WHY WOULD I NEED TO SEE A THERAPIST?

Depending on where and how a person has been raised, they have likely formed an attitude toward psychotherapy consistent with their upbringing and their culture.  Perhaps it is viewed as an opportunity to be seen and heard and to gain insight into patterns of behavior that are affecting both personal and professional relationships.  Or, perhaps, it is seen as a shameful, negative sign that there is something so wrong that the help of a specialist is needed in order to heal.

Even though the brain is an organ - just like the heart, liver, and kidneys - there seems to exist a common belief that we should somehow be able to control how it behaves.  Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done because the brain’s functioning has been shaped by emotional experiences in addition to hereditary factors and lifestyle choices.  Psychotherapy is the treatment that allows individuals to revisit these emotional experiences, develop a new understanding of them, and begin reshaping how they affect thoughts and behaviors (insight). 

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE?

My top priority is creating a safe and consistent environment for my clients to work through the natural anxiety of a relationship where the entire focus is on them.  Some enter ready to present themselves as “an open book”, while others present as more tentative and guarded, and my role is to meet them wherever they are on that continuum.

Once the therapeutic relationship has been established, my role is to help my clients identify behavioral and relationship patterns in their lives while simultaneously exploring how these patterns came to be.  This process is known as psychodynamic psychotherapy. 

As therapy progresses, clients begin exploring the root causes, recognizing that the behavioral and relationship patterns are “symptoms” of developmental traumas.  This allows clients to recognize how to differentiate between when it feels “as if” something is happening and if it actually is happening.  This process is known as psychoanalytic psychotherapy and leads to discovering how early relational traumas can lead us to unconsciously recreate the same relational dynamic in all areas of our lives (to people, money, work, etc.) because it feels familiar. 

This also becomes the key to unlocking the defenses (e.g. denial, dissociation, projection) unconsciously developed at a very early age to protect us from emotionally overwhelming situations that may now, as adults, be preventing us from working through them.  It is during this particular stage of therapy that the process can become more challenging, as defenses have come down, the client has learned what no longer works for them, but is still uncertain about what to do in order to feel better.  This period of “disorientation” gradually leads to “reorientation” from a new perspective, reestablishing the self in relation to the world.

Throughout the above process, I also help clients identify behavioral interventions to help improve interpersonal relationships and begin managing emotional unease more effectively. 

HOW LONG IS EACH SESSION?

Individual and couples therapy sessions are typically 50 minutes in length.

HOW OFTEN DO WE MEET?

Therapy is typically a minimum of 1x/wk., with clients electing at times to have multiple sessions each week depending on where they are in the process and what the immediate needs might be.  Clients are given a set time once they start therapy in order to foster a consistent relationship with the therapist and the process.

HOW LONG DO PEOPLE STAY IN THERAPY?

The duration of treatment, as well as the intensity, varies among individuals.  Some are looking for brief, solution-focused therapy, while others are looking for an open-ended process that allows them to resolve core issues that have continued to create difficulty for them in their lives.  Since psychotherapy is a process, it is not uncommon for clients to engage, withdraw, and then return, knowing they have someone familiar and safe who understands them.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CALL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?

In most circumstances, you will be connected to my confidential voicemail where you can leave a private message.  All calls are returned within 24 hours so that a mutually convenient time can be set for a first appointment.  It is not expected or necessary for you to divulge your reason for calling.

I also recommend that you leave possible times you might be available for a callback to reduce the possibility of “phone tag” and if you have not heard back within 24 hours to please feel free to leave a second message in case the first one was somehow lost or not received.

IS THERAPY CONFIDENTIAL?

By law, all information shared between a client and therapist is confidential, with 2 specific exceptions:

1.)  STATE LAW REQUIRES ALL MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD, ELDER, AND INVALID ABUSE, AS WELL AS KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH ABUSE.  ABUSE CAN BE DEFINED AS SEXUAL, PHYSICAL, VERBAL/EMOTIONAL, FIDUCIARY, AS WELL AS NEGLECT AND ENDANGERMENT. 

2.)  IF CLIENTS DISCLOSE AN INTENTION TO BE A DANGER TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS (INCLUDING THE OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL), OR AN INTENTION TO DESTROY PROPERTY.

Additionally, there are very specific laws regarding the reporting of sexual activities involving minors.  This includes mandated reporting for sexual activity between a person 14 and up with a child 13 and under.  Here is a link that spells out this information clearly, including which sexual acts fall under this classification:

http://www.youthlaw.org/fileadmin/ncyl/youthlaw/publications/minor_consent/CA_sex_reporting_jul04.pdf

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?

I am not currently accepting insurance.  However, if you have Out of Network benefits for Outpatient Psychotherapy/Behavioral Health, I can provide you with a monthly form to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.  Most PPO plans provide a percentage of coverage for psychotherapy and I always recommend potential clients look into these prior to beginning therapy.

WHAT ARE MY PAYEMENT OPTIONS?

Payment for services is due at the start of each session.  Cash, checks, and credit cards are acceptable forms of payment.