You’ve made the phone call and you’ve scheduled an appointment. Now what? Here’s pretty much everything you need to know before your first consultation and/or appointment.

Locating Seattle Direct Counseling

Seattle Direct Counseling is located at
Grand Central Building
216 1st Avenue South Suite 364
Seattle, WA 98104

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If you don’t like driving into Seattle or find parking a hassle. the Light Link Rail is a convenient and inexpensive choice. Most recently, the First Hill – Pioneer Square streetcar is in service!

From Pioneer Square Station, follow the map approximately three blocks to 1st AVenue South
From Pioneer Square Station, follow the map approximately three short blocks to 1st Avenue South. You can also get off at the International District Station.

Important: If you received information from your third-party payor insurance, a referral service, or a community listing other than the address above, please disregard that information, and go to the address listed above. Occasionally clients encounter Internet and data brokered listings that have not been updated nor removed.

Please note: my office is located just north of the stadiums. Whenever there is a game or big event there, traffic and parking may cause significant delays. Consider public transport to a Park and Ride and bus in, or park and take Light Link Rail to Pioneer Station.

DowntownSeattleParking  map of the 3 garages in Pioneer Square with $3/hour parking for up to 4 hours. Butler Garage is closest to the SDC office.

Current office hours: Tuesday -Thursday 10 am -6:30 pm, one Monday a month (for Imei). Allison’s hours are posted on her webpage.  I (Imei) also am offering phone and Vsee.com appointments by appointment. We do not offer services through Google Helpouts, which was a program recently cancelled in 2014.

Allison offers Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday appointments.

How much does my visit cost?
Please select the counselor you wish to see, and under the pull-down menu is a fee schedule for each counselor. For Imei only:

Counseling sessions  $120 per 45-50-minute session; $125 for the 50+ session (insurance may require a copayment or deductible payment)
First intake session $150 (usually 90 minutes, unless you receive a complimentary phone consult that takes the place of the first 30 minutes)
Couples sessions $140 per session. Same fee for VoIP/video chat.

Where do I Wait?
Before 6 pm, you can enter the building and wait in our reception room in 364; just come on in! The inner door is closed when there is a client ahead of your appointment. Please keep your voice down, as sound travels. There is an iPod with music loaded for your enjoyment in the waiting room, as well as magazines, and a water cooler with hot and cold spigots. We also have an iPad running an environmental sound to help keep a confidential and safe environment.

For clients arriving for appointments after 6 pm, please wait just outside the doors of the building on the 1st Avenue side, and I will escort you into the building. If the weather is bad, there are few coffee shops nearby: Cafe Umbria (Occidental Square), Zeitgeist Coffee, Tully’s, and Starbucks, all within one block. The Grand Central Bakery on the first floor closes at 5 pm; if you manage to slip into the gallery section, the double doors near the 1st Avenue entrance also lock at 6 pm.

Those with Internet-based appointments: please take a moment to read my blog post on how to conduct online sessions. You will be asked to “show up” about five minutes before the appointment time, and to cover additional issues regarding the communication and confidentiality (including an informed consent form regarding electronic transmission and confidentiality).

At this time, Imei has only conducted counseling appointments with residents of the State of Washington; she has conducted consultations and coaching across state lines, as this is a different service. If you are an out-of-state resident, you must check with your state’s Department of Health to determine if it allows out-of-state Practitioners to legally conduct online counseling sessions.  You also cannot bill your session to health insurance (as this requires a Business Associate agreement with the company for telemental health, which many do not give).

How do I pay for my visit? Do you accept credit cards?
If we haven’t discussed that over the phone with you before the visit, it will be covered during the beginning of the first session. You will fill out paperwork giving consent for treatment, and I will take the information from your health insurance card. Please provide a copy front and back of your insurance card on one side of an 8.5 x 11 paper. Payment is due at the beginning of each session. I accept credit cards using credit card processing through Square Register. We do not allow our clients to get behind on payment more than one session.

Introducing: Square Cash https://square.com/cash. Load the app on your smartphone, and pay for your copays or full session, bank to bank, with no service fees (I like this!)

Update: Sept 26, 2016 Square has a new feature, Card on File. While I will do further research, the main premise is that Square wants business owners to build trust with their clients, and trust is based on the worthiness of Square products. The new feature has not been vetted by Imei. Click on the above link to learn more.

