Information for New clients
Congratulations on taking a brave step toward healing! The following information is meant to help answer any administrative questions you may have about Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute or the services we offer.If you have any questions about anything within this document, we encourage you to bring them up when we meet.
About Fuller Life Family Institute
Our mission is to provide quality counseling to ALL persons, with specific opportunity to assist the under-resourced or under-insured, and to fill a gap in the professional development of Marriage and Family Therapists and Counselors by creating a rigorous collaborative post-graduate fellowship program with an emphasis in faith-based training of Marriage and Family Therapists.
The Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute(FTFT)is a not-for-profit charitable organization with 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. We are grateful to the various individuals, churches, and organizations that partner with us in our dream of serving the people, children, and families in the Houston.
Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute offers individual, marital & family therapyto adults, children, adolescents and families by appointment only. Sessions begin meeting weekly and generally last 45-50 minutes. Follow-up sessions are scheduled at the end of the session.
To schedule an appointment please call Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute at (855) 245-LIFE (5433) or email Info@fullerlifefamilytherapy.org.
Payment for Services
The client is responsible for payment of counseling and any other services utilized. Payment is due in full at the time of service. FLFT accepts checks, credit card or cash. There is a $35 fee for returned checks.
A credit or debit card is required to be on file and will be electronically billed at the end of session unless the client indicates another preference for payment.
The session rate is determined prior to the first appointment.We have various fees for different levels of licensure and education. Fees for resident and master’s student therapists are structured on a sliding scale based on household income. Please notify your therapist if any problems arise during therapy regarding your ability to pay.
Since the scheduling of an appointment involves the reservation of time specifically for you, a minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required for re-scheduling or canceling an appointment.
If you cannot keep your appointment, please notify your therapist or Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute as soon as possible at (855) 245-5433.
The full fee is charged for no-shows or sessions not cancelled 24 hours in advance.
Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute has two locations.
Fuller Life Loop
4545 Bissonnet, Suite 289, Bellaire, TX 77401
(near Highway 59 just inside loop 610.)
If your appointment is after 6 pm, use the call box or phone to let your therapist know you are here. When you arrive, please be seated in the lobby and a therapist will be with you shortly. Parking is available on the ground floor or on either side of the building.
Fuller Life West
10333 Harwin Dr, Suite 374D, Houston, TX 77036
(near Westpark Tollway just inside beltway 8)
When you arrive, please be seated in the lobby and a therapist will be with you shortly. If your appointment is after 6 pm, call your therapists to let your therapist know you are here. Free parking is available in the garage.
(885) 245-LIFE (5433)
Your referral to others is the highest complimentyou can give. If you do suggest our services to friends or family members, we greatly appreciate it.
Fuller Life Family Therapy upholds strict policies regarding confidentiality. Please carefully review ournotice of privacy practices for limits of confidentiality.
Due to confidentiality,FLFT Therapists only see couples together in therapy. Individuals participating in couple’stherapy are not seen individually by the same therapist. When participating in couple’stherapy, please ensure any email correspondence with the therapist includes both partners in the email.
Our code of ethics grants confidentiality even to minors. Material discussed in therapy with children or adolescents will not be disclosed to parents. The therapist mayshare clinical opinions, discuss assessment and treatment goals or involve parents in treatment when appropriate.
CONSULTATION and TRAINING
Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute is a training institute. Your therapist will consult regularly with the clinical supervisor and colleagues within FLFT regarding your clinical treatment. Each member of the FLFT team has committed to uphold the highest standard of care, ethics and confidentiality.
To provide the highest quality of care and intensive therapy training, we utilize video for clinical supervision purposes. Video is stored for less than 14 days and is kept on secure HIPAA-compliant servers.
All disputes arising out of, or in relation tocounseling services shall first be referred to mediation, before, and as a pre-condition of, the initiation of arbitration. The mediator shall be a neutral third party.
Should the therapist receive a subpoenaand need to appear in court, the client is responsiblefor the hourly fee including time on call and traveling.
THE PROCESS OF THERAPY
Participation in therapy can result in a number of benefits to you, including improving interpersonal relationships and resolution of the specific concerns that led you to seek therapy. Working toward these benefits requires youractive involvement, honesty, and openness.
