Take the First Step: How Do I Schedule A Counseling Appointment?

By Haley Ebersole, Associate Director of Operations

Sometimes, you just need someone to lean on. And sometimes, that someone needs to be a professional who is trained to listen. If you feel like you need a professional to join you on your journey to wellness, Anchorpoint may be the right fit for you. To start your journey, Anchorpoint (as well as other mental health service providers) will require you to complete initial intake paperwork. At Anchorpoint, our intake process can take 10-15 minutes over the phone, or an online intake form is available. We commit to assigning a counselor to each intake within 2 business days of intake completion. Additionally, any client we are unable to serve will receive additional resources to contact.


  • Anyone 14 years or older
  • The legal parent/guardian of anyone under the age of 18

NOTE: The legal age of consent for counseling services is 14. Any client who is 14 or older will need to willfully consent to counseling and sign their own intake consent
forms. A guardian can complete the intake, but we must have consent from the client before providing services.

Anchorpoint serves individuals, couples, and families across the Northern Pittsburgh area. If services at our office could be beneficial to you, there are a couple ways to get started. First, you can call during our office hours to complete the intake form with one of our dedicated staff members. We are committed to answering every call to our office from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm so that you have a personal experience tailored to you and a chance to ask any questions. It’s important to keep in mind that the staff members who are completing your intake are not counselors. They want to help you navigate these first
steps, but they are not able to (nor should they) provide you with any advice, interventions, or techniques while
completing your intake with you.

However, not everyone is able to complete the intake over the phone. If you feel more comfortable completing your intake online, you can complete it here. For HIPAA compliance, our office will not ask you any questions through our website that would compromise your protected health information. If you complete the intake online, a staff member from our office will follow up with a phone call for details like your date of birth, your insurance information, and the reason you are seeking services. Generally, our team will reach out to any client who has completed an online intake within 1 business day. Once the intake form is completed and a counselor receives your form, they will contact you personally to schedule your first session.

Most intake forms for counseling services are comprised of three main sections:

Demographics Information:

In this portion, you will provide general client information. Typically, this information includes the name of the client(s), contact information, address, and date of birth. Anchorpoint may ask for other demographic information to track marketing efforts and program impacts such as municipality, where a child goes to school, and how you were referred.

Reason for Referral:

This portion will ask for more information regarding why you would like to become a client. Specificity in this section helps to match each client to their counselor. Of course, this can sometimes be a difficult section to complete, but our staff is trained to handle this portion of the intake form with sensitivity and compassion. Most offices will not require a client to go into an immense amount of detail. They will only ask enough to assess the best counselor to help in each situation. All of Anchorpoint’s counselors are trained in many different techniques, skills, and interests but have found specific areas where they feel called to help.

Insurance Information:

Lastly, if you would like to use an insurance plan for mental health coverage, the staff member completing your intake will need details about your plan: your member ID number, your group number, the name of the primary insurance holder, and a provider services phone number to call your insurance with any questions. So, if you intend to use your insurance, you should have your insurance card nearby to provide all of these details.

When using an insurance plan for services, the cost of your session may not be 100% covered. So, there are three words you should make yourself familiar with if you are looking at using your insurance for any services:

Deductible: An annual amount you agree to pay out of pocket for covered healthcare services before your insurance plan starts to pay.


Aetna  |  Cigna  |  Highmark  |  Medicare  |  United Healthcare  |  UPMC

Note: Not all Anchorpoint providers are credentialed in all of these insurances. You will be matched to a counselor who is in-network with your insurance.

Copay: A fixed cost you agree to pay for a covered healthcare service collected at the time of service.

Coinsurance: A percentage of costs you are required to pay for covered healthcare services under your plan. Typically, coinsurance payments will go into effect after you have met your deductible.

So, what does all of that mean? Each insurance company designates an allowed “cost per session” that is negotiated between every practice and the insurance company. Your insurance company will cover that cost for services at a percentage anywhere from 0%-100%. You just need to know how much your specific plan will cover.

  • You have an “ABCD” insurance plan with a $2,500 deductible with a 20% coinsurance.
  • ABCD has contracted with a provider at an allowable cost of $100 per session. This prevents providers/practices from charging astronomical amounts to recoup insurance payments.
  • You have not yet met your $2,500 deductible for this year and you want to become a client with that provider.
  • Your ABCD insurance will tell you that you are responsible for $100 for every session you attend until you have spent $2,500 out of your own pocket.
  • Once that amount is met, this is where the coinsurance amount comes in. You have a 20% coinsurance, so now you are responsible for 20% of that original allowable cost.
  • You have met your deductible and now will only be responsible for $20 per session until your insurance plan is renewed at the end of your plan year.
  • After 1 year, your deductible will reset and you are again responsible for the $100 per session until meeting it again.

Anchorpoint does not accept any form of Medicaid insurance. If you are someone who does not have insurance, we offer an affordable Sliding Scale option. In an attempt to alleviate financial burdens, the price for service is based off of your annual household income. All of our fees are based on the income eligibility guidelines used by the National School Lunch Program for free and reduced cost lunches.

Taking the first step to counseling can feel intimidating. Finding the right fit for you can seem like a never-ending road at times. Anchorpoint strives to remove these feelings through our intake process. We want to be the people you lean on when it feels too hard to stand on your own. If you or someone you know is in need of outpatient mental health services, please give our office a call at 412-366-1300 or fill out an intake here.