Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between therapy and life coaching, or seeking advice from a pastor or mentor?
Therapy has to do with self-exploration with a guide. Therapy is a process, whereas life coaching and advice-seeking involve a lot of opinions given from a person in authority who has answers. A therapist's role is to facilitate the client coming to conclusions about his or her own life. I am very client-centered, and I believe that you have your own answers; I simply help you to find them.
How do I know therapy is right for me?
Honestly, I'm of the mindset that everyone can benefit from self-exploration. Whether you're in a crisis, a rough patch, or in a great place in life looking to maintain your progress, self-knowledge, insight, and increased empathy are most likely beneficial to everyone! I think it's less about if therapy is right for you and more about if the therapist is a good fit.
Does going to therapy mean something's really wrong?
Not at all! Therapy has the unfortunate stigma in our society that people seek therapy when something is broken, and I don't believe that to be the case. Seeking therapy, whether for help or for guidance, is a sign of strength and resilience - it means you want to better yourself and your life situation.
I'm afraid of being judged and talked about; why should I trust you?
First of all, you're not alone! I think this is one of the main concerns many people have when thinking about seeing a therapist. I strive to create a completely judgement-free environment by keeping the focus on you, the things you choose to share with me, how these things impact your life, and the goals that you have for yourself.
I've heard about "confidentiality", but is that really something you take seriously?
Absolutely. Your privacy is of the utmost importance, and it's not just my policy, it's also the law. Aside from mandated reporting issues (e.g., child abuse or a serious threat against another person) and court orders, the only way I can disclose any personal information is if I have your express written consent.
How do I know you can help me?
Research suggests that the biggest predictor of successful therapy is client motivation - if you are dedicated to this process, you'll see results. The next biggest predictor is the quality of the relationship between the client and the therapist. I have gone through years of training to handle a lot of different situations (see my "About Me" page), and my empathic interpersonal style enables me to be a good companion through this journey. While I can't guarantee that you'll get everything you want out of our time together, I will do my best to help you meet your goals. That said, not every therapist is a good fit for every client - I want you to feel comfortable with me, and you have a right to find a therapist who is a good fit for you.
How long will I have to do this?
This really depends on you, your situation, your dedication, and your preferences. Some people find that a handful of sessions are sufficient, others prefer a lengthier therapeutic process. Most clients find that therapy once a week is enough, though some prefer twice a week in times of stress. Therapy is not meant to be forever, though. At a certain point, most people find that they have gained enough from the process that they can then apply what they've learned to different life situations without the guidance of another person.
Why is therapy so expensive? Is there a deal we can work out?
Therapy is expensive for a couple of reasons; one is the continual training, research, and dedication that therapists go through, even after graduate school. Another is the time we spend doing all this! Therapists have to meet "continuing education" requirements every year to renew our license status. This ensures that we are up to date on all the new research, the cutting-edge techniques, and it keeps all of our training relevant. Therapists never really finish their education, so you're paying not only for one clinician's knowledge and expertise, but the collective learning process that the brightest minds in the world are constantly presenting. Every week, I spend several hours ensuring that I am maintaining a very high standard of care for my clients.
That said, I know life is expensive! I also know that even other expensive but important appointments are not a weekly expense. Depending on need, I can work on a sliding scale. I also give discounts for students and people who are un- or under-employed.
I'm having a crisis or emergency. What do I do?
Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Your safety is my top priority.