Frequently Asked Questions
How many sessions will I need?
The number of therapy sessions required vary from person to person. There are many factors that determine how quickly or how long a person remains in treatment.
How often will my session occur?
Sessions most commonly occur on a weekly basis. The frequency of therapy sessions is usually discussed in the first session. However, I understand that there are special circumstances that require some people to attend sessions bi-weekly (every other week). For these individuals, treatment usually occurs over a greater length of time, but with no adverse outcome.
Generally, I work with individuals on a weekly basis at the start of treatment. As the treatment advances and individuals progress, sessions are reduced to twice a month and then to once a month. Eventually, sessions are no longer required, yet I remain available for periodic check-in appointments if needed.
What if I am considering medication; can you prescribe them?
While there is no magic pill curative for any mental health condition (i.e. trauma/PTSD), medications can be helpful in the recovery process. Sometimes people choose to take medication because they believe and are hoping that their symptoms will subside quickly. Others choose to take medication in conjunction with psychotherapy in order to jump start sustained recovery. Individuals considering medication only should be aware that while they may experience short term relief, they are more likely to continue to experience difficulties long term since the cause(s) of mental anguish cannot be addressed by medication.
Furthermore, while some states grant prescription privileges to psychologist, California is not one of those states. Therefore, I am unable to prescribe any medications to you. I am also unable to provide my professional opinion on any mental health medication you may have already been prescribed. Any concerns about your medication must be addressed with the provider who gave you the prescription.
You have children; how can you understand what I'm going through regarding miscarriage, infertility or the loss of my child?
If you have this question, please know that you are not alone. No matter what the concern, most people want to feel understood. The reality is I do not know what it feels like to be in your shoes or to live your life. However, this is not only true for you, but it is also true for everyone I treat. While I am not able to share in your or anyone else's exact experience, I do understand and have experience working with those who feel confused or scared about future prospects. I understand how to help those who have yet to mourn the loss of their dreams for a family of their own or those live with well-meaning family members that tell them to move on. Living with the consequences of infertility or the death of a child is not easy. Individual therapy is a safe place for you to begin to piece your life back together.
Do I need a referral to see you?
While I certainly do accept referrals from physicians, lawyers, occupational therapists, and other health professionals, a referral is not needed to initiate services in my practice. If you are interested in therapy services, please contact me directly and I will be happy to schedule an initial appointment and answer any questions you may have.
What is evidence-based therapy?
Evidence-based therapy, also known as evidence-based practice, includes any therapy that has been researched and has peer-reviewed scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness. Evidence-based is considered to be the gold-standard of practice. The goal of evidence-based therapy is to promote the practice of safe and effective psychological treatment, as these therapies have been carefully researched and numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that they effectively reduce psychological symptoms and improve quality of life for sustained periods of time. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one such treatment and is the modality upon which I utilize for treatment.
What should I expect during my first appointment?
The first appointment is more of a “get to know you” type of session. The goal of the first appointment is for the me to understand your current concern(s), review my practice’s policies, and determine whether the services that I provide will be a good fit for your current needs. You will be asked to explain your history and current concerns. I will also review the forms I asked you to bring to the first appointment. All of this information will be used to determine the treatment plan that is tailored for your specific needs. If we decide to proceed with treatment, we will discuss treatment goals, and I will provide an overview of the treatment. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, and I would be happy to answer your questions at any time during your initial appointment.
What can I expect in an individual therapy session?
During individual therapy sessions you are expected to talk candidly about the primary concerns and issues in your life, and we will work together to understand the underlying emotions they encompass. We will analyze patterns of behavior associated with key emotions and explore ways of leveraging the energy embedded in those feelings to nurture personal growth.
A typical session lasts 50 minutes, but some request longer sessions if they have a pressing concern they would like to address at length. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed; in the following session, we can share any insights you may have had. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or trying out new behavior.
What is your approach to couple's therapy?
I follow an integrated approach known as Integrated Behavioral Couple’s Therapy (IBCT), which focuses of acceptance and change. IBCT asserts that with the proper treatment conditions, partners are able to develop the type of relationship that they desire such as closeness and deeper intimacy. This has been found to be the case even in those cases where there are problems and conflict in the relationship.
We seem to fight all of the time? Is there hope for our relationship?
Rest assured that you are not alone. Most couples seek treatment because their relationship has been unfulfilling or they have been experiencing conflict for quite some time. Research has shown that along with other factors, a couple’s commitment to staying together, mutual emotional engagement, and similar goals for the marriage were likely to experience benefit from treatment. These are not the only factor; however, if these are in place, there is a greater likelihood of increase in marital satisfaction.
Under which circumstances do you advise couples to separate or file for divorce?
My role as your psychologist is to help you create the conditions for your relationship to thrive. My role is not to fix either partner or to advocate either for or against separation or divorce.
In your experience, are we less likely to divorce if we attend couple's therapy?
The goal of IBCT is to create the necessary conditions for couples to decide for themselves the path that they want to take. One of those decisions may be to separate or divorce. IBCT is a tool to help couple determine their relationship potential and gain clarity about their future. However, I have found that when both members of the couple are committed to staying in the relationship, divorce is less likely.
Are we eligible for couple's therapy if we have experienced violence in our relationship?
Yes, as long as the incident(s) of violence are in the past and are not ongoing. Any couple desiring to participate in couple’s therapy should know that behaviors such as physical violence OF ANY TYPE as well as emotional abuse that are used to control another in the relationship are completely unacceptable. My policy for working with couple is that couples agree to absolutely no violence. Any instance of violence is grounds for terminating treatment.