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Stronger Together Community Services

FAQ

The general hours of operation at STCS are from 9am to 6pm PST, every Monday through Friday. However, some clinicians have availability that varies from these standards, so please discuss scheduling options with them. Alternative appointment times may also be available on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your current provider or inquire about alternative days/times during the initial intake phone screening for up-to-date schedule information if you anticipate needing ongoing appointments outside of general business hours.

Except for weekend recreation activities, STCS does not generally operate on weekends. However, some clinicians may have availability that operates during the weekend. Please consider contacting your clinicians to discuss inquiries about weekend appointments.

STCS provides services for clients over the age of 18 such as:

  • Individuals
  • Families
  • Service members
  • Veterans
  • Significant others
  • Domestic partners
  • Survivors of domestic violence
  • Survivors of human trafficking
  • And many others


We help these clients with a broad spectrum of concerns that include but are not limited to:

  • Academic problems
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety
  • Complex trauma
  • Complicated bereavement
  • Relationship Counseling (ex. Couples therapy)
  • Depression
  • Disordered Eating/Body Image concerns
  • Emotional eating
  • Family issues
  • Grief/loss
  • Life transition
  • Poor self-esteem/Low sense of self
  • Procrastination/avoidance behaviors/indecision
  • Relationship conflicts (ex. Family, romantic relationships)
  • Stress management
  • Outpatient substance use issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related symptoms
  • Support for caregivers of young children
  • And many others


While each clinician has the necessary skill, competency, and education to treat the aforementioned concerns, some clinicians specialize in treating only one of these areas. It is recommended that you reach out if you need a provider with experience treating your specific area of concern.

We are so sorry to hear that you are currently experiencing such an activating and difficult time right now. Unfortunately, STCS does not provide crisis/emergency services to clients. Should you be experiencing that right now, we strongly encourage you to call 911, go to your nearest hospital, or reach out to any of the following hotlines and emergency services:

Your therapist will be kind, direct, and focus on the blocks in your life that are inhibiting you from living at your maximum potential. We have expertise in working with high-conflict relationship distress, severe depression and anxiety, as well as helping deescalate the ongoing impacts of childhood trauma. Our goal is that you will feel respected, valued, and supported while being challenged and redirected in the areas that pose difficulties in your life.

STCS and its clinicians provide Individual, Relationship, Group, and Family therapy. Each of our clinicians operates under a variety of psychotherapy models and integrative approaches to individualize treatment to client(s) needs and preferences. Some of these include but are not limited to: AEDP, EFT, CBT, CPT, DBT, and EMDR.

For the names of some common therapeutic modalities incorporated by our therapists, as well as more information about them, consider the following information:

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). This helps clients to:

  • Harness their innate resilience and strength
  • Unlock emotions that are blocking them from living at their fullest potential
  • Heal the wounds of past traumatic experiences
  • Change the way you see yourself and others, for the better!


For more information on AEDP, consider visiting the following website: https://aedpinstitute.org/about-aedp/ 

Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing (EMDR). This helps clients to:

  • Integrate memories and past narratives to come to a cohesive understanding of your history. This can help build a stronger future through the 8 stage protocol: History Taking, Preparation, Assessment, Reprocessing, Installation, Body Scan, Closure, and Re-evaluation.
  • Practice rapid eye movements and alternative tapping techniques to work through emotionally charged experiences and disturbing memories
  • Utilize skills to navigate the impact of past distress (including childhood trauma, sexual assault, and physical abuse) and create healthy ways of coping with the challenges in daily life
  • Recover from the lasting impact of traumatic events


For more information on EMDR, consider visiting the following website: https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This helps clients to:

  • Change the way you think, see, and act in the world
  • Recognize what is going on in your mind at the moment
  • Build better habits that are more productive and empowering
  • Improve your thought patterns to help build better mental coping!


For more information on CBT, consider visiting the following website: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). This helps clients to:

  • Gain a new perspective on their thought patterns
  • Modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma
  • Alter their thoughts to alter how they feel
  • Reduce symptoms related to your trauma and improve healing


For more information on CPT, consider visiting the following website: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/cognitive-processing-therapy

DBT

DBT is a treatment modality that is helpful for those who experience extremely intense emotions. DBT supports individuals to identify their negative thinking patterns, adjust problematic coping behaviors, and build emotion regulation skills. Treatment interventions in DBT include:

  • Mindfulness practices
  • Emotions regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness


Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). This helps couples to:

  • Identify healthy and unhealthy patterns in your in their relationship
  • Promote Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement (A.R.E) within relationships
  • Access underlying emotions and make requests so needs can be met
  • Overcome challenges with infidelity, substance use, extended family issues, job stressors, and other commonly distressing issues that partners encounter.
  • Increase overall trust, relationship security, and connection between partners


For more information on EFT, consider visiting the following website: https://iceeft.com/what-is-eft/

Please consider reviewing other common modalities at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/types-of-therapy, and reach out to your provider should you require more information regarding your chosen course of therapy or treatment plan.

