Ponte Vedra Counseling & Wellness is a practice dedicated toward helping you reach overall happiness and wellness in all aspects of your life. Too often, people will readily address physical issues yet ignore signals from their minds and bodies about their emotional and mental wellness - or lack thereof. Our minds, bodies, and souls are interconnected and all affect one another whether or not we actively realize it. While someone would never ignore chest pain or a broken bone, too often people put mental well-being on the backburner.

Many times our emotional or mental issues are subconscious, yet our bodies send us signals in the form of headaches, migraines, stomach pain or issues, muscle twitches, insomnia, increased sleepiness, and more obvious signs like an “anxious” or nervous feeling. When the more subtle signs are ignored, our bodies send stronger signals that are often the first ones we recognize, in the form of depression, anxiety attacks, feeling out of control, or just knowing something is not “right.” Even then, people try to fix their problems on their own without the help of someone trained in counseling, and often find their symptoms quickly worsening.

When do you know it’s time to seek help?

That is an entirely personal question that only you can answer. However, we have never experienced someone saying “I wish I wouldn’t have come in for counseling.” In fact, we hear the opposite – “I wish I would have come in sooner!” Choosing to focus on your mental well-being is not only a smart choice, but is also a sign of strength rather than admitting a weakness. It takes courage to say that you are ready to look at your life and make active changes. No matter what brings you in the door, you will leave feeling empowered and with new tools to help you cope with whatever you are currently facing in life.


SERVICES OFFERED

Ponte Vedra Counseling offers a wide range of services for individuals seeking help.

Individual
Therapy

Individual therapy is as individual as you are. We design creative and customized sessions and treatment plans based solely on your exact needs; never a one-size-fits-all approach.

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Family
Therapy

Families often need to come together in a safe setting with an unbiased professional to work through difficult issues. Solutions are the focus, eliminating blame and arguments.

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Couples/Marriage Therapy

Relationship counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and unhealthy patterns. Improved communication skills = improved overall relationships.

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Adolescent/Teen Issues

Adolescent/Teen counseling may be both individual counseling as well as family therapy when it may be helpful to bridge communication gaps and create better understanding.

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Areas of Expertise

We offer professional help in all of the following areas.

 

Abuse/Neglect
Addiction
Adjustment and Change
Anger Management
Anxiety
Behavioral Problems with Children/Adolescents
Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Couples Counseling
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Caregiver Issues
Child Abuse/Neglect
Co-Dependency

Co-Occurring Disorders
Communication Skills
Conflict Resolution
Crisis Assistance
Deployments
Depression
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Divorce Adjustment
Domestic Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Employment Issues
Family Counseling
GLBTQ issues and support
Grief and Loss Life Adjustments
Health and Balance

Marriage Counseling
Panic Disorders
Parenting Skills
Peer Pressure
Self-Esteem
Self-Mutilation/Self-Harm
Sex/Porn Addiction
Sex Therapy (couples)
Sexual Abuse
Stress Management
Substance Abuse
Suicide Information & Prevention
Trauma and PTSD
Trichotillomania
Women's Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

Many of your common questions answered here.


When should someone seek counseling?

Everyone experiences periods of stress, sadness, conflict, grief, and anxiety at varying times throughout their lives. Because of this, it is difficult to know when to seek professional help vs. feeling like it is temporary and resolvable on your own. More often than not, people do not seek help as often as they should, which may intensify symptoms and can lead to further psychological issues and emotional stress. While the average individual will experience psychological distress at some point during their lifetime, only about 45-50% of those individuals seek help.

There are many reasons why people put off counseling – time, money, a stigma attached to “needing help,” or lack of family support during the process. However, your mental health is equally as important as your physical health, and just as you would not avoid seeing a cardiologist for heart issues, your mental well-being deserves equal emphasis as well. If you find yourself repeating the same thoughts in relation to fears, anxiety, sadness, or other issues, it is probably time to seek help.


What can I expect?

With any therapist, you can and should expect to be treated with kindness, an open mind, nonjudgment, empathy, and a safe environment to express any and all thoughts without regard to how it will be perceived by the therapist. The relationship, unlike friendships or family, is one-directional. You should not be concerned with pleasing your therapist, or worrying about how he or she will feel about anything you might say. Instead, the therapeutic environment is one where you should feel completely at home to express your thoughts and fears and know that you will be treated with respect and dignity at all times, no matter what choices you have made in the past or will make in the future.


Is the information I share completely confidential?

Please refer to the document entitled “Notice of Privacy Policies and Limits of Confidentiality” for a full explanation of your legal and ethical rights as it pertains to confidential information.


How many sessions will I need?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. It is entirely dependent on you, what you are seeking in counseling, and what you are hoping to gain. For some clients, we are able to reach solutions in a relatively brief timeframe. Other issues require more time to fully unbundle and understand what will provide sustainable change. Insurance companies often limit the number of sessions based on a diagnosis and generally it is far fewer than what will be helpful in the long run. Please see the question pertaining to insurance, below, for more information on managed care restraints. Because Ponte Vedra Counseling & Wellness focuses on the individual and not on a diagnosis, your treatment plan will be fully customizable as determined by you and your psychotherapist.

