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How it works

 Getting Started with Counseling

Considering counseling can bring up many questions. Here are some of the most common questions. I hope they help you to make a decision about starting counseling with me. Call or text me today at 312-316-7703 for an appointment or more information.


How do I obtain a good faith estimate of costs for services? 

In an effort to protect you from surprise medical bills from out-of-network care, I provide self-pay clients a good faith estimate of costs for services upon request or at the time of scheduling services. The good faith estimate includes expected charges for services. Please click here for a good faith estimate of costs for my services.


As a therapist, are you going to tell me what to do? 

I am here to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings so that you can make decisions in ways that will help you to feel better.  I won’t tell you what to do but I will support you and offer suggestions as you explore your options. As an experienced mental health, alcohol and drug counselor, I will help you to understand what is not working and teach you the skills to help you get what you want.

Can you guarantee I will feel better after therapy? 

Research shows that people who attend counseling are 6 times more likely to feel better than those who try to solve their problems on their own. That said, like anything, you get out of therapy what you put into it. While I can’t guarantee you will end up happier, I can say that my clients who stay the course and who up show up committed to the process achieve results that make them significantly happier and healthier in their lives. And I promise to do my best to help and to support you on your journey. As part of that promise, I want your feedback along the way. I will actively seek out your feedback on how you see the therapy is progressing so that I can be responsive and helpful to you.

What happens in the initial sessions? 

Great question! When you begin therapy, we will start with a structured evaluation to assess your situation and to develop a plan to help you. My only goal is to help you to be happier in your life. That is it. So I will find out from you what is not working and help you to make it better. If all goes well, we will then decide how often we will meet and what issues we will work on together.

Do you take insurance for reimbursement?

I am not a provider on any insurance panels. However, depending on your insurance company, you may be entitled to partial reimbursement for individual and family counseling services as I am an Out-of-Network provider (Note: insurance does not cover Recovery Monitoring Services). While I do not offer direct insurance billing at this time, I am happy to support you in requesting reimbursement from your insurance company for my services. That said, I am not a party to the contract you have with your health insurance company. So, I cannot guarantee that you will get any reimbursement.

If you would like to submit a receipt to your insurance company – to see if they might reimburse you, simply ask me for help obtaining the necessary documentation called a superbill. You can then submit a claim to your insurance company directly for patient direct reimbursement. 


Some of my clients receive anywhere from 20% to 70% reimbursement for individual therapy. The amount (and whether you are entitled to reimbursement) is dependent on your policy benefits and if you’ve met your annual deductible. You can click here to download my Out-of-Network Insurance Guide for my fees and instructions on how to verify your insurance benefits. 


Out-of-Pocket Billing


I offer several options for those who need to pay for counseling services out-of-pocket. You can:

Pay with cash, credit, or debit cards

Use an HSA card or flex spending card

Write a check payable to Mark O’Brien

Are there any risks involved with using my insurance? 


Using your medical insurance for counseling has some risks involved to you. You see, in order to use your medical insurance, you must be given a mental or substance use disorder diagnosis which will now be listed on your permanent medical records. This may cause problems later when you might be asked “have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?”on a job application or when applying for health insurance or life insurance. It is up to you but I wanted to make you aware of potential complications. Paying out-of-pocket reduces this liability as no one will have access to your records unless required by law.


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