Mountain Journey to Wellness

FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS

About

How do I access my therapy sessions?


Stepstone Connect offers exclusively online tele-mental health services over our encrypted and HIPPA-compliant platform. All clients are able to access their meetings with a smartphone, tablet, or video-enabled computer. Once admitted to Stepstone, your clinician will email you a link and meeting ID you will need to access your sessions.




What is Stepstone Connect


Stepstone is a national online therapy platform. We change the way people get help with facing life's challenges by providing convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist. Stepstone Connect makes professional therapy available anytime, anywhere, through a computer, tablet or smartphone.




Who will be helping me?


Stepstone Connect's clinicians are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional therapists (LPC). All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state's professional board after successfully completing the necessary education, exams, training and practice.




How do I get started?


The intake/application process is simple. We just need someone’s full name, address, date of birth, phone numbers and their insurance plan information. Pictures of the front and back of the card are easiest to use. We can then confirm coverage with your insurance company and schedule someone for the next available appointment.




What programs does Stepstone Connect offer?


We provide Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Individual Therapy for a variety of issues, Family & Marriage Counseling, Peer Support Groups, Tinnitus Support, and Senior Wellness. We also pride ourselves on our AWARE program serving First Responders, departments, and their families.





IOP

How long is Stepstone's IOP program?


Our IOP program usually runs for a period of eight weeks. We offer daytime and evening programs to accommodate different schedules. Someone can switch attendance between the day and evening programs. If possible this should be avoided in order to maintain group cohesion, but it can be accommodated if necessary for people who have changing work schedules or other conflicts. This can vary between individuals depending on their specific needs. After graduating IOP may clients continue to work with their individual therapist and attend a weekly group as needed.




Is IOP the best form of treatment for me?


Not necessarily. Many clients who have come to Stepstone for an initial assessment were determined to need a higher level of care. Some of these cases include individuals who were found to be a danger to themselves or others. Psychiatric facilities and hospitals are recommended in those situations. Other times clients are coming in with chemical dependency issues and these clients do not have sufficient amounts of clean time to be appropriate for IOP in OP. Referrals for residential drug and alcohol treatment centers are provided in such cases so that clients can be medically supervised for their detoxification phase under 24-hour nursing care. IOP is ideal for someone coming out of residential treatment and looking to step-down to a lower level of care.




What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?


An Intensive Outpatient Program (also known as IOP) is a structured treatment program that provides group therapy, education, and skill-building. Our online, virtual IOP program offers the psychiatric care, professional counseling, and peer support of a residential or inpatient program condensed into three hour sessions, several days per week.




Who is eleigible for Stepstone's IOP?


Stepstone’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is for anyone who wants to change or stop their use of alcohol or substances. Eligibility for the IOP is determined by an assessment conducted by our admissions team and clinicians. Most people are eligible for our IOP unless they have life-threatening withdrawal or medical conditions, a living environment that would prevent successful treatment, or a mental health condition that would prevent effectual participation in a group setting.




How soon can I start?


Enrollment in our IOP occurs on a rolling basis so, someone can begin the program at any time and usually within a day or two of initial contact.




What happens after IOP?


Following completion of the intensive outpatient group our staff will work with you to transition into traditional counseling if necessary or desired and will assist you in creating an aftercare plan. Participants are encouraged to participate in community-based support group meetings and will be given information on wellness groups, and/or peer recovery coaching as continued aftercare. We will also assist with referrals to individual counseling, psychiatric care, and family and couples counseling as appropriate in order to strengthen a foundation for long-term recovery. Our staff are knowledgeable about effective and trustworthy resources in the areas we serve.





Insurance

Do you accept insurance?


We accept most insurances. We'll guide you through the process by working with your insurance company. Contact our team for a verification of benefits at s.anderson@stepstoneconnect.com of give us a call.




What are the costs of your treatment programs?


Most insurance plans now include coverage for substance use disorder treatment and many plans cover much of the cost. We will determine the out-of-pocket cost for you once we have a person’s plan information. If there is a large deductible, or insurance doesn’t cover the service, we can arrange flexible payment plans with our clients. The cost for each person’s individualized program at Stepstone will vary depending on recommended level of care, including which services will be included as well as the frequency of sessions.





Online Therapy

Is Online Therapy Effective?


Studies show that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy in many cases. -- A 2014 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that anxiety disorders can be effectively treated via online cognitive behavioral therapy. Participants in the study reported that their improvements were sustained at a one-year follow-up. -- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that online therapy is just as effective as face-to-face treatment for depression. -- 2018 study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders Determined that online cognitive behavioral therapy is "effective, acceptable, and practical health care." The study found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was just as effective as face-to-face treatment for major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.




What Are the Potential Benefits?


Many people enjoy the convenience of online therapy. They find it saves time since they don’t have to commute to appointments. Scheduling can also be more convenient. Live therapy appointments may be available during evenings and weekends.





Privacy

How do I know that my sessions are private?


Stepstone Connect takes the privacy of it’s clients very seriously and uses a HIPPA- compliant, medical grade software for all telehealth sessions. Our platform uses TLS 1.2 with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit algorithm for the Desktop Client, and does not allow for any screen recordings or any information to be saved after the video conference has been completed.




Can others see me when I'm in a group session?


The only people who can see you are the other Stepstone clients in your group and your Stepstone counselor. Stepstone clients often develop tight bonds through their shared experience in group sessions together, and of course, your Stepstone counselor needs to get to know you and vice-versa.




Do I have to use my real name in group sessions?


We encourage you to use just your first name and last name initial, or some nickname that you choose when attending a group. For added privacy most clients you see will live in another state or outside of your local area.




Is my treatment confidential?


Yes. Your privacy is both guaranteed by law and our priority. From the moment you first interact with us, we protect your identity and communications at every step of the process. Of course, to benefit from any treatment program, clients must share their thoughts and feelings with their counselors and group session members. But how much you share is up to you.




Can someone else be in the room when I'm in a group session?


No. As a Stepstone Connect client, you have a responsibility to keep confidential what you see and hear in group. Stepstone Connect clients agree to be legally-bound to keep their home space and computer equipment safe for the entire group. In some cases, for example when a Stepstone Connect client does an individual therapy session in which having family participation may be judged to be therapeutic by the Stepstone Connect counselor, special permission to bring in someone else may be granted.




How do you make sure no one sees email communications between me and my clinicians?


Unless you choose to share your private communications numbers with your counselor, all client-counselor communications take place inside Stepstone Connect’s HIPAA-compliant, password-protected portal. You can message your counselor and other clients you know, as well as exchange links, documents, and other file types.




Is Stepstone Connect HIPAA-Compliant


Yes. All Stepstone Connect client health information is transmitted and stored in highly-encrypted systems, and handled according to HIPAA standards. Video streams in Stepstone Connect therapy sessions are encrypted to the global standard for security.