Sessions take place in my Santa Cruz office or via Skype/FaceTime/Phone. Once you have scheduled an appointment with me you will either come to my office on Mission Street in Santa Cruz (directions) or you will send me an email with your contact information so I know how to connect with you at our appointment time. If you come to my office, I’ll come to the waiting room to meet you at our appointed time. If we’re doing a phone session we will make specific agreements about how that will work.
When you come in for your first session and we are seated in my office I will ask you to sign a form with the policies listed below on it. Please read them ahead of time and let me know if you have any questions.
I. LMFT SCOPE OF PRACTICE
LMFTs may work with individuals, couples, or groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments. The application of marriage and family therapy principles and methods includes, but is not limited to, the use of applied psychotherapeutic techniques and hypnotherapeutic techniques, to enable individuals to mature and grow within their relationships and within themselves.
Confidentiality is strictly held. Only a written release or a court order will enable an exchange of any information regarding treatment to a third party. The occasions under which confidentiality is broken, as required by law, are as follows: a) Child abuse; b) Elder abuse; c) Dependent adult abuse; d) Danger to self; e) Danger to others.
III. RECORDS AND RECORD KEEPING
I take notes during sessions and will also produce other notes and records regarding your treatment. These notes constitute my clinical and business records, which by law, I am required to maintain. Such records are the sole property of the therapist. Should you request a copy of my records, such a request must be made in writing. I reserve the right, under California law, to provide you with a treatment summary in lieu of actual records. I also reserve the right to refuse to produce a copy of the record under certain circumstances. I typically maintain records for seven years following termination of therapy. After seven years, your records will be destroyed in a manner that preserves your confidentiality.
I do my best to return phone calls quickly. However, I cannot guarantee my availability during an emergency. Please understand that as a solo, outpatient practitioner, I am unable to personally provide continuous 24-hour crisis services. In the event of a medical emergency or an emergency involving a threat to your safety or the safety of others, please call 911 to request emergency assistance or go to the nearest emergency room.
Fees will be paid in full at the beginning of each session. You will be given reasonable notice of any fee increases. A $30 service charge will be assessed for checks returned for insufficient funds, in addition to the expectation of an immediate full payment of the regular fee. The fee and service charge must be paid before the next appointment can be scheduled.
VI. CANCELLATIONS & RESCHEDULING
A 48 hour notice by phone is required for cancellations or rescheduling. The full fee is charged for late cancellations and for missed appointments without notice. This policy is necessary because if you miss an appointment without notice or cancel an appointment without informing me at least 48 hours ahead of time, I am unable to utilize that time for another client. It is important to note that insurance plans do not pay for missed appointments and the patient is responsible for full payment.
VII. OTHER FEES
Collateral contacts and court preparation will be charged at my customary hourly rate on the quarter hour. This includes patient phone contact exceeding 10 minutes. Court required time in testimony, deposition, travel, and preparation will be charged at my customary hourly rate and paid prior to the court date. Time spent preparing, copying, and mailing records will also be billed at my hourly rate.
VIII. EMAIL, TEXT, & PHONE COMMUNICATION
I conduct most of my scheduling and other non-session client communications via email, text or phone. Although information stored on my computer and my phone is password-protected, there is always a possibility that a third party may be able to access the information that was sent or received. You are responsible for protecting any communication that you send to me and any communication that you receive from me. By working with me you acknowledge that you understand the risks of email, text, and phone communications, and do hereby give permission for Kristin Nemzer to contact you or to reply to you via email, text, and phone.
IX. RISKS AND BENEFITS OF THERAPY
Psychotherapy is a process in which we will discuss a myriad of issues, events, experiences and memories for the purpose of creating positive change so that you can experience your life more fully. It provides an opportunity to better and more deeply understand oneself, as well as any problems or difficulties you may be experiencing. Psychotherapy is a joint effort. Progress and success may vary depending upon the particular problems or issues being addressed, as well as many other factors.
Participating in therapy may result in a number of benefits to you, including, but not limited to, reduced stress and anxiety, a decrease in negative thoughts and self-sabotaging behaviors, improved interpersonal relationships, increased comfort in social, work, and family settings, increased capacity for intimacy, and increased self-confidence. Such benefits may also require substantial effort on your part, including an active participation in the therapeutic process, honesty, and a willingness to change feelings, thoughts and behaviors. There is no guarantee that therapy will yield any or all of the benefits listed above.
Participating in therapy may also involve some discomfort, including remembering and discussing unpleasant events, feelings and experiences. The process may evoke strong feelings of sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, etc. There may be times in which I will challenge your perceptions and assumptions, and offer different perspectives. The issues presented by you may result in unintended outcomes, including changes in personal relationships. Sometimes a decision that is positive for one family member is viewed quite differently by another. You should be aware that any decision on the status of your personal relationships is your sole responsibility.
During the therapeutic process, many people find that they feel worse before they feel better. This is generally a normal course of events. Personal growth and change may be easy and swift at times, but may also be slow and frustrating. You should discuss with me any concerns you have regarding your progress in therapy. Due to the varying nature and severity of problems and the individuality of each patient, I am unable to predict the length of your therapy or to guarantee a specific outcome or result.