FAQs

What is a first session at Agate Dynamics like?
Who can come with me to my first appointment?
Can I bring my child with me?
How do I set up my first appointment?
Will I have to take medication as part of my treatment?
What’s the difference between the different types of mental health professionals?
Who will be able to find out that I’m in mental health treatment?
How much does therapy cost?
What insurance do you accept?
Where can I go to find a support group?
What do I do if I have a concern about how a psychologist or other mental health professional is conducting business?
Are there free or low-cost counseling options in Albuquerque?
Is Agate Dynamics open evenings and weekends?
What if I don’t feel my provider is the right fit for me?
How do I find a good counselor in the community?
What do I do if I’m feeling suicidal or am worried about a loved one taking their life?


What is a first session at Agate Dynamics like?

  • Please either complete the electronic forms online and arrive at your scheduled session time -OR- arrive 45 minutes early to complete the paper packet provided in the lobby.

  • The first session will heavily focus on who you are, what your concern is, your background, and what you hope to accomplish in treatment. This session is designed to efficiently gather a lot of information. Ideally, your provider will propose a game plan before the end of the first session. 

  • You will be given the opportunity to ask questions, state preferences, and address concerns.

  • Subsequent sessions are more like what we traditionally think of when we think of therapy.


Who can come with me to my first appointment?

  • You can bring any legal adult with you, but your provider will ask that they remain in the lobby for the duration of your face-to-face appointment time.

  • If you have extenuating circumstances, talk with your provider.

  • Bringing someone else to your therapy sessions, in general, is something that you and your provider should discuss and agree upon beforehand, to ensure that it is clinically appropriate, useful, and in your best interest to do so.


Can I bring my child with me?

  • Michelle does not permit minors to sit in your therapy session, as this can be disruptive, and the content of the session isn’t likely appropriate for a child.

  • We ask that you do not bring children (i.e., unless it is their therapy session). Children should never be left unsupervised in the lobby. Agate Dynamics is not responsible for the safety of a child left unattended on the premises. Your provider may ask you to reschedule your appointment if you bring your child.

  • If childcare is a problem, talk to your provider about problem-solving potential solutions.


How do I set up my first appointment?

  • Call Michelle at (505) 361-1958. She may be in session when you call, so you are encouraged to leave a voicemail with your contact information. How quickly she returns your call will vary based on patient care and other obligations, but she will make every effort to return your call expeditiously.


Will I have to take medication as part of my treatment?

  • No. Michelle is not a prescriber and is not collocated with any prescribers. Your primary care doctor or an independent psychiatrist can consult with you about whether you should consider medication.

What’s the difference between the different types of mental health professionals?

Psychiatrist (MD): Medical doctor with specialized training in mental & emotional illnesses, typically prescribes psychiatric medications and diagnoses.

New Mexico Medical Board

Clinical Psychologist (PhD, PsyD): Doctoral degree in psychology, provides psychotherapy, psychological testing, and diagnosis.

New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners

Clinical Social Worker (MSW, LCSW): Master’s degree or higher in social work, provides psychotherapy, and diagnosis.

Board of Social Work Examiners

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP, DNP): Master’s degree equivalent or higher, typically prescribes psychiatric medications and diagnoses psychiatric conditions.

New Mexico Board of Nursing

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC, LPCC): Master’s degree or higher in psychology, counseling, or related field. Provides psychotherapy.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Marital and Family Therapist (LAMFT, LMFT): Master’s degree or higher with specialized training in marital & family therapy. Provides psychotherapy.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Mental Health Counselor (LMHC): Master’s degree or higher in counseling or related field. Provides psychotherapy.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Licensed Professional Art Therapist (LPAT, ATR): Master’s degree or higher. Uses forms of art to aid patients in emotional exploration.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC): Associate’s degree or higher in an Addictions Counseling related field. Provides substance abuse-related psychotherapy.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Licensed Substance Abuse Associate (LSAA) Tier 1: Associate’s Degree; Tier 2: Bachelor’s Degree; Tier 3: Master’s Degree. Provides substance abuse-related psychotherapy; must have a clinical supervisor.

New Mexico Board of Counseling and Therapy Practice

Pastoral Counselor: Associate’s degree or higher in an ecclesiastical field. Provides spirituality-based counseling. Regulated by various ecclesiastical groups.

Mental Health Technician (MHT): High School Diploma or GED or higher. Ancillary paraprofessionals; may conduct limited, supervised clinical interviews, co-facilitate groups, administer screeners & psychological tests, & manage administrative tasks.

Employer responsible for proficiency

Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW): High School Diploma or GED or higher; is a current or former mental health consumer. Provides support & skill-building.

