How Do I Get Connected With a Therapist at Relational Psych?
Published on
February 27, 2024

How Do I Get Connected With a Therapist at Relational Psych?

Tyson talks to Ally Raye, owner of Virtual Ally, LLC and care coordinator for Relational Psych. They discuss the process of getting connected to a therapist at Relational Psych and her role as care coordinator, while demystifying the process of getting started with therapy.
Hosted by 
Tyson Conner

Tyson Conner  00:00
And today, my guest is Ally Raye.

Ally Raye  00:05
Hello.

Tyson Conner  00:06
Welcome to the podcast.

Ally Raye  00:07
Thank you.

Tyson Conner  00:08
Ally is a virtual assistant for mental health clinicians and practices and the owner of a virtual - is it Virtual Ally LLC or Virtual Ally, LLC?

Ally Raye  00:20
It's both? It's cheeky. That's why I like it.

Tyson Conner  00:23
Oh, how should I pronounce it for this audio medium?

Ally Raye  00:26
Virtual Ally is fine.

Tyson Conner  00:29
Okay, cool Virtual Ally, LLC. She is a chronic tea drinker and overthinker - usually at the same time.

Ally Raye  00:36
Yes.

Tyson Conner  00:39
And today, we are going to answer the question: how do I get connected with a therapist at Relational Psych?

Ally Raye  00:47
Yeah. Would you like me to just dive right in?

Tyson Conner  00:51
Sure.

Ally Raye  00:52
All right. So my entire role is to aid in that - to help people get connected with the right clinician, and whatever that looks like. So when someone reaches out to me, I know that they're already kind of overwhelmed with - usually overwhelmed with the amount of just kind of information and options that there are. We talk about insurance, different modalities, different specialties, preferences, and type of clinician, all of those kinds of pieces. And my job is really just to help them walk through kind of what they're looking for, and if, who the best fit at Relational Psych might be. And, and people can reach out many, many different ways most commonly through the website, which is a good idea to kind of look at the different clinicians in general, just to see who relation-Relational Psych is, in general, the vibe for lack of a more professional verbiage. If there are any clinicians that they're drawn to at the start, but that's not necessary. They can schedule a time to meet with me, and I can call them. Alternatively, you know, the classic sending me an email, giving me a call and leaving me a voicemail, and all of that information is also on the website. And then I reach back out and we start what's called the initial call.

Tyson Conner  02:15
So it sounds like, the process that someone will go through is, if they're looking for a therapist, feeling overwhelmed feeling stressed out, they go to our website, or even like in the in the footer of the show notes, is the contact info. And there's the phone number and our like main "Hello" email address. And those those go right to you. So someone reaches out. And it doesn't matter if the message is like, I saw Dave's profile, and I think he'd be a great therapist for me, I'd like to meet with him. Or if someone is just like, I need a therapist. Help me. You get that email and you you respond.

Ally Raye  03:02
Yeah, I try to respond as quickly as I can. I am a Monday through Friday gal. So anything outside of those times I get back as soon as possible. But yeah, usually what I find is the best is a phone call. It's just easier to run through questions. And you know, questions that come to mind. For some folks, it's definitely daunting to make phone calls. So it's it's a little bit more comfortable to send an email and, you know, or a text. I've had that too. Which is pretty convenient. And then we kind of go from there.

Tyson Conner  03:39
Yeah. So what what kinds of conversations do you have with people? What information? Let's say someone comes in just like, hey, I need a therapist, and that's where the conversation starts. Like, what what questions do you have? What are you going to be asking about?

Ally Raye  03:55
Yeah, so usually it starts with a, you know, a simple hello, and are you comfortable telling me a little bit more about what's going on and what you're looking to speak with a clinician about. And if someone is uncomfortable talking to me since I'm not a clinician, that's A-ok - or sometimes just a little bit of an overview and sometimes I get the whole story. And I appreciate all avenues. And then we kinda talk about if there are any specific modalities - sometimes people come in specifically for CBT, or things like that -

Tyson Conner  04:36
And for our listeners who might not know, a modality is like a particular way of practicing therapy. So some people come in wanting cognitive behavioral therapy, that's CBT - some people may have got a referral for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) that got named dropped in the first episode of She Hulk, that particular modality and so sometimes people already have a preference, and you'll talk to them about that.

