Alliance Counseling Center

 Phone:262-367-2699  Fax:262-367-3828
 N91 W17194 Appleton Ave.  155 E. Capitol Dr.  2312 N. Grandview Blvd.
 Suite 105  Suite 6A  Suite 103
 Menomonee Falls, WI  53051  Hartland, WI 53029  Waukesha, WI  53188

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a psychologist, substance abuse counselor, social worker, and psychiatrist ? How do I know if someone is qualified to help me?
A: Psychologist generally have extensive training in psychotherapy and psychological testing and have obtained a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who has specialized training in psychiatry. These days, most psychiatrists focus on prescribing medication and medication management, though some do conduct psychotherapy. When selecting a therapist, choose someone who has an advanced graduate degree (masters, doctorate) in the field of mental health. Check to see if the therapist is licensed to practice in your state. Also, ask the therapist if they have expertise in your specific problem area.

Q: Sure sometimes I feel down, coworker has mood swings, parent drinks a lot, etc... But mental health problems really only affect a small number of people. Don’t they?
A: Mental health problems are common. An estimated 1 in 5 (22.1%) adults in the U.S. suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder, according to the National institute of Metal Health (NIMH). In 1998, this translated to 44.3 million people. Individuals who have had recent medical or physical health issues (i.e., traumatic brain injury, heart attack, diabetes, cancer), often experience depression or anxiety. Individuals who have had a recent stressor may develop insomnia, headaches, anxiety, weight loss/gain.

Q: How can therapy help me? If I go to therapy does that mean I’m “crazy?” How will I know when I’m “cured?”
A: Psychotherapy can be helpful in terms of providing you with emotional support during a crisis and helping you examine your feelings, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors to sort out what is working for you and what is not working well for you anymore. Life has become very complicated and complex these days, and many people face serious stressors that affect how they function. Almost all of us have “crazy moments” from time to time but this doesn’t mean that we have to feel embarrassed, ashamed or weak. You’re simply at a point where you need some professional assistance in sorting a matter out. You wouldn’t try to fill your own cavity, do surgery on your knee or remove a brain tumor by yourself—same applies with your emotional and mental health. And finally, you end therapy when you and/or your therapist feel you have gained the maximum benefit. This is may be indicated in a variety of ways—sleeping better, more cheerful/confident/carefree, less anxious/stressed/overwhelmed, closer family relationships, healthy dating/romantic relationships,  etc.

Q: I don’t want to take medication! What can I do?
A: Many of our patients do not take psychotropic (psychiatric) medication. Not all individuals are in need of or benefit from medication. However, some types of problems (such as severe depression, bipolar, psychosis) do require medication to assist the individual in a more rapid recovery and continued stable mood so that they can participate in therapy more fully. Once you begin taking medication, it does not necessarily mean that you must take the medication for the rest of your life. For a majority of individuals, their primary care physician is able to prescribe medications for depression or anxiety (depending on their training) and the patient does not have to enlist the services of a psychiatrist. The decision to take or not take medication is yours—except in some extreme and rare circumstances (e.g., court-ordered).

Q: Will my insurance cover the costs? How much does treatment cost?
A: Fees vary depending on the therapist’s training, mode of therapy, and method of payment. Fees are set by the individual therapist. Most insurance companies recognize our clinicians as “Out of Network” providers and typically reimburse a substantial portion of the cost. Before beginning treatment, you or your therapist can contact your insurance company to obtain information regarding your benefits.

Q: What information does my insurance company receive about me?
A: This varies from insurance company to insurance company. The minimum type of information conveyed is your DSM-IV diagnosis, dates of service and type of service. Other companies ask for treatment plans and/or a checklist of current problems and issues. You can ask your therapist to let you know what type of information will be submitted based on your particular insurance. You should know that having some types of diagnoses (e.g., severe depression, alcohol/drug dependence, bipolar, or some type of psychosis) may affect your ability to obtain or the cost of health insurance at a future date. For this reason, some individuals prefer to pay cash for their therapy services instead of using their health insurance.

Q: I think my husband/wife/brother/sister/friend, etc. needs help, but they refuse to go to therapy. What can I do?
A: That’s always a tough one, but you may decide to seek out education and/or support for yourself. You might also contact a therapist to discuss the usefulness of some type of supportive (vs. confrontational) intervention from family and friends. You may also contact that person’s primary care physician or religious advisor (priest, rabbi, minister) and express your concerns. That service provider may be able to approach the issue with your loved one in a more neutral, less threatening manner.


Copyright Alliance Counseling Center 2004-2006 155 E. Capitol Dr. Suite 6A, Hartland, WI 53029