Frequently Asked Questions



In Case of Emergency

Transitions Counseling does not provide 24-hour crisis hotline services. Should you have a mental health emergency please visit your nearest hospital emergency room or call 911.

Community Emergency Resources

The below agencies are completely separate from Transitions and are provided to give you additional options in a mental health emergency.




Email and Phone Response Times

Email  is the quickest way to reach me. However, if you would like to connect with me via phone prior to your first session I would be happy to do that.

I normally return phone calls Monday-Friday, primarily during daytime hours. I reply to emails primarily Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends.




Fee and Methods of Payment

I accept Cash, Check or Online Payment (via Zelle, Venmo, etc.). I do not accept credit cards. Checks should be made out to Transitions Counseling, and payment is due at the beginning of each session. If possible please make your check out prior to your visit in order to save time during your session.




Fee Sliding-Scale

I provide sliding-scale discounts based on the Annual Household Gross Income of whomever is paying for counseling (i.e., who is writing the check or sending funds digitally).

In some instances the person paying for counseling may not be the same as the person attending. Common examples are college students (where parents are paying) and those in financial need (where a church, friend or family member is paying). It is the payer’s Annual Household Gross Income (which in this case is the helping party’s, and which may be different from the client’s) that determines the sliding-scale fee to be paid. However, it is my belief that clients get more out of counseling the more connected they are to the cost of counseling. So in instances where another party is offering to pay for a client’s counseling I strongly encourage the client and the person assisting them to arrange things such that the client pays me directly for each session and is reimbursed (before or after the session) by the one helping them financially. Psychologically this helps the client to stay connected to the cost of their counseling, which in turn can help them to better emotionally invest in, and take ownership of, their growth and healing.

  1. On your pay stub, find the amount listed as Gross Pay or Total Earnings. Do not use the amount listed as Net Pay.
  2. Determine how often you receive payment—monthly, twice a month, every two weeks or weekly.
  3. Take your Gross Pay, and multiply it by the frequency you are paid in order to calculate your Annual Gross Pay: If you are paid once per month, multiply by 12. If you are paid twice per month, multiple by 24. If you are paid every two weeks, multiply by 26. If you are paid every week, multiply by 52.
  4. If you have a partner/spouse in your household, complete the above for them as well, and then combine the two numbers to calculate your Estimated Annual Household Gross Income. Use this number to find the appropriate corresponding fee in the chart below.
Annual Household Gross Income ? Fee Per Session
(after any discount)
$100,000/year (or greater) $120 (1st session $60)
$80,000 to $99,999/year $100 (1st session $50)
Less than $80,000/year $80 (1st session $40)

Fee for Churches, Organizations and Businesses: When an organization or business is paying for counseling or consulting services the fee is $120 (per 50 minutes), and the first session is half-price (i.e., $60). However, in order to better accommodate the wide range of business and organization sizes, the following are some guidelines/exceptions wherein a discounted fee is offered:

Note: There are more variables regarding business and organization sizes than the above can account for. If your organization/business wishes to pay for counseling or consulting services and you feel it does not fit well within the above categories, please feel free to contact me to discuss things further.




Health Insurance

I handle health insurance in the following manner:




Checking for Insurance Coverage




Alternatives to Health Insurance Reimbursement

  • You do not have health insurance, your health coverage does not cover counseling, or you have a high deductible (and do not expect to meet your deductible).
  • You do not want to have a mental health diagnosis assigned to you (which would then become a permanent part of your medical record).
  • You do not want your counseling to be in any way limited, or dictated, by your health insurance company (e.g., you want to see an out-of-network counselor, you do not want your counseling to be dependent on whether the insurance company considers your diagnosis “reimbursable,” etc.).

Approach a Sponsor

You might have friends, family or organizations (e.g., church, civic group, employer) you are closely connected to whom would be willing to assist you in your pursuit of growth and healing through counseling. There is definitely a degree of vulnerability with this option, but it has the potential to be the most impactful of the options listed, in part because you would be inviting someone into your life in a new way (which can deepen relationship connections and help you to feel more supported in your journey). Here are some suggestions and things to consider as you explore who you might approach, and how to approach them (and if you have already begun counseling with me I would be happy to talk further with you in-session about your particular situation):

Reaching out for help, whether in the form of approaching a counselor, or in the form of approaching someone to help you pay for counseling, can feel very vulnerable. Most of us have grown up in a culture that suggests it is shameful to need or ask for help. But the reality is, we all need help (counselors included!), and seeking help is a courageous, healthy step towards greater growth and healing.


