What is Therapy?
“Psychotherapy” or just “therapy” refers to “talk” therapy that focuses on helping people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives through changing behaviors, thought processes, emotions, and ways of interacting with others. Therapy can be helpful to address particular symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, eating habits), or for concerns related to important relationships, difficult or oppressive circumstances, life transitions, traumatic events, or losses. Therapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between you and the psychologist. A psychologist provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral, and nonjudgmental. In psychotherapy, psychologists apply research-based techniques to help people develop more effective habits. The treatment Dr. Leavell provides is individualized according to your goals and her assessment of your situation. In Dr. Leavell’s practice, outpatient therapy in her office is the sole type of treatment provided, which means that she agrees to work with clients whom she believes can benefit from weekly or bi-weekly sessions. As treatment progresses, it is common to schedule sessions less frequently.
Therapy often leads to: 1) significant reduction in symptoms and feelings of distress; 2) increased skills for managing stress; 3) greater self-awareness, self-acceptance, and insight; 4) improved functioning at home, work, and/or in relationships; and 5) greater enjoyment and appreciation for life, overall. In addition to the gains and positive outcomes that are associated with therapy, some risks and side-effects are possible. Addressing issues and concerns during session may cause: 1) uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness, because the process of psychotherapy often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life; 2) especially in the beginning, you may find that the energy it takes to focus on treatment may make it harder to concentrate on other things as much as you would like or prefer; 3) emotions may feel more “raw” or at the surface, and maybe more difficult to contain at times; 4) you may see things in a new or different way, and this may be confusing for a period of time; and 5) relationships may be impacted as you make changes or examine interpersonal issues.
To get the best experience out of therapy, a very active effort is required on your part. In order for treatment to be the most successful, you will have to work on things we discuss outside of sessions.
Therapy is completely confidential in most all cases. State and federal laws are in place to protect the identity of clients (you!) in treatment and the information they share with their psychologist. In the vast majority of situations, Dr. Leavell can only release information about your treatment to others when you provide written authorization for her to do so (e.g., to your psychiatrist or primary care physician). However, there are some exceptions as indicated below, in which Texas law permits or requires Dr. Leavell to release information even without a client’s verbal or written consent. Very specifically, these situations include:
- Cases where a therapist has reason to believe that a person may be in imminent danger of harming her/himself or others;
- Situations in which a therapist knows or suspects that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is in danger of being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused;
- Instances in which a therapist knows or suspects sexual exploitation from a previous or current therapist/mental health care provider;
- The event of a court subpoena signed by a judge;
- Paperwork required by your medical insurance (e.g., reimbursement forms).
Outside of these rare circumstances, Dr. Leavell assures you that she takes confidentiality very seriously and operates her practice as discretely as possible. For example, if you call and leave a voice mail requesting that Dr. Leavell call you back, she will leave the following message as needed: “This is Kari Leavell returning your call; please call me back when you can. (979) 324-1925.” Additionally, in the rare or unexpected occasion in which your path crosses outside of Dr. Leavell’s office, her general practice is not to acknowledge or speak with clients unless they approach or speak to her first, in order to protect confidentiality.
Following a free initial phone consultation, Dr. Leavell conducts an initial session called an “intake,” which can last up to 90 minutes to allow for thorough exploration and assessment of your concerns. The rate for the intake is $170. Subsequent sessions are considered “regular” sessions, which last approximately 50-55 minutes at a rate of $150. Early in therapy (approximately first or second session), Dr. Leavell will collaboratively discuss your plan for treatment and how many sessions to plan for, and this can be adjusted based on progress toward your treatment goals. Prior to the initial appointment (a.k.a. the intake), Dr. Leavell will email an invoice through Square which requires payment online to confirm the first appointment. In the first session, you and Dr. Leavell will sign an authorization form which will allow Dr. Leavell to charge your credit card after each session or for no-showed appointments (see additional information below regarding no-showed or cancelled appointments). You can certainly discuss any need or preference for alternative payment arrangements as needs arise.
At this time, Dr. Leavell accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plans, Aetna PPO plans, Tricare South, and Scott & White insurance. For other insurance carriers, you will be responsible for session fees and Dr. Leavell can provide documentation that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement upon your request. Please understand that you are responsible for any fees not covered by insurance. Any insurance quotes provided are an estimate based on information available through the insurance company; these quotes are not a guarantee of coverage or payment. You are strongly encouraged to speak with your insurance company to fully understand your benefits as they apply to mental health services.
Cancellations and Rescheduling
Please provide 24-hours notice if you must cancel a session, in order to avoid being charged for the missed appointment. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please email Dr. Leavell (Kari@DrKariLeavell.com) or leave a message on her confidential voice mail at (817) 329-5041. If you miss a session without canceling (a.k.a., no-show) it is her policy to collect the full amount of the session ($150), which is not billable to insurance. If you cancel with less than 24-hours notice, a cancellation fee of $75 will be billed to the card on file. Please understand that this is out of respect for both yours and Dr. Leavell’s time and serves to continue reserving your appointment time, as well as to hold Dr. Leavell and her clients accountable to their goals.
Dr. Kari Leavell does not identify as a crisis or emergency therapist, and her hours of availability are limited and by appointment only. If you are experiencing an urgent situation, but not an emergency, and would like to speak with her sooner than your next scheduled appointment, please leave a detailed message on her voice mail (817-329-5041) and she will get back with you as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening or mental health emergency, you should call 911 or go immediately to your nearest emergency room, preferably driven and escorted by a family member or friend. Other emergency resources are:
- Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas: 214-828-1000
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)