What is the process like?

There are several stages to the counseling process, and people move through them at different paces depending on their own personalities, the severity and/or number of issues, and commitment. While there are often unexpected twists and turns that may arise, the typical experience might look like the following: initial discussion of current issues, an in-depth exploration of how/why a person is where s/he is and other environmental contributors to mental well-being, uncovering of other issues perhaps not known at the initialization of counseling, gaining understanding and awareness, and a commitment to action.

To achieve success in counseling there has to be an agreed upon partnership and collaboration between the client and the therapist. In fact, the therapeutic relationship is extremely important – if you do not feel you connect well with a therapist, consider trying someone else. A good therapeutic alliance is founded upon trust, respect, and unconditional empathy. Lastly, it is not an easy road. It takes work to achieve sustainable change, consisting of time, energy, and both financial and emotional commitment. It is normal to experience some psychological distress during the process, with the expectation that this will decrease over time and eventually lead to happiness and an overall improved outlook on life.


How much do sessions cost?

The initial intake session is $125, and will last between 60 - 90 minutes. This session requires a bit longer than the traditional session. In the intake session, crucial background information is gathered as well as a full description of current stressors. While the initial session will not uncover all that may need to be addressed, it is a critical time for the psychotherapist to gather pertinent information that will guide treatment.

Subsequent sessions are $95 and generally last 50 minutes. As psychotherapists we are mandated by law to document certain things about our sessions, and the last 10 minutes are used for this as well as treatment planning. There are times where we may go over the allotted time by a few minutes. You will not be billed for this additional time as long as it does not exceed 60 minutes.

Our psychotherapists are available via email and text for the purposes of booking appointments. There are times that you and your therapist may correspond briefly outside of therapy, and if it is limited, this will not constitute therapy time. However, if it becomes excessive, this time will be billed in 15 minute increments based upon the $95 hourly rate.

Why do you not accept insurance?

This is a lengthy but important answer that will help guide you when you are looking for a licensed, professional therapist. Many clinicians have responded to the extreme restraints of managed care by making the difficult decision to not accept insurance – for the good of their clients, not themselves. Here are the things we want you to know and understand about insurance coverage and therapy:

  1. Your therapist MUST diagnose you with something, to be reimbursed. Managed care has forced a “medical model” for mental well-being, meaning you must be labeled with an illness or disorder. You cannot go to therapy for couples counseling, grief, going through a difficult time, or many other common reasons to seek therapy and have your insurance reimburse your therapist. Instead, you will be labeled with “Anxiety Disorder,” “Major Depressive Disorder,” and the like, and this diagnosis will be a part of your official record, permanently, which can affect future employment, future health coverage, or having no coverage at all.
  2. Your records are not protected. Your insurer may audit your records at any time, and this may be a claims specialist, a human resources specialist, or a myriad of others who have clearance at the company to review records. Human eyes = potential breaches of confidentiality. It happens…more often than we would like.
  3. Your care is dictated by the insurer, not your therapist – or you. Insurance companies demand a detailed and regimented treatment plan for every single client, and for each diagnosis, they already have a certain number of sessions they will cover – generally far fewer than what most therapists agree are acceptable and reasonable. To put it simply, this means that your therapist is working for the insurance company, not you. You are going to therapy to be treated like an individual whose needs are unique, not to be treated like a number on an assembly line. Just like in medical claims, the insurance company’s primary goal is to not pay, or to severely limit payment. This model is certainly not in the best interest of your mental health and well-being.

Without the limits of managed care, that leaves treatment up to you and your therapist – exactly where it should be. Additionally, clinical records are maintained solely for the purposes of the client, not a third party – and will never be released to a third party without the client’s written consent. This is protected by law. Lastly, you will never be diagnosed at Ponte Vedra Counseling & Wellness. While we may discuss various mental disorders in relation to you or family members as part of an overall understanding, we ultimately believe that labels are useless – and in many cases, harmful. You are not a summary of a series of codes – you are a human being and deserve to be treated as such.

REQUIRED PAPERWORK FOR NEW CLIENTS


Please print, read, and sign the “Notice of Privacy Policies and Limits of Confidentiality” and bring with you to our initial session.


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Additionally, for adults, please print, read, and sign the “Psychotherapist-Client Service Agreement” document and bring it to the initial session as well.


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REQUIRED PAPERWORK FOR ADOLESCENT CLIENTS


Both the adolescent and one or both parents must sign the “Adolescent Informed Consent for Treatment” prior to the initial session.

In the state of Florida, if a child lives with both parents (or the parents have joint custody following a divorce), both parents must consent to treatment allowing the child to begin therapy. Please print and bring a signed copy to our initial session.



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Need help with individual or group counseling?

Call us at (904) 601-6488

or


Reach out via email at kmcgowan@pvcounseling.com