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Common Questions

Answers for Patients and Their Loved Ones

For your convenience, we've put together a list of commonly asked questions and answers about our treatment process. Whether you're searching for care for yourself or a loved one, we hope this information helps you as you decide on a path towards recovery.

White Sand and Stone

Do I need therapy?

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and there is nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. Therapy is intended for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation through seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges life presents you. Clearing emotional blocks and removing negative influences from your life can help to move your life forward in the direction you have always wanted.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset in managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of everyday life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Improved understanding of yourself and your values

  • Skills for improving relationships

  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other strong emotions

  • Improved listening and communication skills

  • Problem-solving skills and interpersonal relationship skills

  • Overcoming self-esteem issues

  • Changing negative behaviors into positive ones.

What is a pre-session consultation?

This is offered for individuals who are interested in finding out more about counseling but are not yet sure if they are ready to commit to beginning sessions.  It is a one-time meeting between the therapist and client used to explore options nd learn what to expect from counseling.

How do I get started with counseling?

At Compassionate Counseling, we believe in a client-centered approach from the very beginning. This is why when you reach out to find a counselor our intake specialist will meet with you directly to help you find the perfect counselor for your needs. If you would like to speak to us about starting services, please submit our contact form or call us at 412-216-0018.

What will my first appointment look like?

Compassionate Counseling LLC does intake sessions differently than other counseling groups. We start with each client being seen for a screening appointment that allows us to match clients with one of our therapists. We use this short thirty-minute appointment as an opportunity to discuss insurance coverage/ payment options and to complete paperwork. Whether someone uses insurance or not, we want to make sure they understand what their policy coverage is and what affordable payment options we can offer. We also get a good opportunity to orient our new clients on how they will be doing their appointments. If we are meeting in the office, this is a really good opportunity to figure out parking and how to get into our building. If we are meeting virtually, this allows us to make sure our video application is working or to help set it up. We want our clients to come in for sessions and know what to expect, not worry about paperwork, finances, or

where to park or log in.

What is therapy like?

Because each person has different goals for therapy, it will be a different experience for each individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.


Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term for a specific issue or longer-term to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).


Active participation in the process will lead to the best results. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learned in the session back into your life. In sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process. These might include reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, or taking action on your goals. It is often said that the "real work of counseling takes place between sessions." Many people find that they take what was discussed in a session and think deeply about it, contemplating new ideas and directions to take based on the session's content. Personal growth occurs both in session and outside of the session.

What is distance/telehealth counseling?

Distance counseling takes place online or via telephone. When using online services, sessions can take place using video conferencing, IM chat, or email. Compassionate Counseling uses encrypted platforms that align with privacy and confidentiality standards to protect our clients' personal information. 

What is mobile therapy?

The therapist visits the home of the individual who wishes to access counseling services. This form of therapy is used primarily to overcome obstacles that would prevent the individual from accessing services, such as physical mobility, child care, or transportation issues.

Is therapy confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and a psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but in the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement. You can expect that what you discuss in the session will not be shared with anyone. This is called "Informed Consent". Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (i.e., your physician or attorney), but by law, your therapist can not release this information without obtaining your written permission.


However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:

  • Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.

  •  If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.

Do you accept insurance?

Yes, Compassionate Counseling takes most major insurance. These include:

  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

  • Keystone Health Plan West

  • UPMC

  • Highmark Premier Blue Shield

  • Cigna

  • Aetna- out-of-network

  • United Healthcare

  • Optimum

  • Medical Assitance


However, not all coverage plans cover the cost of mental health care. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call the company. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them are:

  • What are my mental health benefits?

  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?

  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?

  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?

  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

If I don't have insurance, can I still see a therapist?

Yes, you can! All of our PC therapists are able to see clients on a self-pay or sliding-scale payment basis. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, we also have free services that are offered by masters-level interns under the supervision of our licensed therapists.

What forms of payment are accepted?

We currently accept the following forms of payment for co-pays or private pay:

  • Personal Check

  • Cash

  • Credit card

  • PayPal

  • Money Order


*For distance counseling, only personal checks or PayPal payments are accepted.

*To obtain your invoice, please contact your therapist to make arrangements.

If you have a question that was not answered here, please reach out to us by phone or through our contact form.

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