Do I need therapy?
That you are looking at this website may be telling you that your searching for a therapist indicates an interest in identifying someone who can help you feel more whole. What may be standing in your way of becoming that whole self may seem simple to define and solve, too complicated to sort out by yourself, or hopelessly blocking your path forward. If you find that you feel stuck, you may benefit from some therapy.
Why should I choose you to be my therapist?
People find me easy to talk to but, unlike many other therapists who say they are "eclectic", I work from a cohesive theoretical framework called Transactional Analysis that I explain to my patients at the outset and that we use to understand how you think, act and feel. This same framework can be applied to other people in your life with whom you may want improved communication and understanding. I've been practicing more than 25 years in this way with good results that last beyond just the time we work together. In addition, my professional training as a clinical social worker had as a cardinal rule, look for the positives and build on them.
Do you require that therapy sessions are the same day of the week and at the same time, every week?
Understanding that people have demanding lives, I am as flexible as possible in scheduling appointments. If you need to change an appointment time, you can send me an e-mail or call my office, at least 24 hours before asking to move the session day and/or time. At the beginning of therapy, I generally want to see you once a week. Often, as therapy is coming to an end, appointments are spaced every other week, then once a month.
What can I expect therapy sessions to be like?
The first appointment, to which you would bring completed paperwork, lasts 90 minutes. The pre-session forms help you in thinking how you came to be you; you arrive for this first meeting having already started your active participation in your therapy. Some of the paperwork helps you formulate how your past may be shaping your present. In this first session you explain what you see your problem(s) as being and what you want to be different when therapy ends. You may feel your narrative is all over the place. This is normal. It's my job to make sense of it and to check with you if I have understood you correctly. If there is time, using your history to illustrate, I explain the basic concepts of Transactional Analysis, the theory from which I work. Subsequent hour-long sessions are more focussed, usually with a specific goal for that hour that you have identified. Effective, efficient therapy is a collaboration. You and I are partners in the work. You will find that it is indeed work. You will certainly laugh, likely cry, as you decide to keep what thoughts, behaviors and feelings are worth keeping and indeed celebrating, and what habitual thoughts, behaviors and feelings you can decide to change.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
The proper medication can certainly provide relief and can also allow you to devote more of your energy to your psychotherapy as well as your other relationships and work. I am not a physician and thus cannot suggest specific medicines much less prescribe them. But I can recommend that you consult your physician if I think that you could benefit from pharmacological help. I am not trained to provide psychotherapy to people with schizophrenia, suicidal or homocidal plans, active use of addictive substances, and true bi-polar disorder.
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 contact them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. I do not participate in insurance provider panels, having found participation to require much paperwork, low reimbursement, and restrictive duration of therapy. Instead, I strive to make each session valuable so that therapy is not prolonged and I have kept my fees relatively low. However, my services may be covered "out-of-network", and I can provide you with the necessary papers for your to be able to file for reimbursement. 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?
Yes! What you say in our sessions and your paperwork are kept in strictest confidence. If you want any of your information shared, I will provide you with a "Release of Information" in which you specify to whom, about what and for how long you give me permission to share your information.
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. In such case, therapists must alert law enforcement authorities.