Possible Use of HSA, FSA, Etc.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA), which are typically available to individuals and families with certain high-deductible health insurance plans, are a special type of bank account which is usually exempt from taxes. The intent is that you set aside money in this special bank account in order to cover any medical expenses that may arise prior to reaching your health insurance deductible. Normally you can only use the funds in a HSA for health-related expenses. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) are similar to HSA’s, and are both typically offered through an employer. You might be able to use funds from the above types of accounts to help pay for your counseling sessions (or to receive partial/full reimbursement afterwards). However, I am not permitted to give specific tax-related advice, so you must do your own research (e.g., consult with an accountant, speak to the human resources department at your employer, etc.) to determine if any of these are appropriate options for you.


Possible Tax Deduction

The federal government usually allows some health-related expenses to be deducted on one’s tax return. Typically this is only beneficial if you normally itemize your deductions (as opposed to taking the “standard deduction”), or you anticipate that you will be itemizing your deductions on your upcoming tax return. I am not permitted to give specific tax-related advice, so please speak with an accountant to determine if your counseling sessions at Transitions Counseling can be deducted on your tax return.




Session Length




Frequency of Counseling Sessions

The frequency of sessions (i.e., how often you would meet with me) is very flexible, and something that I seek to tailor to each client. I have found that clients get more out of therapy when the frequency is in sync with what they are needing and wanting in each phase of their counseling. Therefore I recommend letting the frequency ebb and flow based on what feels congruent to you over time.

For example, some clients find it more fruitful to meet less frequently (e.g., every other week) to allow them more time between sessions to process and practice what they are working on in counseling. For other clients meeting weekly or even more than once a week feels like a better fit. Some clients will start out weekly and then drop back to every other week and eventually once every four weeks. Others will go to every other week early on (perhaps from the very beginning) and then go to weekly later when the things they are working through warrant that.

With all of my clients I usually recommend doing the first few sessions closer to each other, especially for marriage counseling. This initial frequency facilitates my getting to know you more quickly and you getting to know me, and in the case of marriage counseling it helps us to cover more ground more quickly. However, this is just a recommendation (not a requirement) and I recognize that this may not make sense for everyone (e.g., in some cases the client’s finances may be a limiting factor). I usually explore with each client during the 1st session what frequency feels right to them.




Resuming Counseling

If you have previously concluded, or paused, your therapy you are still welcome to schedule sessions as-needed. There is no requirement or expectation for you to resume regular (i.e., recurring) sessions in order to resume therapy—I am happy for you to just schedule a single session if that is all you are needing at the moment. This is true regardless of how long it has been since your last session.




1st Session

Please plan to arrive about 5 minutes early for your first session to allow for any unexpected delays in your arriving at my office.

My preference is to have new clients complete the required paperwork in advance of their first session (I use a secure online service which I will send you more information about once you have scheduled your first session). If for some reason you are not completing the paperwork online please plan to arrive about 15 minutes early for your first session so that you have adequate time to read and sign the paperwork.




Cancellation Policy

Please give a minimum of 24 hours notice if you need to cancel a session or you will be billed the full fee. Sometimes it is not possible to give 24 hours notice. In such cases please notify me as soon as you are able and I will take your circumstances into consideration. If you still wish to have your counseling session but are logistically prevented from keeping your appointment I recommend you consider the Distance Counseling option.




Inclement Weather Policy

Your physical safety is important to me. If you do not feel safe traveling to my office due to inclement weather conditions please refrain from traveling. Your safety takes precedence over the Cancellation Policy (i.e., you will not be billed the session fee for canceling due to inclement weather). I do still ask that you notify me as soon as you are able. In situations where you are unable to come to your session due to inclement weather I invite you to consider Distance Counseling in order that you not have to miss your session.




Distance Counseling

For clients who cannot physically come to my office (e.g., due to living outside the area, scheduling limitations, etc.) I utilize a secure, web based technology (similar to Skype, but easier to use) in conjunction with webcams to provide two-way, interactive video counseling sessions. If this option interests you I invite you to read more about Distance Counseling and the logistical requirements involved.




Employment, Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

I receive many requests regarding employment, internship and volunteer opportunities at Transitions Counseling. Unfortunately, I do not have any openings (either paid or volunteer). If that changes at any point I will update this page.

The one thing I can offer is that I would be happy to work with you as a client (and perhaps with myself in more of a mentoring/coaching role in this instance) if there are things you would like to process periodically regarding your pursuit of a counseling vocation. I would still need to charge for any sessions the same as for other counseling clients (though I do offer the first session at half-price, as noted above).

