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COMMON QUESTIONS

What is your COVID-19 policy?


I know that the coronavirus/COVID-19 is a concerning topic for everyone. For some this can be a very anxiety-raising experience. I want you to know that I am available and my office remains open to provide my clients with support and service. I am following updated hygiene practice guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These include frequent and thorough hand washing, using disinfectant spray in my private waiting room and office before every client, distancing my chair six feet from clients, and providing hand sanitizer to those who request it as they exit the office. Face covering is not required during your session. You may continue to schedule your in-office psychotherapy appointments as needed. If you feel more comfortable scheduling telephone or Zoom teleconference sessions or if you have any questions contact me at 310-764-8011 or LisaGrazianoLMFT@gmail.com. If you believe you were exposed to or may have COVID-19 or if you are feeling sick, cancel your appointment, call your primary care physician straight away, and recover quickly. You are invited to schedule telehealth sessions until you are well. Click Here to read the most common symptoms this virus. By working together we will combat this virus. Meanwhile, please do get the support you need whether you come into the office or use telehealth.




What is your privacy policy?


THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY. You may also download as a PDF. Effective Date: January 1, 2019 My Legal Duty I understand that your health/mental health information is personal and I am committed to protecting this information. I am required by applicable federal and state law to maintain the privacy of your health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) also requires that I give you this Notice about my legal duties, my privacy practices, and your rights concerning your health information. I must follow the privacy practices that are described in this Notice while it is in effect. Individually identifiable information about your past, present, or future health/mental health or condition, the provision of health/mental health care to you, or payment for the health/mental health care is considered “Protected Health Information (PHI)”. Whenever possible, the PHI contained in your record remains private. In some circumstances it is necessary for me to share some of the PHI contained in your record (or your child’s record). In all but certain specified circumstances, I will share only the minimum necessary PHI to accomplish the intended purpose of the use or disclosure. I reserve the right to change this notice and to make changes in my privacy practices. Any changes will be effective for all PHI that I maintain, including the health/mental health information created or received before I made the changes. I will post a copy of the current notice in my reception area and on my website. You may also request a current copy of this notice from me. For more information about my privacy practices, please contact me at the number listed at the end of this notice. How I May Use and Disclose Health/Mental Health Information About You The following categories describe different ways that I use and disclose your PHI. For each category I explain what I mean and offer an example. In some instances a written authorized signed by you is required in order for me to use or disclose your PHI; in others it is not. I have tried to identify which instances do not require your signed authorization and which do. Use and Disclosure of PHI for Which No Signed Authorization is Required: For Treatment: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI to provide you with mental health treatment or services. For example, I may disclose your PHI to physicians, psychiatrists or other licensed mental health providers who provide you with healthcare services or are involved in your care. If a psychiatrist is treating you I can disclose your PHI to your psychiatrist in order to coordinate your care. For Payment: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI in order to bill and collect payment (from you, your insurance company, or another third party) for services provided by me. For example, I may send your PHI to your insurance company to get paid for the services provided to you or to determine eligibility for coverage. For Health Care Operations: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI to your health insurance service plan or insurance company for purposes of administering the plan, such as case management and care coordination. Appointment Reminders or Changes in Appointments: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment. I may also contact you to notify you of a change in your appointment. For example, if I am ill I may have someone in my office contact you to notify you that the appointment is cancelled. When Disclosure is Required by State, Federal or Local Law; Judicial or Administrative Proceedings; or Law Enforcement: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI when a law requires that I report information about suspected child, dependent adult, or elder abuse or neglect or in response to a court order. I must also disclose information to authorities that monitor compliance with these privacy requirements. To Avoid Harm: I may use/disclose limited PHI about you when necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to your health or safety, or the health and safety of the public or another person. If I reasonably believe you pose a serious threat of harm to yourself, I may contact family members or others who can help protect you. If you communicate a serious threat of bodily harm to another, I am required to notify law enforcement within 24 hours and have the option of protecting a potential victim. Law Enforcement Officials: I may disclose your PHI to the police or other law enforcement officials as required or permitted by law or in compliance with a court order or a grand jury or administrative subpoena. For Health Oversight Activities: I may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. For example, I may have to provide information to assist the government when it conducts an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or organization. Specialized Government Functions: I may disclose your (or your child’s) PHI to units of the government with special functions, such as the U.S. military of the U.S. Department of State under certain circumstances. Disclosure to Relatives, Close Friends, and Other Caregivers: I may use/disclose your PHI to a family member, other relative, or close personal friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or that payment of your care unless you object in whole or in part. If you are not present, or the opportunity to agree or object to a user or disclosure can’t practicably be provided because of your incapacity or an emergency circumstance, I may exercise my professional judgment to determine whether a disclosure is in your best interest. If I disclose your PHI to a family member, other relative, a close personal friend, I may disclose only information that I believe is directly relevant to the person’s involvement with your health care or payment related to your health care. Workers’ Compensation: I may disclose your PHI as authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with California law relating to workers’ compensation or similar programs. As Required by Law: I may use/disclose your (or your child’s) PHI when required to do so by any other law not already referred to in the preceding categories. Uses and Disclosures of PHI for which a Signed Authorization is Required: For uses and disclosures of PHI beyond the areas written authorization. Authorizations can be revoked at any time in writing to stop future uses/disclosures (except to the extent that I have already acted upon your authorization). Your Rights Regarding Your (or Your Child’s) PHI: You have the following rights regarding PHI I maintain about you (or your child): Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and copy your (or your child’s) health/mental health information upon your written request. However, some mental health information may not be accessed for treatment reasons and for other reasons pertaining to California or Federal law. I will respond to your written request to inspect records. A charge for copying, mailing, and related expenses will apply. Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to ask that I limit how I use or disclose your PHI. I will consider your request, but I am not legally required to agree to the request. If I do agree to your request, I will put it into writing and comply with it except in emergency situations. I cannot agree to limit uses and/or disclosures that are required by law. Right to Amend: If you believe that there is a mistake or missing information in my record of your health/mental health information, you may request, in writing, that I correct or add to the record. I will respond to your request within 60 days of receiving it. I may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, I may deny your request to amend that was not created by me, not part of my records, not part of the information that you would have permitted to inspect and copy or is accurate or complete. Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to get a list of when, to whom, for what purpose, and what convent of your (or your child’s) PHI have been disclosed. This applies to disclosure other than those made for purposes of treatment payment, or health care operations. Your request must be in writing and state a time period (which may not be longer than six (6) years and may not include dates before January 1, 2019). I will respond to your request within sixty (60) days of receiving it. The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. There may be a charge for more frequent lists. In such case, I will notify you of the cost involved, and you may change or withdraw your request before any costs are incurred. Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that I communicate with you about health/mental health matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask that I only contact you at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing. Please specify how or where you wish to be contacted. I will accommodate all reasonable requests. Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice: You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask me to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. Complaints: If you think that your privacy rights have been violated, you may contact me, as the privacy officer, Lisa Graziano, M.A., LMFT 310-764-8011, or you may file a complaint with the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.




