Frequently Asked Questions

Children, adolescents, adults, and families seek services from the CPC for emotional, psychological, and behavioral concerns that are negatively impacting their lives. These can include common disorders such as depression and anxiety, in addition to relationship difficulties, school and learning problems, stress, disruptive behaviors, job loss, death of a loved one, substance abuse, negative health behaviors (e.g., smoking, lack of exercise), or just feeling "stuck" in their lives.

During your (or your child's) "Intake" appointment, you will be asked to fill out some paperwork and complete some questionnaires. You (and/or your child) will also be interviewed by a clinician. The appointment should take 90 minutes, and you will be charged $7 for the visit. Occasionally, you (and/or your child) will be asked to return for a follow-up visit in order for the clinician to collect additional information.

The purpose of this consultation is to get to know you (and/or your child), to better understand what services you are seeking, and to determine whether the CPC is a good "fit" for your (or your child's) needs.

After your (or your child's) intake, the clinician will write a brief report that will be used to summarize the intake consultation session(s) for his or her supervisor, and to determine whether we can meet your (or your child's) needs at the CPC. Occasionally, we will refer an intake client elsewhere if we believe that another provider or facility will be a better "match" for a client's needs.

Within 7-10 days, your (or your child's) intake clinician will call to set up your (or your child's) initial psychotherapy or intervention appointment. The clinician who conducted your (or your child's) intake will usually continue to work with you (or your child), but occasionally, a different clinician will be assigned to you (or your child) for treatment. Once established, your (or your child's) appointments will run for approximately 45-60 minutes.

The CPC is a training, research and service unit of the Department of Psychology’s doctoral training program in Clinical Psychology and School Psychology. At the CPC, clients are provided services by closely-supervised student clinicians who are graduate students with at least one full year of clinical training and experience. CPC student clinicians receive regular, intensive supervision either from faculty members at the Department of Psychology at the University of Montana, or from licensed clinicians from the community who are affiliated with the Department.

Please note: Because we are a training clinic, your clinician will discuss your (or your child’s) treatment with a supervisor and a clinical team of 4-6 other students. Your clinician will share with you a list of names of his/her clinical team members and clinical supervisor. In addition, your (or your child’s) sessions will be recorded via video camera and some sessions may be observed live through a one-way mirror. Any recordings made of sessions will be destroyed after they have been reviewed with a supervisor, unless a student receives your explicit, written permission to preserve them.

Our student clinicians generally work at the CPC for 1-2 years before leaving to continue their training. If your (or your child's) clinician plans to “graduate” from the CPC, you will either work together toward termination or, occasionally, be transferred to a new clinician. In this event, you (or your child) will be notified of a likely termination or transfer far in advance, so that you can discuss and prepare for it together.

To make our services affordable, we provide psychotherapy, intervention, and consultation sessions on a sliding fee scale. This scale is based upon your household income and the number of individuals in your home. We do our best to set client fees in a consistent, straightforward, and fair manner. Your clinician will ask you to fill out an information sheet about your household resources in order to set your fee.

Please understand that we cannot finalize your fee until we have this information. Rest assured, your financial information will be protected, along with the rest of your (or your child's) personal health information. We do not bill insurance companies, Medicaid, or Medicare for the services we provide.

Under extraordinary circumstances, you may also be able to apply for a reduced fee, provided that you are willing to provide additional information about your household expenses and debts.

At the CPC, we understand that many of our clients have limited resources, and that payment may be difficult at times. Nonetheless, we ask that you make your (or your child's) treatment a priority and pay promptly and in full for the services that you receive. Your cooperation with this policy helps us to maintain our low fees and to keep the clinic operating.

If you are having trouble paying your bill, please discuss this with your clinician as soon as it becomes apparent. We appreciate your understanding.

The length of your (or your child’s) treatment (i.e., the number of sessions) will depend upon the type of treatment provided, your (or your child's) problems, symptoms, and issues, and your (or your child’s) progress in treatment.

At the CPC, protection of your (or your child’s) privacy is one of our greatest priorities. All CPC staff members sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will respect the privacy of CPC clients. Your (your child's) clinical case file is kept in a locked filing cabinet in a locked room when the CPC is closed, and its contents are safeguarded during office hours.

There are some legal limits to your (or your child's) confidentiality which are explained in detail on the Informed Consent form. Specifically, your (or your child's) student clinician may be required by law to break your (or your child's) confidentiality if:

  • She or he knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a minor, person with disabilities, or elderly person is experiencing abuse or neglect, or has experienced such maltreatment in the past. (Please note that depending on the circumstances, suspected "abuse" could include viewing child pornography, exposing a child to domestic violence, or raising a minor in a home in which another child has been abused).
  • There is a strong possibility that you (or your child) might harm yourself (him/herself) or others if action is not taken; or
  • If otherwise legally impelled (e.g., by court order or other requirement of law).

Your CPC clinician will gladly discuss these exceptions with you during your (or your child's) intake appointment.

The CPC is a research facility in addition to a mental health clinic. Occasionally, we analyze archival data from our client files, provided that all identifying information has been removed. New studies require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure adequate attention to the rights of research participants. At some time during your (or your child's) care at the CPC, your clinician may ask if you (your child) would like to participate in a research study. Refusal to participate will not in any way affect your (or your child’s) ability to receive services at the CPC.

The CPC often offers psychotherapy and behavioral health (e.g., smoking cessation) groups. Please call or email to see what we are offering currently.  

There are four reserved parking spots right out front of the CPC for clients. Please check-in with the administrative associate when you first arrive, and he will give you a parking pass to put on your dashboard. Please return the pass at the end of each session.

The CPC has a client grievance policy, in the event that you ever feel that your (or your child's) rights have been violated or that you (or your child) have not received adequate, appropriate, or ethical treatment at the CPC. We encourage you to address grievances with your clinician, however, if you are not satisfied with an informal resolution of your (or your child's) complaint with your clinician, you are also free to file a grievance, using the Client Grievance Form, and to discuss your concerns with Raurie Birch, PsyD, the CPC Director at (406) 243-2367.