What is the first session like?
The first session is an initial intake session that is 60 minutes and during that time I will be focused on several different things: a)learning more about you and the presenting issues; b) correctly identifying the issues that you are wanting to solve; c) identifying what kind of change you are looking for; d) setting some goals for counseling; e) discussing length of counseling; f) covering HIPPA forms and any other details related to the counseling process.
Most importantly, I want you to walk away after the first session and feel that you were heard, that I correctly understood what your concerns were, and that you felt like I was a good fit for you as a therapist. Though first sessions may vary based on the issue that a person brings in, this is a typical scenario.
How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?
You should know by the first session whether I’m the right fit for you. There should be a rapport that is present and you should feel confident that I can not only connect with you, but help you with the issues you are bringing into counseling. If we determine that this is not a good fit, then I would be more than happy to refer you to a therapist that you want to work with.
How many sessions will I need?
When you come into therapy we will discuss in the first session how many sessions you might need. Though the exact number is usually not known, especially at the outset, we will set some goals that can best help us assess the length of counseling. If there has been an issue present in your life for a long time you may need a considerable amount of time (several months to a year). But if the issue is relatively isolated and new, you may need as little as 3-5 sessions.
I usually recommend to people that they find a consistent day and time that they can come to therapy in order for us to have time to work and build momentum on the presenting issues in order to see progress. Usually after 3-5 sessions we can reassess where we are in the process and how much more time you may need.
How long are the sessions?
Sessions are typically 50 minutes long (except for the initial 60 minute session). But you have the option to do longer sessions. Often people will schedule longer sessions for marriage counseling as well as more intensive type work.
Do you integrate your faith into counseling?
I integrate my faith into the counseling process when it is desired by the client. Though I am a Christian, I work with Christians and non-Christians, people who express their faith in a variety of ways, and people who express no interest in faith or God. My job is not to impose my views on the client, but to help the client work through the issues they bring into counseling. I have had many years working in a variety of faith settings such as the Church, but my clinical training taught me to approach counseling with the best tools available and to integrate my faith when it is desired by the client. I am comfortable and confident in working with whatever issues someone brings into counseling, regardless of their faith perspectives. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to contact me.
Do you accept insurance?
I am an out-of-network provider and do not accept insurance. Full-payment is due at each session. (I am covered as an out of network provider on most PPO plans. I can provide a super-bill at the end of each session, which you can sent to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. Please check your coverage carefully to verify specifics of your particular insurance coverage and ask the following questions: Do I have mental health benefits? What is my deductible and has it been met? How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover? How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider? What is the coverage amount per therapy session? Is approval required from my primary care physician?)
What if my spouse won’t come into counseling?
What I often tell a spouse is that even if only one partner comes into therapy, it is still marital work. And the more each individual in the marriage takes responsibility for their part, the greater chance the marriage has to thrive. While optimum results are obtained when both spouses attend marriage or family therapy, there are times when one partner simply chooses not to participate. Counseling with only one spouse is still beneficial in the areas of personal development, relationship dynamics and coping skills. In addition, the expectation for each client beginning therapy is to take ownership of what he or she wants from therapy. This includes goal setting as well as being willing to do work outside (i.e. homework) between sessions.
What if my adolescent won’t come into counseling?
Quite often a parent hopes to get their adolescent into counseling, but they are not willing to attend. In cases like this I encourage the parents to come in by themselves so that we can work on strategies that will be helpful for their parenting. But in most of my experience, once the adolescent comes to the first therapy session they often decide that it will be beneficial for them. Many adolescents come in by themselves and prefer to work through issues without the parent present. When beneficial I will include parents in the counseling process.
If you have an adolescent who isn’t sure they want to come into counseling, or is unwilling, I recommend that you have them check out my website and social media outlets (top right of page) so that they can have some connection to who I am. I am also willing to talk on the phone, Skype, or some other outlet with an adolescent prior to counseling so that they may feel more comfortable. (I typically work with adolescents age 14 and up).
What are your hours?
I see clients Monday through Thursday.
What kind of education, training, credentials and experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Science from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ (1997); Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (2003); Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (2007).
In order to be the best therapist I can be and provide you with the highest value in our time together I continue ongoing training as a therapist. Currently I am in my second year of psychodrama training and growth group under the direction of Katrena Hart. I am also a Certified Level II Restoration Therapist, trained under direction of the founder of the model, Marriage and Family Therapy pioneer Terry Hargrave.
I’m licensed in the state of Texas as a Marriage and Family Therapist (#201264). I’m a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, member of the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, and a member and Vice-President (2012-2014) for the Dallas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. If you are interested in the details of what a marriage and family therapist does and how they are trained, then you can read more here.
I served as an advisory board member to Pure Hope (2010-2014) which works in the area of sex trafficking, pornography, sexuality/technology, while helping provide resources to parents and communities.
I have over 19 years of experience working with people in the context of the Church, community mental health agencies, and in private practice. You can read more about this experience here.