Common Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions about my counseling practice in Orange County, CA

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO THERAPY?

I have a very relational approach to therapy because I can relate to many of the struggles of my clients. I am what is referred to as an “eclectic” therapist where my therapeutic approach incorporates a variety of therapeutic principles and philosophies in order to create the ideal treatment program to meet the specific needs of my client. I love to use humor as a therapeutic tool because laughter really can be “the best medicine” sometimes. I do not believe that “one size fits all”, especially when it comes to therapy. Every person is different and I strive to meet my clients right where they are, using the most effective interventions that fits your current need and personality.

HOW DO I KNOW IF THERAPY IS RIGHT FOR ME?

This is a great question and the answer is different for everyone. To know if you are on the right track, we will talk about what your concerns are and how I feel I could help in our initial consultation and/or intake. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your decisions and I will do my best to ensure that you understand the therapeutic process and the work that it requires so you know if you’re ready. Although I deeply believe that therapy is a positive and effective tool that can benefit every person, I also understand the importance of timing and stepping in to treatment only when you are ready.

HOW LONG IS A TYPICAL SESSION AND HOW MANY SESSIONS WOULD I NEED?

Therapy is most effective and change happens faster the more often you attend sessions. I always recommend that new clients come a minimum of 1x/week because it takes time to identify core struggles and create an effective treatment plan for lasting wellness. After we establish our therapeutic relationship and have some time consistently working on your goals, we can agree to enter into a discussion about extending your sessions to an every other week schedule. As you move closer to achieving your treatment goals, we will begin to discuss concluding regular sessions and entering into “maintenance” therapy where “check-in” sessions are appropriate.

Although I would love to offer a timeframe of how long treatment will last, I hesitate from doing this as everyone’s healing is different and I would not want anyone to feel unconsciously rushed through the process to meet an anticipated deadline only to be met with not being ready and where the question of “what’s wrong with me?” comes into awareness. While working together we will consistently pay attention to where you are in your process and honor wherever that may be with acceptance.

Very often I see clients that believe they feel better after “venting”, and sometimes this even happens during the initial consultation, and although I know exactly how this feels, I can guarantee you that this feeling is fleeting and you’ve only salvaged a few moments of feeling bad (and you can probably do this with your friends for free). I believe that lasting change comes from working hard and getting to the root of the problem. There is no need for labels in my practice, however, it is important for both of us to have a clear understanding of the core symptoms you are experiencing so that treatment can be designed appropriately.

Therapy is an investment in yourself as well as a financial commitment in your future and I would not recommend beginning treatment with the goal of attending sessions less than 1x/week as this will not be effective treatment and will result in a waste of your money.
Give yourself the opportunity to let me use my skills to identify the true nature of your suffering so that you can achieve greater balance, understanding, and healing in your life.

HOW MUCH DOES THERAPY COST?

Therapy is one of the biggest investments you will ever make for yourself.
Currently I charge two different rates depending on the location of your session.
In-office or online sessions are charged at $100 for a 50-minute session.
In-home or Walk & Talk sessions are charged at $125 for a 50-minute session.
If you require or request a longer session, the appropriate fee will be pro-rated for every 15 minutes over the standard 50-minute session.

HOW DO I PAY FOR THERAPY?

I prefer to handle the payment prior to the session starting so when it’s time to leave, you can simply schedule your next appointment and leave. Clients can pay using any MAJOR CREDIT CARD, CASH, or CHECK made payable to: Kristina L. Smith

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?

I currently accept Anthem and Aetna insurance plans that can ONLY be used for In-Office sessions held at Center For New Directions in Laguna Hills. I do not accept insurance for Walk & Talk, Online, or In-Home sessions, or for sessions held at an office outside of CFND. I will provide you with what’s known as a “super bill” that you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement as an out of network provider for these types of sessions.  It is important to know that if you do choose to have insurance pay for counseling, they require your therapist to give you a mental health diagnosis which becomes part of your health record. Although I do not feel there is any shame to having a mental health diagnosis, it is up to you and how your medical records can be used in the future.

I do understand that using insurance is a factor and sometimes a necessity for clients, therefore I am happy to refer you to providers that I may know in your network. Otherwise, your best option would be to contact your insurance provider for a list of therapists in your area.

WHAT ARE THE LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY?

Confidentiality is one of the most important agreements we will make in treatment. It is very important that you feel safe with me and that what you disclose is regarded as sacred. I believe in going above and beyond to provide this to my clients, however, there are a few exceptions to confidentiality that the law requires me to report for the safety of you and others.
These exceptions are 1) disclosing a plan to do harm to yourself. 2) disclosing a plan to do harm to another. 3) disclosing elder abuse. 4) disclosing child abuse.