Your Therapist and therapy
This description has been prepared to inform you about our qualifications, how we view the therapeutic process, and what you can expect from either one of us as your therapist.
Qualifications: Matt earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO (1991); Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO (2003); and a Doctor of Ministry from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO (2014). He was a pastor and counselor at two different churches in Tucson, AZ (2004-2014), and used his counseling experience as the Pastor of Congregational Care and then as the Pastor of Families and Next Generation Ministry in Northern California (2014-2016). He is licensed as a professional counselor in AZ and MO and belongs to the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).
Cheri earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO (1989); and Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO (2003). Moving to Tucson with her husband Cheri worked part time as a counselor in affiliation with a church while raising three children.
Matt & Cheri with more than a decade of counseling experience each, and continuing education, working with individuals, couples, and families through individual and group therapy, our practice has grown to include issues in and patterns of addiction, anger, anxiety, and depression as well as premarital, marital, and parental conflict resolution. Cheri enjoys working with women in transition and women wanting to improve their level of health and fitness. In 2012, she began working with therapists in a supervisory role to obtain a license and is credentialed by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners to provide clinical supervision.
Please Note: The counselors are not a psychiatrist and cannot prescribe medication. If you disclose a need in an area beyond our expertise, we will refer you to another health care provider. In the case of a medical emergency, please call 911.
The Therapeutic Process: Therapy is a learning process that seeks for you (and significant others) to better understand yourself and others so that healthy interactions are established and greater satisfaction is attained. Initially, you will need to spend some time reviewing the problems that have brought you to therapy. The counselor will get to know you, how you view yourself, and how you and significant persons in your life interact. The counselor's responsibility in the process is to listen, to assist you in communicating honestly with others who take part in the therapy and with him/her, and to provide an environment of trust and respect so that all present can grow through meaningful and genuine interaction. This process is important in establishing a foundation that will provide you with an opportunity for greater awareness and insight that will assist you in subsequent steps of bringing about change. Whether you meet with Matt or Cheri, after we have developed sufficient background, together we will decide upon specific goals and objectives. We will then jointly develop a treatment plan outlining how these goals will be achieved. Such a plan will likely require strong efforts. Feelings of discomfort inherent to change may be experienced. Please understand that remembering and therapeutically resolving unpleasant events can arouse intense feelings of anxiety, anger, or depression. Seeking to resolve issues between family members, marital partners, and other persons may initially feel uncomfortable. It is possible that changes may occur that were not originally intended. Simultaneous or subsequent to the emotional discomfort, you may experience feelings of relief, healing, and joy inherent to the therapeutic process. The designation Licensed Professional Counselor signifies that we view the counseling process systemically which means we recognize the relationship between individuals, and that whatever affects one person in a relationship will affect the other. Subsystems occur within families, and the dynamics of subsystems impact the individuals and other subsystems in ever widening circles and throughout generations. Our work is not limited to a systems approach as we include cognitive and behavioral approaches as well in accomplishing therapeutic goals. We view the mind, body, and spirit as intricately connected parts of the whole person, working together and impacting the world.
What makes our therapy "Christian" in nature?
MATT & CHERI'S APPROACH
Because each person is made in the image of God they have inherent worth and are valuable in the eyes of Christ. All people sin (miss "the mark" of God's standard and rebel against His ways) and are sinned against. As a result people are wounded. This wounding is part of the human experience and impacts us physically, emotionally, & spiritually. The relational impact is four-fold with God, ourselves, others, and all of creation. Healing and restoration come through Jesus. Gospel-centered change happens when sin is dealt with person and work of Jesus Christ. We hold to a Christ-centered, Holy-Spirit led, grace-driven approach that manifests itself in an incarnational way in the person-to-person relationship. As we sit with people and enter into their story we bring our education, life experience, and professional training to each session.
Still curious? Technically we are Christian Integrationists. We take the best of the academic world and modern research, filter it through the Scriptures and apply it using a biblical world and life view. The counseling process is viewed systemically, recognizing the relationship between individuals, families, groups, organizations, etc.
Cognitive and Behavioral approaches are used in accomplishing therapeutic goals as well (See Ephesians 4:20-24). The cognitive-behavioral work addresses the role of the mind in establishing beliefs and patterns of behavior; it attempts to increase awareness of the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and actions. The mind, body, and spirit are intricately connected parts of the whole person, working together and impacting the world.
