Frequently Asked Questions


You can find answers to most of your questions within the new client forms. But here are some extra questions answered. 


How can I schedule an appointment with Dr. Portela?
You may request an appointment by calling 919-591-0800 or e-mailing Dr. Portela. 


I have a scheduled first appointment with Dr. Portela. How should I prepare?
Once you schedule your first appointment, you will receive an e-mail with access to Vida Counseling's client portal. Please review and complete all forms prior to your appointment, in order to not waste clinical time with paperwork. Please note that it is Vida Counseling's policy to have a credit card in file for all clients. 


If the appointment is for your child: 12 years old and younger
If you child is 12 years old or younger, only his/her caregivers should attend the initial session. It is very important for the therapist who is working with your child to have time to listen freely to your concerns as parents and to gather some background information. It is our experience that children get anxious if they have to wait in the waiting room in a new office while we talk (and this is definitely not the way we want to be introduced to them!). It is also not appropriate to have an adult conversation about your concerns in front of him/her. For that reason, please make child care arrangements for your child and have both parents attend the initial session alone. 


Once your therapist has an idea about what is going on with your child, she will suggest a course of action. Many times we work with one of the parents present with the child in session (for at least half of the session), which helps strengthen their relationship and reduces conflict and anxiety. Some other times, it may be more beneficial for your child to be seen alone. In either case, the therapist will see your child for 5 sessions and schedule a new parent meeting with both parents in order to explain her findings, get an update and share her suggestions. 


If the appointment is for your child: 13 years old and older
Teenagers are very different! If your child is 13 years old or older, we would like to see the child as well as the parents during the initial session. Teenagers can be very untrusting and it is crucial that the teen be heard, have a time to connect with the therapist, and does not feel there are secrets being kept between the adults. If it is important for you to have some time alone with your teen therapist, it is best to wait for a later time--and always get permission from your teen to do so. It is our experience that once the teens trust the therapist, they do not mind adults having time alone. 


If the appointment is for your child and parents are separated or divorced
It is best when therapist can meet with both parents of the child. We understand, however, that there are instances in which this is not possible or advisable (as for example, in cases of trauma or domestic violence). You may also be part of a high conflict divorce and as such, not be able to be in the same place as your ex spouse. In such instances, we suggest that both parents have individual sessions with the therapist. It is best that we have contact and meet both parents. 


If the appointment is for a couple
It is required that both partners fill out the paperwork prior to starting couples counseling. You will need both parties to receive an invitation to the client portal. 


How long is the psychotherapy session at Vida Counseling?  
Psychotherapy sessions last on average 55 minutes, starting from your scheduled time. 


How much does a psychotherapy session cost?  
You can find the current prices for psychotherapy sessions in the client portal.  


Is there a fee for a missed appointment?  

If an appointment needs to be rescheduled or cancelled, please do so as soon as possible so the time may be made available to someone else.  You are responsible to pay for any appointment cancelled or rescheduled with less than 48-hour notice. There is a $75 charge for all missed appointments and appointments canceled with less than 48 hour notice. Sorry, but there are no exceptions to this. Payments for missed appointments or late cancelations are normally collected with your credit card on file. Please note that missed appointments or late cancellations are not reimbursable by insurance.


Does Dr. Portela accept insurances?  

Dr. Portela is only credentialed with Blue Cross Blue Shield. However, if you have a different health insurance, Dr. Portela can provide you with a superbill (an itemized form utilized by healthcare providers that shows rendered services), which may be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement through “out of network” benefits, depending on your plan and insurance provider. It is a good idea for you to check your coverage carefully by calling your insurance and asking the following questions:

Do I have out-of-network mental health insurance benefits?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
What is the covered amount per therapy session?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?  



Contact Questions? drportela@vidacounseling.org for further information.

Dr. Portela's office is located at:

6512 Six Forks Rd, suite 403B Raleigh NC 27615 By Appointment Only. 
919-591-0800
drportela@vidacounseling.org

Copyright © Vida Counseling, PLLC. All rights reserved.

Photos by Erika Doss