Attempting to resolve issues that brought you to therapy in the first place, such as personal or interpersonal relationships, may result in changes that were not originally intended. Sometimes a decision that is positive for one family member is viewed quite negatively by another family member. There is no guarantee that psychotherapy will yield positive or intended results.
If you have any unanswered questions about any of the procedures used during your therapy, the possible risks, your therapist’s expertise in employing them, or about the treatment plan, please discuss this with your therapist.
Your therapist provides neither custody evaluation recommendation nor medication or prescription recommendation nor legal advice, as these activities do not fall within her/his scope of practice.
A therapist does not work with clients who, in his/her opinion, he/she cannot help. In such a case, if appropriate, you will be given referrals that you can contact.
A therapist has the right to refer to alternate organizations or therapists when appropriate and cease providing treatment. Here are some examples of client behavior that may result in a therapist terminating services:
- attending sessions under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- displaying or threatening violent tendencies
- non-professional sexual expression
- demonstrating non-compliant behaviors
- two consecutive no-shows
You have the right to terminate therapy at any time. Upon your request, your therapist will provide you with names of other qualified professionals whose services you might prefer.
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY:
We do not accept friend requests from current or former clients on PERSONAL social networking sites,such as Facebook or Twitter. Adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship.
For this same reason, we request clients not communicate with us via any interactive or social networking sites. These sites are not secure and we may not read these messages in a timely fashion. The best way to contact us between sessions is by phone.
We regularly write about relational or mental health on our professional blog on our website and curate great articles and resources we find on Scoopit! To get the most recent updates follow us on Facebookor Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter or blog on our website, our professional Facebook profile or on the communication preferences form.
The mostprivate way to stay connected with our online resources is through our newsletter. We never share your information with a third party. We invite you to follow our Fuller Life twitter or Facebook profile or as these are professional profiles, however, please know doing so may compromise your own confidentiality.
FLFT has a presence on sites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, etc. which list businesses and may include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. Our listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement. Our professional code of ethics prohibits our soliciting testimonials from clients.
- By phone 855-245-LIFE (5433)
- Your therapists direct line (business card/web).
- By email: email@example.com OR (therapists name)@fullerlifefamilytherapy.org
- Secure Fax: (832) 706-3829
- Secure form on fullerlifefamilytherapy.org
We may not be able to respond to your messages and calls immediately. For voicemails and other non-emergent messages, you can expect a response within BUSINESS 1-3 days. We may occasionally reply more quickly, but this may not always be possible.
It is important that we can communicate and keep the confidential space that is vital to therapy. It may become useful during treatment to communicate by email, text message or other electronic methods of communication.
These methods are typically NOT confidential means of communication. If you use these methods to communicate with your therapist there is a reasonable chance that a third party may be able to intercept and eavesdrop on those messages.
The kinds of parties that may intercept these messages include, but are not limited to:
- People in your home or environments withaccess to your phone, computer, or devices
- Your employer, if you use your work email to communicate with Fuller Life
- Third parties on the Internet, server administrators or others who monitor Internet traffic
If there are people in your life that you don’t want to accessthese communications, please talk with your therapist about ways to keep your communications confidential
FLFT uses only HIPAA-Compliant secure forms of communication unless you indicate a desire to communicate in non-secure means. We offer encrypted email and a secure textingand faxplatform with HIPAA-compliant Business Associates. While it cannot be guaranteed these services will prevent 100% of confidentiality breaches, they are designed to ensure enhanced security.
INDICATE YOUR CHOICES ON THE Initial Session FORM IN THE INITIALPAPERWORK.
If you reach out to us via unencrypted email, we will honor your desire to communicate in this way as an informed client willing to take a risk with normal email.
If you are ever experiencing an emergency, including a mental health crisis, please call and indicate the emergency clearly in your message. In the event of a psychiatric emergency: Dial 911, go to your local emergency room or request a Crisis Intervention Team at the MHMRA Neuropsychiatric Center by calling 713.970.7070. Please do not use texts, e-mail, voice mail, or faxes for emergencies.
If you choose to authorize non-secure email with us, be aware that computers and unencrypted e-mail communication can be relatively easily accessed by unauthorized people and compromise the privacy of such communication. E-mails are vulnerable to unauthorized access since servers or communication companies may have unlimited ordirect access to all e-mails that go through them.
