FAQ's about therapy?

Some people still think that therapy is only for mentally ill people. This could not be further from the truth. Most of the clients that I see are not mentally ill, but just human beings in need of a bit of guidance. While some may have traumatic childhood experiences or other difficult life experiences, others may struggle with anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, or just the daily struggles of life. Sometimes, talking to a person outside of your life, can help bring a fresh pair of objective eyes to your situation. These days, many people use therapy for a wide array of reasons. Having a trained professional listen to your set of circumstances and provide you with feedback, can be very helpful. I think anyone can benefit from therapy, even if things are ok. Some people enter therapy just because they want to grow more as a person. It doesn’t always have to be a crisis or negative reason that propels a person to start therapy.
Therapy is meant to be a collaboration of therapist and client to bring to light the specific issues that you, as the client, may be struggling with. As the therapist, I am here to help you figure out where you might be stuck and then help determine how to navigate the obstacles that are keeping you from living a fulfilling life. A therapist is not supposed to tell you what to do, but rather, help you see what your options are. I am here to help shine the light on the path or to help guide you down the path (that we both determine through our work together), is best for you. It should always be a collaborative process, where the therapist is engaging you to take a large part in your own healing.

In the beginning, I will want to get to know you, so we will discuss what made you decide to enter therapy at this time. It is also important to get to know you by understanding your childhood experiences and other life experiences that may have been a struggle for you. I will want to know about your present day situation as well and assess whether your past life experiences are impacting who you are today in the present moment.

That said, therapy can be anything that you want it to be. There are no rules about what you can discuss in therapy. It can be anything that you want to share. Therapy should feel like a safe place where you can share anything that is weighing heavy on your mind or heart. Sometimes, you may discuss something that happened recently, while other times, we may decide to delve into your past. What is discussed in therapy will vary from person to person.

I don’t think therapy is about giving advice. Yet, I am a therapist who is very interactive and believes in providing lots of feedback which is very different from giving advice. Often, a client will come to me and tell me of their past experiences with a therapist where the therapist did not say much. Clients have often expressed that it wasn’t helpful for them to not have the therapist give them any feedback. I believe that feedback can be very helpful in the therapeutic process. Feedback involves the therapist really listening to the client and then making observations and giving insights based on what the client is saying verbally and sometimes even non-verbally.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and not a medical doctor. I do not prescribe medication and medication is never my first or immediate recommendation. I need to get to know you and we need to try different treatments before medication is something that I would ever consider or recommend.

Sometimes after trying other treatments, techniques, or various other interventions, medication may be indicated. If I feel that this may be the necessary, I will recommend getting an evaluation from a psychiatrist who is a medical doctor that is trained to prescribe medication for emotional issues. Even after seeing a psychiatrist who may recommend medication to help resolve your issues, you are still in charge of what you want to do and you may still choose not to take medication. That is your right.

Most often, when a client first starts therapy, we will use the first few sessions to get to know each other. I do not have a “cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” approach to therapy. I tailor therapy around the specific needs of each person that enters into treatment. What you might need may be very different than what someone else needs and we will take a lot of time to discuss what your needs are. You don’t have to know what you need. It is an exploration that we can take together to uncover what you may need.
Most often, session are once a week and they are 50 minutes long. Sometimes, when someone is in an acute state of distress or a crisis, I may recommend coming more than once a week. Coming less than once a week, especially in the beginning, is contraindicated as it takes time, momentum, and consistency to see progress. My experience has shown me that attending therapy once a week consistently, provides the best prognosis for progress and change to occur.

How long a person engages in therapy is really a case by case decision. Someone who is entering therapy with a present day issue that is fairly recent, may not need as much support as someone who may be entering therapy with longstanding issues that occurred in childhood such as abuse or neglect, the loss of a caregiver at an early age, or other types of trauma. I will say that the decision to enter therapy requires a commitment on the part of the client. Therapy does not offer a quick fix or band-aid solution to your issue(s). It takes time to build trust and to feel safe. Giving yourself the gift of healing should not be something that feels rushed or has a time stamp. Consider therapy part of your commitment to your overall self-care.

Yes, when you decide to engage in therapy treatment, it is important for you to know that what you tell me in a therapy session is confidential. As a licensed professional, I am bound by certain codes of ethics and laws. You have the right to confidentiality and that remains true with a few exceptions: those exceptions have to do with intention to harm oneself or another. In those cases, I am required to take action to prevent self-harm or harm to another person. Sometimes, in my work with teens, I may need to involve the parent if I deem that a teen may be in danger. In those cases, I will always talk with the teen first and try to get permission to discuss important issues with parents. I may offer to discuss this in a joint session if the teen is agreeable.

Unfortunately, I don’t take insurance for therapy, but I would like to explain why.
In order to take insurance, I am required to give you a diagnosis which implies that you are mentally ill and that diagnosis sticks with you for the rest of your life. Most of my clients are not mentally ill and are simply struggling with difficult life circumstances, so this requirement just doesn’t sit right with me.

Insurance companies also sometimes require therapists that are on their panel to provide notes on their clients in order to justify continued treatment. I have an issue with providing a stranger with information about your personal life that goes into the permanent database of some insurance carrier.

The whole idea of being on an insurance panel and all the possible ramifications goes against my personal ethics.

While I do not take insurance, if you have out of network (OON) benefits through your insurance plan, you may be eligible for full or partial reimbursement from your insurance company. I can provide you with a bill for services rendered, which you can then submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please note, I cannot guarantee reimbursement from your insurance company and you may also have to meet a deductible before you are eligible for reimbursement, so please check with your insurance company beforehand.

Reaching out for help is a courageous act. It takes a great deal of courage to make that first step and call someone. When someone reaches out to me, it is my goal to get them in as soon as possible. This is one of the reasons that I keep a smaller caseload than some other therapists. I also choose to have a smaller caseload, so that I can give each of my clients the attention and quality of care that they deserve.
You can contact me by either calling me or e-mailing me. You can also reach me by filling out the contact form on my “Contact me” page. I typically respond quickly to inquiries – usually within 24 hours or sooner.