First Time?

your questions, answered

After I contact a therapist, what can I expect next?

  1. Once you’ve selected a therapist, contact him or her via the therapist’s contact form, or directly using the therapist’s e-mail or phone number.

  2. Provide your name, contact information, a brief introduction as to why you are interested in therapy, and whether or not you desire to use insurance (if so, name your insurance policy).

  3. The therapist will then reach out to you via phone for a brief consultation to hear about your needs and begin to discern if he or she is a good fit.

  4. Availability, payment method and use of insurance will be discussed (this will vary depending on whether the therapist is in your insurance network).

  5. After an intake appointment has been scheduled, you will be provided with the necessary paperwork to complete ahead of your session.

  6. When the time comes for your first appointment, go to either the Compass East or Compass West office location. When you enter the waiting room, you will see a list of counselor names with light switches below — flip the switch corresponding with your counselor’s name to alert your counselor that you have arrived. Then take a seat in our waiting room, and your counselor will be out to greet you shortly.

  7. A typical session lasts approximately 50 minutes. Any payment due is expected at the start of the session. This will vary depending on any insurance arrangements you may have.

  8. After your first session, you typically agree on a direction for future sessions. The frequency of appointments and overall length of therapy will vary according to your needs.


Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an important choice. People come to therapy for different reasons. Some come for help with unexpected changes in life such as divorce, work transition or death of a loved one. Others seek assistance for longer term psychological issues, like anxiety or depression. Sometimes people simply feel the need to take a next step in personal growth and exploration. A trusted relationship with a therapist can provide support, insight and new ideas for navigating life’s challenges. Therapy has helped people better handle many different issues and is recommended for anyone who desires to create a fuller life, gain self-awareness and make positive changes.


How can therapy benefit me?

Research continues to show that psychotherapy is an effective treatment for many mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. A large portion of the beneficial nature of therapy, however, rests on how people invest themselves in the process and practice what is learned there.


What about medication?

Sometimes it is difficult to focus on symptom relief and self-growth when strong symptoms of anxiety or depression are present. For some people, medication can help stabilize and assist their growth in psychotherapy. Medications do not come without potential side effects and risks. Your therapist can provide you with referrals to a qualified health professional.


Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

Many of our therapists are in-network providers with BCBS IL PPO programs. We recommend you contact your insurance company to find out the specifics of your particular policy. 


Is therapy confidential?

All communications between a client and therapist are generally confidential. For information to be disclosed, written permission from the client is required. There are some exceptions however. These include:

  • Intentions of a client to harm him or herself

  • Threats of serious physical harm to another person

  • Abuse, neglect or criminal behavior toward a child, dependent adult or elderly person.

In these cases, the therapist is required to notify the appropriate authorities and take every precaution for safety of the client and others.

Supervision for children during therapy sessions is not provided and we cannot accept responsibility for them. For their safety please make arrangements for childcare as you attend therapy sessions. Parents will be responsible for any damage incurred by their children.