Any email content to or from you related to your therapy becomes a part of your medical record.
Unlike email, our text platform is throughsecure HIPAA-Compliant Services. However, texting with our clients is limited to scheduling related items ONLY. Please include your name if you do text us since we do not store client contact information in our devices. Text messages are NOT designed for emergencies.
HIPAA NOTICE OF PRIVACY POLICIES: (Revised 8-24-2022)
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW PRIVATEHEALTHINFORMATION (PHI) ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU MAY ACCESS THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
This Notice is provided to you pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act of 1996 (HIPAA).We are required to abide these policies until replaced or revised. We have the right to revise our privacy policies for all records, including records kept before policy changes were made.
The contents of material disclosed to us in therapysessions are covered by the law as private healthinformation(PHI). We respect the privacy of the information you provide us, and abide by ethical and legal requirements of privacy of records.
We will not release any information about a client without a signed release of information for all adults involved in the therapy EXCEPT in certain emergency situations or exceptions in which client information can be disclosed without written consent by law. How we may use or disclose your PHI without your written authorization:
- For legal reasons: Under subpoena from a judge in criminal or federal matters, to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive or court order.
- For safety of our client or others: If there is a reasonable suspicion of child, dependent, or elder abuse or neglect health care professionals are required to report to the appropriate social service and/or legal authorities.
- Safety of client or others: if a client presents a danger to self, to others, to property, or a grave disability, health care professionals may notify an emergency contact, medical or legal authorities without violating client confidentiality.
- For public health purposes: to provide information to state or federal public health authorities, to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; to report child abuse or neglect; report domestic violence; report to the Food and Drug Administration problems with products and reactions to medications; and report disease or infection exposure.
- For consultation purposes: As a training institute, we spend several hours together each week in clinical supervision with a sole purpose of enhancing therapeutic service and professional development. Additionally, we may consultwith other professionals outside our organization,but will speak generally and not disclose any specific PHI identifying information.
- For administrative purposes: administrative staff and HIPAA business associates may have access toPHIfor administrative
- For non-payment: if payment has not been made in a timely manner, collection agencies may be utilized in collecting unpaid debts.
- In the case of death or other limiting factor of a therapist, another member of the Fuller Life Team will properly dispose of client records and/orensure continuance of care.
- For ethical reasons: Professional misconduct by a health care professional must be reported by other health care professionals and related records may be released to substantiate disciplinary
You have the right to request to review or receive your medical files. You may request a copy of your records in writing. Records for non-emancipated minors must be requested by their custodial parents or legal guardians. There is a charge for this service. All requests must be in writing.
- You have the right to cancel a release of information by providing us a written notice.
- You have the right to know what information in your record has been provided to whom.
- You have the right to restrict what information might be disclosed to others. However, if we do not agree with these restrictions, we are not bound to abide by them.
- You have the right to request that information about you be communicated by other means or to another location.
- You have the right to disagree with the medical records in our files and request that this information be changed. We may decline to change the information, but you have the right to make a statement to be placed in your file.
If you believe your rights have been violated or for questions regarding these policies contact our privacy officer
Margarita Castaneda, Fuller Life Family Therapy Institute, 4545 Bissonnet, Suite 289, Bellaire, TX 77401.
Complaints may be filed with the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council at https://www.bhec.texas.gov/discipline-and-complaints/
We will not retaliate for any complaint made to the government about our privacy practices.
Information about Telemental Health Services
Please review the following information if you are interested in technology assisted services with Fuller Life.
- You will need access to certain technological tools to engage in technology-assisted therapy
- Telemental health has both benefits and risks, which you and your therapist will be monitoring
- It is possible that receiving services by telemental health will turn out to be inappropriate for you, and that you and your therapist may have to cease work by telemental health
- You can stop therapy by telemental health at any time for in-person therapy or a referral
- You will need to participate in creating an appropriate space for your telemental health sessions
- You will need to participate in managing technology failures and mental health emergencies
- Your therapist follows security best practices and legal standards in order to protect your health information, but you will also need to participate in maintaining your own security and privacy
What is Telemental Health?
Telehealth service or technology assisted service is ‘a health service, other than a telemedicine medical service, delivered by a health professional licensed, certified, or otherwise entitled to practice in this state and acting within the scope of the health professional’s license, certification, or entitlement to a patient at a different physical location than the health professional using telecommunications or information technology.’
