Q: What is the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?
A: Counseling and psychotherapy have many similarities: Both are arenas to explore difficulties that arise in life to effect change. Psychotherapy can be a longer process where an individual begins a profound journey in a quest for authentic living and their true nature.
Q: Why should I seek counseling or therapy?
A: Any number of situations can lead one to decide that it is time to heal. For many people, some aspect of life becomes unbearable, whether that be feelings of numbness, emptiness, depression, or anxiety. Sometimes internal struggles show up externally: work problems, relationship conflicts, stress related illness, or self-sabotage. You should consider seeking therapy if discontent is persistent in your life.
Q: What should I expect to happen in our sessions?
A: We will take the first two or three sessions to explore what brings you into therapy and to determine if we are a good fit for one another. I will also make time to answer any questions you have about my practices and policies. My approach is to attend to whatever you bring into the therapy hour. I believe that the unconscious provides material that urges us toward self-actualization and healing, so I will give special attention to this material.
Depending on your therapy needs and preferences, I may suggest mindfulness practices, guided imagery, recommended readings, or creative expression in our sessions.
Q: How many sessions will it take?
A: You are welcome to take as many or as few sessions as you like or need for your personal goals and the intention you have set for your therapy. Often times, as people begin to listen deeply to their intuition and inner voice, they discover many answers in their lives, including "How much?" and "How long?"
Q: How often will we meet?
A: Frequency of sessions is your choice, however I find that anything less than twice per month does not allow for depth work to occur. Sometimes people take breaks and return. Sometimes people begin with more frequency and reduce sessions as symptoms are decreased.
Q: What changes can I expect in my life?
A: Since psychotherapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness as we begin. I encourage you to discuss these feelings with me as they come up in our sessions. Building awareness of these feelings and others in therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, a significant reduction in feelings of distress, and a sense of freedom derived from honest self-assessment and improved communication. You may find that you develop increased insight, new coping skills, and an improved capacity to relate to others. Many people say that when they develop an increase in self-awareness and understanding, that they begin to make better choices. My approach is founded on the belief that individuals have strengths and internal resources for their own empowerment, and that there is a reciprocal relationship between the client, their therapist, and the environment in which he/she lives.
Q: Will my insurance cover the costs?
A: Insurance coverage is dependent on your particular healthcare plan. I am a Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Premera Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente PPO, First Choice, and Lifewise provider. I will submit claims to your insurance company for you. It is always best to check your benefits to determine your yearly deductible and copay or co-insurance fees per session. I can help you obtain this information if needed. I provide monthly bills to clients. Your bill will be your co-pay or co-insurance fees. If you have a deducible that is still being met, your bill will include your copay or co-insurance fees plus the amount your insurance company has applied toward your deductible for the session. I am happy to go over this in detail with you.
Most insurance companies have mental health benefits for out-of-network providers. I can help you understand the procedure for obtaining information about your out-of-network benefits. My fee is due at the time of service. Upon request, I can provide you with a statement at the end of each month which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Your insurance company may have a special form for such submissions which I am happy to help you complete.
I am an Employee Assistance Provider for several programs. If your employer contracts with any of these organizations, I am able to see you under this program’s benefits for the number of sessions your employer allots. When that number is met and it is recommended, I will offer you referrals for at least three providers so you can continue therapy. I will include my name on that list. Feel free to contact me to determine if I am credentialed with your plan.
Q: Can I bring family members with me?
A: Unless you are engaged in family or couples therapy with me, your therapy sessions are intended for you alone. However, sometimes people find it helpful to bring in a family member or members on a one-time basis to help them gain clarity on your process. If I am working individually with you and family or couples therapy is needed, I can refer you to to a qualified practitioner.
Q: What do I do if I need to talk to someone between our sessions?
A: I encourage you to keep a journal outlining the items you would like to discuss with me at our next session. If an urgent need arises, you are welcome to contact me to check my schedule for the next available appointment. Sometimes people wish to have a telephone session between appointments when they are working on something important. If you are in crisis, please let me know. I will also give you the phone number for the Crisis Clinic and we can talk about a plan to help you between sessions.