In addition, a Solution-Focused model will emphasize the present more than the past, discovering and implementing those things that work to make life not only more manageable, but joyful and rewarding! Therapy is conducted collaboratively, combining the intuition and experience of the client with the knowledge and insight of the therapist. We will spend some time on major events of the past, but will also focus on the present because God meets us in the present (Exodus 3:13-15, Matthew 28:18-20, and consider all of the "I am" statements in the Gospel of John!)
Christian counseling recognizes a spiritual element to the nature of change. Acknowledging God as a power higher than self and able to act presently in lives and circumstances provides the potential for change in the one who seeks help.
notice of privacy practices
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
What is Medical Information? The term medical information is synonymous with the terms personal health information and protected health information for purposes of this Notice. It essentially means any individually identifiable health information (either directly or indirectly identifiable), whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that is created or received by a health care provider (me), health plan, or others and relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual (you); the provision of health care (e.g., mental health) to an individual (you); or the past, present, or future payment of the provision of health care to an individual (you).
I am a mental health care provider. More specifically, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, licensed by the state of Missouri. I create and maintain treatment records that contain individually identifiable health information about you. These records are generally referred to as medical records or mental health records, and this notice, among other things, concerns the privacy and confidentiality of those records and the information contained therein. Uses and Disclosures Without Your Authorization - For Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations Federal privacy rules allow health care providers (me) who have a direct treatment relationship with the patient (you) to use or disclose the patient’s personal health information, without the patient’s written authorization, to carry out the health care provider’s own treatment, payment, or health care operations. I may also disclose your protected health information for the treatment activities of any health care provider. This too can be done without your written authorization.
An example of a use or disclosure for treatment purposes: If I decide to consult with another licensed health care provider about your condition, I would be permitted to use and disclose your personal health information, which is otherwise confidential, in order to assist me in the diagnosis or treatment of your mental health condition. Disclosures for treatment purposes are not limited to the minimum necessary standard because physicians and other health care providers need access to the full record and/or full and complete information in order to provide quality care. The word treatment includes, among other things, the coordination and management of health care among health care providers or by a health care provider with a third party, consultations between health care providers, and referrals of a patient for health care from one health care provider to another.
An example of a use or disclosure for payment purposes: If your health plan requests a copy of your health records, or a portion thereof, in order to determine whether or not payment is warranted under the terms of your policy or contract, I am permitted to use and disclose your personal health information.
An example of a use or disclosure for health care operations purposes: If your health plan decides to audit my practice in order to review my competence and my performance, or to detect possible fraud or abuse, your mental health records may be used or disclosed for those purposes. PLEASE NOTE: I may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. Your prior written authorization is not required for such contact. Be sure to let me know where and by what means (phone, letter, email, fax) you may be contacted.
Other Uses and Disclosures Without Your Authorization: I may be required or permitted to disclose your personal health information (e.g., your mental health records) without your written authorization. The following circumstances are examples of when such disclosures may or will be made:
1) If disclosure is compelled by a court pursuant to an order of that court
2) If disclosure is compelled by a board, commission, or administrative agency for purposes of adjudication pursuant to its lawful authority
3) If disclosure is compelled by a party to a proceeding before a court or administrative agency pursuant to a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum (e.g., a subpoena for mental health records), notice to appear, or any provision authorizing discovery in a proceeding before a court or administrative agency
4) If disclosure is compelled by a board, commission, or administrative agency pursuant to an investigative subpoena issued pursuant to its lawful authority
5) If disclosure is compelled by an arbitrator or arbitration panel, when arbitration is lawfully requested by either party, pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum (e.g., a subpoena for mental health records), or any other provision authorizing discovery in a proceeding before an arbitrator or arbitration panel
6) If disclosure is compelled by a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental law enforcement agency
7) If disclosure is compelled by the patient or the patient=s representative pursuant to the federal APrivacy Rule@ which requires this notice
8) If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that I determine a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect
9) If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that I determine a reasonable suspicion of elder abuse or dependent adult abuse
10) If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you are in such mental or emotional condition as to be dangerous to yourself or to the person or property of others, and if I determine that disclosure is necessary to prevent the threatened danger
11) If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you tell me of a serious threat (imminent) of physical violence to be committed by you against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims
12) If disclosure is compelled or permitted, in the event of your death, to the coroner in order to determine the cause of your death
13) If disclosure is required or permitted to a health oversight agency for oversight activities authorized by law including audits, criminal or civil investigations, or licensure or disciplinary actions (e.g., Missouri Division of Professional Registration- Committee for Professional Counselors)
