Welcome! The therapeutic relationship is unique: both highly personal and a contractual agreement. It is important that we begin with a clear understanding about how our relationship will work and what each of us can expect. Please feel free to ask me any questions about these policies. (Click for PDF)
My Background – My resume is here. You are welcome to ask questions anytime about my background and approach.
Benefits and Risks – Therapy is an open and dynamic process; its course is dependent upon our mutual willingness to collaboratively continue the process, as well as upon unforeseeable life events.
The benefits of therapy may include reduced stress, anxiety, negative thoughts, and self-defeating behaviors; improved relationships; increased comfort in social, school, and/or family settings; increased self-confidence; and a more hopeful attitude towards life.
The risks of therapy may include recalling painful memories and experiences, discomfort in analyzing current distress and problems, and experiencing strong feelings of sadness, anger, fear, or other difficult emotions. Changes in your perspective, thoughts, or feelings may have unintended outcomes, including changes in personal relationships. Over the course of therapy, you may feel worse before you feel better; this is natural and expected in any healing process.
Commitment – Therapy is a significant investment of time and money. I encourage you to make a commitment to getting the most from your sessions by attending regularly and being open to the experience of making a change in the direction of your goals.
Therapeutic Relationship – Because of the nature of psychotherapy, the therapeutic relationship needs to be different from most relationships. It may differ in how long it lasts, in the topics we discuss, or in the goals of our relationship. It must also be limited to the relationship of therapist and client only, to protect both client and therapist. I cannot have any business or social relationship with you besides the therapy relationship, and I cannot have any romantic or sexual relationship with a former or current client, or anyone close to a client. To preserve your confidentiality, if we run into each other in public, I will not initiate contact (although you are free to).
Availability/Emergencies – I am available for regularly scheduled appointments. Telephone contacts between office visits are welcome but are best kept brief, as important issues are better addressed in person. You may leave a message anytime on my confidential voicemail, and I will respond within one business day. I do not offer emergency services. In the event of an emergency involving a threat to your or another’s safety, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Minors – Communications between a therapist and a client under age 18 are confidential. Upon request, in the exercise of my professional judgment, I may provide parents or guardians with only a general summary of the treatment progress of a minor client.
Couple Therapy – To provide you with the best possible therapy, I recommend that you allow me to record your sessions so that I can review them. In addition, if you consent to it, I may share brief portions with a Certified Supervisor in Emotionally Focused Therapy and other therapists in my EFT training group to get their input, under strict confidentiality; any therapist who is acquainted with you would leave the room and not view the video. If you agree to video recording of your therapy sessions for this consultation and review, you may withdraw this consent at any time and still continue treatment.
No Secrets Policy: If you participate in an individual session with me while concurrently in couple therapy, the information you reveal in your individual session may be used by me in your joint session, based on my professional judgment.
Termination of Therapy – The length of your treatment depends on the specifics of your treatment plan and the progress you achieve. We will discuss a plan for ending therapy as you approach the completion of your treatment goals. You may discontinue therapy at any time. If you are not benefiting from treatment, either of us may initiate a discussion of treatment alternatives including referrals, changing your treatment plan, or terminating your therapy.
Fees – My fee is $150 per 50-minute session or $225 per 75-minute session. Cost of living increases may occur annually. Payment is required at the beginning of each session by cash, check, or credit card. I do not accept insurance. Your PPO may partially reimburse you if you submit a claim to them. I can provide a bill for you to submit with your claim. Interest is charged on past due amounts. If you cannot continue paying for therapy, please let me know, and I will do my best to provide appropriate options.
Additional Charges – If you request other professional services from me such as reading and responding to emails and messages, phone conversations, meetings with professionals, or preparing reports, the fees are half your regular fee for 11-30 minutes, and your full fee for 31-50 minutes. The first 10 minutes are free. As my focus is treatment, I do not normally attend legal proceedings, unless required to by law. My fee for preparing for and attending legal proceedings is $200 per hour.
Cancellation Policy – To cancel or reschedule, you must notify me at least 24 hours before your appointment. If you do not provide at least 24 hours notice, you are responsible for payment of the session, which will be charged to your credit card on file. Exceptions may be made in case of extreme illness or emergency.
Credit Card on File – All clients must have current credit card information on file. Your card will not be charged if you pay by cash or check when payment is due. Your card will be charged for any outstanding balance, late cancellation, missed appointment, or returned check. If your check is returned, your card will also be charged a $25 service fee.
HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices (Click for PDF)
I am dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your health information, and required by law to maintain the confidentiality of your health information, except as listed below.
I hold all communication between us in strict confidence unless you provide written permission to release information about your treatment. If you participate in couple or family therapy, I will disclose information only if all persons who participated provide written authorization to release such information. If you participate in couple or family therapy, I may use information obtained in an individual session with you, when working with other members of your family. Please feel free to ask me how this may apply to you.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act allows me to use or disclose Protected Health Information (PHI) from your record to provide treatment to you, to obtain payment for services, and for other “health care operations”, including accessing your health information. I will ask for your consent in any of these cases in order to make this permission explicit.
When I may be required to use or disclose your PHI:
- To report suspected abuse or neglect of a child, elder, or dependent adult.
- When necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to the health and safety of you, another individual, or the public.
- To public health authorities and oversight agencies that are authorized by law to collect information.
- For lawsuits and similar proceedings in response to a court or administrative order.
- If required by a law enforcement official, e.g. subpoenas.
- If you are a member or veteran of military forces, and if required by appropriate authorities for national security.
- To federal officials for intelligence or national security activities authorized by law.
- To correctional institutions or law enforcement officials if you are an inmate or under the custody of law enforcement.
- For lawsuits or claims re programs like Workers Compensation.
- The Patriot Act of 2001 requires me in some circumstances to provide FBI agents with records, and prohibits me from disclosing to you that the FBI sought or obtained the items.
Note: Your PHI does not include progress notes. Such notes are therefore not subject to disclosure to an outside party.
Additional disclosures that may be made:
- To obtain payment for treatment from your insurance company or health plan.
- To disclose health information to others without your consent if you are incapacitated or if an emergency exists.
- To remind you about appointments, or inform you about treatment alternatives or other health care services or benefits.
Your rights re your Protected Health Information (PHI):
- You can request that I communicate with you about your PHI in a certain manner or at a certain location (e.g. at home rather than work). I accommodate all reasonable requests.
- You can request a restriction in the use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. You can request that I disclose your PHI to only certain individuals, such as family members and friends. If I refer you to a physician for additional care, I will likely disclose your PHI to that physician. I am not required to agree to a request not to do so, but if I so agree, I am bound by this agreement except when required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is needed to treat you.
- You can ask to receive an accounting of certain disclosures of your PHI I have made, if any.
- You may ask to inspect and receive a copy of your PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care, including medical and billing records, but not psychotherapy notes. The request must be in writing, and I will respond to it within 30 days. If I deny the request, I will explain my reasons and your right to have the denial reviewed. If you so agree, I may provide a summary or explanation instead of the health information you request. I hold records for 7 years after termination or until the client’s age is 19, whichever is later.
- You may ask me to amend your PHI if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete. This request must be in writing and must include your reason for the request. I will respond within 60 days. I will either make the change and inform you that it has been done, or inform you in writing of my reasons for denying it (if I feel your PHI is correct and complete, is not part of my records, or may cause you harm). I will attach the request and denial to all future disclosures.
- You are entitled to receive and may ask for a copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices at any time.
- If you believe your privacy rights are violated, you may file a complaint with me or the Dept. of Health and Human Services. You will not be retaliated against for this.
- I will obtain your written authorization for disclosures or uses that are not listed in this notice or permitted by law.
- I reserve the right to change this notice. Before any important changes, I will offer you a copy of the new policy.
- If you are under eighteen years of age, your parents or legal guardians may have a right to examine your treatment records. I ask parents or guardians to give up access to your records and be provided only with general information about our work together, unless I feel there is a high risk that you will seriously harm yourself or someone else. In this case, I will notify them of my concern. I also provide them with a summary of your treatment when it is complete. Before giving them information, I discuss the matter with you, if possible, and do my best to handle any objections you have with what I am prepared to discuss. A Caregiver’s Affidavit Authorization will also be required.
Please call (714) 584-4447 for a free 20-minute phone or office consultation about how this type of therapy could be helpful in your particular situation.
Relationship Therapy / Couples Counseling by Betsy Walli, LMFT – (714) 584-4447
2309 PCH, Suite 208, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
13001 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite 360, Seal Beach, CA 90740