Pella Counseling offers a number of services including individual therapy, premarital therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. We also offer online appointments via teletherapy. Concerns Addressed We treat most mental health conditions including but not limited to depression, bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, acute stress, relationship conflict, grief and loss, ADHD, and personality patterns.
Individual Therapy Therapy sessions last approximately 45-55 minutes. Pursuing therapy can feel overwhelming. You may find it helpful to get an overview of the journey. Here is a summary of each step:
Making your first appointment To make an initial appointment, please call 641-860-4446. We will work to set you up with the therapist that fits your needs or provide a referral. You will also need to identify if you intend to do therapy in person or online. You will be prompted to provide basic contact information and insurance information. If there is appointment availability, we will set up access to a secure client portal in order to review policies, provide insurance and billing information, and to tell us a little more about yourself before your first session.
Arriving to your appointment If you have an in-person appointment, we encourage you to arrive a few minutes early. We are an intentionally small practice with a quiet waiting room, and it is our desire to make your experience, from the moment you walk into our waiting room to the moment you leave our offices, comfortable, soothing, and confidential. Your therapist will come out and greet you at your appointment time.
Upon scheduling a telehealth appointment, you will receive a confirmation email with a link that will take you to the teletherapy session. You may have to download the Simple Practice Telehealth app and allow access to your microphone and camera. You do not need to create an account or login to the app as the link will take you directly to your session. You will also receive a confirmation email 10 minutes before your appointment.
The appointment itself The therapists in our practice have their own offices furnished for your comfort with a chair and small couch. We will offer you a beverage. At the outset of the session, we will briefly refer to and review the policies and intake paperwork you filled out prior to the appointment and invite you to ask any questions you may have. This paperwork review is meant to be brief so that the rest of the time can be devoted to listening as you describe what is bringing you to Pella Counseling. We may ask follow-up questions or invite you to share more background about your current experience. We know that we cannot possibly cover everything in one visit, but our intent for the first session is to hear what is most important to you at this time, to begin to map out some goals, and to facilitate a sense of hope for how things can improve.
Follow-up sessions People often want to know how frequently they can expect to meet for therapy. At the beginning, we recommend that sessions occur weekly or every-other-week depending on a number of factors including what you are coming in to address and availability. Our first few sessions will be devoted to getting to know you and collaborating on a plan to help you meet your therapy goals. Over time, we will dig more deeply into the areas you want to address and provide skills and tools related to those areas. We may ask a question to follow-up on something discussed in a previous session, but we know that a lot can happen between one session and the next. We invite you to let us know what is most important to you for us to discuss or work on in any given session.
It is normal to come to some sessions with many things to talk about and to other sessions feeling uncertain about what to say. We want you to know that, in therapy, all things can be made useful. When in a crisis or when a lot has happened that you want to talk about, there is opportunity to gain or practice certain skills to manage what is pressing. But the quieter weeks are often opportunities for going deeper and reflecting in meaningful ways. Again, in therapy, everything… silence, tears, a-ha moments, feeling that you are “all over the place” with what you are talking about, or spilling over with things to discuss . . . everything is “grist for the mill.”
Reducing the frequency of sessions and concluding therapy Understandably, people often ask how long they will be in therapy. The length of therapy will depend on what you are working on and the goals that we set together. Our ultimate goal is for you to take with you both the skills that you practiced as well as the therapy relationship itself so that you might draw from the experience long after our therapy is over. Your therapist develops a treatment plan which provides a clear framework for assessing if progress is being made toward your therapy goals. We have often found that both the client and the therapist sense when goals are beginning to be met and the frequency of sessions can be reduced. Eventually, that same sense helps you and your therapist decide that therapy is no longer needed or is needed only in a “maintenance” sort of way. Should you sense a need to return to therapy, please know that you are welcome to reach back out at any time.
Referrals At times, we may recommend that you pursue other services that may complement the work you are doing in therapy. Some such referrals might be consulting with a psychiatrist to discuss the possibility of medication, meeting with a nutritionist, visiting your primary care doctor to assess if a medical issue is impacting your mental health, consulting with a sleep specialist, attending a support group, or meeting with another mental health clinician with specialized training. In such cases, we will provide names or places that we recommend and will do everything we can to coordinate with those providers if that is your desire. A Release of Information form must be signed in order for us to coordinate with other providers and can be found in the client portal. Pursuing any referral recommendations is at your discretion, and we cannot give or accept compensation to or from other providers for such referrals.
Premarital, Couples, or Family Therapy The process of initiating premarital, couples, or family therapy is similar to that of individual therapy.
Premarital Therapy Preparing for marriage is exciting, but, at its best, it is more than choosing what to wear and who to invite to the wedding. Premarital therapy is an important investment in the future of a marriage. We offer a structured but flexible approach to premarital therapy. While we cover specific topics, we also often make use of the PREPARE/ENRICH measure which is "a customized relationship assessment that identifies a couple's strength and growth areas, allowing therapy to focus on the areas that are crucial for growth within their unique relationship." While insurance does not typically cover premarital therapy, we will talk with you about a reasonable fee structure.
Couples Therapy The goal of the first sessions of couples counseling is to hear the story of your relationship and what is bringing you into couples therapy. Sometimes hearing the story of your relationship also involves learning about your own family of origin, how you met each other, and what originally drew you together. While some of the background information may initially seem unrelated to the current difficulties you may be facing in the relationship, it often forms the foundation for how people manage conflict, communicate, experience relationship safety, and feel connected vs. disconnected. As your sessions progress, you will begin to address the root of relationship difficulties. People often express hope that improving communication or resolving a specific topic of conflict will solve the relationship challenges. While communication and problem-solving are important in relationships and skills for doing so can be learned in therapy, more often than not the relationship issues reside even deeper - at the level of attachment, connection, and feeling valued and respected. All of these are areas that can be worked on in couples counseling.
Family Therapy Family therapy provides an opportunity for clients to address relationship challenges that are occurring within the family. Family therapy looks different depending upon the presenting concerns. Sometimes a whole family unit will attend therapy while, in other situations, specific members of a family may come together to work on relationship concerns.
Group Therapy Dr. Fikkert facilitates groups as the need for group therapy arises in the community. Most recently, Dr. Fikkert has facilitated a group for adolescents using Emotional Efficacy Therapy which follows a brief group therapy model aimed at helping teens learn how to manage intense emotions, decrease avoidance and reactivity, and make choices that are in line with their goals and values. As groups are offered, the website will be updated with information.
Teletherapy Telehealth sessions are currently available should you desire to meet with your therapist in this way. When you make an appointment through the portal, you have the option to choose whether you would like to meet in person or via telehealth. If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, we ask that you reschedule your in-person visit or switch your appointment to telehealth. If you choose to meet via telehealth, a link to the session will be provided in your appointment reminder email as well as in an email that will arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment. If you are using a computer for the session, you will not need to download any software in order to open the email link. If you are using a mobile device, you will need to download the free mobile app which can be downloaded in your app store by searching “Telehealth by Simple Practice” (for IOS and Android).
Fees, Insurance, and Payment Session fees typically range from $150 to $215 depending on the service provided. We are in-network with:
Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield
United Behavioral Health/United Health
If you have any of these insurances, we will handle the billing for you, and your therapy will be covered according to your in-network benefits. If you have a different insurance provider, we ask that you pay at each meeting, and your therapist will give you a form to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement according to your out-of-network benefits. A limited number of reduced fee spots are also available. Payment for all fees, copays, or co-insurance are due at the time of service. Pella Counseling therapists are not Medicaid or Medicare providers.
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