Ally Raye  05:03
Yeah. Yeah. And if sometimes folks are more comfortable with a specific gender of clinician, we do talk about that as well. Whether in person or virtual appointments, or a mix of both is a better fit. And then of course, we talk about the financial piece and insurance.

Tyson Conner  05:22
Right? Yeah, let's let's talk a little bit about the financial piece and insurance because that's a big one. And a lot of people have a lot of questions about it. What's, what's the deal? Insurance.

Ally Raye  05:38
So we Relational Psych are out of network, it just means that we don't bill your insurance directly. So it's a little bit of an extra step, we do provide something that is called a superbill, which is quite poorly named, it is actually a receipt, why it's called a bill, I have no idea. But here we are.

Tyson Conner  06:01
Not just a bill. It's a super bill.

Ally Raye  06:03
It's a super bill, but you've already paid the bill. So it's a receipt. Anyone who is out of network should be able to provide superbills just like us. And what a superbill has on it is everything that your insurance would get from us if we were to build them directly. So a CPT code, which is the session code, it has, of course, the date and time, it's got some important information about the clinician, different pieces like that. So we unless requested more frequently, Relational Psych gives superbills once a month to then the client submits that superbill like submitting a claim to their insurance. And then depending on their plan, the insurance might reimburse them.

Tyson Conner  06:52
Yeah. Yeah. And we'll, we will likely do future episodes about insurance because that's, that's a really big topic. And yeah, big concept. But my understanding of it is that part of the reason why we practice this way and why we aren't in network with insurance is because it, the insurance company becomes a part of the treatment.

Ally Raye  07:16
Yes,

Tyson Conner  07:16
When you're in network with them, they have legal right to access your notes, they have legal right to make recommendations about what kind of treatment you get how many sessions you get, things like that. And the way that we practice here is not super insurance friendly, kind of relational and psychodynamic approach is one that tends to take its time and tends to not be able to tell you exactly what's going to happen over the next five sessions, unlike something that's more structured, like cognitive behavioral therapy, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. So insurance companies tend to get kind of cranky about those things. And I have worked in contexts where we were in network with insurance companies, and I have had to terminate, end treatment, early with people, I thought that the work was still going on. And they wanted to keep seeing me. But the insurance company said no. And so choosing to work out on network means that that's not gonna happen. It does mean that likely your insurance won't cover as much of the session if they'll cover any. But it also means that you're not going to have an insurance company showing up and telling you what you can and can't do in therapy. Yeah. So it's a give and take.

Ally Raye  08:35
Yes, definitely. Definitely. And there are some insurances that I'm always a little bit more hopeful about when somebody calls in and some that are a little bit less so.

Tyson Conner  08:46
Yep. Yep. And that's, that's the nature of health care in America, in the year of our Lord, 2020, and three. So let's, let's say that somebody has this conversation with you, let's let's, let's imagine an example client. I've contacted you, I said, I'm dealing with some depression. I'm just feeling low, I'm feeling bad. And I want to work with a male therapist, and I have Premera, Blue Cross insurance. Like, do you say, Okay, how about this guy? And like, what do you do then? Do you like send a link to their profile? Or do you just schedule something? What happens next?

Ally Raye  09:33
Yeah, so it definitely differs a little bit on the person and how the rest of the conversation has gone as well as to know kind of comfort level of there's a couple of different avenues. So definitely a recommendation, let's say in this case, it would be you Tyson or David. And I would say have you taken a look at their profiles just to see if they've even, you know, taken a look and letting them it's also letting them know that that profile is available to view and And then the next two steps are either if they want to pursue either a free 15 minute phone call with that clinician directly. For some folks, the well for everyone really the fit for clinician and the client is massive, makes a massive, massive difference. And some people want to do just that quick 15 minute phone call, sometimes that's plenty for them to know if it feels like the right fit. And then the other option is doing a full, you know, 45-50 minute intake appointment with the clinician, which gives a lot more room to kind of, again, for lack of more professional verbiage feel out the vibe. And is this a good fit? Is this someone that I feel comfortable talking to? Especially about these topics that I'm not really comfortable talking about anybody else with?

