How can I schedule an appointment?

You may request an appointment with our request form. Or you may call us at (919) 591-0800 or email us at drportela@vidacounseling.org to make an appointment.

I have scheduled my first appointment. How should I prepare?

Once you schedule your first appointment, you'll receive an email with access to Vida Counseling's client portal. Review and complete all forms prior to arriving to maximize our clinical time during your appointment. Please note that it is Vida Counseling's policy to have a credit card on file for all clients.

How do we get assigned a counselor?

Assignment to a specific clinician depends on counselor availability, fee you can afford, scheduling and specific area of expertise. We take into account your preference for a particular clinician based on a referral or personal inclination.

If my child is 12 years old or younger, who should attend his/her appointment?

If your child is 12 years old or younger, only his/her caregivers, not the child, should attend the initial session. It's very important that the therapist who is going to work with your child have time to listen freely to your concerns as parents or caregivers and to gather some background information. It's our experience that children get anxious if they have to wait in the waiting room in a new office while we talk—and this is definitely not the way we want to be introduced to them. It's also not appropriate to have a conversation about the concerns you have about your child in front of him/her. For that reason, please make child care arrangements for your child so that his/her caregivers attend the initial session alone. 

Ideally, both parents or caregivers would attend the initial session. We understand there are situations in which this is not possible, either because there’s only one caregiver or because the parents have a contentious relationship. If parents or caregivers can’t work together in a session, separate sessions for each is advisable. If there’s a single caregiver, the initial session would be with that person alone. 

Once your therapist has an idea about what's going on with your child, she'll suggest a course of action. Many times we work with one of the parents or caregivers present with the child for part of the session, which helps strengthen their relationship and reduces conflict and anxiety. At other times, it may be more beneficial for your child to be seen alone. In either case, the therapist will see your child for 5 or 6 sessions and then schedule a new meeting without the child to talk about what she noticed in those initial sessions, to get an update from the parent(s) or caregiver(s), and share her suggestions.

If my child is 13 years or older, who should attend his/her appointment?

Teenagers are very different. If your child is 13 years old or older, we'd like to see him/her as well as the parent(s) or caregiver(s) during the initial session. Teenagers can be very untrusting and it's crucial that the teen be heard, have time to connect with the therapist, and does not feel there are secrets being kept between the adults. If it's important for you to have some time alone with your teen's therapist, it's best to wait for a later time—and always get permission from your teen to do so. It's our experience that once teens trust the therapist, they do not mind adults having time alone.

Who should attend an appointment for my child if my spouse and I are separated or divorced?

It's best when a therapist can meet with both parents. Understandably, that's not always possible or advisable (e.g., in cases of trauma or domestic violence). You may also be part of a high-conflict divorce and not be able to be in the same place as your ex-spouse. In that case, we suggest that each parent have an individual session with the therapist. It's best that your child’s therapist meets and has ongoing contact with all caregivers involved in the child’s life. 

How should a couple prepare for their first appointment?

Both partners must fill out individual paperwork prior to starting couples counseling. Each partner will receive a personal invitation to the client portal.

How long is a psychotherapy session at Vida Counseling?

Psychotherapy sessions at Vida Counseling last a little short of one hour (around 53 minutes), starting from your scheduled time.

How much does a psychotherapy session cost?

Psychotherapy is an investment, so it makes sense you’d want to know its cost. How much you pay out of pocket depends on the therapist, their availability, and if you’ll be paying it privately or filing insurance. The best way to know if one of us is the right financial and emotional fit for you is to schedule a no-cost, 15-minute initial consultation. Once you have a specific therapist assigned to you, we can confirm the price for your therapy session. Our current prices for psychotherapy sessions are also in our client portal.

Is there a fee for a missed appointment?

You are required to pay a $100 charge for any appointment cancelled or rescheduled with less than a 48-hour notice. Sorry, but there are no exceptions to this. Payments for missed appointments or late cancellations are normally charged to your credit card on file. Note that missed appointments or late cancellations are not reimbursable by insurance. Please reschedule or cancel an appointment as soon as possible so the time may be used by someone else.

Do Vida Counseling therapists accept insurances?

Vida Counseling therapists are only credentialed with Blue Cross Blue Shield. However, if you have a different health insurance, your therapist can provide you with a superbill (an itemized form used by healthcare providers that shows rendered services), which may be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement through “out-of-network” benefits, depending on your plan and insurance provider. It's a good idea to check your coverage carefully by calling your insurance and asking the following questions:

  • Do I have out-of-network mental health care benefits?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
  • What is the covered amount per therapy session?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?