Ames Counseling Center
Straight Forward Counseling For
Couples | Individuals | Teens
2515 University Blvd, Suite 106
Ames, IA 50010
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take insurance?
We currently only accept Wellmark, Blue Cross/ Blue shield. If you are uncertain if you BC/BS plan covers mental health issues, please call them first before making an appointment.
How much does therapy cost?
We don’t like to discuss figures over the internet, but we are competitive and it is not as much as you might think. Please feel free to call us for details.
NOTE: Calling around for therapy to get the best price is not usually the best policy. In most instances like with a new car, if we pay more we expect more. This is not necessarily true with therapy. The most expensive therapist is not necessarily the best therapist. You want a therapist that fits with your goals. That is why we provide this information on the internet, so that you can make an educated choice
What if we are struggling financially and cannot pay your rates?
We make referrals to agencies in the area who have sliding fees or take government subsidies.
Do you take Title 19 or DHS, Crime Victims or other government subsidies?
We do not currently take these types of programs.
How do clients pay for therapy?
Clients pay at the end of each session with cash, personal check, or credit/debit card. This also means you are responsible for the deductible at the end of the session if you are paying with insurance.
Do you have a sliding fee scale?
Questions About Affairs
Affairs are one of the most common problems we see in marital therapy. It is very difficult to handle alone and marital therapy is very important. There are three issues to deal with:
1. What led to the person’s affair and working on self-care so it won’t happen again
2. How the spouse who didn’t have the affair is handling this discover
3. How the couple can reconnect after the loss of trust
These are very important issues to work through and couples are rarely equipped to handle them without some assistance. We’ve helped many couples navigate their way through these waters. If the partner who had the affair is willing to end the affair and work on the marriage the prospects for the couple are very good as long as they are able to do the work they need to do. We have steps couples can take to restore their relationships after an affair.
What if I’ve had an affair and haven’t told my spouse?
The most significant thing about an affair is the secrets. Without secrets affairs wouldn’t happen. If secrets continue, it is very difficult to feel a person is genuine and close. We can help in this process.
What if I suspect my spouse has or is having an affair?
The problem with affairs is secrets. The problem with snooping is secrets! Most people don’t tell their partner they are snooping. Secrets by either spouse is a problem. If one person is having an affair that is one problem. If one person is snooping that is another problem. Accountability is important, but accountability is NOT snooping.
What About Anger, Fighting and Domestic Violence
What if the physical violence or the threat of violence is a concern?
The number one concern is safety. If your life or well-being is threatened, getting away to a safe place may be in order. There are domestic abuse shelters for spouses and children when a partner is unwilling to cooperate with counseling.
If both partners are willing to work together on reducing abuse, we can be of assistance. While the person who commits the acts of violence is responsible for his or her actions, partners can work together to make their interactions around conflict more positive. We take a pro-active approach to teach couples other ways to interact, which, if followed, can eliminate abuse from the family.
What if we have a no contact order but we still want marital therapy?
If you have a no contact order, that means no contact, including therapy, unless you get a judge’s order to make marital therapy an exception to the order. In some cases the no contact order may be removed in entirety if the couple is motivated to learn how to resolve their differences in a mutually beneficial way.
If you have a no contact order and wish to go to joint therapy, talk with your lawyer and/or judge to get the court order removed or to have marital therapy inserted as an exception. If the latter, please bring a written copy of the court order with you when you start therapy with us.
What if one of us has received a court order for marital therapy?
We do not offer court order therapy
What if My Spouse Won’t Come to Therapy?
What if my spouse isn’t interested or won’t come to marital therapy?
We encourage partners to come together to marital therapy at Heart to Heart Communication. Our approach is to NOT take sides of one partner against another, but to seek understanding between people. We attempt to help couples minimize blame and to come together as partners again.
Our approach is pro-active.
We don’t just sit and let one partner hammer the other partner. We give ideas that are practical and can make a difference in a couple’s life. Often these results are noticed immediately.
REMEMBER: marriage is made up of only two people. If one of you think the marriage is in trouble then it is in trouble!!! It is time for both to heed this and start to work on their marriage.
NOTE: Most people aren’t afraid to contact a heart surgeon for heart surgery, or a master mechanic to overhaul the car’s engine, or a dentist to take care of teeth. Yet many people think they can fix their marriages on their own without any help from others. Marriage is our expertise.
An old proverb says, “A wise man listens to advice, but a fool rushed headlong to destruction.” Advice may not be supportive of American individualism, but it certainly can save a marriage! We know what destroys marriages. We know what saves marriages. We know how to intervene with troubled marriages.