Tyson Conner  10:48
Yeah, yeah. And we actually have a whole episode about the fit therapeutic fit.

Ally Raye  10:53
Oh, good.

Tyson Conner  10:54
That will, I think it'll come out before this one. So but it'll be pretty nearby. So listener, if you're listening to this and are curious to hear more about this idea of the fit and why it matters. We got a whole episode for you about that with Dr. Kim. So cool. Yeah, this and it sounds like it. These are like the two ways of first initially testing the fit is that 15 minute phone call, which is free, or just scheduling a full 45 minute first session, which would be a first session. So that would be something that would be billed at the full rate reimbursable if you have out of network benefits on your insurance, all that jazz.

Ally Raye  11:34
Yeah, some people even use that initial appointment as a kind of a test for the insurance too. They do one we submit a superbill and we find out how much we get back.

Tyson Conner  11:45
Yeah, yeah, cuz it's, it's not it's not a very translucent process. It's pretty opaque. You never really know what's gonna come out the other side, you can guess. But, yeah. Well, what if so, so let's say that I, let's say that I'm, you know, theoretical client a, and, and I've, you've talked with me, and it sounds like either Tyson or Dave would be a good fit. What do you do, then when you've got multiple options?

Ally Raye  12:15
When I've got multiple options. Sometimes it then comes down to availability, some people are only available at certain times or clinician is only available at certain times. So we'll definitely look at that. And some folks will specifically request let's do a 15 minute phone consult with both, which I understand. And if it feels like a really, really good fit. There's usually some ability to find some scheduling. That works out. But usually the next then conversation is what times work for you.

Tyson Conner  12:53
Yeah. Yeah. Cool. And what if, if I were in a situation where, like, Dave fit better for my schedule? Does that like lock me in? Am I am I stuck? If like, if Dave ends up if I don't get along with Dave or it turns out that Dave, like, went to high school with my partner or something like, am I stuck? Or what happens then?

Ally Raye  13:21
Not even close. It's so lovely. The clinicians want everybody to feel comfortable with who they're with. And there's no hard feelings if it doesn't feel like a good fit. If scheduling something dramatic, you know, changes something happens in life, or anything else. Really, it is not set in stone by any means. And yeah,

Tyson Conner  13:45
What I'm hearing you say is that you're never locked in. It sounds like there's always flexibility. And I think I think what's important to my mind for this conversation, is that listeners understand that that flexibility is there from from moment one. Like, as a clinician, I would hope, if for whatever reason my work with someone isn't working out, they tell me. And sometimes they don't feel comfortable telling me and your point of contact they've had at that point. Like, if I had a client, who didn't feel comfortable, for whatever reason, telling me hey, this isn't gonna work for me and you, but still wanted to try someone else. I would hope they would email Ally, they'd say, hey, this isn't working for me. Can I try that other person? Like that's allowed. That's fine. Ally and I will figure that out together. My view is not that they're not important. What's important is that you listener client, get the help that you need. That's what we care about most.

Ally Raye  14:48
I love when people reach out to me and say, Hey, can I set up a consult with this other person that we talked about? Not because that you know, I glad it wasn't a good fit. No, I'm just so glad that there's still trying. It's such an intimidating process. It's really, really easy to feel defeated when somebody is not the right fit. So whenever somebody reaches out to me, am I absolutely yes. Let's try again. Let's find someone else.

Tyson Conner  15:16
Yeah. Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. So what if, what if, for whatever reason, because the kind of therapy I'm looking for isn't offered here, or it doesn't work for my finances, or I've tried out the therapist, and I just don't click with anybody? Like, are we just out of luck? At that point? What happens then?

