HOW WILL THIS BE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I'VE TRIED BEFORE?
You may be coming off a disappointing experience trying to get help or just be suspicious in general. I'm honored that you have made it this far into my website. I will also say that many people like you who feel burned by a past experience might well be cautious. But, I will counter with this logic. If you walked into a store, would you buy the first sweater you saw without trying it on? And if you did buy that sweater, and found out at home that it didn't fit, would you NEVER buy a sweater again? Therapy and coaching are similar in that you have to "try on" the provider to see if they fit your personality and what you need. Each provider has different strengths and preferred approaches to working with clients. My FREE consultations help you and I determine goodness of fit. Read more about how to choose the right therapist for you.
Because each person has different issues and goals, sessions 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 session. Depending on your specific needs, our work together can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. It is most common to schedule regular weekly sessions in the beginning and many clients choose to move into a bi-weekly or monthly schedule as they progress. It is important to understand that you will get the best results from our work together if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy/coaching is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of sessions to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
HOW LONG UNTIL I NOTICE RESULTS?
The number of sessions varies by presenting concern, goal and method, however, the studies have shown that the majority of psychotherapy clients report feeling better after 3 months. Issues such as post-traumatic stress, major depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and childhood trauma may involve longer commitments to therapy and/or multiple modalities of treatment for a client to experience a noticeable and sustainable reduction in symptoms.
For many, therapy becomes a way of prioritizing mental health. After making headway on their initial goal, clients will come and go over time for support as new concerns present themselves.
How many sessions of couples counseling will we need? I get this question from almost all of the couples with whom I work. The short answer is: it depends. So lets talk about the things it depends on. Research tells us that 12-20 sessions is the average length of treatment for couples receiving therapy. However, this can vary widely. Some of the factors that can contribute to a longer length of treatment include:
When one or both partners have experienced significant trauma it can have lasting impacts on the way a person relates to the world and shows up in their relationships. Even when we recognize a pattern of behavior, it isn’t easy to change. Relationships are the very best place to heal this kind of trauma and to change patterns that aren’t serving you anymore, but we have to be patient in changing patterns that were ingrained at a young age. It is not a hard and fast rule that just because you or your partner have experienced trauma that therapy will take longer, but you may want to prepare for that possibility.
Amount of time spent in a negative interactional pattern will determine the length of therapy. If you have been in the same rut for years, it may take some time for you and your partner to learn a positive and sustainable way forward.
Complicating factors such as affairs, substance use / addiction, violence, etc., can fundamentally change the way we view the security of a relationship. Couples who have been through such an experience often need more time to rebuild trust and safety. Some examples of experiences / events that may fall in this category include infidelity, deception related to addiction, or abusive behavior.
Frequency of treatment also impacts length of therapy. Couples therapy is a big commitment of time and money. I encourage couples, when possible, to front-load their treatment. The point of couples therapy is not to have a mediator at spaced intervals, to help put out fires, but to help you build confidence in your own ability to come back into connection when you hit a bump in the road. As such, I encourage couples to come to couples therapy weekly if they are able, especially in the beginning of treatment. You will get more bang for your buck spacing 10 sessions over 10 weeks than 10 sessions over 10 months.
Engagement with treatment, i.e. showing up fully present to sessions, and continuing to bring effort and attention to your relationship outside the therapy room makes a difference. The more you are willing to explore and own your part of the negative dance between you and your partner, the more quickly you are likely to see results.
For some people it can be helpful to supplement couples therapy with individual therapy. I often see clients make significant progress in couples therapy when they also seek individual therapy.
Relief from conflict vs. lasting change. Therapy has two distinct phases. The first phase is all about de-escalating the negative cycle between you and your partner. Couples often consider stopping therapy at this point, because they came to stop fighting, and they aren’t fighting nearly as much. However, research shows that couples who complete the second phase, in which they have deeper conversations about their fears, longings, and relationship needs, experience longer-lasting benefits from therapy.