14) If disclosure is compelled by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine my compliance with privacy requirements under the federal regulations (the APrivacy Rule@) 15) If disclosure is otherwise specifically required by law PLEASE NOTE: The above list is not an exhaustive list, but informs you of most circumstances when disclosures without your written authorization may be made. Other uses and disclosures will generally (but not always) be made only with your written authorization, even though federal privacy regulations or state law may allow additional uses or disclosures without your written authorization. Uses or disclosures made with your written authorization will be limited in scope to the information specified in the authorization form, which must identify the information in a specific and meaningful fashion. You may revoke your written authorization at any time, provided that the revocation is in writing and except to the extent that I have taken action in reliance on your written authorization. Your right to revoke an authorization is also limited if the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage for you. Uses or disclosures by me of your personal health information (without your authorization) will be limited to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the use or disclosure. Similarly, when I request your personal health information from another health care provider, health plan or health care clearinghouse, I will make an effort to limit the information requested to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the request. As mentioned above, in the section dealing with uses or disclosures for treatment purposes, the minimum necessary standard does not apply to disclosures to or requests by a health care provider for treatment purposes because health care providers need complete access to information in order to provide quality care. Your Rights Regarding Protected Health Information 1) You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you, such as those necessary to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations. I am not required to agree to your requested restriction. If I do agree, I will maintain a written record of the agreed upon restriction. 2) You have the right to receive confidential communications of protected health information from me by alternative means or at alternative locations. 3) You have the right to inspect and copy protected health information about you by making a specific request to do so in writing. This right to inspect and copy is not absolute - in other words, I am permitted to deny access for specified reasons. For instance, you do not have this right of access with respect to my psychotherapy notes. The term psychotherapy notes means notes recorded (in any medium) by a health care provider who is a mental health professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation during a private counseling session or a group, joint, or family counseling session and that are separated from the rest of the individual’s medical (includes mental health) record. The term excludes medication prescription and monitoring, counseling session start and stop times, the modalities and frequencies of treatment furnished, results of clinical tests, and any summary of the following items: diagnosis, functional status, the treatment plan, symptoms, prognosis, and progress to date. 4) You have the right to amend protected health information in my records by making a request to do so in a writing that provides a reason to support the requested amendment. This right to amend is not absolute - in other words, I am permitted to deny the requested amendment for specified reasons. You also have the right, subject to limitations, to provide me with a written addendum with respect to any item or statement in your records that you believe to be incorrect or incomplete and to have the addendum become a part of your record. 5) You have the right to receive an accounting from me of the disclosures of protected health information made by me in the six years prior to the date on which the accounting is requested. As with other rights, this right is not absolute. In other words, I am permitted to deny the request for specified reasons. For instance, I do not have to account for disclosures made in order to carry out my own treatment, payment or health care operations. I also do not have to account for disclosures of protected health information that are made with your written authorization, since you have a right to receive a copy of any such authorization you might sign. 6) You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from me upon request. PLEASE NOTE: In order to avoid confusion or misunderstanding, I ask that if you wish to exercise any of the rights enumerated above, that you put your request in writing and deliver or send the writing to me. If you wish to learn more detailed information about any of the above rights, or their limitations, please let me know. I am willing to discuss any of these matters with you. As mentioned elsewhere in this document, I am the Privacy Officer.
My Duties I am required by law to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your personal health information. This notice is intended to let you know of my legal duties, your rights, and my privacy practices with respect to such information. I am required to abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect. I reserve the right to change the terms of this notice and/or my privacy practices and to make the changes effective for all protected health information that I maintain, even if it was created or received prior to the effective date of the notice revision. If I make a revision to this notice, I will make the notice available at my office upon request on or after the effective date of the revision and I will post the revised notice in a clear and prominent location. As the Privacy Officer of this practice, I have a duty to develop, implement and adopt clear privacy policies and procedures for my practice and I have done so. I am the individual who is responsible for assuring that these privacy policies and procedures are followed. In general, patient records, and information about patients, are treated as confidential in my practice and are released to no one without the written authorization of the patient, except as indicated in this notice or except as may be otherwise permitted by law. Patient records are kept secured so that they are not readily available to those who do not need them. Because I am the contact person of this practice, you may complain to me and to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights may have been violated. You may file a complaint with me by simply providing me with a writing that specifies the manner in which you believe the violation occurred, the approximate date of such occurrence, and any details that you believe will be helpful to me. I will not retaliate against you in any way for filing a complaint with me or with the Secretary. Complaints to the Secretary must be filed in writing. If you need or desire further information related to this Notice or its contents, or if you have any questions about this Notice or its contents, please feel free to talk to me, and I will do my best to answer your questions and to provide you with additional information.