Out-of-Network Clinician?

1. Because we are not a large hospital-based conglomerate; we are not a bureaucracy and we don’t act like one. Each therapist has the freedom to negotiate directly with clients regarding fees, number of sessions, and payment plans. There are no layers of bureaucratic approval to get in the way of the counselor-client relationship.

2. The name Christian Family Institute conveys our world-view and our approach to treatment. Our statement of faith is published for the whole world to see. Respect for your faith may be worth paying a little extra, if necessary, to ensure a counseling philosophy that is compatible with – and not hostile to – people of faith.

3. We always keep the family in mind even if only one person is present in the counseling session. Marriage and family therapy is a speciality that not all therapists have training in. Yes, we see individuals for a variety of reasons; all of our counselors are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health issues. Our therapists are also skilled at working with marriage, parenting, and family issues as well. People trained in individual therapy can actually do marriages and families more harm than good when they act outside their training.

4. The word “Institute” speaks to CFI’s commitment to training and education. CFI clinicians have served on state licensing boards, professional associations, and as university professors training the next generation of therapists. We are committed to offering continuing education to the mental health community. We are, in other words, experienced professionals who take pride in our craft. The staff of Christian Family Institute have many years of experience as leaders of their profession. Remaining on the cutting edge translates into the best possible clinical experience for clients.

“But my insurance company says… something different than what CFI has told me.” We only pass on whatever information your insurance company has told us. It is not us giving you a different answer; it is your insurance company telling us one thing and you another. Over the years we have discovered that it is possible to get an answer from an insurance company (“how much will you pay for out-of-network services?”), hang up the phone, immediately call the insurance company back, and get a completely different answer on the second phone call. Sometimes this may have to do with the fact that your insurance company has hundreds of similar policies and the clerk on the phone simply looked at the wrong policy. Other times, it may be that you called one phone number, while we called a different number for the same company: it appears that some insurance companies are so large the left hand simply doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Remember: if we are out-of-network then we have NOTHING to do with your insurance (other than doing you a favor and submitting a claim for you). If your insurance company isn’t paying on a claim, then let us know and we will do all we can to help you straighten out your insurance. But in the final analysis, you are the one with a contract with the insurance company, not us. Therefore, the final responsibility for seeing that your bill is paid rests on you.

FAQ: Does My Ex Have to Know the Kids are Coming to Counseling?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

There are a few issues involved in this question:

  1. To answer this, we must determine what the provisions are of the divorce decree.  This document spells out parents’ rights.  In joint custody, both parents have equal rights to information about treatment of their child.  The divorce decree may spell out who must be notified or give consent for any medical treatment of the child.  Counseling falls in this category.
  2. In general, treating a child without the knowledge of the ex puts the child in the uncomfortable position of having to keep a secret from one of their parents.  This burden is often counter-productive to the child’s welfare.
  3. Often this question is asked in high-conflict divorce situations.  These types of divorces include harmful stressors for children.  The counselor may first need to address the continued “high-conflict” condition, starting with one willing parent.  Counseling can help a parent find ways of reducing the level of conflict as a way of protecting the child from further harm.  Once emotional safety for the child is established and the child is out of the middle of the conflict, counseling can begin for the child.

In some cases, courts may have given full custody to one parent, or limited the rights of the non-custodial parent.  In these cases it may be acceptable to see the child without the other parent knowing or being entitled to any information.

FAQ: Do You Offer Services to People of Other (or non-religious) Faiths?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

When Christian Family Institute chose it’s name, it was not intended to exclude those who are not Christians.  The name was chosen to inform clients of a number of things.  For those who are Christians, it serves to let them know that their faith will be respected, encouraged and harnessed as a resource in helping them solve their issues. For those who are not Christians, it serves as a way of being honest about what our worldview is.  We believe that is difficult to be value-neutral in the therapy office. That does not mean it is appropriate to impose our values on our clients.  In fact that would be unethical and even unchristian.  However to deny our worldview would be deceptive.

If a non-Christian comes to CFI, they have a general idea of what we believe. Early in the process we will usually discuss the role faith plays in a client’s life.  Part of that discussion will help the therapist and client determine if and how faith elements will be handled.  Sometimes even Christians don’t want much faith talk in their therapy sessions for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps they are in a spiritual crisis or they have grown tired of simplistic faith talk and have been turned off by it.

We have seen clients from all faith perspectives.  That includes a wide variety of Christian faiths, other faiths, and those with atheistic and agnostic viewpoints. Part of our motivation to be helpers is rooted in our faith, however, that does not mean we will force our faith on our clients. We will respect our client’s desire about the role of faith in therapy.