The commitment of time, money, and emotional energy required to engage in therapy is significant. However, there is little that impacts our quality of life more than feeling like we have a safe, loving, and supportive relationship with ourselves and our loved ones. It is incredible what we are able to do from that secure base - ask for a raise at work, be a more confident and attuned parent, tap into our creative energy… the list goes on!
CAN'T I JUST READ A BOOK?
Sure you can! However, if you are like me, that shelf of self-help books is collecting dust under the stack of parenting books, investment guides and workout DVDs. Real accountability and encouragement require people, not books. "When people are accountable, they stop watching the clock; they seek ways to make improvements and take initiative to change what doesn’t work. " (Entreprenuer, October 2013). It helps if the people in your corner have an understanding of human behavior and what will effectively motivate you in the direction you want to go. If you are still convinced you can read your way to change, click below to get some great tips on moving forward.
WHY DON'T YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
"Deciding to start therapy is a huge milestone in life. I’d even say it’s as big as getting married or starting a new job. I mean, think about it. What could be more important than committing to work on yourself and become the best version of you? Who you are and who you become influences every part of your life.
That’s why choosing the right therapist is SO important. It’s essential you and your therapist are a good fit and that the person you choose has the experience and expertise to get you to the next level in life, whether you’re working on career goals, relationships, self-exploration or all of the above.
One of the considerations you might take into account when looking for a therapist is whether that therapist accepts your insurance. For many people, this is a deciding factor when choosing someone..." Read more
Unless you are enrolled in auto-pay, you must pay in full online at the time of meeting/session or registering for a workshop. Why? Think of the last big purchase you made. If you spent a significant amount of money on something nonrefundable, what did your mind do afterward? You may have second-guessed the purchase, but you felt compelled to follow through with the action. The fact is, when you invest your money, you invest yourself, a first step in being accountable to the changes you want. If extenuating circumstances arise after booking a service, contact me, but please be advised that I generally keep to a 72 hour cancellation policy for refund, and I consider clients arrive more than 15 minutes late for an appointment, a "no show", resulting in full charge for session.
HOW IS COACH DIFFERENT FROM COUNSELOR?
There is a debate on this. Psychotherapists are bound by rules of state licensing boards, which require certain levels of education, experience, supervision and continuing education, as well as certain ethical and professional standards. For example, I had to complete six years of college/graduate school, more than 3000 hours of supervised clinical practice and pass two exams just to get started. Coaching is still in its infancy and unregulated, so "anyone can do it". A therapist can provide coaching, but a coach cannot and should not provide therapy. That doesn't mean that coaching is not valuable. It means a client has to know what they need, their expectations of a helper and whom to engage in the helping process.
I have heard it said that therapy is about uncovering and recovering, while coaching is about discovering. Ultimately, your experience will guide you to the answer.
WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO ADDRESS INEQUITY?
Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, wrote that for health equity to be even remotely possible, we “must listen more to the people we serve, have uncomfortable conversations, and increase our push for social justice.” I will strive to do better, to engage in the lifelong practice of cultural humility. Read more.
HOW HAS COVID-19 CHANGED THINGS?
I continue to follow public health and CDC guidelines. I am fully vaccinated. I have limited my in-office sessions and have expanded my online and outdoor offerings. I use HEPA filtration in my office and require face coverings for all indoor sessions. I ask that clients wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to session. While not required, I ask clients to be transparent about their vaccination status and any exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19. Read below about the products I use to keep the office clean, so you know exactly what you are being exposed to.
HOW DO I CHOOSE SERVICES?
Issues holding you back from the life you want to lead? Do you prefer working individually or with the people closest to you? In psychotherapy, an assessment helps define the problem and goals are set specifically related to an issue that has been identified. Unique treatment methods are used to address mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy can take place in an individual, couple, family or group format. The therapist works with you to find solutions to problems as well as coping strategies.
Are you coasting along, but wanting customized help to get to where you want to be? In coaching, I help motivate you by setting goals and a map to follow to achieve the life you want. Most clients are successful people who might be stuck or want to make changes in their lives with the support of their own personal coach to do so. Note, coaching is not a substitute for treatment of mental health issues, like depression.