While we acknowledge that you want a clear and direct answer, the length of therapy varies. The amount of recommended sessions are dependent on multiple factors, including but not limited to:

  • Client Diagnosis
  • Mental Health Status
  • Modality/treatment approach
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Treatment Plan
  • Therapist style for treatment


If you have any questions regarding your length of treatment, please consider talking with your provider.

No. At this time, STCS does not currently have staff that can write prescriptions for psychotropic medication management services.

However, should you need a prescription to supplement your therapeutic experience, we would be happy to coordinate care via the Release of Information process with your medical provider.

If you are currently searching for local medication service providers, consider reaching out to your primary care doctor and/or visit the following referrals:

Jane Westin Center:

The Jane Westin Center is a crisis home dedicated to serving individuals and families that are experiencing mental health crises and substance abuse-related disorders. They provide psychiatric evaluations and have nurses and medical professionals on staff to provide you prescription medication should it be required. You can find more information about them here: http://www.comresearch.org/serviceDetails.php?id=MTc=

Douglas Young Youth and Family Services:

Similar to the Jane Westin Center, Douglas Young Youth and Family Services is an outpatient facility that provides direct crisis care to youths and their families. This sometimes includes medication management services after the completion of a psychiatric evaluation. You can find more information about them here: http://www.comresearch.org/serviceDetails.php?id=MTE= 

North Central Mental Health Center:

The North Central Family Resource Center helps individuals with financial and medical-related assistance. This can include psychiatric evaluations for prescription medication. You can find more information about them here: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/facilities/north_central/north_central_mental_health_center.html

Should you need additional resources or information, please discuss this with your provider.

At this time, STCS does not currently provide custody evaluations or recommendations. Please do not hesitate to reach out should you need referral options for these services.

The average fee per session ranges between $35 to $85. However, fee agreements are considered on a sliding scale and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Our staff works hard to provide the best services at a reasonable fee, and sliding scale options are determined by several factors, including but not limited to your current:

  • Income
  • Monthly expenses
  • Number of dependents


New clients should notify the intake department and current clients should speak with their current provider if they need financial assistance or a sliding scale fee adjustment. Whether you are an existing client or just now joining us, please consider applying for our in-house scholarships for recreational activities and retreats.

STCS maintains a Tricare copay. If you currently have this mode of coverage, then getting acquainted with us might be an easier process for you. However, if you do not have coverage with Tricare we can still provide you services through cash-pay or Out of Network (OON) servicing. If you receive OON benefits from your insurance coverage, STCS can provide you a superbill with the necessary details for your insurance carrier to reimburse you for the services you paid out of pocket for.

STCS would also like to provide a disclaimer that several providers are currently unlicensed/pre-licensed therapists. This means that these therapists are currently receiving training and supervision as they prepare to become full-fledged licensed therapists. Despite being unlicensed, these providers still provide high-quality and sensitive care to their clients. However, some insurance companies do not provide reimbursement services for treatment from such clinicians.

If you are interested in our services, consider calling your insurance provider before the initial session or intake and asking the following questions:

  • What is my current deductible?
  • Has that deductible been met?
  • Does this include mental/behavioral health insurance benefits?
  • What are my out-of-network provider benefits for this kind of service?
  • Is approval or pre-authorization required to acquire these benefits? If so, how do I get started on that process?
  • What kind of therapy can be covered through my benefits?
  • How much can I be reimbursed for an out-of-network provider?
  • What info is needed to submit for reimbursement (i.e., diagnosis code, service code, provider tax identification, etc.)?
  • What is the expected copay per treatment session for an out-of-network provider?
  • How many sessions per year are covered by my plan?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • Can I be reimbursed for sessions with an unlicensed provider?

STCS operates on a 24-hour cancellation/rescheduling policy. Should you need to cancel or reschedule your session, please notify your provider at least 24-hours in advance of your appointment.  Should an emergency occur after this time frame, please contact your provider ASAP. The possibility of a rescheduled session within the same week cannot be guaranteed due to provider and client availability. However, if this is something you are interested in, please speak with your provider. Clients are assessed a cancellation fee, if they cancel their sessions without 24 hours notice, except in the case of an emergency.

