Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing someone to support you is an important decision.
To help you decide if you would like to work with a counselor at Evergreen, we’ve included some of our answers to the most common questions we receive.
What is the cost per session?
Our fees at Evergreen vary by clinician. To learn more, please check out our Insurance & Fees page.
Therapy’s an added cost. Is it worth it?
Therapy is a financial commitment. It’s an investment in yourself and your ability to become aware of self-sabotaging patterns and more capable of practicing new, more effective thoughts and behaviors. This – this ability to think and behave more effectively – can profoundly and positively impact your future relationships, your work, your health, and even your finances. If you’re like most of the individuals we’ve worked with, you’ve likely already invested a lot of time and energy and money into your education, your career, your home, and your physical health. Here at Evergreen, we truly believe that investing in therapy as an act of self-care can be a continued investment in your overall wellbeing and success in life. And, if you need some ideas about how to better afford therapy, check out this free guide with some valuable tips.
I only want to come into therapy every other week. Is that something you do?
While we can appreciate the urge and desire to come to therapy every other week, here at Evergreen we only see clients on a weekly basis at least for the first stage of therapy. Psychotherapy works best within the context of a trusting and caring relationship and, in our experience, it takes weekly sessions to create a strong, and effective-enough container that allows for us to deepen the work and for you to experience the change you desire. Working on an every other week basis simply doesn’t allow the work and change to deepen or happen as quickly and as effectively. After the initial stage of therapy, you and your Evergreen therapist can talk about what frequency of sessions might be most appropriate for you then.
Do you accept insurance?
No, here at Evergreen we currently do not accept insurance. However, we can navigate this! We are happy to work with you to provide itemized receipts for your insurance company for partial or full reimbursement for your out-of-network therapy benefits. For more information on this, please read our insurance and fees page.
How do I know if Evergreen Counseling has the right therapist for me?
Choosing a therapist is a very personal decision. Therapy is only as effective as the relationship between therapist and client and because of this we like offer a complimentary 20-minute consult call with anyone who reaches out to us so we can learn more about your individual situation and then set you up with the therapist who will be best equipped to help you meet your goals. Then, when you come on in for your first session, ask yourself: “Can I see myself feeling safe and comfortable with this person? Does it seem like they *get* me ?” It doesn’t matter how many degrees a therapist has hanging on the wall; if you don’t feel good about sitting in a room with that person, it may not be good therapy. So book a complimentary consult session online, give us a call, or send us a message and we’ll help get you set up with someone who we think will be a great fit for you.
What kind of clients does Evergreen work with?
Here at Evergreen Counseling we work with individual adults, individual teens, couples, and families of all different identities and ethnicities from all over the world. Many of our clients are working professionals and we also work extensively with graduate, undergrad, and high school students, too. Also, while some of our clients have been to therapy before, the majority of our clients – about 60% – are first-timers to therapy. Finally, while our clients’ professions, ages, ethnicities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, religions, family backgrounds, and lifestyles vary widely, all of them share something in common: they are people who are in pain and who are at a point where they’re willing to commit and invest in themselves and in therapy in order to change and create something different in their lives.
What exactly is therapy?
Put simply, therapy – also called psychotherapy or counseling – is the process of meeting with a trained and credentialed professional on a weekly, ongoing basis to help you recognize and change deep-rooted and potentially self-sabotaging mental and emotional behaviors, thoughts, and patterns that are keeping you feeling stuck, in pain, and away from the life you want to live.
What can I expect from my first session?
The first in-person meeting is what’s known as an intake session. It’s different from a traditional therapy session because this will be a time for our therapists to gather your case history, and together you’ll talk about why you have decided to pursue therapy and what your goals are for your time together. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know your therapist, to ask any questions you may have, and to see how you feel in our offices and with your therapist. At the end of the session, you and your therapist can decide together if it feels right to move forward in scheduling another session and beginning the rest of the therapeutic journey. Please note that this first session is not complimentary; it is a fully paid session. If you would like a complimentary 20-minute consult call to assess if you and your therapist feel like a good fit in advance of the first session, we recommend you book this first.
On a more practical level, your therapy session will last 50 minutes in length and we suggest you leave about 10-15 minutes to account for fluctuating parking availability and BART delays.
How long does therapy last? How will I know when I’m done?
An actual therapy session lasts 50 minutes in length. The duration of therapy – how long you work with a therapist – looks different for everyone. For some, a few months following an acute stressor (such as a breakup or big life change) is adequate. For others looking to change deeply rooted patterns and belief systems, the process may take longer. On average, we see our clients for 6 months. You can trust that you and your therapist will keep checking in throughout your work together to determine if it feels appropriate and timely to end therapy.
I don’t want to just talk about how I’m feeling; I actually want things to change in my life.
Here at Evergreen, we believe there’s a big misconception out there that therapy means just talking and talking about the past without ever taking action on the present. We certainly don’t operate that way as therapists. While we will always create space to talk about your past and the feelings that surface as we explore this, we are very direct and engaged therapists and actively work with our clients to design interventions, exercises, and thoughtful action steps if that’s what you’re looking for as part of therapy.
If I go to therapy there must be something wrong with me; I should be able to handle this/figure it out on my own, right?