Additionally, Imei encourages you to set up a Google Wallet account and get the app on the phone. This is an app that allows you to verify a bank-to-bank transfer of funds, and it does not require you to hand over your debit or credit card. You can pay for your visit or co-pay without fumbling for cards, and there is currently no transaction fee. Yay! (Or, if you prefer, Square Cash, is a similar idea).

Many credit card billing companies have increased their charges due to the credit card company’s recent change in practices. Our preference is that you pay your sessions by cash or check, including any co-pays under $20. Consider using Google Wallet or Square Cash.

Update: you might have read or heard something about Google Wallet. It will still be available for our use in 2015, but for those who use it on their websites to sell digital goods, it will be out of service by March 2, 2015. We will continue to use Google Wallet as long as it remains free. So far, our clients are telling us they like it!

Questions About Using Insurance
If I am not paneled with your insurance carrier, you will be billed for the entire amount, due at the beginning of the session. We can give you a receipt, and you can bill your own insurance as out-of-network. Unfortunately, many insurance companies no longer cover Associates (counselors practicing under the supervision of a licensed counselor).

If your insurance fails to pay for your sessions, you will be alerted before your credit card is charged the full fee for each session. You may attempt to use a HCFA form (which I can fill out for you) to pursue an out-of-network reimbursement in some cases. Click on this link to read more details about how to pay for therapy sessions

Click on Forms, download and complete all forms, and bring them to your first session [Note: I am aware that some of the forms have lost their formatting when placed on Google Docs. Other than looking ugly, the information is correct].

I am Microsoft and Premera preferred. I accept Regence (<–click here for my profile on Regence),  Premera (uses OneHealthPort.com profile), United Medical Plan (UMP, now Regence), and First Choice Health Network (now also Multicare). If any of your insurance information is under the umbrella of Regence or Premera, Imei accepts these insurance companies. I am moving my practice towards reducing the number of carriers with the worst payouts, allowing you to self-pay and use the proper forms to receive a reimbursement from your insurance. If you have questions about this, please ask me in your free 30 minute consultation.

Update: Premera has one product that I (Imei) am not paneled with, which is Heritage Signature Plus 1 (now PBH). Please call your insurance carrier if you are unsure if I am paneled with your carrier’s behavioral health component.

If you are uninsured or under-insured, we’ve provided one additional avenue for receiving timely counseling on a sliding scale through an Associate, Allison Bulliman, a licensing candidate with whom Imei will be supervising for her  LMHC license. Please request this in your free 30 minute consultation, or contact either therapist on their respective pages on the website.

Update: as of Sept. 23, 2016, Allie is out-of-office on maternity leave until further notice). Imei will be accepting sliding scale clients according to her weekly schedule and on a case-by-case basis.

Please take a moment to understand how your insurance works, and my policies on couple’s counseling sessions, out-of-pocket payment, and my sliding scale. If this information is still confusing, take a moment to read my blog post on how to pay for therapy sessions.

Coaching sessions are intensive and require between-session assignments in a time-limited, personalized program. Please inquire about coaching costs in your free 30 minute consultation. Typically, coaching fees are $175 for 60 minutes, and coaching packages for practice building and life coaching can be purchased as well for a flat rateI also offer a full-service coaching package.

Cancellation policy: your insurance does not cover sessions you are unable to keep. If you cancel within 24 hours before a session, you will be charged the full amount of your session, unless the cancellation is due to unusual hardship, sudden illness, or inclement weather. Remember, non-insurance face-to-face sessions can be converted to phone and Internet sessions, so you can keep your session and sidestep a late-cancel charge.

 May I Bring My Children, Spouse, or Partner to My Sessions? Can They Wait In the Waiting Room? 

We upgraded to a spacious office with a waiting room for a reason: it’s beautiful, and we wanted to give our clients and community the best. That being said, we want to preserve it for its proper use.

By special arrangement, or if your child, spouse, or partner is part of the therapy session itself, the answer to the first question is Yes.

Children under 12 shall not be left unattended in the waiting room. It is not a proper playroom, and it does not sport the safety features found in a hospital setting.

Our waiting room is designed for the participant(s) of a session to wait for your therapist to bring you into the inner office. It is also designed to be the waiting place for the next client before your session ends. While we have an adequate application  to provide white noise, our walls do not completely insulate voices coming from inside the office. We therefore ask you to have spouses, partners, and other family members wait elsewhere for the duration of the session, in order to provide an environment where the clients are free to process thoughts and emotions without being concerned about being overheard. 

We recognize that may cause some inconvenience to our client’s family members. Please ask us for the nearest waiting areas located in our building, including a lovely fireplace near the Grand Central Bakery.