The very fact that you are reading this creates a likelihood that the time is near. Here are three questions for you to contemplate: Are you able to love and be loved in the ways you desire? Are you able to dream or set goals and pursue your dreams and goals? Do you know your self worth? Most problems that people bring to therapy are related to one or more of these questions. If you get a "no" on any of these questions, you are probably struggling in your life and could benefit from good therapy.
And here are some other questions that can help you clarify your need for therapy: Is there a persistent problem, condition, and way of feeling or upset that has been bothering you for a while? Is there something that you want to change in your self or your life? Are you tired of having the same conversation about something over and over in your head or with your friends, yet nothing seems to change? Does the issue feel too big to tackle by your self? Are you tired of feeling the way you have been feeling? Are you finally ready to do something about it? Has that quiet, intuitive little voice inside of you been nudging you to get some outside, professional help with something.... and it keeps nudging in spite of your attempts to ignore or shhhh it away? If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions.... it's time.
A friend or family member is not professionally trained to help you grow, heal and change. It's likely that your friends and family have been giving you their best advice for sometime now, and if it were sufficient, you probably wouldn't be reading this. But here is why your friend's advice is different from a therapist. Your friends want to maintain your friendship so they will probably tell you what they want to hear. Also, they will give advice that is based on their life’s experience. A trained therapist is interested in helping you find your own answers by helping you connect with what is true and right for you.
Please read my article Research Study Says Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
The benefits of therapy have been demonstrated in numerous studies. If you want to read the entire review of a Consumer Reports Study by Martin Seligman please click here. http://horan.asu.edu/cpy702readings/seligman/seligman.html. It's a long review, so here is a summary of the key findings about therapy effectiveness:
Essentially, my job is to create safety and undo aloneness so you can free yourself to be yourself. Here is how it works.
When something really bad happens and we feel powerless to control our environment or our future, we create a psychological strategy to protect ourselves. These are called defenses. Defenses are not bad things; without them we literally couldn't function.
The bad news is that defenses can interfere with your quality of life ... your ability to love and be loved, to pursue goals or experience self worth. When that happens, my job is to help you work through or around these defenses. Many of these defenses developed outside of your conscious awareness during vulnerable times throughout your past. They are no longer necessary and are depriving you of experiencing the life that you want. Gently, compassionately and tenaciously, we dissolve these defenses so you can know and express your real nature
I do this by helping you connect with yourself as deeply as you are capable. I also help you connect with me in an honest and deep way so you can experience the essential safety and security you need in order to heal. As we work together, new restorative experiences associated with feeling loved and whole become available to you. Your relationship to yourself, your life and others starts to deepen and expand. Fear gives way to freedom and curiosity. Anger gives way to acceptance. And sorrow eases, creating room for resilience, love and self- activation.
You really need to meet me face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what I’m like as a person and as a professional. At our first meeting you should keep these questions in mind:
It would be so handy for me to have an exact answer to this question. But unfortunately, I don't. It's kind of like trying to tell you how long a piece of string is. It depends on how long the string is ... right?
There are many factors to consider, such as: What sort of life have you had before coming to therapy? Why are you deciding now to come to therapy? How long has the problem been in the making? How have you coped with the problem up until now? How have your ways of coping compromised your deeper sense of aliveness and well-being? What are your goals or hopes for therapy? How will we know when they have been met?
I know, lots of questions here. Some of these questions cannot be answered right away; they are answered during treatment through discovery and understanding.
Here's how you will gain the most benefit from therapy.
1. Look at the money you spend on therapy as an investment in your future. The benefits you experience will justify the expense.
2. Be an active participant to your fullest capacity. Your therapy will take work - on your part and on mine. If you don't put honest effort forward you won't feel as if you are getting your money's worth and you will likely resent the cost.
Show up with the intention to be as open and honest about yourself as you can be. The first session is like a first date. I will want to learn about what is bringing you to therapy at this time in your life and hopefully you will be interested in filling me in. The likelihood is that there is much you will want to tell me and I’ll be listening carefully and giving you my full attention.
At the same time I am learning about you, something else will be going on that is very important. You will likely be asking yourself:- How does it feel to be in the room with her? - Do I like her? - Do I feel safe with her? - Does she seem like she will be able to help me? - Can I let my guard down with her and be myself?
And I will be asking myself:- What is it like being in the room with her/him/them? - What am I feeling as I get to know her/him/them? - Do I feel compassion, touched, moved? Do I like being with her/him/them? - Do I think I can help him/her/them? - Would I like to work with him/her/them?
By the end of the first session we will each have a sense of each other and will have talked some about the possibility of working together. Hard research has shown that the success of therapy is determined more by the quality of the relationship, than the theoretical orientation of the therapist. If the fit doesn't feel good to you, then you owe it to yourself to keep looking. If I don't think I will be the most advantageous therapist to work with you for whatever reason, I will tell you and make a good referral to someone who I think will be able to help you. If we decide to work together then we will schedule a next appointment.
You really need to meet me face-to-face in order to get a good idea of what I’m like as a person and as a professional. In the first session, you should keep these questions in mind:
Huge question - long answer - here we go.
