FAQ

Individual Therapy

  • How can therapy help me?Open or Close

    If you are struggling in a difficult relationship, or with problems in your own life or self, therapy can help you look at those problems with a fresh set of eyes and a perspective that is objective, neutral, and completely non-judgmental.  Many people find that this element alone makes therapy very worthwhile for them.  More than that, our counselors are trained to understand human psychology and functioning and are familiar with common negative patterns that many people follow to their own detriment.  They can therefore help you break these patterns and set up new, healthier ones.

    Sometimes, even before you get to a place where you can think about solving the problem, you just need some emotional support.  Validation and understanding are powerful gifts that a therapist can give you.  The emotional support that comes from a good therapeutic relationship can be invaluable.

    Some of the concrete benefits that you can gain from therapy include:

    • Learning healthier relationship skills such as communication and conflict resolution.
    • Gaining a better understanding of yourself, your motivations, and your goals.
    • Finding new ways to deal with your emotions, including anger, anxiety, and stress.
    • Resolving a particular problem that you need help with.
    • Improving low self-esteem.
    • Breaking out of unhealthy patterns of behavior.
  • Isn’t therapy just for people with serious mental issues?Open or Close

    Not at all. Everyone can benefit from therapy. A therapist is an objective third party who can help you think through the challenges you are facing and find a way to resolve them, or help moderate conflict you are having with one or more other people. A therapist is trained in theories and techniques that can help you achieve the goals you are aiming for. There is no shame in seeking outside help for a problem you are having trouble solving on your own any more than there is in going to a doctor for back pain you haven’t been able to beat. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of wisdom and courage. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t face some difficulties in their life, and there isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from personal time with a therapist.

  • Why should I choose you as a therapist?Open or Close

    The best answer we can give to you is to come try out a session with us. Clients must feel their therapist is a good fit for them, and the only real way to do that is to try them out. There is nothing wrong with “shopping around” and trying different therapists until you find the one for you (though in most circumstances we don’t recommend continuing to see more than one therapist at a time). You might come for a session or two and then decided you’d prefer to work with someone else, and that’s fine too. After all, you are the client and you are the one who needs to feel you’re getting what you want out of the process.

    You can also see out what past clients have said about us at wellness.com, which hosts reviews of clinical practitioners of all types.

  • What is therapy like?Open or Close

    Every individual has a different experience in therapy since every individual has different strengths and weaknesses, different personal characteristics, histories, family configuration, and so on. In general, you can expect to discuss what is going on in your life from week to week and past experiences relevant to your issue.

    Generally therapy takes place on a weekly basis.  The first few sessions will likely involve a lot of information-gathering so that your therapist can understand where you’re at and where you’re coming from.  It is unlikely that you will see major improvement after just one or two sessions – therapy is a process of making changes in your life that are usually quite significant.  Odds are you’ve been living and behaving a certain way for months or years or perhaps decades; it will take more than an hour to alter that way.  Another important consequence of this is that you will not always feel wonderful and elated during or after a therapy session. While we try to instill our clients with hope and appreciation for the process, sometimes we will discuss uncomfortable or unpleasant topics; sometimes you might not like what we have to say; sometimes we will see setbacks in your progress. These are all normal parts of the growth process.  Our hope and our job is that in the end you should find yourself in a much better place, and much happier, than when you began.

    It is important to understand that you will get out of therapy only what you put in.  That is to say, you should expect to be an active participant, not a passive listener at a lecture.  Our goal is to help you bring what you learn in the therapy room back into your life.  Therefore, your therapist might give you “homework” to do, or recommend certain activities outside of session.  Examples include charting behavior, reading a book, keeping a journal, and more. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.

  • How long does therapy take?Open or Close

    There is no one answer to this question. Therapy can be as short as a single session, or a few weeks or months, or even years. It depends what issue(s) you are trying to solve, and how deep-seated they might be. As an example, specific phobias (e.g. fear of snakes) can often be resolved in just a few sessions; in contrast, people who have suffered childhood trauma might find themselves in therapy for much longer.

  • Do you prescribe medication?Open or Close

    Medication can be an important part of therapy, especially when dealing with problems that are severely debilitating. The wide range of medications we have available today have helped innumerable patients overcome problems they were unable to solve any other way. At the same time, it is not for everybody, nor is it necessarily a first-round option (particularly when dealing with children). Nor does medication usually solve a problem all on its own, without therapy. If medication is relevant to your situation, your therapist will give you his/her professional opinion and help you make the right choice for you. (Note that we cannot prescribe medications, as only medical doctors can do so. If you don’t have a psychiatrist already who can prescribe for you, we can help you find one. We generally do not recommend obtaining psychiatric prescriptions from general practitioners.)It is important to be aware when trying a new medication that any positive effects may take a few weeks to kick in. Your psychiatrist and your therapist will work with you to find a medication that helps you and that you can tolerate.

