Policies & Fees
How do I begin?
You may contact Empathi directly at (415) 967-3447 or by scheduling a free consult.
Empathi holds client care to the highest standard so, when contacting us, you can expect to hear back from us within 48 business hours. Should the unlikely event happen that you do not hear from us by then, please accept our sincerest apologies and do not hesitate to reach out to us again.
Empathi respects and safeguards your privacy and will never disclose your contact information to anyone outside of Empathi. By using this contact link, you acknowledge that the contents of this form will be transmitted to Empathi and understand that you should not use it to provide any protected health information. Note that Empathi is a United States based company, and that any information entered on this form may be stored on servers in the United States. Further, electronic communication can be intercepted, misdirected, or delayed and thus confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, or or feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important you get help now.
For emergency assistance:
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Call your local law enforcement agency (911).
- Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (988).
When do I meet with my counselor?
Clients will work directly with their counselor to coordinate schedules and set appointment days/times. During intake, your counselor will also ensure you are set up to receive appointment reminders via text and/or email.
Where will I meet with my counselor?
All Empathi counseling is provided via telehealth by a counselor who is licensed in your state.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth, otherwise known as virtual or online counseling, has become an increasingly popular choice for many clients.
Telehealth refers to the use of technology to deliver mental health services remotely. It allows people who need support to connect with their counselor from the privacy of their homes via smartphones, tablets, and computers.
What are the benefits of online counseling?
There are many benefits and some risks associated with Telehealth that Empathi would like to share with you.
1. CONVENIENT APPOINTMENTS
No more squeezing in a session in an already jam-packed day, scrambling to a brick and mortar office, wasting time within a commute, or factoring in the rising costs of gas.
We take the care and dedication to ensure your confidentiality is protected. All telehealth sessions are offered on a HIPAA secure and confidential platform.
You can login from anywhere in the state your counselor is licensed in. This can be especially helpful whether you live in a rural area where providers may not be readily available or if you live in a major city where providers may be fully booked. You can even log in when wearing your comfy pajamas or yoga pants.
4. GETTING TO THE HEART OF THINGS
Clients who attend online counseling often report that they feel a greater sense of anonymity and connection with their provider and thus are more motivated to get to the heart of what is causing discomfort or stress within their life.
Unlike when you attend face-to-face sessions, you do not have to cancel an important session due to a case of the sniffles.
Online counseling can allow you to overcome barriers that may have otherwise been present with seeking counseling.
What are the disadvantages of telehealth?
While the benefits of online counseling usually outweigh the disadvantages, there are some important things to consider. To mitigate any concerns, Empathi offers a free pre-intake call to determine if online counseling is right for you.
Online counseling may place the counselor and client at a great distance geographically, so it may be difficult to respond quickly and effectively should a crisis arise. In example, if you are experiencing active suicidal thoughts and/or if you are suffering a personal tragedy, it can be difficult for your counselor to provider immediate assistance.
Mitigation: You can work with your counselor to identify support and resources within your local area.
2. SEVERE CONDITIONS
Online counseling is not appropriate for clients with severe psychiatric conditions that require a higher level of care.
Mitigation: If Empathi cannot meet your needs, we may be able to direct you to a provider who can.
Online counseling may not be a good fit for you if you are not comfortable with technology.
Mitigation: You can work with your counselor to test the waters and determine if online counseling may be a good fit for you.
4. NETWORK CONNECTION
If you do not have a reliable internet connection, you may get frequently disconnected.
Mitigation: If you can stream a movie, your speed should be strong enough to maintain connection. Your counselor will also review a backup plan should a technology challenge occur.
If you do not have a private space where no one is able to eavesdrop or overhear sensitive content, online counseling may not be for you.
Mitigation: Clients are often able to get creative with finding a private space to overcome this barrier. For example, finding a private place (e.g., meeting from your parked car) to prevent interruptions. You may also want to use a fan or sound machine outside a room for added privacy. Your counselor may be able to offer additional creative solutions to best alleviate this concern and secure privacy.
There may be an initial concern with, “How will I connect with my counselor if we are online?”
Mitigation: This concern is often alleviated once a rhythm is established. Clients often report they feel like they are in the same room as their counselor while in session. Consistent, open, and honest communication with your counselor is encouraged. Your counselor may be able to further mitigate your concerns by showing you tips and tricks to feeling a greater connection (e.g., how to position your camera to feel the connection).
What are the Session Fees?
Session fees are set with each individual counselor and based on a variety of factors. Sessions range from $150 to $500+. Empathi believes in fee transparency and, therefore, your counselor will discuss their individual fee within the initial contact and provide a Good Faith Estimate before services begin.
Empathi is a fee-for-service provider (aka self-pay). Payment is due at the time of service. We are not able to accept payment in a year long supply of strawberry rhubarb pie (as good as it is), so that option is off the table. Empathi is also able to offer a Superbill for clients who wish to seek reimbursement from their healthcare insurance as an out-of-network provider.
What if I Cannot Afford the Session Fee?
Do not hesitate to reach out to us. We believe in making counseling affordable for everyone whenever possible. If we are able to provide reduced fees for services we will. You will be required to fill out a Reduced Fee Request form to determine eligibility (re-application occurs every 90 days to determine ongoing eligibility).