Office of Peer Recovery and Engagement


Who will be able to find out that I’m in mental health treatment?

  • Generally, your treatment status and information are only available to the people you disclose it to. Exceptions include:

    • When a patient reports intent to harm themselves or someone else

    • When a patient reveals abuse to a vulnerable population (e.g., children, elderly, disabled)

    • When there is a court order, subpoena, or other lawful demand

  • Except for the situations above, your mental health provider is not authorized or permitted to release any information about you without your written permission.

  • Your mental health information is protected by the federal Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC § 552a), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, and the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

  • Some employers, graduate schools, professional boards, or regulatory agencies may ask you for counseling records. It is the patient’s decision to acknowledge whether he or she has received therapy.


How much does therapy cost?

  • Cost varies based on a number of factors, including: level of training of the provider, type of facility, availability of sliding scale fees, etc.

  • See Michelle’s fee scale on the Insurance & Fees page


What insurance do you accept?


Where can I go to find a support group?


What do I do if I have a concern about how a psychologist or other mental health professional is conducting business?

  • If both possible and safe, you should first speak directly to your provider about your concerns, as mental health professionals are trained to expect and respond appropriately to patient feedback.

  • If speaking to your provider is not possible or turns out to be ineffective, you can consider requesting another provider (i.e., if your provider is in a group practice) or speaking to the agency’s Patient Advocate. If your provider is a solo practitioner, you might be best advised to seek another provider in the community.

  • If you feel your provider is conducting business unethically, engaging in inappropriate billing practices, or violating your rights, contacting their licensing or regulatory board might be the next best step. (Links to these boards are provided in the question above about different types of mental health professionals.)  

  • If you’re not sure about whether you should be concerned, you might take the time to review the Ethics Code of your provider. The Code will vary based on which type of professional you see, but their respective Ethics Code should be easy to find on the internet.

    • Michelle, for example, is held to the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics.

  • Additional resources for concerns are included below:

  • If you feel your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the agency below:


Are there free or low-cost counseling options in Albuquerque?


Is Agate Dynamics open evenings and weekends?

  • Michelle will offer limited evening sessions on a case-by-case basis. A convenience fee may be charged for evening appointments. Agate Dynamics is not open on weekends.


What if I don’t feel my provider is the right fit for me?

  • The quality of the therapeutic relationship is the single best predictor of therapy effectiveness, which means that how well you fit with your provider can significantly impact your response to treatment. If you believe that your provider is not a good fit for you, you should talk with them about seeing someone else. Providers are trained to help and support patients in this situation and will refer you to another provider and/or modify their own approach to meet your needs.


How do I find a good counselor in the community?

  • Given the importance of the fit between you and your provider, finding the right provider is paramount.

  • You can ask trusted friends and family members. The right therapist for them might not be the right therapist for you. Nevertheless, members of your inner circle know your personality and may know of a provider that would be a good fit.

  • You can ask your primary care doctor or another professional source. These professionals are likely well-connected to the local professional community and generally have experience referring patients to mental health providers. Your primary care doctor can be a vital hub for recommending tried-and-tested specialty professionals.

  • You can check with your insurance company to get a list of covered (i.e., in-network) mental health providers. From this list, you can research the professional’s online reviews, website content, and other information available.

    • The provider’s website content can be critical for determining if they would be a good fit for you. From reading the site, what do you think about what they have to say? Do their approaches and philosophies fit what you need?

  • If you contact a provider who isn’t currently taking new patients, consider asking them:

    • If they have a waiting list

    • If they can recommend another provider

  • Perhaps most importantly, don’t settle. If you meet with a new provider that isn’t the right fit, continue your search. You have to be actively engaged and motivated in therapy. A poor therapeutic fit can derail your engagement and motivation.


What do I do if I’m feeling suicidal or am worried about a loved one taking their life?

  • Seek immediate assistance.

  • You can call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Room.

  • Albuquerque residents can also call:

    • AGORA Crisis Center (505) 277-3013

    • Bernalillo County Crisis Line 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474)

    • New Mexico Statewide Crisis Line 1-866-HELP-1-NM (1-866-435-7166)

    • US National Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433

    • US National Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255

  • You can text:

    • Crisis Text Line by texting “Go” to 741741

  • Michelle does not provide emergency services. If you are experiencing an emergency, use an appropriate option listed above.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1201 Eubank Blvd NE, Ste 1

Albuquerque, NM 87112

michelleaultLCSW@gmail.com

 

Tel: 505-361-1958

Fax: 505-369-1851

© 2018 by Agate Dynamics.