There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
- e. h.
" Are you the right therapist for me?"
What is therapy like?
What does confidentiality mean?
Confidentiality is basically a fancy legal term that means private. As your therapist it is my responsibility to keep everything you share with me private. You get to decide what you want me to share (if anything).
There are some exceptions:
- If you pose a serious threat to yourself or another identified party, I have a legal duty to keep people safe from harm
- If I suspect child or elder abuse (including neglect), I am a mandated reporter and have a legal duty to report my suspicions
- If I receive a court-ordered supoena, I am required by law to comply
That being said, if any of these situations come up it is part of the therapy process to discuss them when appropriate.
What happens during our first meeting?
The first meeting is a time for me to get to know you better and for you to decide if we'd be a good fit. We will explore what brings you in to therapy, the goals you have, and whether you have any previous experience(s). I also answer any additional questions you may have. Based on what you share with me, I then paint a picture of what our work together could look like, a roadmap of sorts. If you like the road map, we use the rest of session to explore your background history as it relates to the roadmap.
What happens in a typical session?
Since each client's healing process is individual to them, no session is exactly the same. However, there is a general format I follow. The first 5 minutes are devoted to a check-in, which may include how you are doing right now, how things have been since we last met, and going over feedback from any tasks that were assigned. We then transition into some version of "how would you like to use your time today?" Sometimes I literally ask this, other times it is more organic. If you do not have something in particular to talk about, I will suggest relevant topics of discussion that I've been dog-earing for moments like this. The last few minutes are dedicated to wrapping things up and collaborating on a treatment task you can focus on between now and the next appointment.
How often do we meet?
I meet with most of my clients on a weekly basis. Especially in the beginning, this frequency and consistency helps in the development of an effective therapeutic bond, which is crucial to your outcomes. As treatment progresses we can reevaluate what frequency is correct for you at that time.
How long will I be in therapy for?
I'm about to give you the most eye-roll inducing answer: "It depends." Hear me out. The answer for this depends on a lot of factors, such as where you are in your healing process when you start therapy, how often you attend, whether you are looking to get to baseline or are looking to go beyond, how comfortable you are with sharing things, how much effort you put in outside of the therapy space, what your support networks look like, etc.
Think of it this way: Since physical pain is much easier for many people to grasp. Did you scrape your knee, or do you have broken bones? Are you able to leave your scabs alone, or do you pick at them? Do you have dedicated time to rest and recover, or are you having to continue working, etc.? All these things affect your healing process timeline.
That being said, the average time I work with clients is between 6 months to a year for getting to baseline. Many of my clients choose to stay on for longer.
What happens if we run into each other outside of the office?
In the interests of preserving your confidentiality, if we run into each other in a public space I will follow your lead on how to proceed. If you want to acknowledge me, that's great. If you prefer to turn and walk the other way, I respect that and will not be offended.
Who are your clients?
Do you practice a specific type of therapy?
I subscribe to an "eclectic" treatment approach, which means I pull from many different theories and tailor interventions based on what I believe will best help my client.
Here's a general list of therapy types I draw on:
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
Family / Marital
Do you prescribe meds?
I do not. Only psychiatrists and sometimes your general practitioner are allowed to write prescriptions for psychiatric medications.
Why do you specifically say you see teens?
Working with teens is a specialty that I have expertise in. Therapy with teens has unique challenges for confidentiality that I believe are important to address up front. As the therapist, I have to balance respecting a teen's right to privacy, so they will be comfortable sharing things with me, with respecting parental rights.
Why do you separate out emerging adults and young adults?
Over 80% of today's 20- to 30-something year olds experience a Quarter-Life Crisis. They are in a newly-established in-between developmental stage where they know they aren't teens anymore, but they don't yet feel like "real adults" since many traditional markers for the transition to adulthood have been pushed back on their timeline. A majority feel like they are "pretend adulting" and frequently question what they are doing with their life. I believe it's important to validate this unique circumstance and encourage people to get support! After all, if you don't have skills to figure out what is correct for you, the turmoil and instability of this time can be extremely challenging to navigate.
Do you see couples?
Yes, I work with couples who are wanting to improve their relationship with each other. I do not work with couples who are actively planning a divorce or in the middle of one.
Do you work with families?
I work with families in many ways, but rarely do consistent family therapy where all members of the family are present. I have done parent-child sessions and sometimes, if everyone agrees to it, I will see different members of a family individually, such as siblings. Other times, when I am working with an individual, they invite someone from their family to join them. It's important to clearly define who the "client" is for legal and ethical purposes and I discuss this with my clients.
Do you do video sessions?
At the moment, I only offer video sessions to some of my past clients and I am grateful to be able to continue our work through this modality. Video sessions are often marketed as being equivalent to meeting face-to-face, but both my clients and I have observed that while it works, it's not the same. I believe it's important to meet face to face when you are first working with a therapist.
How do you handle payment?
Do you accept my insurance?
I am currently paneled with Anthem Blue Cross of California. My Medi-Cal application has been "under review" since 10/31/19.
Why don't you accept my insurance?
It takes a long time to become a paneled provider with insurance companies and once you are paneled, dealing with insurance can be very time-consuming. Insurance companies also do not pay providers their full fee, so it ends up being a situation where you are doing more for less pay. I have mixed feelings about working with behavioral health insurance companies because on the one hand, I believe it's important that therapy be accessible to everyone and many of the clients I've worked with would not have accessed therapy without their insurance coverage. On the other hand, insurance companies are kind of "the middle man" with all the issues that entails.
How much do you charge?
My current rate is $120 for a 50-minute individual session, and $140 for a 50-minute session that involves more than one person.
Can I pay with a credit card?
I accept Venmo payments. I do not have a card-reader machine.
Can I get reimbursed by my insurance if I'm paying you privately?
Upon request I am happy to provide you with a Superbill, which you can submit to your insurance company or HSA for potential reimbursement. Please confirm with your insurance whether they reimburse for out-of-network providers.