To understand what therapy is, it’s helpful to first understand what it isn’t.
You tell a family member or friend about your problems and s/he gives you advice, which usually includes strategies that worked for him/her. Often, this doesn’t work largely for 2 reasons. (1) What you really wanted in that moment was to be heard and understood. (2) What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another because we are all different people. This is where therapy comes in.
Therapy involves a trained professional helping you in several prominent ways. Through psychotherapy, you will learn to better understand yourself (including the ways in which you developed the difficulties in which you currently seek help). Additionally, you will learn ways to improve on your coping skills. Furthermore, you will have a consistent, supportive, and empathic person closely listening to you and objectively validating your experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Largely through the combination of being in this kind of environment on a consistent basis, increasing your self-understanding and strengthening your coping skills, therapy can dramatically improve your life.
Since we are such relational beings, it is unsurprising that, according to the research, the most crucial ingredient of effective therapy is the relationship between the client and therapist.
Therapy also helps us better understand ourselves (particularly our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that relate to the symptoms that led us to seek treatment). In addition, therapy helps us improve upon our ability to recognize and utilize our strengths and resources, as well as develop new healthy ones, to better address and reduce our struggles.
You can expect to see improvement within the first several sessions. The severity of your difficulties, as well as your motivation to free yourself of them, will determine the amount of time we spend in therapy.
You can expect to see some improvement by the end of our first session.
A good portion of clients complete therapy (or in other words, drastically improve their lives and experience profound symptom relief) after roughly 15 sessions. Other clients stay in therapy for a year or more, as they find that, given the severity and history of their struggles, it can take more time and commitment to considerably improve their lives.
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), which seems to mean I can only work with marriage and family difficulties, but actually means I can work with a broad range of struggles.
In order to become a LMFT, I completed 4 years of undergraduate education in psychology, 4 years of graduate education in clinical psychology, and 3,000 hours of training, where various experts in the field closely and consistently monitored, assessed, and helped improve and hone my skills.
You’re here to feel better, so we’ll use this first session to get you started on this goal right away.
We will start this first session clarifying how therapy works, as well as what you and I can expect from therapy and from one another throughout this process. The majority of the session, though, is devoted to your sharing your story, in as much detail as you’re comfortable conveying, and my listening closely to ensure I best understand who you are and what brings you to therapy. In doing so, we will also come up with personalized goals for you to accomplish in our work together. At the end of the session, you can ask me any remaining questions you might have about therapy or what it might be like to work with me.
You chose to come to therapy and so you get to choose what each session looks like.
Also, it’s not my place to guide the sessions in any particular way largely because we are different people and so what may work for me may not work for you.
So, from the time the session starts until it ends, you decide what you want us to focus on and discuss.
Our minds are complex and powerful and when we are given the opportunity to talk about whatever we want, our minds tend to bring us wherever we believe is most important for us to go. Moreover, when we are allowed the freedom and autonomy to engage in therapy in this way, we tend to be most receptive to the process of growth.
Everything we discuss is kept between us, except in several specific situations that I will describe below.
Please know that you always have control over the information you provide to me, as well as any details you chose to leave out. Along these lines, there may come a point in our time working together where it seems as though you are about to share information that could result in my having to break confidentiality. I will use that time to remind you about the limits of confidentiality, as I always want to ensure you make the best decisions for yourself. The following are the few moments in therapy where what we discuss is not confidential:
We will meet for 50 minutes once a week.
The only exception to this is if we decide that, given the severity of your symptoms and the impact they have on your life, you are better suited for two sessions each week, at least until your symptoms notably subside.
We will regularly check in to see how good or bad your symptoms are in a particular week.
I don’t. There is a possibility, though, that your insurance provider will reimburse you for some of the cost of our sessions.
I can provide you with a superbill (a receipt with basic information that, when presented to your insurance provider, can result in their reimbursing you for a portion of the psychotherapy fees).
Please know that:
The primary reason: Insurance companies restrict the amount of time you and I can work together, and it is never clear just how many sessions they will allow us to have. While I have certainly helped many individuals feel better in less than 10 or 15 sessions, this is not always the case, and I cannot guarantee exactly how long it will take us to help you completely back on your feet again. I believe, then, that it is quite limiting and unfortunate if, in the instance that we felt we needed more time to work together, to be told we cannot do so.
The secondary reason: In order for your health insurance company to pay for therapy, they require that I first diagnose you with a mental health disorder. That information is then saved in their computer database where other insurance companies and places of employment can have access to it. There have been times where, as a result, the person’s ability to be insured and/or health insurance premium have changed. While this is unlikely, it is still enough of an unpleasant possibility that I would like for my clients and I to avoid it.
My rate is $200 for a 50-minute session.
I do offer a sliding scale when finances are an issue.
Credit, Debit, Cash, Paypal, and Venmo are all acceptable forms of payment. If you do want to pay with cash, please bring exact change. Additionally, please know that in order for you to book your first session, I require that you provide me with a credit/debit card number, as well as approval to charge the card a deposit for half of the session’s cost ($100). From there, I do require we keep a credit/debit card on file, but you can choose to pay in any of the above-mentioned methods for each session.
Here is my availability:
Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 8pm
If you decide to work with me, I will provide you with login information to a secure scheduling website so you can see my availability and schedule our sessions at a day and time that works for us.
Booking your first session is very easy!
I ask that you first schedule your free, 15-minute phone consultation. You can take a look at my availability by clicking the “Book An Appointment” tab on the left side of this page.
Here is where we will do our best to ensure that our working together gives you the best likelihood of feeling better as quickly and efficiently as possible. If we decide that this is the case, we will set up your first session over the phone. The only thing I require then is a credit or debit card number, as all new clients are expected to provide a deposit for half of their first session’s price.
To cancel or move a session, I require at least 48 hours notice. Otherwise, I will charge your card the full price of our session.
Additionally, because my preference is to work with clients who are as serious about improving their lives as I am about helping them do so, I only allow for 2 missed sessions, regardless of the reason, for every 20 sessions we have together. Please know though, that on any given week, if you do need to cancel our session, and you are able to reschedule that session at a day and time that week that works for us both, then this would not count as a missed session.
You could, provided your psychiatrist or doctor prescribed them to you; I just do not recommend this.
Psychiatric medications, while often helpful in treating a variety of difficulties, are not solutions. They can be particularly helpful if your symptoms are so profound that, as a result, you are struggling or unable to complete daily activities necessary for your survival, such as going to work. These medications, however, do not treat the underlying causes of your difficulties, nor do they provide you with the tools to thoroughly combat your symptoms when you stop taking them.
It is completely normal to wonder whether therapy is the right choice for you.
Since you’ve made it this far on my website, though, chances are there’s at least a part of you that thinks therapy could be helpful. Part of what we could look at in our free, 15-minute consultation and in our work together is any natural and understandable ambivalence you may have about therapy.