Do you prefer to sit back and soak it all in? Classes provide you tools that help you deal with an issue causing you stress. Sessions focus on topics that can be helpful to many people. Classes are not a substitute for treatment for a mental health issue. Instead, I guide you through a formal program that may include homework to reinforce topics addressed in class.
CAN MY SPOUSE SEE YOU FOR INDIVIDUAL THERAPY WHILE WE SEE YOU AS A COUPLE? CAN MY CHILD SEE YOU?
NASW Code of Ethics
"When social workers provide services to two or more people who have a relationship with each other (for example, couples or family members), social workers should clarify with all parties which individuals will be considered clients and the nature of social workers' professional obligations to the various individuals who are receiving services. Social workers who anticipate a conflict of interest among the individuals receiving services or who anticipate having to perform in potentially conflicting roles (for example, when a social worker is asked to testify in a child custody dispute or divorce proceedings involving clients) should clarify their role with the parties involved and take appropriate action to minimize any conflict of interest" (standard 1.06[d]).
Therapists sometimes treat more than one member of a family, either concurrently or consecutively. This occurs most commonly when a therapist sees a husband and wife in couples therapy, when a parent and child are seen conjointly and/or separately, when two or more children of the same family are seen together or separately, etc.
Treating multiple members of a couple or family as individual clients is generally discouraged because it is difficult to avoid conflicts, which can sabotage treatment and lead to the need to terminate with one or more clients. While it is true that sometimes conflicts cannot be avoided, even by the exercise of sound clinical judgment, it is also true that sometimes conflicts can be avoided or at least the chances of them occurring can be minimized by making appropriate referrals to other therapists.
The three most common conflicts are around the issues of privilege, confidentiality and termination.
Example of Conflicts re: Privilege
It is critical to be clear, during the course of treatment, as to who is the "identified client". For example, perhaps a therapist has seen an adolescent and has also seen one or both parents in conjunction with the treatment of the minor. Did the parents consider themselves to be “the client” or did they consider that the family was the client? Did the adolescent think they were the client? Did the therapist address this issue with the parents and/or the adolescent before treatment began?
Generally, the identified client is the holder of the privilege. So, when more than one person is being seen, as with a family, who is the holder of the privilege – the parents? The child? The family? What if the therapist receives a subpoena for the records of the father when he has been seen collaterally to the treatment of his child? Is the father covered by the psychotherapist privilege? And what if the child and only one parent of a divorced couple are being seen? What is the other parent privy to from conjoint sessions between the other parent and child, and maybe even a stepparent? It gets murky fast.
Example of Conflicts re: Confidentiality
Suppose that the practitioner is seeing a mother and a daughter, perhaps separately. Something may occur that leads the daughter to think that the practitioner may have leaked information to the mother. Perhaps the mother, quite independently, confronted the daughter about a suspicion, something that the daughter is talking with the therapist about. This kind of a scenario, and others, may provoke confrontations. Practitioners must take great care to not unintentionally “leak” information. If the practitioner is not focused, mistakes can be made.
Example of Conflicts re: Termination
Another example is when couples therapy ends because one member of the couple drops out of therapy. Will the therapist now treat the remaining patient in individual therapy? What if the one who drops out of couples therapy has a change of mind and now wants to continue with the therapy? If couples therapy had been properly terminated and a new and different relationship has begun, it may be difficult to commence couples therapy again. If the situation was ambiguous because the nature of the relationship had not been addressed, this might later result in a messy situation.
The issue of termination must also be considered when discussing the topic of avoiding conflicts when treating multiple members of a family individually. Termination may need to be considered when a conflict does arise. How does the therapist or counselor decide which member of the family to terminate?
The issue of termination also is involved in situations where, for example, one member of the family or the couple in treatment prematurely and unilaterally terminates. Before agreeing to see the remaining member or members of the family, the therapist or counselor needs to have a discussion about the end of one kind of relationship and the beginning of another.
These are examples of the very reason why practitioners carefully consider whether or not they should enter into professional relationships with multiple members of a family. Often, a referral to another therapist can be the wisest decision.
Read more, here.