Frequently asked questions

About Therapy

WHY WOULD I WANT TO TALK TO A THERAPIST?


People usually decide to talk to a therapist when the pain of what they are trying to cope with becomes too big to handle on their own. When talking to friends or family doesn’t seem to help or change how you’re feeling, it may be time to take your issues more seriously and try working with a trained professional.




WHAT TYPICALLY HAPPENS IN A THERAPY SESSION?


To start, I typically do a check-in about what’s been going on since we last met and you’ll share and update me (usually focusing on what we’d agreed would be the main issue we’d work on unless you have a more pressing issue or crisis that's come up.) Then, we’ll review any homework, readings or exercises assigned and discuss them. I’ll listen & take notes and offer feedback. You won’t be criticized, interrupted or judged as you speak and our conversation will be kept in the strictest of confidences. This is a special, unique type of conversation in which you can say exactly what you feel—total honesty—without worrying that you’re going to hurt my feelings, damage our relationship, or be penalized in any way. Anything you want—or need—to say is OK. After reviewing homework, we’ll continue on the path we’ve charted by working towards objectives, learning new skills, processing feelings, maybe trying an art therapy, yoga or music intervention and assigning/agreeing on new homework etc. Issues rarely occur in a vacuum, so our work will always cross into other topics and that’s ok but it’s my job to keep us on track towards the goals we’ve set. At the end of sessions, I like to do another little check-in to get your feedback about how the session went (i.e. what I or we can do different next time), set our next appointment and we’ll say goodbye. I like to have a clear outline for sessions like this so that my clients know what to expect….and don’t have to worry about “having enough to talk about” each session!




CAN YOU PRESCRIBE MEDICATION?


No, I’m not licensed to prescribe meds, but I’m happy to work with your primary care physican if we suspect that might be the right choice for you. Many people discover they can feel much better with psychotherapy and behavior change without having to go the medication route, but I’m open to learning what’s right for you.




WHO DO YOU WORK WITH?


I work with both adults and adolescents, couples, families and individuals who are motivated and ready to make change in their lives. Anxiety and depression, grief/loss, relationship issues, life transitions and emotional trauma are areas of special competence and I maintain a diversity-welcoming practice open to anybody willing to get down to business and work on themselves.





The Process

HOW DO I GET STARTED?


Use the link in the top menu to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation at a time that works for you, then fill out a short questionnaire. After our call, we'll schedule a first appointment called an intake. (Due to Covid-19 all my initial sessions are being conducted online through a secure video portal).

You'll then receive full access to the portal where you can review and complete my intake paperwork prior to our first appointment. You’ll get a unique link to our sessions that you can join from either your cell phone, tablet or computer.

After 2-3 sessions getting to know each other and learning more about your situation, I'll provide you with my feedback and a treatment plan and we'll be off and running! (And if I’m not the right therapist for you I can provide you with referrals.) Couples and families can also use the portal with separate access for each member of the couple or family.

Later in the process, if you chose to do “Walk & Talk” sessions, we can begin to meet outdoors at a location near my office in Santa Clarita.




HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?


That depends on you and your goals.

Some people feel better quickly by getting a few things off their chests, and they’re done. Others need a few months to learn new skills, reduce symptoms and are then ready to try them out on their own. Others might have longer, tougher histories to explore, or they enjoy going deeper, gaining greater insight and maturity. Your goals dictate how long we meet.

Research shows that most change in therapy occurs during the first 8-12 sessions (depending, on your motivation and efforts between the sessions) but trauma and complex grief can take much longer.

I prefer to work with clients that agree to begin therapy weekly or twice a week in the beginning. After initial progress occurs, sessions continue weekly, however I'm open to shifting to longer sessions every 2 weeks as you continue progressing and begin to solidify gains. Clients who attend and participate consistently experience more noticeable effects than with infrequent sessions.

You will typically know when you have reached a point where you feel you no longer need to come. Goal-setting with an expected timeline is an important early step and we'll continue discussing it throughout therapy so you will know when you're ready to move on or tackle another area of your life you'd like help to change or improve.




WHAT IS THE INTAKE PROCESS?


The intake process begins when you review and complete paperwork in preparation for our first appointment. You access this through my secure online portal that’s fully HIPAA-compliant.

You’ll have a place to provide some basic information about you (your address, demographic information, emergency contacts and insurance info) and fill out a questionnaire giving me more detailed information about your symptoms, history and functioning.

You will also have an opportunity to review and sign off on my office policies, an Informed Consent document, a Notice of Privacy Practices and get information about how telehealth appointments work.

Lastly, you will be able to keep your credit card information (if you choose) securely stored so that the payment process is convenient and efficient for both of us.

We’ll meet for the first few intake appointment to review all this, get to know each other better and come up with a plan for our work together.




WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH?


My training and background is in family systems therapy and attachment theory. This means that when we meet, part of our initial intake process will be to explore the relational influences you experienced throughout your life—family, extended family and support circles. This is a crucial part of our work together since a big part of the way we are in our adult relationships is due to what we experienced growing up. But I’m always learning, actively and enthusiastically engaging in trainings and professional development to keep current with the most up-to-date evidenced-based information available





Fees & Policies

HOW MUCH DOES THERAPY COST?


In general, the cost of therapy varies between professionals based on type of license, the amount of certifications completed, specialty areas and years of experience.

I value your time, my time, and the services I have to offer, and charge accordingly.

Please visit my Fees & Insurance page for rates.




DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE?


I am a an Out-of-Network provider with a fee-for-service practice. This means I don't contract directly with any insurance companies but do provide Superbills to clients who request them.

A Superbill lists the payments you have made and the times/dates of service, along with a diagnosis (which is required by insurers for reimbursement). If you have Out-of-Network Provider benefits for mental health, you can submit the Superbill each month for reimbursement. You will get reimbursed after you have met your deductable. Sometimes reimbursement is on a percentage basis (50% or more) and sometimes a flat amount per session is covered (e.g. $60-100) depending on your policy.

For information on your specific policy, call the number on your insurance card and ask the following questions:

1. Do I have Out-of-Network benefits for routine behavioral health care?

2. If YES, what percentage am I reimbursed or is there an allowable amount per session?

3. Which behavioral health care services are covered?

4. What is the process and/or paperwork necessary for getting reimbursed?




WHAT'S YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?


While you are in therapy, your time is reserved solely for you. As is customary with most professionals, I require 24 hrs notice for appointment cancellations or you’ll be charged the full appointment fee. If it is possible, I will try to find you another time during that week to reschedule your appointment if you give me enough notice. My financial and cancellation policies are a necessary part of maintaining reasonable fees and availability to others in need by keeping a consistent schedule that clients can count on. Unfortunately, if you are late to your session, you may lose some of your time as I will be unable to extend your session into the next client’s scheduled time.





Contact Me

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