We may know some of the same people or run into each other around town–how do you keep our therapy relationship private?

I’m a friendly person, so if I look up and see you in the grocery store or someplace like that, I’ll probably smile and nod ‘hello.’  It is completely up to you whether you wish to pretend you don’t see me or whether you want to stop and chat.  I understand that it is probably very important to you to protect your privacy–and it’s equally important to me to safeguard your privacy as a professional and ethical matter.  I do not reveal to anyone outside of therapy that you are my client, even if we are chatting at a social event or know people in common.  If, on the other hand, you want to tell people that I’m your family therapist or help you with parenting support, go right ahead!  More than half of my current clients have been referred to me by my former satisfied clients.  (For more information about confidentiality, see my policies page.)

What do I do when my child’s other parent is opposed to coming to see you?

If you would like to try parent consulting or family therapy, but your partner is reluctant or unwilling–I encourage you to get in touch with me by yourself.  It only takes one person who is willing to change to create positive changes for the whole family.  I’m always happy to talk to your partner, to answer questions or describe the progress our progress in therapy.  I respect the viewpoints of all family members, even when they are not present, and will work for their benefit as well.

If you share custody with your child’s other parent, and are not married, you will need to consult your custody agreement to determine whether you need their legal consent.

What do I tell my child about coming to see you?

You can tell your child that I am someone who likes kids and I am interested in learning more about them and the problems they are already doing their best to deal with.  When I first meet with a child, I begin by taking time to get to know him or her apart from their problems.  Our conversation will begin with their favorite interests, their unique qualities, and their special abilities.  As we proceed, I’ll consult with the child as the “expert” on their life, including what their viewpoint is.  “Does this problem seem like a problem to you?  What bothers you about it?  Would you like to see this problem go away?  Why?”

I encourage kids to see their problems as separate and distinct from them, to free the child to look at and talk about problems in a new and non-blaming way.  “Does it seem that ‘Anger’ is trying to be the boss of you?  Is that okay or not, in your view?  If you were able to get “Anger” off your back, what would become possible for you that seems impossible right now?”

How can I persuade my teen to come see you?

I understand that many teens are uncomfortable about seeing a therapist.  If your teen has been fighting with you or is in trouble, she may be afraid that I’m going to make her feel worse.  Instead, I invite her to consult with me as an “inside expert” on her family, someone with valuable information and insight about the effects of family problems and ideas for positive change and improvements. I offer young people the opportunity to work collaboratively with the goal of removing obstacles between herself, her family, and her goals for the future.  I might ask questions such as, “What likeable parts of yourself will grow stronger when the unlikeable parts of the problem grow weaker?  What would it say to you about yourself, if you were to become free to be more “genuine” around your friends?  Do you suppose your parents might discover new qualities in you to value and respect, when this problem no longer clouds their vision?”

Why don’t you accept insurance?

Your care is my priority, not insurance company profits.  Insurance companies are notorious for making providers waste hours of time with unnecessary paperwork, lost billing information, keeping clinicians and patients waiting when they phone, mismanaging accounts and compromising patient privacy.  I choose to put my time and energy towards serving my clients, not insurance companies, and I believe the quality of my work for you is much better as a result.

Most insurance companies will reimburse you for at least a portion of your consulting or therapy fees for seeing me as an out of plan provider, and the receipt I provide you is formatted to submit for reimbursement.  Please tell me whose name you would like on the receipt, and we can discuss what diagnosis code to give if needed.

Why is therapy so expensive?

My fees represent the real costs of private practice, including the many hours I spend outside of the consulting room working on my clients behalf.  I understand that therapy and parent consulting costs a lot–my family lives with a budget, too.  However, the psychotherapy and consulting services that I provide are economically–as well as emotionally–valuable because they produce lasting effects and prevent future problems.

Will you offer a reduced fee?

I am willing to work with any client to figure out an affordable plan for scheduling sessions within your budget constraints.  I also reserve 20% of my practice for free or reduced fee clients as my contribution to our community.  There is currently an approximately 6 month waiting list for those slots.

How often should we expect to come see you?

Most clients see me once a week for the quickest results.  I am also willing to meet more infrequently, such as every other week or once a month.  It has been my experience that creating meaningful and long lasting change will usually require us to meet about three or four times.   Occasionally, a client meets with me for just one appointment, and then returns as necessary at a later time.

About how long do you expect it will take before I see improvement?

Many clients report that they feel better–more hopeful and optimistic–after our very first conversation.  Others report that they see real evidence of positive change after our first several appointments.  It has been my experience that at least three consultations are necessary for satisfying and lasting improvement.

What is your attitude towards medication?

I have worked with clients who find psychiatric medications helpful and those who wish to resolve their difficulties or face their challenges without medication.  Either way, I find that medication can only provide a partial solution to most people’s problems.  Research has found that the kind of solution-oriented psychotherapy that I provide produces results that are just as good as medication for many issues such as depression, panic disorders and eating disorders.