This is what we do!
Let us tell you a bit about the road you are traveling down, because we’ve mapped this territory out with others. We’ve been down the road before. We know where the bumps are, the watering holes, the cliffs and obstacles. This is information that can save your marriage!!!
However, not all partners will come to therapy even if they’ve read the info on our website! If only one person is willing to come to therapy we encourage that partner to come. One person can make a difference. We still maintain a positive approach and seek solutions, rather than letting therapy becoming a complaining session where the absent partner is blamed for the problems in the marriage.
What About Remarriage and Step Families
Research indicates that marriages beyond the first one are more fragile than first marriages. People in second marriages break up at higher rates than first marriages. This is easy to figure out. Divorce is very difficult and most people struggle a long time before they go through with it. But once a road has been traveled down it is much easier to go back down that road. In addition, people who remarry often have not had the time to heal from the first marriage and these hurts are brought into the second marriage. PLUS, even without these concerns, step-families bring with them their own unique set of problems that cannot be ignored. We know what these issues are and can help couples prepare for inevitable situations and feelings that step-families will face. PRE-marital counseling for potential step-families is HIGHLY recommended. If you are already married, don’t worry. We can assist you in making your marriage what it needs to be.
What About Separated, Filed for Divorce and Divorce
What if one of us wants to leave?
In certain circumstances, a little space can be a part of a partner’s healing. However, without assistance, separation often leads to divorce. Separation is a difficult thing to manage even with marital therapy. Without assistance, separation can prove fatal.
There are two kinds of separation:
a. Separation to work on the marriage
b. Separation to divorce
Most people are only aware of separation to divorce so they are very threatened and assume the worst about separation. We can help you navigate separation so that it works for you instead of causing you more marital trouble. CALL US IF AT ALL POSSIBLE BEFORE YOU SEPARATE. If you have already separated we can still help, but the process will be a little more difficult.
What if we’ve already separated, but still want to work on the relationship?
Give us a call! Often during separation people realize things they didn’t before.
What if one of us has already filed for divorce but we both want to work on the relationship?
Our experience indicates that not everyone who files for divorce wants to get a divorce or ends up in a divorce. People file for divorce often change their minds or didn’t even intend to divorce from the beginning as they tell us they were just trying to get their partner’s attention that the relationship is in trouble. Often the one who files is still ambivalent about divorce and hoping that taking some action will give them a sense of peace that doesn’t come. We have been able to help many couples stay together even after they’ve filed.
What if I’m divorced? Can you help me?
The process of divorce is one of the most painful of experiences whether or not a person pursued the divorce. Some have said that divorce is even more painful than having a spouse die, because at least if the spouse died, a person realizes it was not his or her fault. Divorce always carries with it the might-have-beens. This is tough to deal with alone. We can help people heal from this so that they can face their next relationships with more dignity. Unfortunately, many people who divorce don’t get the help they need and get into another relationship too soon or before they have changed personally. They end up doing the same mistakes a second time. Research indicates that second marriages are more likely to fail than first marriages and third marriages are more likely to fail than second marriages. Doing the work you need to BEFORE you are romantically involved, will help insure your later marriage against possible failure.
Do you see dating or engaged couples?
We highly recommend pre-marital counseling for couples planning to get married. Research indicates that how partners treat each other before they marry predicts if they will get a divorce later! We can show what these divorce predictors are and how NOT TO DO THEM!! The material we share from PREP helps couples reduce their chances of divorce.
Do You See Individuals in Therapy?
Of course. Brandon sees individuals from ages 13 and older. See the homepage to see a list of what Brandon specializes in.
What about spiritual issues?
We understand that spirituality is a fundamental way of life for many people. We seek to help partners harness their relationship with God to improve their own attitude, to give them strength and to give them guidance on how to live. We do not seek to convert clients to any particular faith, but are available to help them use the faith they already may have. We go at the client’s pace and do not force spirituality upon anyone.
Since we respect and honor people’s faith we have many pastors who refer clients to us. We also have many clients who may not have a faith, but in the midst of their problems, realize that it is time to look into this area of their lives. We encourage these folk in therapy about their budding interest in spiritual things and make referrals to local churches as appropriate to the client.
NOTE: if you are NOT interested in spiritual things, don’t worry. Our task is to help you with the problems you present to us. We may ask about your interest in spiritual things and if this is not an area you want to explore we respect your decision.
Do you see families?
Brandon is a trained family therapist.
What age of children do you see?
I work with teenagers only (ages 13 and older).