Whether it is with me or with another counselor I would strongly encourage you to pursue counseling for yourself as part of your vocational development. There is much that you can learn from working on yourself that can then be applied to you helping others work on themselves (and this kind of learning is usually not possible in the classroom). I share all of this from my own experience—some of the more powerful, experiential learning I have done (that has directly improved the quality of my counseling) has been in the context of my own therapy, where I am the client.




Interview Requests

I am periodically approached by local reporters and students (especially from JMU) about being interviewed regarding various counseling topics. I conduct these interviews frequently enough that I have compiled various details related to the different types of interviews below.

Interviews by Reporters

Reporters can use the Meeting Request Form to select potential interview times. Please select as many times as possible—I may have clients who have requested some of the same times (and my clients are my first priority), so the more times you request the greater likelihood I will be able to see you.

If possible, please include the following in your meeting request:

  • Your employer, agency, etc.
  • The topic(s) of your interview, including any questions you are hoping to ask.
  • Where you would like to conduct the interview (e.g., my office, via phone, another location). Note that I typically conduct interviews in my office.
  • Whether or not the interview will be recorded, and if so, whether it will be audio-only or both audio and video.
  • If the interview will be recorded, please indicate whether I may have a digital copy, and whether I may have your (or your employer’s) written permission to use the interview content on my website (e.g., my blog).
  • Please indicate if your interview is time-sensitive. If your interview request will no longer be relevant after a certain day or time please indicate that. I try to respond as quickly as possible, and in some cases can do same-day interviews. But if I know I cannot be available in the timeframe you need I will do my best to notify you of that so that you can explore other options.

Displaying My Credentials: You may list my name, etc. as follows (e.g., on video, in print, or a blog):

Sean Slevin, LMFT, LPC, NCC, Transitions Counseling.

You can learn more about my credentials on the Experience & Training page.

Whenever possible, please include a link to my website (especially if you will be posting interview content to the internet): www.Transitions.cc or www.TransitionsMFT.org (both links lead to my website).


Interviews by Students

Students can use the Meeting Request Form to select potential interview times. Please select as many times as possible—I may have clients who have requested some of the same times (and my clients are my first priority), so the more times you request the greater likelihood I will be able to see you.

If possible, please include the following in your meeting request:

Displaying My Credentials: You may list my name, etc. as follows (e.g., on video, in print, or a blog):

Sean Slevin, LMFT, LPC, NCC, Transitions Counseling.

You can learn more about my credentials on the Experience & Training page.

Whenever possible, please include a link to my website (especially if you will be posting interview content to the internet): www.Transitions.cc or www.TransitionsMFT.org (both links lead to my website).


Recorded Interviews by Students

There are two things that I require when I do student recorded interviews:

  1. I would like a copy of the raw, unedited video (or audio, if only audio is being recorded) footage in digital form, in case I would like to use any portions for my website.
  2. I would like you to sign a short document (which I will also sign) that just clarifies and makes sure we are both on the same page regarding the digital content and any potential future uses of it. I have found it helpful to make these kinds of things explicit instead of just assuming (since we can all have different expectations, consciously and unconsciously). If a classmate(s) will be joining you please send me their name and email address so that I can send them the document to sign as well.

Uploading Interview Recordings: I typically use Dropbox to facilitate you transmitting the recording files to me. If you do not already have Dropbox then I recommend that you go ahead and create a free Dropbox account and download the software to your computer. I can then “share” a folder with you which you can then place a copy of the audio/video files in after the interview.

Video Recording Suggestions

Often when students come to do a recorded interview they are inexperienced at working with recording equipment, etc. The following are some tips and suggestions to you help you on your way.

  • Recording Equipment: I recommend that when you are selecting your recording hardware at your school (most likely, JMU) that you try to get a camera model which can be mounted to a tripod and which comes with a powered lapel microphone. If you are not able to get a tripod with the camera, I have a tripod we can use (just make sure the camera can be mounted to a tripod). The tripod will make for much better video quality (e.g., no shaky cam), and the battery powered lapel mic greatly improves the audio quality. Also, make sure to have extra batteries for the mic (they always go dead at the worst times!). If you are not able to get a lapel mic, I do have a directional microphone we can plug into the camera (if the camera has a mic-in jack).
  • Timing: I suggest you plan on around an hour, though I usually aim to finish in 50 minutes or less since I often have clients scheduled afterwards. If you have not done video work before it is pretty normal to need a larger amount of source material in order to end up with the right amount of quality portions for the final product (e.g., if you are looking for 20 minutes of good material, you could multiply that by some factor to estimate how much source material you will need, such as maybe 20 x 2 = 40 minutes of source material).