Can I go to Outreach?
As long as you are between the ages of five and 21 you are eligible to come to Outreach. You are also welcome to bring any family members and/or significant people in your life to include in meetings and sessions. Even parents or caregivers may come on their own to discuss an issue related to parenting. Outreach accepts anyone who is appropriate for outpatient services. If you are unsure if you fall under this category, you are welcome to call and find out. If you need more intensive or specialized services, Outreach will help you find the right type of services for the issues you are dealing with.
What exactly is outpatient counseling?
At some point most individuals or families experience difficulties; they may have trouble adjusting to a new circumstance, or simply may be seeking an opportunity to grow and change. Outpatient counseling is a way to talk about those issues with an experienced counselor who will not judge you. The counselor will work with you to increase your strengths and to develop and improve coping, social, and problem-solving skills. You will work with your counselor on goals that are important to you and goals that will help you to develop a healthy foundation for success in your life and relationships.
How much does it cost?
Outreach does not turn anyone away for their inability to pay. Through various sources of funding, and by holding major fundraisers each year, Outreach is able to make counseling affordable to everyone. For example, Mt. Lebanon residents’ first two sessions are free because Mt. Lebanon Municipality helps fund Outreach. The next eight sessions are just $15 each. After ten sessions the fee is $40. For those residing outside of Mt. Lebanon, the fee starts at just $40 per session. However, subsidized counseling is available using a sliding scale based on an individual’s income. In addition, some counselors at Outreach accept medical insurance and your fee will be based on your plan’s co-pay.
How do I get started?
The best way to get started at Outreach is by calling the office at (412) 561-5405. All calls are confidential. A staff member will ask for some basic information to help determine what services are appropriate for you. Next, a counselor will call you to set a date for the first appointment. After that first phone call it is likely that counseling will begin within a week.
If I have questions, whom do I call?
If you have any questions about the process or about Outreach in general, the best way to get them answered is by calling the office at (412) 561-5405. You can also email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will my parents know that I came? Will they find out what I said in my sessions?
According to the law, if you are age 14 or over you are able to make the decision to get your own mental health treatment. If you are younger than 14, a parent or guardian needs to consent to your treatment. Outreach respects confidentiality. This means that what you say, and even the fact that you are coming to Outreach, stays between you and your counselor. There are some exceptions demanded by law. If a client is considered to be suicidal or homicidal, Outreach must break confidentiality to save that life. Also, if your counselor suspects that a minor has been abused physically or sexually, they are mandated by law to report this. Fortunately, these circumstances are rare. On the whole, what is discussed between you and your counselor will stay private.
How long can I expect to be coming to Outreach?
Counseling is not designed to be a lifelong commitment. Rather, it is a way to work through problems and gain skills to deal with those problems, and others, in the future. The amount of time that you might need to come to Outreach depends on your particular situation. Individual sessions are typically once/week. Sometimes a problem needs more attention, or different attention, than Outreach can give. If needed, you may be referred to someone who can give you the help you need.
What is the commitment?
There is no predetermined length of time for counseling. However, counseling works best when you attend sessions regularly and make a commitment to work on the goals you and your counselor have set. Once you feel you have met your goals for treatment, you and your counselor can discuss a plan to end sessions.
Can I come back?
Sometimes issues that you worked on in counseling will come up again and need fine-tuning, or you could be dealing with a new issue entirely. In either case, you are always welcome to come back to Outreach. If you stopped coming to treatment previously, your counselor will go over what led to that decision and discuss how to make the new phase of treatment more successful. If it is determined
by Outreach staff that our services are not appropriate for your needs, we will provide you with a referral to another agency.
When should I bring my child to Outreach?
If you begin to notice changes in the mood or behavior of your child that are concerning, particularly if it lasts longer than two weeks, a counselor can help to evaluate the situation and let you know if counseling would be beneficial or if those changes are part of a normal phase of development. Sometimes the child will ask to come in for counseling on their own. Please take that request seriously. Even if you do not notice any changes, your child may be dealing with problems that they are not ready to discuss with you. Outreach can also address issues that occur within the family as a whole. If you feel you are not communicating well with your child, the family relationships are not strong, or behaviors at home are not contributing to the well-being of the family, a counselor may be able to help.
What is the difference between a consultation and counseling?
Consultations are used to assist parents in making a plan to address a singular issue with their child, while counseling is more appropriate for longer-term issues or to address patterns in mood or behavior. For example, a parent might request a consultation if their teen refuses to do chemistry homework, their preschooler will not stay in bed, they need guidance in setting appropriate boundaries for dating relationships, they want to know how to talk with their kids about drugs, or if they feel their child is inappropriately using technology. On the other hand, counseling would address a teen’s pattern of defiant behavior, a family who often shouts as a way to handle conflict, a child who is anxious or sad in many different situations and affecting their overall functioning, is experimenting with alcohol/drugs, or indicates any signs of suicide ideation, to mention a few examples.