Frequently Asked Questions About My Practice

Darlene Kirtley, M.S. LPC
Oasis Counseling and Enrichment

Are you a psychologist?

No.  A psychologist is someone who completed a doctorate program in Psychology or Education, passed an exam, completed a one year residency and earned a license. A psychiatrist is someone who completed medical school, residency, and earned an M.D. Psychiatrists typically see people for the purposes of prescribing and monitoring medication but usually do not do much counseling during your visit. A typical follow-up visit with a psychiatrist is about 15 minutes during which they will discuss your symptoms, side effects, and any relevant medical issues.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, or LPC. An LPC is someone who earned a master's degree in Counseling or a closely related field, including completing a practicum and internship, passed a state licensing exam and then completed 2-3 years of counseling experience while under the close supervision of an experienced and licensed counselor.  The job tasks of a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Psychologist are very similar.  The difference is that usually a psychologist has a shorter post-graduate internship (or residency) but longer schooling and may be more qualified to handle severe psychopathology.  Both are licensed mental health professionals who are qualified to diagnose and treat mental health issues.

What theory of counseling do you use?

If I had to label myself I would say that I am "Prescriptive" meaning that I use whatever scientifically valid theory/form of therapy is most useful to the person and their unique situation at the time. Just like a doctor doesn't put a cast on everyone's leg, or prescribe each patient an antibiotic, I, as a mental health therapist do not use only one technique or theory.

My approach to counseling is that each person has the ability to heal themselves and find their own answers.  My job as a counselor is to help you tap into that inner resource and support you in your growth. To do that, I draw from many theories including Person-Centered, Jungian, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Rational- Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).  With children and families, I also work from a systems and strengths-based approach.

What kind of counseling do you do?

Traditional talk therapy, play therapy, and sand-tray therapy are modalities that I use. I also lead enrichment classes on a variety of topics. Classes for adults include Parenting, Self-exploration Through Sand-tray, Personality, and Career Exploration. Children's classes include Logic and Creative Problem-Solving and Psychology for Kids. I also offer group therapy for issues such as grief and adults with Aspergers.

What type of clients do you see?

 I do individual and group counseling for children and adults.  I also enjoy working with families.  When I work with a child for individual counseling I will also be working with the family whether it be teaching behavior modification strategies, supportive measures or family therapy.  Frequently, I see couples.

What type of issues do you work with?

Anxiety, OCD, Asperger Syndrome, life changes, grief, enrichment, self-esteem, school problems, parenting issues, relationship conflicts, self-defeating patterns, sexual abuse, stress, and trauma.  

My adult clients are generally well-functioning people who benefit from insight-oriented therapy.  Clients who tend to be creative also appreciate the opportunity to incorporate expressive arts in their therapy at Oasis.  With children I have successfully worked with kids who have Aspergers, anxiety, school problems, self-esteem issues and toilet training issues.

Are there any issues that you don't treat?

Yes, there are some issues in which I do not have any expertise and would refer to another provider. These issues include: severe eating disorders, domestic violence, gambling and other addictions, and sexual offenders.

Do you take insurance?

I am an approved provider for select insurance panels. Please check with me to see if I am an approved provider for your plan.  If not, you may have out-of-network benefits, choose to pay out-of-pocket, or I can help you find another qualified mental health provider who takes your insurance. For those who prefer to pay out of pocket, you'll find that I keep my rates within a reasonable range and I am willing to work with you on payment arrangements.  I accept payment via cash, check or credit card.  You may also use your Health Spending Account for counseling services (but you cannot use both HSA and insurance except for your co-pay).

What is the difference between in-network and out-of-network benefits?

With in-network benefits, you pay the counselor a co-pay and the insurance company pays the rest. With out-of-network benefits, you pay the counselor the full fee and your insurance company will reimburse you everything but your co-pay. In some instances, it is actually less expensive to use an out-of-network provider.  For example, with in-network, you may pay $25 per session. With out-of-network, you may be reimbursed something like 85%, so if the session fee was $100, you would be reimbursed $85, meaning that the session only cost you $15.  In another example, suppose your insurance company reimburses 50% for out-of-network and your session is $80.  You will get back $40, meaning your session cost you $40.  If your co-pay for in-network is $25, that is only a difference of $15.  In the end, I believe it is more important to find a therapist with whom you have a good fit, in an office where you feel comfortable than it is to save $15 (although as mentioned, it is sometimes cheaper to go out-of-network).

Everyone's insurance situation is different so make sure you know your particular plan, benefits, deductible and co-pay if you plan on using insurance. You also need to know that in order to reimburse the service, most insurance companies require a mental health or medical diagnosis, and some diagnoses are not covered.  For example, many insurance companies do not cover autism spectrum disorders.

How long is a session?

Sessions are 50 minutes. The first session may be up to 70 minutes. 

What is your cancellation policy?

Please give as much notice as possible, preferably at least 24 hours. No-shows and less than 3 hours notice will be charged for the session.


Oasis Counseling & Enrichment

201 Main Suite 9

Parkville, MO 64152

(816) 651-1868

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