Yes, STCS has options for in-person services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we reserve the right to adjust this policy at any time, for the safety and well-being of both clients and providers.

For the protection and safety of both the provider and clients, STCS requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all parties attending in-person services. Please provide proof of vaccination and your booster to your provider or at intake. Should you believe you may have contracted COVID-19 or are displaying COVID-19 like symptoms before a session, please notify your provider immediately, and they will work with you to continue care via telehealth. Should you have any other questions regarding vaccination, please address these during your intake, your provider, or reference our COVID-19 policy.

While a client can request for more than one session a week, there is no guarantee that this request would be granted. Acceptance would be determined based on the client’s presenting problems and therapeutic goals.

Based on the current research and general outpatient clinical practice, one session a week has been proven to be highly efficacious at treating multiple presenting problems, so maintaining the sessions once weekly is highly encouraged.

Should you need additional support, please feel free to attend one of our support groups, integrative wellness programs, or join us on our weekend activities. You can find more information by visiting our resource page or by viewing the following links:

https://www.strongertogethersd.org/support-groups.html

https://www.strongertogethersd.org/integrative-wellness-healing.html

The initial intake is typically 60-minutes in length for individuals and 75 minutes in length for those in relationships or seeking family therapy. The standard length for sessions following the intake is 50 minutes. This is effective in reducing client symptoms, particularly when paired with weekly sessions. If you are interested in a longer session, you can request it, but we cannot guarantee an acceptance. Please refer to our resource page should you need additional support.

The first session takes place following the intake. The first session looks and operates differently based on the clinician, their modality of choice, and their respective personalities.

As a standard, the therapist will introduce themselves, review service agreements, confirm payment fees, and remind you of their cancellation policies that might have been reviewed with you during the intake. They will also discuss with you their limits of confidentiality, their role as a mandated reporter, and their inability to acknowledge you publicly to maintain your safety and privacy. After addressing any questions or concerns you might have regarding the aforementioned topics, the therapist will then begin the session.

Aside from the formal policies and procedures, sessions are typically warm and nurturing, direct, and impactful as you collaborate with your provider to provide the best form of treatment for your current circumstances.

If you are curious about what a first session looks like for a particular clinician, please consider speaking to them directly.

We acknowledge your right to request for a provider that identifies culturally as you do or that operates with the therapy style that you are looking for. However, these requests are not always possible due to provider availability. Should you be interested in a specific provider patch, please let us know during your intake and we will try our best to accommodate for this, though your therapist match is not guaranteed.

Here at STCS, we do everything that we can to match our clients with clinicians that are sensitive and can best serve their needs. However, we do understand that these matches may include different personalities and that this experience might desire a change in provider.

Should this need arise, we encourage you to talk to your therapist about your feelings and let them know what may or may not be working for you. If this attempt is made but remains unsuccessful, we can help you begin the process of changing providers. We would also appreciate any feedback related to the provider to make future matches as seamless as possible.

Before the start of therapy, each client is asked to sign a confidential disclosure agreement or informed consent with the clinician. This agreement illustrates that by state and federal law, the clinician cannot disclose your private or sensitive information without your written permission or consent. Exceptions to this include court-ordered subpoenas, supervisor consultations, the client disclosing the consumption of child pornography or the abuse of children, elderly, or dependent persons, as well as when the client proves to be a danger to themselves or others. Outside of these exceptions, the therapist will work to maintain the client’s trust by actively listening to their sensitive topics, and maintaining confidentiality regarding them.

As with most growth, there may be an experience of “growing pains” as new insights and habits are beginning to emerge on your healing journey. Healing is a process that requires a commitment to your respective therapies, and sometimes, that can be incredibly hard to do.

It can often feel both helpful and activating to see things from a new perspective, revisiting memories, and challenging current negative beliefs. Sometimes this experience might make you feel negatively in the moment; for example, you may feel increased distress or become dysregulated at times in session when approaching tough topics in your process towards meeting longer-term goals. We want to acknowledge that it is normal to feel this way, and encourage you to let your therapist know if/when it feels things are getting more difficult to manage before they get better so they can provide additional support and resources if necessary.

Regardless of what stage you are in, keep up the courageous work and let your provider know how you feel throughout the process. Only then can you both work collaboratively to help you find comfort and feel better in the long run.

If you have follow-up questions or any concerns that were not addressed in this FAQ, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via phone at (858) 434-8100 or email us at intake@stromgertogethersd.org. We would love to help address any needs that you may have and support you with your courageous act to seek additional support.

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