Ally Raye  15:44
Yeah, well, we certainly don't just kind of pack you up and send you on your way. I love it. I love to help people, you know, find someone else. So I can't be quite as in depth or knowledgeable about other practices as I am with Relational Psych. But we do have a list of clinicians throughout Seattle, and just generally Washington of clinicians that either we've connected within the past, in some way, some of our clinicians know them directly, whatever that looks like, who are either maybe in network with someone's insurance, who have maybe more of a specialty that they're looking for. So I have a list of clinicians that I can pull from that. I can say, hey, they might be a good fit. Here's their information if you'd like to reach out to them.

Tyson Conner  16:35
Yeah. Great. I bet you're I was on that list before I was an employee.

Ally Raye  16:40
You were, yeah.

Tyson Conner  16:42
Cool. That's neat. That's fun. Awesome. Well, let's see that. So to recap the process, someone finds out about Relational Psych, through the website, through the podcast, through Psychology Today, they reach out to one of the contact options available. The show notes here, the contact form on the website, the phone number that they can text, or call the email address, they can send an email to, and you start a conversation with them. What in whatever format is most comfortable to them. And that conversation, it can be as in depth or as surface as they feel comfortable with. And then you make suggestions based off of what you know about us and how we practice you and who we are and who we work with. You say it sounds like you might work well with Person X. And then you schedule a 15 minute phone call or a full 45 minute first session. And we go from there. And then throughout the process, if for whatever reason, the client doesn't feel comfortable or want some administrative support. You're there. And listener I have worked. I've been on email threads with Ally about like, problems with billing issues and scheduling issues and email addresses being wrong and letters and all sorts of things. And she's she's available. She's around, which is pretty nice.

Ally Raye  18:24
I try.

Tyson Conner  18:25
Yeah, he's do a good job, I think. So we've covered like the logistics and answered the question, how do I get set up here? And I am curious. And I imagine our listeners might be curious, too, about like, how, how do you get into this position into this role? Like how does someone get there? It's no job that shows up at job fairs, right? Like people don't? Generally I mean, I don't know, I haven't been high school for a while, but I don't remember. Like, you know, high school career counselor talking about this kind of a job as a thing. And then also, how do you how do you decide how to match people up? Like, we've talked about vibes and like vibes are important. For therapy to work out? We have a whole episode about it. Like, are you kind of doing a vibe check to like, what sort of thoughts do you have? How do you make the decision? So yeah, those are my two questions.

Ally Raye  19:21
Yeah. It's a fair question. I graduated with a degree in college and psychology and knew that I myself didn't want to be a therapist. I just knew that I wouldn't be able to, you know, quote, unquote, leave it at work. But I still love the world of therapy and what it offers. So I wanted to be involved in some way. And after I got out of college, I got very lucky and there was an administrative position open in a therapy office here where I live. And that didn't last quite as long. I learned about burnout. Very, very frequently. But after a little while I missed working with these kinds of folks, I missed, even though I don't get to see how someone, you know, turns out how their life goes, I do get the wonderful, I guess satisfaction is the right word of knowing that I have connected them with someone that can help them. And that is going to be a good fit. And I also wanted to travel, I'm in my mid 20s. It's very classic. I wanted to travel. But obviously, I need money to work. So I wondered, Is there a way that I can do this, and travel? And that was in late 20, mid 2019, when virtual assistants were a thing, but still, you know, I'm so I kind of, I mean, I shot my shot. And I got very, very lucky. And a therapy clinic reached out to me, and I started working with them. And they introduced me to Relational Psych. And I've been here ever since.

Tyson Conner  21:09
Wow. So do you work with multiple clinics right now?

Ally Raye  21:14
I do. Yes.

Tyson Conner  21:16
Wow.

Ally Raye  21:17
Yeah.

Tyson Conner  21:17
I've got are all in the Seattle area, or like around where you are? Or

Ally Raye  21:22
Seattle, lower California and Dallas, Texas.