It may seem like therapists charge a lot of money, but believe me, the vast majority do not become wealthy from their private practices. Let me tell you why that is, and about the high cost of therapy.
Like anyone who works independently, therapist’s fees pay for office space, office supplies, advertising, websites, continuing education, outside consultations, medical and malpractice insurance, and vacation time. While companies commonly supply these accoutrements and provisions for employed professionals, those of us in private practice supply them for ourselves. This is why we will refer agency settings to people who need therapy at very low fees.
For most therapists a full time practice is 18-25 contact hours with clients each week. This is also true of therapists who are employed by organizations. The rest of our time we are marketing and promoting our practice, doing essential administrative work, and keeping up with new information through study, professional/peer consultations with other professionals, seminars and conferences. We are only paid for our contact hours with clients; we do not get paid for any of these other responsibilities necessary for maintaining our practice and license.
The nature of psychotherapy is intense, emotional, complex and concentrated. Our service is difficult to deliver hour after hour, day after day. Here's how it is for me. I work with my intellect, heart, intuition and body. I keep my heart and senses open to catch the nuance of feeling and meaning that you might not even be aware of. While I track what you are doing, saying, feeling, and not saying, I are also track my own responses, instincts, intuitions, feelings because they inform me in many ways. And it doesn't stop there! I am also mindful of the relationship that is unfolding between the two of us. This quality of careful, focused attention can be intense and consuming. Thank goodness for ice cream and nature!
Like many therapists, I also set aside a portion of my time to see people who are in difficult financial circumstances one way and another: the poor, students, artists, veterans, the unemployed and underemployed.
I also consider my experience when setting my fee. I've been doing psychotherapy for over 23 years (including my pre-licensed years when I was an intern). I love learning new things in my work and am a huge believer in staying current with cutting edge thinking. New information and approaches I learn are enhanced by a competence that has been honed by over 23 years of experience. It’s kind of like how a seasoned dancer can easily learn new choreography.
50 minutes. Sometimes people schedule a 1.5 sessions, which is 75 minutes, or a double session which is 1 hour and 40 minutes. These longer sessions work really well for couples.
I use the two words interchangeably. Not everybody does, so this is a great question to ask. I use both words because different people relate to one word more positively than the other. Some folks prefer the word counseling, others prefer therapy, so I use them both. To the degree that counseling implies advice or guidance and therapy implies change and healing, I see myself as more of a therapist than a counselor.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of a comprehensive written and oral examination and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
Yes. By law I am bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse or a threat to harm another person. If you want to use a third party payer to pay for therapy it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case I will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer.
I do not sit on insurance panels, which means I am an out of network provider. If you want to use your insurance you will need to contact your insurance company before our first session and ask them how much they reimburse you if you choose to see an Out-of-Network licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist). I will give you a bill for your sessions that will have all the required information an insurance company requires. You submit the statement/bill directly to your company. When the reimbursement check comes, it goes to you, not to me.
In order to make an informed decision about using your insurance to pay for therapy services, it is important that you know the following information:
1. Your insurance company will require a mental health diagnosis, which will become permanent on your medical records. This not only compromises your privacy and confidentiality, it may effect your future eligibility and cost if you wish to make a change in your insurance.
2. Your insurance company will allow a limited number of sessions for you, usually 8 - 12. This may or may not be a sufficient amount of sessions, depending on your goals and other factors that are listed in the answer to "How long does therapy last?"
No, but here’s the way it works: After evaluating your situation, we will decide if you need to speak with a psychiatrist who is a MD and is allowed to prescribe medicine. If we decide that medication might be beneficial, I have some very competent psychiatrists I work with. It’s always a good idea for someone who is taking medication to have his or her therapist (that’s me) in contact with the doctor who is prescribing medicine. That way you have a team working together on your behalf. Of course, this communication between psychologist and psychiatrist only happens if you give written permission for it to happen.
Call me! Or if you’d rather email me, that is fine too. You can go to the "contact page" on this website to do either. If you know that you want to get started, lets schedule a session. If you want to meet me and have a free consultation, let’s do that.
How do I know when it is time to see a therapist?
Why do I need a therapist? Why can’t I just talk to a friend or a family member?
What are the benefits of therapy?
How does therapy work?
How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?
How long does therapy last?
How do I prepare for my first session?
How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?
Why does therapy cost so much?
Why don't we work more contact hours?
How long are the sessions
What is the difference between therapy and counseling?
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
I’m very private and it is important to me that issues I talk about are confidential. Is my confidentiality completely protected?
Do you take my insurance?
Can you give me any medicine?
How do I get started?
Take some time to contemplate your situation. If you feel that you would like to meet me and see if therapy might be helpful for you, I offer a free 50 minute consultation. That will give you a chance to meet me, ask questions and we can each get a sense of what it would be like to work together.
If you'd like to speak with me or make an appointment, please call at 707-792-2654.
"Every day, it seems, I use the strength and trust in myself that you have been such a part of helping me realize, to open a new and exciting path in relating to people and the world. Thank you."