Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions Jim has been asked most often.
If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to contact me.
Do you take insurance?
Olive Branch Family Therapy does accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield, TRICARE, and Cigna insurance and can be filled as an out of network provider for other insurance companies. Additionally, some clients may wish to pay out of pocket.
What can I expect from our therapy session? How can I prepare for therapy?
In the interest of assuring that my clients receive the best therapy I can offer I will always make every attempt to start and end our session on time. I will make every effort to monitor our time for us but that might mean that we will not be able to cover everything that comes to your mind between sessions. And, since there are two of us working together in your session, we will establish a pattern of dialogue as we work together. This back and forth work that we do will make our time seem like it goes by very quickly. For that reason, you may find it helpful to journal your thoughts about your therapy and your growth between sessions to assure you get the most out of our work together. This may also make it much easier to get right to work as we jump in with both feet at the beginning of your time. Please consider arriving a few minutes before your session is scheduled to begin and prepare to end your session by the 45 minute mark. In order to make sure you get to work on what is the most important issue for you in any given session, take your few minutes that you have when you arrive early to quiet your mind. With some level of intentionality, prepare your consciousness by opening yourself up to explore the themes that have stood out for you as most important between your last session and the one you are about to enter.
How long will it take to reach my therapy goals? Will I be in therapy forever?
The frequency of therapy sessions and the total number of sessions devoted to therapeutic work depends on the goals of the client, couple, or family. This could take anywhere from 12 to 20 sessions. Some clients choose to remain in therapy until they have reached their goals, are satisfied with their growth, or find that they have reached the limit of their financial resources. If you find the cost of your therapy to become a financial burden, then please speak with me about a sliding scale option. Please also understand that my sliding scale space is limited but I will make every effort on my part to maintain our working relationship. Should you need to continue in therapy but are financially unable to do so with my fee then I will attempt to find you a suitable referral to meet your needs.
What is the difference between "Family Therapy" and other kinds of therapy?
Many counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals claim to have the experience and skills to conduct effective couples and family therapy. However, licensed marriage and family therapists have specialized skills, training, and experience in a variety of therapy theories based on "systems theory." At the core of systems theory is the assumption that all humans exist in relationships of communication with others. The “problems” that arise in life are usually rooted in some form of communication telling us something has to change. Unlike other approaches to counseling that might assume that it is the client that needs to change, family therapy assumes the perspective that something in the larger system of relationships needs to be brought into balance. In other words, the assumption is that humans work best and are happiest when there is harmony in relationship with others.
What About Our Logo?
Our logo depicts two people in the dance of relationships while waving olive branches of peace. Maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships is both art and science. Much like learning the steps of a dance routine, learning relationship skills requires hard work. Many mental health professionals claim to have both the experience and skills to conduct effective couples and family therapy. However only licensed marriage and family therapists have specialized training that focuses on relationships. The figures of our logo represent persons in any relationship. At Olive Branch Family Therapy NC, we are committed to diversity in the ethical practice of therapy respecting the needs and goals of our clients. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment whether our clients come seeking individual, couple, or family therapy. We hope our clients will feel free to include any person they feel is important to their therapy.
Since Jim has a Master of Divinity degree and is an ordained minister will I be required to discuss religious beliefs?
NO—I promise to make every effort to provide you (my client) ethical therapy where you are “center stage.” However, I do have an extensive background in interfaith clinical pastoral care. It has been a privilege to hold many a sacred conversation with people about life, death, the “after-life,” and all manner of things “existential” but your therapy is about you and the topics you feel are most important to your growth. My clients often hear me say, “All I want for you is to see you be that healthy, happy, and successful person you want to be.” I’m willing to work with you to see that become your reality. If for some reason we discover that we can’t do that together, I will make every effort to help you find someone who can help you. This is the “collaborative” nature of therapy. Therapy is not just work that I-as your therapist do TO you or that YOU as a client do to yourself but therapy is a collaborative team effort that involves both therapist and client.