Tyson Conner  21:26
Wow. So not a lot of competition between those? No, which is referring going on?

Ally Raye  21:32
Yeah, it's kind of nice. But there have been a couple of occasions. I mean, there those are three, quote unquote, hot spots, you know, so I have had people who have moved, I've had a client who was seeing a clinician in Dallas, who moved to Seattle, and I was like, You know what, I know someone who you might be a good fit with. So that's been really cool.

Tyson Conner  21:54
That's really neat. Yeah, that's really neat.

Ally Raye  21:58
Cool. And for the vibe check. Yes, I am doing somewhat somewhat of a vibe check. Like, obviously, a voice over a phone can't tell you everything. But just general demeanor. Sometimes, you know, the way that someone talks about something, I don't want to specify just language. But sometimes, you know, if a clinician says, you know, if somebody calls and says that their kid is mature for their age, that's a green flag for me, you know. And so sometimes those specific phrasings and things like that, I'm like, Oh, I know what clinician that would be great for. And yeah, so if that makes sense.

Tyson Conner  22:43
Remembering our, our conversation around that, cause listener when, when I joined, Relational Psych, Ally and I had a conversation, I filled out like a document, including like a bunch of like, how I practice and the people I like to work with. And we had a conversation afterwards about what I'd written down. And in that conversation, one of the things that I said was, I love working with people who are too smart for their own good. And, like, I think it sounds like you, you heard what I was saying. And you also heard the way I was talking about it, you're sort of like picking up like, okay, Tyson likes working with people who are, you know, a little bit a little clever, a little quick, that's gonna be fun for him. And also, like, maybe people who are who are a little bit playful, right, or like whatever else is in that phrase too smart for their own good. Maybe a little existential, I don't know.

Ally Raye  23:42
Yes

Tyson Conner  23:43
It sounds like you. You took that in, and and you take that into account when you're on the phone with someone and trying to see like, who who might work well with them?

Ally Raye  23:52
Yeah.

Tyson Conner  23:54
That's really cool. Cool.

Ally Raye  23:57
That's why I like having those meetings. It's so much nicer to get to know you, like through talking to you rather than just kind of what you write down. And that's why we offer those consultations too, because your bios on the website are fantastic. But that's all they are.

Tyson Conner  24:13
Right, right. Yeah, they are. Yeah, there's something. There's something that you get having an interactive conversation with someone that you don't really get, even in a context like this, right? Like, listener if you've if you're listening to the podcast, and you hear one of the providers on the show, and you're like, oh, they sound good. I encourage you to still have a conversation. Because you know what it's like to listen in on a conversation with that person. But it there's something special about actually having a conversation with someone that we want you to experience. So, we like to do our experiment and further learning sections on this podcast. Did you have Have a experiment that you'd like to offer to the listener and or invite them to try something out?

Ally Raye  25:05
Yeah, my experiment is not much of a mystery. But take a look. Take a look at profiles on the website kind of learn the different language that therapists will use in their bios. And you know, is there a specific I keep using the word vibe, I need to come up with something else. But what what feels comfortable for you? What do you start to look at and what starts to, you know, kind of maybe turn you off to different profiles just getting it's a good way to kind of get a sense of start getting a sense of what you're looking for.

Tyson Conner  25:45
Great. Yeah, yeah. And yes, you can find those at relationalpsych.group. And then you can also, you know, there's seven profiles there. And if you go to a website, like Good Therapy, or Psychology Today, you can find literally 1000s of others. So you know, start with ours, obvs.

Ally Raye  26:07
I, you could cut this out if you'd like. But I love Psychology Today. It's got its flaws, but especially for folks looking for very specific insurances, or very specific specialties. Psychology Today is great.