Making the decision to seek out therapy isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a wise act of self-care to reach out for support from professionals when there’s a challenge you need help with. You’d reach out to a doctor for help setting your broken bone or to a lawyer if you needed help filing divorce paperwork, wouldn’t you? When it comes to your mental and emotional health it’s no different. Reaching out for professional support is an act of self-care to address the challenges you’re facing.
What are some reasons people might want to work with you?
Almost all of our clients begin working with us because they have a sense of wanting something better for themselves – whether it’s a loving, committed relationship, work that they adore, or a greater sense of freedom, joy, and ease in their lives – and yet they don’t quite fully know what it will take to get there.
Do you have expertise in working with issues like mine?
We invite you to read more about our therapists’ areas of expertise, the treatment issues we cover on each individual service page, and if you would like more information about whether or not their skills would be a good match for you at this time, contact us to set up a complimentary 15-minute phone call to talk more about what you’d like to get some support with.
How do your therapists work?
Here at Evergreen, we work to create a safe and really special environment where, for 50 minutes each week, the world can slow down and together you and your therapist can compassionately explore, understand, and transform behaviors, thoughts, and patterns that may be holding you back from ultimately living the life you want to live. Our therapists’ style is warm and challenging, direct and engaging, and relationally-oriented. What that means is that we truly believe that it is through our early relationships that certain patterns get established and certain wounds created. And it is only then through relationship that these patterns and woundings can shift and be healed. When you work together as therapist and client, it’s actually the relationship that becomes the therapy in addition to the all of the ways we explore, address and clarify the content you bring into the room.
How long is a therapy session?
Therapy sessions are 50 minutes in length. Occasionally, and as the schedule permits, our clients will book a double session of 100 minutes if they are experiencing a crisis or acute stress in their lives that week.
Is what I share confidential?
Absolutely. What you share in your sessions is completely confidential except in the case of 1) immediate threat of harm to self or other, 2) suspicion of child or dependent elder abuse, 3) in the case of a court subpoena. You and your therapist will discuss all of this and Evergreen’s other office policies during your initial intake session.
Where are you located? Is there parking?
Evergreen Counseling is located at 2820 Adeline Street in South Berkeley in a beautiful Victorian building. Our offices are central and conveniently located (kitty-corner to the original Berkeley Bowl so you can easily combine errands!) and can be reached either by driving or by public transport. If driving and parking, please note there is some unlimited street parking near the building, 2-hour parking on some sides of the streets and some days and times when there is no parking allowed so please be mindful of street signs. If arriving by BART, the Ashby Bart station is a direct, seven-minute walk and multiple bus lines run and drop-off in front of the building. Finally, do know that there is a cozy, sunshine-soaked sitting garden enclosed in the gate around the building; it’s an excellent place to enjoy before or after your session.
What if your counseling center doesn't have the right therapists for me?
Choosing the “right” therapist can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing and we want to help you make this decision and feel totally at ease about booking a session. Which is why we encourage you to check out our specialties, our therapist bios, our FAQ’s, our testimonials, and our blog. After this, if you’re still not sure if Evergreen Counseling is the right support for you, please feel free to contact us to set up a 15-minute consult call so we can answer any remaining questions you have. And, what’s more, if it turns out that our therapists are not the best match for you, we guarantee you that we’ll provide with you additional referrals to other therapists who may be a good fit.
Is online video counseling confidential and private?
Yes! As much as it possibly can be. Our therapists at Evergreen Counseling conduct online video counseling on secure, password laptops here in our offices using a video conferencing software that is a trusted, HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution (the same one that NASA uses!) and we also insist that our clients take their online video sessions in a closed, private room to ensure privacy. We do everything we can to comply with data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding your medical information.
Do I have to have special equipment to do online video counseling?
Ideally, you will have a laptop or desktop but even a smartphone can work well for online video counseling. We do require that our clients download a free piece of software to their phone or computer in advance of the first session because we use a special platform for the video counseling. Your therapist will send you instructions about this platform and how to download this simple piece of software when you book your first session.
How does online video counseling work?
At the start of your scheduled session time, your therapist will dial you via the video conferencing software. When you accept their call, a window will pop up with their face, you will see and hear them, they will see and hear you, and then you can then begin your 50-minute session as you would if you were sitting here in our offices. At the end of the 50-minutes, your therapist will end the video call and you will both be disconnected from the video conferencing software.
Is online video counseling as effective as in-person therapy?
It certainly can be! Whether you are in-person or video-conferencing, the single biggest thing that will make therapy effective is whether you and your therapist have a good bond and if you feel comfortable with them. In our experience, it’s just as easy to experience this over video conferencing as it can be in person. That said, what’s ideal is if you can make it into our offices at least once to meet your therapist in person if your life and schedule allows. This can often make the connection feel “more real” but, again, it’s not necessary and many of our clients who live far away from Berkeley and who can’t make it into our offices find the connection just as effective and helpful as if they were working with someone in-person.
I live in Oregon. Can you do online video counseling with me?
As much as we would love to be able to work with you, our therapists are licensed to practice therapy (whether this is in-person or online) in the State of California only. So what that means is that we can only work with residents of California.
If you're ready to book an appointment with one of our therapists at Evergreen, simply click here to book your initial consultation session and then we'll get you matched up and booked right away.
If you'd like to get in contact with us to ask other questions, call or text us at 510-373-2723 or simply send us a message through this contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!