Common Questions About Working With Me
What can I expect in the first session?
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) getting to know you better; 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) addressing forms and any other details related to the counseling process; g) answering any questions you might have.
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. You should feel not judged and emotionally safe in working with me, and 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 consider this to be a collaborative process and will want and value your input on this question.
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 45 minutes long (except for the initial 60 minute session). But you have the option to do longer sessions (90 mins, 120 mins, etc.). 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 send 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 partner won’t come into counseling?
What I often tell a spouse is that even if only one partner comes into counseling, it is still relationship work. And the more each individual in the relationship takes responsibility for their part, the greater chance the relationship has to thrive. While optimum results are obtained when both partners attend marriage or family therapy, there are times when one partner simply chooses not to participate. Counseling with only one partner is still beneficial in the areas of personal development, relationship dynamics and coping skills. In addition, the expectation for each client beginning counseling is to take ownership of what he or she wants from counseling. This includes goal setting as well as being willing to do work outside (i.e. homework, exercise, practice skills) 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 counseling 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 to an adolescent prior to counseling so that they may feel more comfortable. (I typically work with adolescents age 14 and up).
What model of therapy do you practice?
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my graduate training was based in family systems therapy (also known as Bowenian Family Therapy). Essentially, I believe that when I work with you I must keep in mind that you exist in a larger system, and are, therefore, impacted by the larger system which includes family of origin, as well as any other relationships that you come into contact with over your lifetime, whether that be close friends, acquaintances, or previous relationships. All of these relationship and the experiences you have leave an impact on who you are, often shaping you into the person that you are today. As a therapist it is important to not only keep this system in mind for the benefit of the person sitting in front of me (you), but for the people in your life who will continue to have interactions with you (i.e. partner, kids, parents, colleagues, etc.). You exist in a system and are not an isolated individual and that is important for me to keep in mind.
With this system’s theory in mind, I also practice from a variety of other models such as existential, narrative and cognitive behavioral. But the primary model that I practice out of is Restoration Therapy, founded by Dr. Terry Hargrave, who I trained under and consider a close friend and mentor. Restoration Therapy embodies the best of many therapies, specifically focusing on issues of attachment, emotional regulation, mindfulness, and skills training.
My most important belief is that I must create an emotionally safe therapy experience so that you can be your most authentic self in the therapeutic process. And in this process I work towards being present in the room so that you can do the necessary work.