We are not offering professional counseling or licensed professional counseling services. This is faith-based lay-counseling. We offer help from a biblically trained, certified "Biblical counselor", Ellen Castillo. We focus solely on spiritual support and guidance. If you are looking for a licensed mental health professional, we are unable to provide that.
Ellen offers counseling in person and online. Please be sure to settle on a location with Ellen prior to signing this consent.
If you would like counseling, please read this Informed Consent carefully, ask Ellen any questions you may have, and sign and date it before your first counseling session (you may do so electronically by simply typing your name).
There are several conditions upon which counseling cases will be initiated. They are listed as follows:
Ellen is a trained and certified biblical counselor. Because she is not medically trained or licensed, she considers her counseling as “lay-counseling” or in-depth discipleship. The advice and counsel she gives will come from her understanding of the gospel, God’s Word, and the approach and methods from her training and ongoing education as a certified biblical counselor. She does not seek to replace medical care, proper diagnosis, or any form of medical advice. You are urged to be under the care of your physician with regular checkups, and she will refer you to your physician for anything potentially physiological that requires diagnosis and medical treatment.
All counseling is conducted in accordance with Ellen's understanding of Scripture. Your counseling will be biblical in which the Scriptures are the authority. This does not negate the need for some to also be under proper medical care for their struggles. Ellen is willing to work along with your medical team when appropriate.
Information disclosed in counseling sessions will be held confidential only as a biblical counselor believes the Bible or the State requires. Because this is considered discipleship, biblical counselors are not bound by privacy laws. In certain circumstances, the Bible requires that facts be disclosed to selected others (Matt. 18:15- 20), typically a pastor, elder, or other appropriate support (such as family members.) Ellen holds a high view of the local church, and her relationship with you is one way that she serves your church.
By signing this consent, you are entrusting Ellen with the decision to disclose information. However, Ellen will not disclose without your knowledge and you will be offered the opportunity to participate in that disclosure (with exceptions stated below.)
If you are experiencing domestic violence, your safety is the #1 priority in counseling. Therefore, we will develop a safe plan together, considering your unique circumstances.
Exceptions: Ellen is able to disclose without your consent if she believes that you are in danger to self or others. She will notify appropriate authorities and any other individuals that need to be informed. If she suspects child abuse or elder abuse, or current criminal behavior committed by you or against you, she is obligated to report to proper authorities.
If Ellen is counseling a minor, an adult parent or guardian must consent by signing below. She will use her best judgment about disclosing counseling session information to parents/guardians, sharing whatever is deemed important and necessary for their role as the authority and primary discipler of that minor. She considers herself a type of partner in caring for the minor, not a replacement for parenting. Parents should not portray counseling as punitive in any way, and must agree to trust the counselor's discretion and judgement while at the same time having full freedom to ask questions, participate in sessions if deemed helpful, and openly discussing the general progress being made in counseling.
IMPORTANT: Parents/guardians or another agreed upon adult are to be nearby at all times while we are counseling a minor. We will do that in such a way that the minor has privacy in conversations. We will go over those logistics with you prior to seeing the minor.
LENGTH OF COUNSELING:
There is no required length of counseling relationships. This varies case by case. Ellen will discuss this with you as you progress.
Each session will typically be about 1 hour in length, with some flexibility.
At any time during our time together, for reasons sufficient to himself/herself, the counselor—as also the counselee or guardian—shall have the option of terminating meetings.
LOCATION OF COUNSELING:
This will be determined by you and your counselor, who will explain your options before you sign this consent form. Again, please do not sign until we mutually agree on a location.
The fee for counseling is $75.00 per session (typically about an hour). Occasionally, there are partial scholarships for those who need assistance. Please speak with Ellen before signing this form if you are under hardship and unable to pay the full cost.
Ellen will send you an invoice (by email) after your session, which is due upon receipt. The invoice will have instructions for your choice of payment methods.
You will be invoiced for the full session amount for any no-shows.
Please give a 24 hour notice whenever possible if you must cancel. You will not be invoiced for a cancellation. However, after several cancellations in a row, you might need to be placed on a wait list for future appointments (or you may terminate counseling) to make room for others.
Ellen will provide homework assignments that will assist you in your spiritual growth. Some homework will be given during your session, and some may be emailed to you at a later time. (Be sure to watch for emails or messages from Ellen throughout the week.)
If you are unwilling to do the homework assigned, your meetings will be terminated.
You may be asked to purchase a notebook or study books or other resources for your homework. If there is a financial hardship, there are other options if you mention this to Ellen.
I agree to adhere to the above requirements, and I give my consent for counseling with Ellen Castillo.