Services delivered via telehealth rely on electronic, internet-based technology tools. Fuller Life uses a HIPAA compliant service, Ring Central, which includes video-conferencing software, text messaging, and a virtual phone system. You will need access to reliable internet service and either a smartphone or computer with a video camera and speakerin order to engage in telemental health work with your therapist. If you have any questions or concerns about the above tools, please discuss them with your therapist to address their risks, benefits, and specific application to your treatment.
Benefits and Risks of Telemental Health
Benefits of receiving services via telemental health allows you to receive services:
- at times or in places where the service may not otherwise be available.
- in a fashion that may be more convenient and less prone to delays than in-person meetings.
- when you are unable to travel to the therapist’s office.
The unique characteristics of telemental health may also help some people make improved progress on health goals that may not have been otherwise achievable without telemental health.
Receiving services via telemental health has the following risk of:
- technical failures, such as unstable internet connection or sudden failures related to computers, smartphone or local power services.
- limiting your therapist’s ability to directly intervene in crisis or emergencies.
- potential breach of confidentiality as Cloud-based service personnel, IT assistants, and malicious actors (“hackers”) may have the ability to access your private information that is transmitted or stored in the process of telemental health-based service delivery.
Interruptions may disrupt services at important moments, and your therapist may be unable to reach you quickly or using the most effective tools.
Assessing Telemental Health’s Fit for You
Although it is well validated by research, service delivery via telemental health is not a good fit for every person. Your therapist will continuously assess if working via telemental health is appropriate for your case. If it is not appropriate, your therapist will help you find in-person therapists with whom to continue services. You have right to stop receiving services by telemental health at any time without any repercussions. Please talk to your therapist if you find the telemental health platform so difficult to use that it distracts from the services being provided, if the medium causes trouble focusing on your services, or if there are any other reasons why the telemental health medium seems to be causing problems in receiving services.
Your Telemental Health Environment
You will be responsible for creating a safe and confidential space during sessions at the address you provide on your consent form. You should use a space that is free of other people. It should also be difficult or impossible for people outside the space to see or hear your interactions with your therapist during the session. If you are unsure of how to do this, please ask your therapist for assistance. If you are at a location other than the one disclosed below please tell your therapist at the start of the session.
Our Communication Plan
After scheduling, your therapist will send you a meeting invitation with information for how to access our online secure platform for tele-health. At our first session, we will verify telephone contact information to use in the case of technology failures. If you need to contact your therapist between sessions, please use email or phone. Please note that all email or text messages you exchange with your therapist, will become a part of your health record. Text messages are for scheduling only. Therapy by phone is not ideal and not allowed for ongoing therapy, but only in the case of some kind of technical failure in the use of video conferencing.
Our Safety and Emergency Plan
As a recipient of telemental health-based services, you will need to participate in ensuring your safety during mental health crises, medical emergencies, and sessions that you have with your therapist. This will include providing an emergency contact and permission to communicate with this person about your care in the case of an emergency.
As an outpatient mental health organization, we are not equipped to address emergencies. If you are ever experiencing an emergency, including a mental health crisis, please call and indicate the emergency clearly in your message. In the event of a psychiatric emergency: Dial 911, go to your local emergency room or request the Crisis Intervention Team at the MHMRA Neuropsychiatric Center by calling 713.970.7070. Do NOT texts, e-mail, voice mail, or faxes for emergencies.
Your Security and Privacy
Our telehealth associates and electronic tools as well as our telehealth trained therapists seek to adhere to security best practices and applicable legal standards for the purposes of protecting your privacy and ensuring that records of your health care services are not lost or damaged.
However, you also have a role to play in maintaining your security. Please use reasonable security protocols to protect the privacy of your own health care information. For example: when communicating with your therapist, use devices and service accounts that are protected by unique passwords that only you know. Also, use the secure tools that your therapist has supplied for communications.
Please do not record video or audio sessions without your therapist’s consent. Making recordings can quickly and easily compromise your privacy and should be done so with great care. As a training institute, your therapist will record video or audio sessions for training purposes.
Fuller Life Family Therapy Consent
Consent to Telemental health is included with our general consent for treatment, which must be read and signed by all participating adults or on behalf of all participating minors.