What is your data regulation policy?


You may also download a PDF. General Data Protection Regulation Policy Last updated: May 2018 Lisa A. Graziano, M.A., LMFT respects the privacy of our website users. Please take time to read this Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) as we believe it is important for our clients to understand how we collect, process and use personal data. By using the Website you consent to the data we collect and how we use and share it in accordance with this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree with the data we collect and how I use and share it, you should not use the Website. WHAT DATA WE COLLECT Lisa A. Graziano’s, M.A., LMFT website users voluntarily provide me with data, including data that can be used to identify, either directly or indirectly, an individual (“Personal Data”) when they access our website (“Websites”). Data Provided by Users.

  • Name, address, email, telephone number (collectively "Account Information")
  • Information submitted as a result of completing forms on my Website, commenting on or downloading information from my Website
  • Customer content stored, processed, maintained or transmitted using my Website
  • File system information such as stored file folder names, file extensions, file sizes, and the configuration of any device registered for use in connection with the Services
  • Technical information as a result of configuring Services, including IP addresses, browser-type, device-type, internet service provider, referring or exiting pages, operating system, date and time stamp or clickstream data
  • Any other information shared with me directly or indirectly through the Website
Aggregate Information. I do not use, process, transfer and store user data in an aggregated manner. Automated Decisions. I do not collect data in an automated manner and do not make and use automated decisions about customers. WHY WE USE DATA
I process data, including Personal Data, for a variety of purposes, such as:
  • Where necessary to comply with law
  • Where the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract, e.g., to facilitate backing-up and restoring data, for archiving purposes, or to provide technical support
  • Where the processing is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests, taking into account individual interests. Our legitimate interests include providing Services, internal record-keeping and administrative purposes and to operate, maintain and improve the Website
HOW WE USE COOKIES AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES I use certain automatic data collection technologies such as cookies, web beacons, pixel tags and other technologies to collect data, including Personal Data, when users visit the Website, use the Services or interact with us. I do not share this data with any third-party marketing vendors (including for example, advertising networks and providers of external services like web traffic analysis services and analytics tools). We explain these technologies below. Cookies. Cookies are small text files placed on a computer by a web server when browsing online and are used to store user preference data so that a web server doesn't have to repeatedly request this information. A user may block cookies by activating the settings on the browser that blocks all or some cookies. However, if a user blocks all cookies (including strictly necessary cookies), a user may not be able to access all or parts of my Website. I use some or all of the following cookies:
  • Strictly Necessary Cookies. These cookies are required for the operation of my Website. They include, for example, cookies that enable a user to log-in to secure areas of my Website.
  • Analytical and Performance Cookies. These cookies allow me to recognize and count the number of users visiting my Website and see how those users navigate my Website. This helps us to improve my Websites.
  • Functionality Cookies. These cookies recognize a user that returns to my Website. This enables us to personalize our content, greet the user by name and remember preferences, for example, choice of language or region.
  • Targeting Cookies. These cookies record visits to my Website and the links followed. We use this information to improve my Website.
Web Beacons. A web beacon is a small pixel incorporated into a web page or email to keep track of activity on the page or email. A web beacon helps better manage the content of Websites by informing what content is effective. Cross-device Tracking. I may use third-party cross-device tracking. For example, a user may use multiple browsers on a single device, or use various devices, which can result in the user having multiple accounts or profiles across various devices. Cross-device tracking may be used to connect these various accounts or profiles and the corresponding data from different devices. GLOBAL DATA MANAGEMENT Data collected by me will not be transferred or accessed by any other organization including those inside the U.S. and those in the European Economic Area (“EEA”). WHEN AND WHY WE SHARE YOUR PERSONAL DATA
I do not and will not sell Personal Data to marketers or other vendors. I may share data, including Personal Data, in the following circumstances: Service Providers. I may share data, including Personal Data, with our contracted third-party service providers in order to provide and improve my Services and Website. These third-parties include affiliates and subsidiaries, business partners, payment and delivery services, analytics providers, data storage and hosting partners, IT specialists and product developers. Legal Purposes. I may share data, including Personal Data, as necessary to comply with applicable law, court orders, governmental agencies, for the administration of justice, to protect vital interests, to protect the security or integrity of my Services, Website, or to take precautions against legal liability. Sale. In the event of a sale of my business I may share data, including Personal Data. Users acknowledge and agree that data, including encrypted stored data and Personal Data that I have collected, may be securely shared, disclosed and transferred to such assignee. RETENTION OF DATA I may retain data, including Personal Data, for as long as necessary to deliver Services or as needed for other lawful purposes. I do not retain anonymized or pseudonymized, aggregated data. YOUR RIGHTS Subject to applicable data protection laws, users have the following rights with respect to my handling of Personal Data:
  • Access. The right to access Personal Data held by Lisa A. Graziano, M.A., LMFT.
  • Opt-Out. The right to object to certain processing of Personal Data (unless I have overriding compelling grounds to continue processing), including the right to opt-out of receiving any material. I will, however, continue to use Personal Data for the limited purpose of communicating important notices relating to Services or policies, and other reasons permitted by law.
  • Rectification. The right to request correction of Personal Data that is incomplete, incorrect, unnecessary or outdated.
  • Right to be Forgotten. The right to request erasure of all Personal Data that is incomplete, incorrect, unnecessary or outdated within a reasonable period of time. I will do everything possible to erase Personal Data if a user so requests. However, I will not be able to erase all Personal Data if it is technically impossible due to limitations of existing technology or for legal reasons, such as I am mandated by applicable law to retain Personal Data.
  • Restriction of Processing. The right to request restriction of processing Personal Data for certain reasons, such as the inaccuracy of Personal Data.
  • Data Portability. If requested, I will provide Personal Data in a structured, secure, commonly used and machine-readable format.
  • Right to Withdraw Consent. If Personal Data is processed solely based on consent, and not based on any other legal basis, users can withdraw consent at any time.
  • Data Protection Contact. The right to contact the relevant data protection regulator regarding my handling of Personal Data.
To exercise any of the above listed rights, email me at LisaGrazianoLMFT@gmail.com or (310)764-8011 or mail to Lisa A. Graziano, M.A., LMFT, 514 N. Prospect Avenue, Suite 111 Lower Level, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. I will process requests in accordance with applicable law and within a reasonable period of time.




What is therapy and can it really help?


Wanting to feel better but not knowing how to make that happen is something we all struggle with at one time or another. Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is to take that first step to call or schedule the consultation meeting, especially when we’re feeling the most vulnerable. It can also be the bravest thing we do.