Tyson Conner  26:22
Yeah, when I was doing a lot of like short term stabilization work, I use Psychology Today, all the time for long term referrals, because it has really powerful filters. Yeah. So like, yeah, if if you're looking for a basic place to start, and you know, you have specific things you need, I think psychology days a great website to use. So again, start with our website. Yes. Then, today's great. And any any other further learning, you'd suggest if people are curious or interested in, in any of this process, or even just like what you do? Like the sorts of things that you get up to, like, How could someone learn more about that? Yeah,

Ally Raye  27:05
there are a couple of virtual assistant like Facebook groups, sometimes they're areas specific. Sometimes they're not, there are healthcare specific virtual assistant groups. And there are I'm sure, hundreds, if not 1000s, of blogs written about what virtual assistants do. I list some of what I specifically do on my website, which is virtualally.info. Just kind of a basic. Anyone who has done administrative work knows what I'm talking about. I can tell you the majority of what I do, but all of the odd little tasks are what make it interesting.

Tyson Conner  27:46
All right. Yeah, it sounds like a position that is like, like, there's a lot of systems that you refine and practice over and over again. And there's also just like, a lot of real little random things that just happen and you gotta like React.

Ally Raye  28:00
Yeah, well, and it's lovely in this position, because I get to meet so many different people. And there's a lot of trust. And I value that so much, because, I mean, yeah, when people are reaching out to therapy, it's generally not because they're having a good time. So it's so lovely to be able to be that space, and be able to help welcome someone into a practice or with a clinician of okay, hey, well, we got you. All right. Yeah. So that's really, really cool.

Tyson Conner  28:32
Yeah, that's great. We got you. That's sweet. Cool. Well, so before we go, people can find you at is virtual ally dot info.

Ally Raye  28:49
And virtual ally,

Tyson Conner  28:52
a ll. Y. Great. And then do you have any other thing that you'd like to plug?

Ally Raye  28:58
Yeah, so this is a little bit odd. And by the time this comes out, we're a little past holidays, but it's good information. Anyway. I was recently reminded of instead of donating clothes, and some of the things that often were giving away, especially post holidays and with the new year, rather than giving it to Goodwill, or an arc or Salvation Army, which absolutely is still a good thing to do, but also women's or men's shelters. I definitely had a little bit of guilt I didn't ever really thought about it of donating straight to the shelter's so that's what I'm planning on doing here this weekend.

Tyson Conner  29:40
Yeah, I mean, this will this will come out right around time for spring cleaning. So

Ally Raye  29:43
Ah, cool beans.

Tyson Conner  29:45
people clearing stuff out. That's the plug is consider finding somewhere nearby a shelter where you can take your stuff directly instead. Maybe even call ahead and see if there's anything in particular that they need.

Ally Raye  29:59
I like that.

Tyson Conner  30:01
Cool. Awesome. Do you want to do you want to advertise that you're hiring?

Ally Raye  30:07
I am hiring. At that is on my website. I've got a specific hiring page. Yeah, if there's any administrative experience, specifically healthcare administrative experience, and someone who's looking for some flexibility. Please take a look. Please reach out.

Tyson Conner  30:25
Awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much for coming on the episode. Ali, I really appreciate it. This has been, I find this really interesting and fascinating. And it's like, it's a side of the work. That's so so important. And people don't write as many books about it. So I'm, I'm glad that we could shed a little bit of light on it. And listener. If you have any questions that were unanswered that you'd like answered in a future podcast, feel free to email us or you can also just email that Hello @ with any question really, at any point. And will Ally will respond hello at relationalpsych dot group. Yes. Thank you.  

The Relational Psych Podcast is a production of Relational Psych, a mental health clinic providing depth oriented psychotherapy and psychological testing in person in Seattle and virtually throughout Washington state. If you are interested in psychotherapy or psychological testing for yourself or a family member, links to our contact information are in the show notes. If you're a psychotherapist and would like to be a guest on the show or listener with a suggestion for someone you'd like us to interview, you can contact me at podcast at Relational Psych dot group. The Relational Psych podcast is hosted and produced by me, Tyson Conner, Carly Claney is our executive producer with technical support by Sam Claney and Ally Raye, Our music is by Ben Lewis. We love you buddy.  

We did it!

Ally's website is https://www.virtualally.info/