Why do people seek therapy?

People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, traumatic events, bereavement, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions and what they can change and create greater awareness in their lives.

What can I expect during a therapy session?

During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to “work,” you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

What benefits can I expect working with a therapist?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn.

Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values

  • Developing skills for improving your relationships

  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy

  • Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety

  • Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures

  • Improving communications skills – learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you

  • Resolving past traumatic events

  • Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and develop new ones

  • Discovering new ways to solve problems

  • Improving your self-compassion and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual or couple. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).

It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action steps toward achieving your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?

If you aren’t sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.

Do I have to attend therapy forever?

No. Some people spend many years in therapy due to having more complex issues to sort out, while other people attend therapy to address a specific issue and then discontinue once this issue has stabilized. Other times, people need support during a particularly difficult time in their lives and attend counseling for the extra support and then discontinue once things have calmed down again. There are many ways to utilize therapy as a tool to increase your wellness. Therapy can be as long or short term as a client desires. It is always best to discuss this part of your treatment with your therapist in order to make sure that you’re aware of what is recommended to assist you with the best outcome.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

Yes, some forms of insurance are accepted.

  • I am currently an in-network provider for Blue Shield of CA (PPO plans), Cigna, MHN/HealthNet, Optum/United Healthcare, TriCare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Federal plans

  • The following plans are accepted if you have a PPO and have out-of-network benefits: Anthem Blue Cross and Aetna

  • I work with several EAPs (Employee Assistance Plans): Anthem Blue Cross, ESPYR, ComPsych, Cigna, MHN, and more

  • In order to confirm whether I am a provider with your particular insurance plan (or EAP), I encourage you to check with your insurance carrier or you can email me and I will do my best to assist you.

Before meeting together I will gather information from you regarding your insurance coverage. I will contact your insurance to verify your benefits (e.g. what type of plan and coverage you have) as a courtesy and gather information so that we both may understand what to expect financially. If you have any questions about what your insurance plan provides for regarding mental health services, please contact them prior to scheduling an appointment to gather this information.

What is your availability like for scheduling sessions?

I am see clients Tuesdays and Thursdays. I take my last client at 5 PM. Please contact me for my specific availability as I expect scheduling to expand in the coming months. If you are a first responder seeking to schedule a session, please let me know as I have enhanced availability for your needs.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission from you. For couples or families, all participants must sign a release allowing the information to be shared for me to do so.

There are a number of exceptions to confidentiality, however.

Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse, dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities.

  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.

  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. Therapists generally make efforts to assist clients in maintaining their own safety without the need for additional intervention (such as hospitalization), however, occasionally this is not possible and a therapist must request assistance from appropriate authorities to ensure a client’s safety.

  • Billing Insurance companies. If you are requesting that your insurance be billed they generally require a diagnosis and treatment plan from your provider.

  • Court orders. This is different from a subpoena. A court order occurs when a judge orders that information be released and is willing to override confidentiality in order to obtain that information. In general, it is quite rare for this to occur.