Adolescent, Adult & Family Counselor
EMDR Trained Psychotherapist
Frequently Asked Questions
I have created this section as a way to anticipate and address questions you might be having about entering into therapy.
What are some good things about being in therapy?

The benefits of therapy include but are not limited to: relief from symptoms, learning new ways to look at problems, improvement in interpersonal relationships (family, friends, partner, etc.), increased fulfillment in life, and encouragement/support from the therapist as a neutral third party.  People often seek out a psychotherapist/counselor in order to find a more objective viewpoint than friends and family might have.  Talking with a therapist can help with problems that are bothering you or that are keeping you from being successful and happy in important areas of your life.

How often will we meet, and for how long each session?

Sessions are 45 to 50 minutes in length.  I generally find it important to meet on a weekly basis while we are initially developing a working relationship with each other.  Meeting weekly can help you to find relief from your troubles quickly.  After we have gotten used to each other and you are feeling some alleviation from distress, some prefer to meet every other week .  For family work in addition to individual, or in times of higher sensitivity, I will work to accommodate scheduling more than one session per week.

I’m concerned about my personal information. Are things I say in therapy kept private?

I understand and empathize that entering in to therapy may feel awkward!  It may feel intimidating to open up to someone about very personal things that are going on in your life.  For most people, knowing that what they say will be kept private helps them feel more comfortable. Privacy, also called confidentiality, is an important and necessary part of good counseling. As a general rule, I will keep the information you share with me in our sessions confidential (private).  There are some exceptions to confidentiality - relating to threat of danger to self or others - which will be further explained at our first appointment.

As a teenager, is/how is confidentiality different?

As a general rule, I will not tell your parent/guardian specific things you tell me in our private therapy sessions.  There are some exceptions, however, mostly related to threatened harm to yourself or someone else.  We can talk about some more specific and hypothetical situations together in our first few sessions so that you get a better understanding of what I mean.

Sometimes a parent or guardian will call me, and I will listen to what their concerns are regarding you and your therapy.  I will not give details about what we talk about in our sessions.  However, it can be important for parent(s)/guardian(s) to hear about how things are going in your life.  In these cases, you and I will talk together about how to best communicate some of those feelings and logistics.  Sometimes, it helps if I talk to your parent/guardian, in general terms, about what a better approach may be in relating to you on certain issues and concerns.

As the parent of a teenager, how will I be involved?

Sometimes parents feel cautious about bringing their adolescent to therapy, for any number of reasons.  I assure you that therapy with me takes place in a blame free environment, as I work with each family to capitalize on their strengths.  We will determine how much or how little you will be involved in the therapeutic process, as that is based on the dynamics, needs, and desires of the family, and upon the age of the teenager.  In order to help your teenager, it is very important that they feel they can trust me and that things we talk about in sessions are kept private.  We will work together to find a good balance so that privacy is maintained for the teenager and you are included as the adult and integral piece in the process.  I think it can be very beneficial for teenagers to see their parent being willing to hear what the therapist has to say and be willing to make some accommodations, as it presents more of a team approach.

What might I expect in our first session?

Our first session will focus on the concerns bringing you in for therapy, we will begin creating a plan for treatment, and be assessing whether we are a good fit to do the therapeutic work together.  For a first session with an adolescent, I meet the teen together with one or both of their parent(s)/guardian(s) so I can get a better idea of everyone’s concerns and your family can all begin to feel comfortable about what to expect from me in therapy.

How do I find out more about EMDR?

I am trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and use this approach/ technique with many clients, to help reduce the pain of disturbing life experiences.  EMDR is effective in the treatment of phobias, panic/anxiety attacks, complicated/prolonged grief, physical or sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder.  I am happy to talk with you further about EMDR, and you can also find a wealth of information at www.emdria.org.

What are some reasons teenagers go to therapy?

There are a lot of reasons why an adolescent might go to therapy.  Some reasons teenagers come to see me include:

  • Transitions - adjusting to parents' divorce or remarriage, graduating from jr. high to high school, high school to college, ending college, and the like.
  • Depression – not finding interest in things you used to.
  • Overwhelmed - with school pressure or expectations from parents.
  • Parents concerned about who you hang out with and what you might be doing when you’re with those friends.
  • Self-harm (cutting) or thoughts of suicide.

How long will therapy take?

There is not a fixed set amount of sessions for therapy, because working together is very individualized.  However, that being said, I can work in one of two ways: short-term goal oriented, or longer term in-depth.  Most therapeutic work tends to begin as goal oriented to work on and help alleviate the reason bringing someone in to therapy in the first place.  Once we work on the reasons initially bringing you in for therapy, we may work to see in what other ways these concerns affect your life.

We will work together until a point where you feel comfortable and would like to end therapy.  Ideally this will be a mutually agreed upon end time and include a couple of sessions for preparation and review, however you are free to terminate therapy at any time.

What forms of payment do you accept?

You may pay in the form of cash, personal check, credit, or debit card.

I am a provider for Aetna, some Blue Shield plans, some Healthnet plans, MHNet, Magellan, and MHN behavioral health insurance, as well as the Victims of Crime Assistance Program.  I am a provider for the following Employee Assistance Plans (EAP): Alliance Work Partners, Assurance, Best Care, ESI, First Choice Health, Horizon Health, Integrated Insights, Sutter EAP, and New Directions.  EAP benefits are accessible through one's company/corporation, and offer short-term counseling for the employee and/or members of their household.

If you have a health care plan not listed here and are interested in using your health care benefits, I recommend you contact their benefits department and ask about reimbursement for ‘out of network’ providers.  I am happy to provide you with proof of service so you can recoup some of your costs by your submitting receipts to your insurance company.

You also have the option to private pay for sessions.

What is your cancellation policy?

Your appointment is reserving my therapeutic time for you.  Since it is difficult to fill a missed or cancelled appointment on short notice, I have a 24 hour cancellation policy, whereby you are charged your full appointment fee should you choose not to give more than 24 hours notice.

Closing thoughts?

I find that people generally feel more at ease after our initial phone call, and certainly more so after the first session or two of meeting in person.  I can help you see difficult issues in a new light, find solutions that may have escaped your notice, increase fulfillment in your interpersonal relationships, and provide a safe, judgment-free environment for all this work to take place.

If you have further questions, or to speak to me about setting an appointment, I would welcome your call.