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Office Resources

Emergency Services

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please dial 911. You may also have someone drive you to the closest medical center. The following places and numbers are also provided for emergencies and informational services.

Durham Crises Response Center, 24-hour crisis line (919) 403-6562

Suicide Hotline 1 (800) 784-2433

National Alliance on Mental Health 1 (800) 950-6264

Please understand that email and voice messages to our office cannot be used for life-threatening emergencies.

Common Questions

What is the difference between counseling, psychotherapy and coaching?

Although most people are familiar with these terms, few can distinguish between them. Counseling typically focuses on a current problem and on the steps to find solutions. Psychotherapy refers to the treatment of a diagnosable mental health problem that is or has interfered with daily function. In contrast, coaching focuses on personal growth and achievement.

Is therapy confidential?

The law protects all communication between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior permission from the client.

Exception include:

Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, which I am required by law to report to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to others. I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in securing their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law to secure their safety.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

Currently emoWellness is an out-of-network provider for most health insurance companies. Therefore, you are expected to pay out of pocket for counseling or therapy services at the time of your appointment. We do not accept Medicaid. As a courtesy, we will file your claims electronically if your insurance allow this. If out-of-network claims are paid, you will be reimbursed directly by your insurance company based on your out-of-network benefits. More importantly, if you have us bill your insurance for our counseling or therapy services, we will need to provide them with a diagnosis for psychotherapy to be covered, as well as any part of or all of your medical record if requested.

To determine coverage, call the number on the back of your health insurance card and ask the following questions.

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
  • Do I have out-of-network coverage?
  • Is preauthorization required?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • What services are covered by my plan?
  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per session?

What should I expect on the first visit?

Please bring photo identification on your first visit. We suggest you arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to compete the required forms. You may also select to download forms from our website and bring completed forms to the initial visit. Your insurance card is needed on the first visit so we can make a copy for the office. You will also need your primary care physician’s name, address, phone number, and fax number. We expect you to read our policies to learn about your rights and seek answers to questions before signing documents.

The initial session generally involves going over paperwork and answering questions about policies, fees, and confidentiality. The clinician will ask questions to obtain a better understanding of your concerns and needs, the nature and severity of your problems or symptoms. The initial session is also an opportunity for you and your clinician to assess if you two are “a good fit” or if a referral will be more helpful. If a referral is not needed, future sessions will be based upon shared goals and a mutually determined plan of action.

Rates for clinical services

Initial session: 150.00

Individual session, 50 minutes: 115.00

Individual session, 30 minutes: 90.00

Group Therapy, 90 minutes: 25.00


We accept credit cards (American Express, Discover, Master Card and Visa). You are expected to pay the full cost of service at the time of your appointment. Telephone conversations, site visits, writing and reading of reports, consultation with other professionals, release of information, reading records, longer sessions, travel time, etc. will be charged at the same rate, unless indicated and agreed upon otherwise. The fee schedule for groups and workshops will be made available as rates may change from time to time. Grief Group members and Workshop participants are expected to pay out of pocket for services. Occasionally, we provide Pro Bono and Sliding Scale Services for grief group members.


We provide flexible appointment hours including evenings and weekends. Call to schedule an appointment or to get more information about our services. If we are unable to take your call, please leave your name, telephone number, a convenient time and safe method to return your call. We make every effort to contact you within 24–48 hours of your call.

E-Mail, Cell Phones, Computers, Faxes

It is very important to be aware that computer, unencrypted email, text and fax communication (which are part of clinical record) can be relatively easy to access by unauthorized people and, hence, can compromise the privacy and confidentiality of such communication. Emails, texts, and e-faxes, in particular, are vulnerable to such unauthorized access due to the fact that servers or communication companies may have unlimited and direct access to all emails, texts, and e-faxes that go through them. While data on Dr. Atwater’s laptop is encrypted, emails, texts, and e-faxes are not. It is always a possibility that e-faxes, texts, and email can be sent erroneously to the wrong address and computer. Dr. Atwater’s laptop is equipped with a firewall, a virus protection and a password and she backs up all confidential information from her computer on a regular basis onto an encrypted hard-drive. Please notify me if you decide to avoid or limit, in any way, the use of email, texts, cell phone calls, phone messages or e-faxes. If you communicate confidential or highly private information via unencrypted email, texts, e-fax, phone messages, Dr. Atwater will assume that you have made an informed decision, will view it as your agreement to take the risk that such communication may be intercepted. Therefore, she will honor your desire to communicate on such. Also, due to computer or network problems, emails may not be deliverable.

Social Networking and Internet Searches

At times, I may conduct a web search on my clients before the beginning of therapy or during therapy. If you have concerns regarding this practice, please discuss them with me. I do not accept friend request from current or former clients on such social-networking sites as Facebook. I believe that adding clients as friends on these sites or communicating via such sites is likely to compromise their privacy and confidentiality. For this same reason, I request that clients not communicate with me via any interactive or social-networking web sites.

Cancellation Policy

Advance notice of 24 hours is required to reschedule or cancel an appointment. Cancellations must be made by calling emoWellness at 919-416-3737. When cancelling your appointment, please provide your full name, the date for which your appointment is scheduled, and a telephone number that can be used to contact you. If you do not provide the advance notice of 24 hours, you will be charged the full fee for your missed appointment.

Refund Policy


No refunds will be given for workshop cancellations. However, you may receive a credit in the amount of your original payment to be used toward another workshop. Alternatively, you may have someone else attend the workshop as a substitute for you. If you would like to substitute a workshop attendee, you must call 919-416-3737 at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled workshop. Substitution requests must include the full name of the original attendee, the name of the workshop, the date of the workshop, and the name of the substitute attendee. emoWellness reserves the right to cancel a workshop at any time. In the event emoWellness cancels a workshop, you will receive a credit in the amount of your original payment to be used toward another workshop.

Books and Resource Materials

No refunds are provided for the purchase of books or other resource materials.


Marcella M. Atwater, PhD, PPMHCNS-BC, CT
Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist
1058 West Club Blvd
Durham, NC 27701
Phone (919) 416-3737
Fax (919) 680-4010

Conveniently located in the Northgate area of Durham, North Carolina

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