Julio L. Benezra, M.S.Ed., LPC Alegre Counseling & Consulting Services, LLC

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Professional Counseling?

As a Professional Counselor, I work collaboratively with you and whom you believe needs to be involved in helping you resolve your concerns. My role is to help you identify stressors, how they affect your capacity to function in different environments, and develop a plan of action. Counseling is a means of helping you reach your goals by identifying and removing roadblocks, as well as finding constructive solutions to your problems. Often, treatment goals include improving communication and coping skills, strengthening self-esteem, promoting behavior change, and reaching optimal mental health.

When should I seek professional counseling?

From childhood through late adulthood, there are certain times when you may need help addressing problems and issues that cause you emotional distress or to feel overwhelmed. When you are experiencing these types of difficulties, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced trained professional. I offer the caring, expert assistance that you may need during these stressful times. I can help you address many situations that cause emotional stress, including, but not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Couples, family, and relationship issues
  • Substance abuse and other addictions
  • Sexual abuse and domestic violence
  • Career change and job stress
  • Social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness
  • Adapting to life transitions and phases of life
  • The death of a loved one

I recommend seeking counseling when you have not been:

  • Feeling cheerful and in good spirits
  • Feeling calm and relaxed
  • Active and vigorous
  • Waking up feeling fresh and rested

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in counseling. I can provide support, problem-solving skills, and improve your coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, and stress management. Many people also find that counseling can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Counseling can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from counseling depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from counseling include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What are the qualifications of Professional Counselors?

In the State of Arizona, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) must:

  • Graduate from an accredited university with a Masters degree in a counseling-related program
  • Successfully complete a Practicum or Field Experience with supervision
  • Complete 3200 hours of supervised counseling experience within 24 months
  • Pass the National Board of Certified Counselors examination
  • Pass the requirements of the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners
  • Attend counseling related training workshops and accrue 30 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) every two years

I have met all the Arizona standards to be a Professional Counselor and was awarded license number LPC-1228.

Does my health insurance carrier cover counseling?

I am a provider for many insurance carriers, as you have seen on my Rates and Insurance page.

Most clients I see have some combination of coverage from either an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and/or behavioral health coverage provided by their insurance carrier. Some choose to use cash and not their benefits.

Some employers have an Employee Assistance Program for their employees and family members. This is a pre-paid benefit of employment and typically does not have any co-payments or other out-of-pocket expenses. EAPs offer from 3-10 visits and require the employee to get a pre-authorization number before seeing the counselor. If you have this benefit available to you, please check with your Human Resources Department for the name and benefits associated with your EAP.

The behavioral health coverage provided by your health insurance carrier is available to you and other family members covered under your policy. These benefits have a co-payment between $15-$50. If I am not a provider with your specific health insurance carrier, I can still provide counseling services as an Out-of-Network provider. I can also contact your insurance carrier and make special arrangements, such as a Single Case Agreement. Please check with your Human Resources Department for the specifics of your policy.  For more information, go to my Rates and Insurance information page.

What if I do not have insurance coverage?

If you do not have behavioral health insurance coverage, I can still provide counseling services on an out-of network bais on a fee-for-service. Please call for additional information; we have flexibility with rates after an initial phone consultation.

How long does counseling take?

Ideally, counseling is terminated when the presenting problem becomes more manageable or is resolved. However, some insurance companies and behavioral heath plans may limit the number of sessions for which they will pay. You should check with your health plan to find out more about any limitations in your coverage. We will discuss the length of treatment that may be needed to achieve your goals in the first few sessions.

Is everything I say confidential?

As a client, you are guaranteed the protection of confidentiality within the boundaries of the client/counselor relationship. Disclosures can only take place after you have provided a signed Release of Information. In general, there are three situations in which confidentiality has to be breached. These include:

  1. When I believe that there is clear and imminent danger to you, such as in the case of suicide.
  2. When I believe that someone’s safety is in danger, such as in child or elder abuse.
  3. When a judge issues a court order for your records.

Whenever possible, you will be informed before confidential information is disclosed and why it has to be disclosed.