What Payment Methods Does Empathi Accept?
Empathi accepts all major credit cards. Your counselor will request your credit card information upon the initiation of counseling (within intake forms). Towards convenience, this form provides ongoing authorization for Empathi to securely store and charge your card upon each session thus reducing the need to pull out your card each session.
Do You Accept Health Insurance?
Empathi’s counseling services are private pay (out-of-pocket) and provided by out-of-network therapists.
Depending on your health insurance plan, you may be able to submit claims for reimbursement using a Superbill we provide. Contact your health insurance provider directly to determine coverage and verify out-of-network benefits.
How Long Do Sessions Last?
Empathi’s goal is, we imagine, the same as yours–to get to a place where you no longer need our services as soon as possible! Each person will have various goals and challenges that are defined within counseling; therefore, counseling may look different for each individual. At the beginning of counseling, you can expect to meet with your counselor at least once per week for a duration of up to 60 minutes each session. As treatment progresses, session frequency may decrease (or increase if additional treatment is necessary).
What is Empathi’s Cancelation Policy?
Active attendance in counseling will produce the best possible results. If you need to cancel or reschedule your session, you are required to provide at least 48 hours advance notice. Otherwise, you will be charged for the full session. This is because Empathi’s counselor have set this session time block on hold just for you and often invest a substantial amount of time and energy into the time leading up to your session. By canceling and/or rescheduling in the time parameter above, this also allows for the counselor to open the session time to another client who may be waiting for an open block of time in the counselor schedule. If you need to cancel and/or reschedule, please contact your counselor directly to coordinate and give at least 48 hours notice.
Is What I Say in Therapy Confidential?
Legal and ethical responsibilities require that private sessions remain confidential. Therefore, no identifying information will be released without your written consent and/or court order. There are exceptions in which the counselor is legally entitled or even obligated to release the client’s information without the client’s authorization such as if you endanger yourself or others and/or in the case of mandated reporter requirements within child, dependent, and/or elder adult neglect and/or abuse. Further, should you choose to receive a Superbill and submit it to your insurance company for your treatment, insurance companies may request minimally necessary information in order for you to gain reimbursement for your counseling services (e.g., diagnosis, as applicable, progress notes, treatment dates, treatment plan/ goals, and progress in treatment).
How do I Request my Records?
Your counselor will keep records about your work together that may be requested by you. This may include notes on sessions, meetings, phone calls, and other communication with or about you. Unless the counselor feels the release of these records would be significantly harmful to you, you may be able to request access to these records directly from your counselor with a written request.
Please note records requests could take up to 15 business days and your counselor may bill you a pro-rated session fee for the time that it takes to compile your records and/or provide a treatment summary.
What if there is an Emergency?
In the event of an emergency or crisis, including a life-threatening emergency, go to your nearest emergency room, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, and/or call your local law enforcement agency (911).
Your counselor is often in session during working hours and not available outside of working hours. If it is likely you may need crisis support, please discuss this with your counselor so that an appropriate level of care may be established. Client’s deserve the level of support that matches their needs. Outside of this, you may contact your counselor and leave a message indicating the nature of the situation and they will return your call as soon as reasonably possible (usually within 24 to 48 hours with the exception of major holidays and vacation time in which the counselor will usually respond within 24 to 48 business hours after they return).
Further, upon the initiation of counseling, your counselor will request an emergency point of contact and their information from you. This information will not be used except in the event of danger to self and/or others.
What if I want my Therapist to Come to Court?
1. LITIGATION LIMITATION
Due to the nature of the therapeutic process and the fact that it is often involves making a full disclosure with regard to many matters that may be of a confidential nature, it is agreed that, unless an alternative agreement is made at the onset of treatment, should there be a legal proceeding (e.g., divorce disputes, custody disputes, injuries, lawsuits), neither the client, or the client’s attorney, or anyone else acting on the client’s behalf, will call the counselor to testify in court or at any other proceeding, nor will a disclosure of the psychotherapy records be requested.
With this, should the client be or become involved in a legal proceeding that requires the counselor’s participation (e.g., an order from a judge to appear), the client will be expected to pay for all professional time—even if the counselor testifies for another party. Due to the labor intensity of legal involvement, counselors charge a non-refundable fee equivalent to the cost of 8 sessions per day of court attendance for preparation, travel, driving time, and attendance at any legal proceeding. This is because, often, counselors must take time away from the office and other clients to attend court.
Additional fees may include, but are not limited to, car rental, hotel accommodations, parking, food and beverage costs. All fees must be received by cashier’s check or credit card 14 days prior to the court date. Should the court calendar the hearing for another date, it is agreed, my counselor must be re-issued a Court Order with the new Court Hearing Information in order to appear. It is noted that should a separate Court Hearing occur, this may result in additional fees from my counselor to the client. Should your counselor be on vacation, the party initiating the Court Order must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on your counselor subject to a Subpoena. Please take note of your agreement to avoid involving your counselor in any legal proceeding.
2. MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION
All disputes arising out of or in relation to this agreement to provide psychotherapy shall first be referred to mediation, before and as a precondition of, the initial arbitration. The mediator shall be a neutral third party, which is chosen by agreement between the counselor and client. The cost of such mediation, if any, shall reside with the client without the pursuit of monetary recovery from or against the counselor.