Psychotherapy is a joint effort between you and your therapist. It is a process in which you and the therapist discuss issues of concern to you in order to help you feel better, experience your life more fully, or improve the quality of your relationships.

People can experience a host of benefits from participating in therapy. Therapy can help clients experience fewer or less severe symptoms including those of depression, stress, anxiety, anger, and grief.

Therapy can help improve problem-solving skills, develop healthier coping strategies, help improve parenting skills, and help people recognize patterns in their thinking or behavior that interfere with accomplishing their goals.

Therapy can help with personal growth, improve self-esteem and confidence, help with unresolved childhood or other past experiences that may be interfering with current quality of life, help with partner or marital and family relationships, improve parenting skills, and help improve the quality of friendships and work relationships.

People come to therapy for a number of reasons. Some may be going through a major life transition such as an upcoming marriage, divorce, new job, unemployment, move to a new home, death, new baby, etc. and use therapy to better manage these stressful situations or circumstances. Some people need help managing a range of other issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship problems, parenting problems, addictions, etc. Some people come to therapy simply because they want to learn more about themselves or be more effective achieving their goals in life. Bottom line, people come to therapy to improve the quality of their lives.

Whether you’ve done work in the past or are getting support for the first time, I believe therapy can be helpful and I look forward to providing you with the help and support you need, whether it’s in my office or using Zoom for telehealth services.




But do I really need therapy?


Everyone goes through challenging situations at one time or another and most of the time we might navigate through them successfully. There are times, though, when we know we could all use a little outside help. Psychotherapy can be quite helpful to get you through your current challenge or challenges in healthier ways than you’ve used in the past and maybe even more quickly. Your self-awareness and willingness to give yourself what you need reflect a strength within you, a strength you may not be aware was within you. Indeed, the prognosis for successful therapy increases when people have enough self-awareness to know when they need a little extra help.




What is therapy like?


Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, explore different options or perspectives, and report progress or any new insights you’ve gained from your work between therapy sessions. Depending on your specific needs therapy can be short-term for a specific issue, or longer-term to deal with more difficult behavior or relationship patterns. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist, usually weekly.

Participating in therapy may involve some discomfort including remembering and discussing unpleasant events, feelings, and experiences. Sometimes the process may evoke strong feelings of sadness, anger, fear, etc. There may be times when the therapist may challenge your perceptions and assumptions and offer different perspectives for you to consider.

Therapy is successful if you actively participate in the process. There are no guarantees about what a client will experience or when or how fast there is improvement. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions into your life. Beyond your work in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy sessions to support your progress. These may include noting your thoughts and feelings between sessions or in particular situations, writing in a journal notebook, or reading a pertinent book.




Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?


Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust between the client and the therapist. For this reason, confidentiality is a cornerstone of psychotherapy and the information you disclose in session is considered confidential and will not be released to anyone without your written authorization.

There are, however, state laws and professional codes of ethics that require or permit a therapist to share confidential information in very specific ways. These exceptions to confidentiality include reporting child, elder and dependent abuse; when a patient makes a serious threat of violence towards a reasonably identifiable victim; and when a patient is dangerous to him or herself or the person or property of another. In certain legal situations, such as in a child custody case or when your emotional condition is an issue, for example, in a Worker’s Compensation or personal injury case, the judge may order your therapist to testify. In the event that an account with your therapist goes unpaid, it is legal for the therapist to disclose your name, dates of sessions, and amount due to a collection agency or small claims court as necessary.

There may be times when you want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, such as your physician. This information can be shared only with your written permission. Every therapist should provide a written statement of their confidential disclosure agreement which is called “Informed Consent.”




How do I know when I’m finished with therapy?


Due to the varying nature and severity of problems and the individuality of each client, therapists are not able to predict the length of your therapy or guarantee a specific outcome or result. Progress and success of therapy will vary depending upon the particular problems or issues being addressed, as well as many other factors. Therapy is typically finished when you feel like your goals have been met. Some people like to reduce therapy sessions slowly to once every couple of weeks or months to make sure they maintain their progress, until they stop completely. Some people like to return to therapy every now and again for a “tune up” session!





Contact

Lisa Graziano,

M.A., LMFT

514 N. Prospect Avenue, Suite 111-Lower Level

Redondo Beach, CA 90277

310.764.8011

 

LisaGrazianoLMFT@gmail.com

 

www.LisaGrazianoLMFT.com

© 2020 by Lisa A. Graziano, M.A., LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  All Rights Reserved