Common Questions

What is Somatic Experiencing®

“Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence.”

–Dr. Peter A. Levine

SE 101

“Somatic Experiencing is a body-centered approach to treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that, rather than focusing only on thoughts or emotions associated with a traumatic event, expands to include the natural bodily (somatic) responses. It was first conceptualized by trauma therapist Dr. Peter Levine in the 1970s and in the years since it has come to be considered a leading-edge therapy for PTSD, with over 12,000 healing professionals trained.” Credit to Adam Grafa “”

Why don’t you contract with insurance companies?

In creating Bluestem Behavioral Health, LLC, I wanted to create a practice in which I could work with you in the way that we both agree will best meet your goals. By not contracting with insurance companies I am considered an “out-of-network” provider. Some insurance companies will pay a portion of the cost for an out-of-network provider.

Benefits to clients paying out-of-pocket for behavioral health services include:

  • The provider is your agent and works for you
  • Increased privacy and confidentiality
  • More flexibility and control over treatment including house calls and evening/weekend appointments
  • Psychiatric diagnosis is not needed
  • Your mental health history and private information does not become part of a medical record in a large health care system
  • Paying directly for your care you may be more motivated and make greater gains in fewer sessions

Whenever possible, I will talk with you about options, help you understand your insurance benefits, develop payment plans, and design a treatment plan that is affordable. No matter where you decide to seek services, check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Here are some specific questions you should ask:

  • What are my benefits for behavioral health?
  • What is my out-of-network benefit for behavioral health?
  • What is my yearly deductible for behavioral health? Is that number “individual” or “family”?
  • How much of my behavioral health deductible has been met for this year?
  • How many counseling sessions does my plan cover?

How will you protect my privacy and confidentiality?

Privacy and confidentiality are of the utmost importance to me and are so important that we will talk about them in our first session before we talk about anything else.

Information shared between a client and psychologist is considered “privileged,” and the relationship is protected by state and federal laws. None of what we talk about is shared with anyone, except in very specific circumstances. Any time you schedule an appointment, contact me by phone, e-mail, or in person, that is your private business and it is confidential. Because I have a small practice I do all my own administrative work and billing so your privacy is even more protected.

There are two circumstances under which information about you can be shared. The first is when you request that I share information. If you do this, we will take the time to discuss specifically what you want released and to whom. Once we agree on specifics, I will ask you to sign a written authorization clarifying our agreement.

There are circumstances in which psychologists can share (or may be required to share) information without the client’s consent. These exceptions, as defined by the American Psychological Association, include:

  • Psychologists may disclose private information without consent in order to protect the patient or the public from serious harm – if, for example, a client discusses specific plans to seriously harm themselves or another person.
  • Psychologists are required to report ongoing domestic violence, abuse, or neglect of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. (However, if an adult discloses that he or she was abused as a child, the psychologist typically isn’t bound to report that abuse, unless there are other children continuing to be abused.)
  • Psychologists may release information if they receive a court order. That might happen if a person’s mental health came into question during legal proceedings.

For more information about confidentiality and privacy see:

Why Bluestem?

I chose the name Bluestem Behavioral Health, LLC, for my business name because I feel it represents my personal journey and also what I hope to bring to the community. I grew up on a farm on the prairie of North Dakota and was the first in my family to attend college. Attending college at Bemidji State University I felt like I found my true home. Big bluestem grass is symbolic to me because it grows on the prairie, but also thrives surrounded by pines in the fields of northern Minnesota. Bluestem grass is tolerant of a wide range of environments with roots that are deep, making it resilient to wind. Animals and small birds use this grass for food and shelter. These qualities are similar to those needed for a healthy counseling relationship and a healthy community. Also known as “turkey foot,” the nickname reflects my sense of fun and the importance of keeping things real. In everyone’s life, sometimes we are a “bluestem” and sometimes we are a “turkey foot.”

The Bluestem Center in Rochester, MN, has a link that explains beautifully what the bluestem grass represents to them. I fully endorse their comparisons and wish I had written this piece myself.