Couples Counseling

  • What is the point of couples counseling?Open or Close
    The purpose of couples counseling really depends on the couple. Some couples are looking to improve their communication. Others are looking to bring back the romance into their lives. Still others are hoping to save a dying relationship and might even be in a crisis situation. And some are trying to figure out if they even want to be in the relationship anymore. If you are wishing your relationship could be different than it is right now, couples counseling may be for you.
  • Does it work?Open or Close
    It works if you work. That is to say, couples counseling is not a magic bullet; if you are in a troubled relationship, it is going to take work on the part of both parties to make things better. That’s not to say that both people are always equally responsible for problems in a relationship – but one way to ensure that couples counseling *won’t* work is to do nothing while waiting around for your partner to change. If you want couples counseling to work, you need to be prepared to work on yourself as well.
  • How do I know if I need couples counseling?Open or Close
    If your relationship with your partner is a source of stress for you instead of a source of strength, couples counseling can help you transform it into an asset instead of a liability. If you and your partner just can’t seem to get along, couples therapy can help you straighten things out. If you just feel like you are missing something in your relationship – maybe you can’t even define what that is – couples counseling can help you figure it out and try to set things right. In truth, the best answer to this question is, try it and see if it helps!
  • How long does couples counseling take?Open or Close

    There is no one answer to this question. Couples counseling can be as short as a single session, or a few weeks or months, or even years. It depends what issue(s) you are trying to solve, and how deep-seated they might be. It also depends on the personalities and backgrounds of both parties, and on how ready each is to do the work necessary. I frequently remind clients that the problems you are having probably did not come up overnight, and they are not going away overnight either.

  • What do I do if I really want to improve my relationship, but my partner isn’t interested in counseling?Open or Close
    Very frequently, going for therapy on your own can be very helpful anyway. It can help you clarify for yourself what you’d like to do given your current situation; it can help you manage what might be a difficult relationship that is unlikely to change; and it can improve the relationship just by the small changes you might make on your own. Furthermore, once one partner comes in, it is not unusual for the formerly unwilling partner to follow suit eventually.
  • Can you convince my partner to come in for counseling?Open or Close
    It is possible that once you start coming for therapy on your own that your partner might be willing to join in as well – but it is also possible that s/he won’t. However, I have never seen a case where it wasn’t helpful on some level for the person asking this question to come in individually at first anyway.
  • Do you always try to convince married couples to stay together?Open or Close
    No. A marriage is an important bond that should not be taken lightly, but that does not mean that it is always better to remain married. There are many factors that go into such a decision, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
  • What if I am sure that I want out of my relationship?Open or Close
    That is certainly a choice you have every right to make. Some people fear that a marriage therapist will try to convince them to stay in the marriage. That is not our approach. If you have decided to leave a relationship, we can help you through that process as well, which is fraught with its own challenges, including your own possible hesitations or guilt feelings, external pressures, practical obstacles, and the like.
  • My spouse cheated on me and I am devastated. Can our marriage be saved?Open or Close
    Many couples have returned to a fulfilling marriage after the heartbreak of an affair – often even more so than it was before. However, it depends on what you and your partner really want. Do you truly want to continue in a relationship with this person? Is s/he remorseful and prepared to do the work of building trust again? A marriage can be restored even after infidelity, but as with any real change, there is no magic bullet. It will take work.
  • I cheated on my spouse. Can you help me win him/her back?Open or Close
    That depends on you and your spouse. We can help you do the hard work of rebuilding trust in your relationship, if you are willing to do it. We cannot, however, make your spouse accept your repentance, no matter how much you mean it. If your spouse is willing to come meet with us as well, there is room for optimism, but ultimately the choice to forgive is up to your spouse.

Technical Questions

  • Do you take insurance, and how does that work?Open or Close

    We do not work with insurance companies directly, but our services can be billed to most insurance carriers as an out-of-network provider. This means that we are not in the insurance company’s network of providers, but depending on your plan, you may be able to get reimbursed for our services. You can call your insurance carrier to find out what your out-of-network benefits are, or you can call us and provide us information to check on your behalf. Specifically, you should find out:

    • Whether you have out-of-network benefits. If you do, this means your insurance will pay for you to see a therapist who is not in their network of healthcare providers.
    • Whether you have a deductible.  If you do, this means you will have to pay out of pocket until you have paid the amount of the deductible, and only then will your insurance carrier pay for your visits.  (For example, if you deductible is $1000, you will have to pay our fee of $100 for 10 sessions before your insurance will start paying.)
    • Whether there is a limit to how many sessions your insurance carrier will pay for.
    • Whether you will have to pay a co-pay (a fixed amount every time you visit, for example, $20) or co-insurance (a percentage of the fee for every visit, for example, 40%).
    • Whether you need a referral from your primary care physician.
  • Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?Open or Close

    Your confidentiality is taken extremely seriously.  Your therapist is forbidden to discuss any details of your case, including even that you are a client of ours, without your explicit permission.  You can feel totally confident that nothing you share in session will be discussed outside the office without your consent.  Our confidentiality policy is detailed on our Policies and Forms page and in our Terms of Service. If you want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (doctor, attorney, etc.), you will need to fill out an authorization to permit this to happen.

    Note that therapists are legally bound to client confidentiality except in the following situations:
    • Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders.
    • Concern that a client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or another person.
  • Do you see clients online?Open or Close
    We do! We use a simple videoconferencing platform that requires no download. It works the same as any other video chat tool but has a higher level of security that makes it compliant with privacy laws to protect clients.
  • Do you do phone sessions?Open or Close
    We do phone sessions when absolutely necessary, but we always caution clients that it simply isn’t as effective as seeing someone face-to-face, whether in person or on the computer. Much of human interaction is based on nonverbal communication, and we rely on it to a large extent to help me help you sort things through. Stripping a session of this important component reduces the effectiveness of the help we can give you.