Is therapy right for me?
It depends on what you want to accomplish and how. Therapy is intended to improve clients' heal from trauma, mental illness, and alcohol/drug addiction that manifest from physiological or relationship issues. It can be a great way to work through thoughts that keeping coming back or keep you from concentrating so you may enjoy life as you want. It can also help you navigate or prepare for a new life experience.
Aren't my friends and family enough?
Friends and family have well-intentioned advice and opinions, but good therapists and counselors are trained to be aware of and take steps to prevent personal bias from skewing your process. Plus, counselors and therapists hold a confidential space so you can enjoy your friends company or worry about being judged. Couples therapy or marriage therapy can help explore participants explore and find resolution to issues of trust and infidelity or parenting and divorce privately. Individual therapy can help you identify thoughts and patterns of behavior that impede your progress and happiness. Whether you want relationship counseling, couples therapy, marriage therapy, or individual therapy is desired, having a professional assist you in the analysis, brainstorming, planning, and implementation of the future you want.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COUPLES COACH, A COUPLES COUNSELOR, A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, AND MARRIAGE THERAPIST?
The primary difference is typically the qualification of the provider and whether a couple is legally married. The terms "therapy" and "therapist" are regulated in California. A therapist is a person who has received specific education and training, as outlined by California state regulations (Board of Behavioral Sciences), to treat mental health issues that effect and affect a couple or family. Therapists gain additional training and education to specifically address issues common to couples. Breadth of knowledge and experience of therapists who specifically works with couples as a couples counselor or marriage counselor will very likely provide better services than those offered by a couples coach.
At the time of this writing, neither "coach" nor "coaching" are regulated terms or practice in California. This means that, in California, anyone can call themselves a coach, even without certification. So, while a couples coach may be able to assist with helping you with skills, they very likely lack the training to identifying or treat mental health issue that may be the root or primary issue to resolve before skills can be effective. Thus, coaching services may be a disservice to you. An average of 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness in their lifetime, and some never know they re afflicted, or may not think that what they are experiencing requires a highly trained professional. Thus, a couple may receive substandard service by seeking assistance from a "couples coach," unless the coach is highly trained in coaching skill development and the partners in the relationship do not currently or have not a history of suffering from mental illness.
IF I THINK I WANT TO SEE A THERAPIST, WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
The first step is to conduct research to find a therapist that you connect with during their free consultation. I encourage everyone to have a consultation before making a decision. If you decide to pursue therapy, then you will be asked to review and complete a set of "intake documents." The documents will provide you with additional information about the therapy process as well as ask you personal information to help create a background of understanding.
Initially, depending upon your therapist's style and training, the first session may feel like an interview of things that led you to meet with them. Or, the experience may be casual and more friendly approach (I side with the casual friendly approach). In either case, the therapist is gathering information to formulate ideas about how they may be of help. After the second you will most likely begin working on the topics you identified in the first or second session. Some ideas (in therapist lingo, we call it "interventions") may work well and others not so much or at all. Some shoes fit, and work, some don't. Some require a little practice or break-in period, therapy can be like that too. Sometimes it can feel or actually be worse in the beginning. If after giving it a try it doesn't work, let your therapist know. Talk with your therapist to let them know about your experience. You may gain an invaluable skill doing so, maybe the therapist will also. The art of the therapeutic experience improves with practice. You are both on the same team working to achieve your goals.
WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR A THERAPIST?
When looking for a therapist you may want to verify that the therapist has current credentials, keeps up with current trends in practice and research, and attends or conducts training in the area of specialty or training. You may also want to find out a bit about the therapist's background. Sometimes it is easier to work with a therapist who has firsthand experience with some of the issues that you want to work on. However, seeing someone who does not have actual experience with an issue you are wanting to work on may be appropriate because, if the therapist is culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental, and exhibits both openness and willingness to learn, then an outside perspective may help you see the issues you want to address from a new perspective. You may also want to know if the therapist provides therapy over the phone or online (via video chat), also known as telemedicine.
WHO DO YOU PREFER TO WORK WITH?
Ultimately, I enjoy working with those who want to challenge themselves or their relationship to be better, to overcome trust issues. Generally, I work with adult couples and individuals. I don't typically work with teens, children or elderly persons. Communities of interest include LGBT, friends of Bill, BDSM and those who have been historically disadvantaged. I never know who it is that will contact me, but I always know it is a person who feels hurt, disappointed, sadness, anxiety, or some motivation for change. You are human, and something didn't or isn't going right for you. Let's work for a better experience.
WHAT IS YOUR MODALITY OR APPROACH WHEN WORKING WITH CLIENTS?
Being an art, I like having a selection of options to choose from. My work is influence by a variety of theory: Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Gottman, CBT, and Narrative. A center piece to my work with couples stems from a program for which I taught couples: Mastering the Mysteries of Love. The structure seems to help navigate the more challenging emotions or disagreements that tend to arise when emotions run high or someone wants to avoid or feels numb. Overcoming past and present hurts isn't easy. I tend to approach the experience casually, it can help soften those moments when a pattern of thought or behavior is identified, and it feels like a meteor impact. So, you'll likely find the experience more conversational than the typical "And what do feel about that" or "And what will you do about that." I appreciate authenticity that isn't brutal honesty. No one likes a brute.
When it comes to working with those who have suffered adverse/traumatic events, active mindfulness such as Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Brainspotting tend to be the tools I gravitate toward.
WILL YOU BE OFFERING IN-PERSON OFFICE VISITS?
For a variety of reasons I do not provide in-person services nor intend to have a physical location. Your schedule, comfort and convenience are paramount. These days, commuting to an appointment during or after work can be more challenging than using technology.
WHEN ARE YOU AVAILABLE?
My schedule varies week to week based upon client need and other commitments I have. If you need urgent or emergency services or if you are experiencing severe symptoms of depression or anxiety, such as panic attacks, thoughts of harming yourself or others, or find yourself in a state of crisis or frequently canceling or rescheduling appointments, then you need to find another provider.
I do not work a regular schedule, thus cannot be expected to expeditiously respond outside of scheduled appointments.
For emergency or urgent psychiatric needs, call 988, for other medical needs, call 911 to be connected to an appropriate service.
What is a "GFE" and how do I obtain one?
GFE stands for "Good Faith Estimate". The information contained in the estimate will outline anticipated cost of the most likely service you will receive and the cost for the service. You may find more information about GFE on my page here or at https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers or call 1- 800-985-3059
What is a NPP?
NPP stands for "Notice of Privacy Practices". The document outlines how information about you may be used and how you may request changes to actual data (e.g. correct typographical information or update an address) or possibly how information about you is used. To see information about our practices and your rights visit our NPP page.
Frequency, Fees, & Availability
HOW LONG IS A SESSION/THERAPY APPOINTMENT?
HOW FREQUENT ARE APPOINTMENTS?
WHAT DOES THERAPY COST?
WHAT METHOD OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
Personal checks are accepted.
DO YOU OFFER DISCOUNTS?
Discounts may be available based upon availability and determined on a case by case basis.
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
You may qualify for Out of Network, HSA, FSA reimbursement.
Medi-Cal and Medicare/Medicaid are not accepted.
WHAT IS YOUR GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE ESTIMATE NOTICE?
Please go to "GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE" page for detailed information.