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Common Questions

What style of therapy do you use?

I practice from a few different modalities. I primarily use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is the practice of learning how our thoughts affect our behavior. All of us have what is called ‘thinking errors’ that impact how we perceive and react to the word. If we can better identify our ‘thinking errors’ we will clear up our expectations and our communication.

I also use Narrative therapy for those that have issues in their past that may be impacting current action. Through Narrative therapy, we explore your story and how that story may be negatively impacting your choices or reactions. If the story is explored in a safe and comfortable setting, the messages you take from it are more likely to be positive, and therefore you will make better choices and react more positively.

Last, I use Psycho-education. This is educating you on topics that are negatively impacting. We will learn about the topics or skills together and then homework is given to think or choose a different way than previously chosen. Some examples of topics are; levels of communication, communication styles, thinking errors, love languages, strength building, boundaries and ways to be happy.

How long do I have to come to therapy?

This can vary greatly based on history and current support system. The average length of treatment is 3 months. I like to see you weekly for the first 6-8 sessions and then bi-monthly for the next 4-6. We will create a Treatment Plan on your second session that will be focused on your goals as well as treating your diagnosis. Most of my clients will feel significant improvement when they end therapy or have achieved all of their goals. Most of the work does happen outside of the therapy room. The hope would be that we are both working equally hard to achieve the goals you have set.

How come you don’t take my insurance?

I have contracts with insurance companies that share similar values with the work I do. Some companies only want to contract with therapist who work in large clinics. In those cases, I don’t have an option to contract with them. In other cases, an insurance company may not put as much value on mental health services so they set their rates very low, mostly attracting community mental health clinics or therapist who are new to the field. My hope is that someday, all insurance companies value mental health services equally and also are open to private practice setting. Until that time, the insurance companies I have listed on the ‘rates and insurance’ page are the companies I can bill. Please keep in mind, if you do not see your insurance company on the list, you can still use your HEALTH SAVING ACCOUNT. You will have to pay the fee for service (self-pay) rate but then can save using your HSA. Some of my clients also pay upfront and then send in the statement and charges to their insurance company to be applied to their in or out of network benefits.

Can you see me individually and then see my partner or family members?

Yes! If you are self-paying, we can arrange sessions for what works best for you. If you are using insurance, then I have to have one primary client identified that I will do an intake session with. After a treatment plan is established, we can then start adding more members to your sessions as long as it pertains to your diagnosis and your treatment goals. I spent my Doctorate program learning from a systems approach. Systems are any sort of group you live or interact in. Our 'systems' impact us and so it is very difficult to make individual progress without brining in the people who you love the most. 

How can therapy help me?
 
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.  
  
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face. 


Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. 
 
  
What is therapy like?
 
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
 
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.   
 
 
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  
 
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. 
 
 
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
 
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them.  Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers.  Some helpful questions you can ask them:
 
  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician? 
 
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
 
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
 
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
 
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
 

Can I see you and then bring in my partner or family members?

Yes, my doctorate program specifically focused on systems. Systems are what we live in each day. It includes, your partner, family members, co-workers, community and also the culture you live within. It is very difficult to make progress if you are not considering how all of the systems in your life are impacting you. I encourage partners and family members to join when it feels fitting to the treatment plan. I typically build the treatment plan around one person and from there we can include others depending on what goals we are working on.
 

How do I know you will not be biased to my partner or to me in couples counseling?

Typically I see each partner once as an individual before you are seen together to create treatment goals. During this time I invest in learning what motivates you, how you communication, differences in background and family culture as well as the strengths you are bringing to the relationship. I do my best to stay focused on the goals you have created together. During the course of couples counseling, often times the relationship may become more unstable for a short period of time due to the new ability to communicate about sources of pain. I will typically start seeing improvement in communication and support after 4-6 sessions. Please know this is normal to have increased tension in the short term. Since I am human, I can not guarantee, one partner or the other will not feel bias from me. I ask that you are open to communicating this feeling if it does arise and we can explore the issue together. Since I am an intuitive person, I can often times feel or see that one or the other is feeling blame more than the other and then we simply have a conversation about it.
 

Are you one of those therapist that just listens and repeats back to me what I just said in a slightly different way?

No, I do not find that style of therapy effective. For some people, that style is exactly what they need, support and validation. I differ from this because not only do I offer support and validation, I also challenge you to think about your situation and relationships differently. I work to help you improve your own insights into your weaknesses so that you are doing most of the exploration through new found awareness. If I feel there are personalities traits or styles of communication that are causing a problem in your life consistently, then I will be sure to help you see this.

How do I know if it is time for my teenager to start therapy?

Teenagers are very complicated to read and understand due to how quickly they are developing emotionally and physically. When you add all of the pressures that are placed on teens, it is not surprising so many have troubles adjusting. Classic symptoms of depression do not typically fit for teens. Many people think of depression as an extended period of sadness. For teenagers this often looks different. Classic symptoms of a teenager struggling with depression maybe the following: reckless behavior such as experimenting with alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, school issues such as poor attendance, drop in grades or low concentration on homework. It could also be prolonged use of social media or screen time. Children who come home after school and appear withdrawn and then isolate, could be experiencing anxiety. If you have found that your child is not participating with activities that previously enjoyed or are not hanging out with friends the same as they used to, this could also indicate symptoms of depression or anxiety. Parents know their children better than anyone, if you have seen one or more of the previous mentioned symptoms for a period of more than a month, getting as assessment could be helpful.

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