If you’re considering therapy, I’m guessing you probably want to feel better, make changes, or improve a relationship. Maybe you need help sorting through some overwhelming experiences, or maybe an old problem or pattern of behavior just isn’t getting better. If any of these apply to you or your relationship, it sounds like therapy could be helpful. Please contact me directly with any questions you have about how it might benefit you or your relationship specifically.
I focus much less on diagnosing you, and much more on how you feel and function in your life. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, good psychotherapy and lifestyle changes can help you feel and function better. However, if your symptoms are severe or do not begin to improve after our work together, I might suggest you get assessed by a psychiatrist or physician (I am not licensed or trained to prescribe medication). We will have this conversation if either of us thinks it would be helpful.
As a general rule, I ask clients to come weekly or bi-weekly in the early stages of therapy. How frequently you come and how long your sessions last are decisions we will make together after your first session, and revisit throughout our work together as needed. My standard therapy sessions are 50 minutes long, but sometimes a longer session is recommended (especially for couples therapy and EMDR). I factor in a client’s goals, level of distress, resources, and availability when making a recommendation.
Couples therapy requires a collaborative effort, and dragging an unwilling partner into therapy is rarely beneficial. If you are in this position you have a few choices. You can move forward with individual therapy; when one person shifts it often has an impact on the whole relationship system. I also offer something called Discernment Counseling – a way for dissatisfied couples to look at their options before making a decision about how to move forward. Read more here.
This is a good, and important, question. Research shows that a solid therapeutic relationship is the common denominator in all successful therapy, so take time to find someone you feel safe talking to, who treats you with respect, and who you trust. I recommend calling or emailing a potential therapist and asking them – “can I talk with you a few minutes about potentially working together?” Once on the phone, ask any questions you have, tell them a brief summary of what brings you to therapy, and notice how it feels to talk to them. Let your intuition be your guide here. A therapist’s experience and training are certainly important but they can’t override feeling unsafe or misunderstood when you’re with them. If you know you want something specific (i.e. EMDR for trauma, Gottman couples therapy) you can usually find that information on a therapist’s website before you make any calls.
The world of psychotherapy loves its letters. The main thing you need to know is that all of these credentials qualify a person to offer psychotherapy. The different letters give you a little information about each therapist’s educational background and licensure. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) which means I spent 2 years getting my Masters in Social Work, followed by an additional 3 years working as a therapist under supervision. At the end of 2 years of graduate school + 3 years of supervised work with clients, I took an exam to receive my LCSW licensure, which licensed me to practice therapy on my own.
I know starting therapy with someone new can be a little anxiety provoking; let me walk you through your first therapy session so you know what to expect. When you arrive at my office, help yourself to the water and tea in the hallway, and make yourself comfortable in the waiting room. If you’ve filled out your paperwork ahead of time, just relax and flip through a magazine. If not, find the clipboard and complete the forms. I will come get you at your appointment time. In both individual and couples therapy, the first session is a time for me to start gathering information about who you are, what brought you to therapy, and where you want to go. I will ask you some questions, and I will invite you to share anything you’d like me to know. At the end of the session we will check in about how the session felt, how we might work together, and if you’d like to schedule another session. In my experience most clients leave feeling much better than when they came in.
I do not accept insurance and am considered an out-of-network provider. If you have out-of-network benefits (call your insurance to find out), I can give you specifically coded receipts to file with your insurance; many people get reimbursed a portion of the therapy cost after they reach their deductible. You can also pay for sessions using a Health Savings Account (HSA) card or your Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Filing a claim with insurance requires you be given a diagnosis, which I am qualified to give.
EMDR is a form of therapy that helps the brain process trauma. When something is stored as a trauma, the emotional, cognitive, and nervous system states attached to those experiences remain alive in present time. EMDR helps the brain re-process painful experiences, resulting in decreased intensity; in plain language, it helps you feel better. To learn more about EMDR please visit the EMDRIA website or call me for a consultation to explore if it might be helpful for you.