Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve never been to counseling before. What can I expect?
When we first talk over the phone we will spend some time talking about what has lead you to seek counseling and arrange for a time to meet. When you arrive at the office I will have some brief paperwork for you to complete. After this we will meet for 50 minutes and further discuss what has brought you to counseling. In general, the focus of the first couple of sessions will be on collecting history, rapport building and getting to know you. From then on we will focus on your presenting problems, symptom reduction, and personal growth. The length of therapy differs with each person. We will discuss this in session and re-evaluate as we progress.
Sometimes the beginning of therapy can be hard and some people experience a worsening of symptoms before they get better. This is because we spend so much of our lives avoiding or burying negative experiences and emotions and therapy tends to bring them to the surface. I am here to support you through these difficulties if they arise and we will work through them together.
How do I know If you are the right therapist for me?
By the end of the first 2-3 sessions you should have a sense of whether or not I am a good fit for you. You will know I am a good fit for you if you:
Feel you and I are connecting and building a good rapport.
Find yourself opening up and talking about things that you don’t normally talk about.
Feel like you take the things you learn and discover in session with you and think about them over the week.
Feel accurate empathy from me.
Feel like you get to be yourself with me.
Feel like I am very human and easy to talk with.
Find yourself looking forward to sessions.
What are the licensing requirements for Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs)?
MFTs are family, couple, children, and individual counselors who generally focus on relationships, but can specialize in and/or have proficiency in a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, techniques, and treatments. Becoming licensed as an MFT requires a masters or doctorate level degree, completion of two comprehensive exams, and 3000 supervised hours of experience.
What kind of education do you have?
I received my bachelors degree in psychology from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).
I also earned my masters degree in counseling psychology from the psychology department at CSUS.
Typical masters degrees take 2 years to complete. The counseling psychology program at CSUS was more rigorous and comprehensive than most other postgraduate counseling programs and required a thesis and 4 years to complete.
Before becoming licensed in 2014, I received 5 years of supervision and training in providing psychotherapy.
Are our sessions confidential?
Yes! As mandated by law and professional codes of ethics, everything concerning your case is confidential. I will not discuss your case with anyone else except in a few specific circumstances. If during the course of our working together, you or I determine it would be helpful for me to exchange information with a Dr., Psychiatrist, or other outside source, you may fill out a release of information that would allow me to discuss specific information with that person. As a mandated reporter in the state of California, I am required to report to the appropriate authorities if, in the course of my work with as a therapist, I get reasonable suspicion that child or elder abuse has occurred to anyone over the age of 65 or under the age of 18. As a mandated reporter I am also required to report if any of my clients identify a plan to seriously hurt themselves or others. These mandates are required of all therapists in California and we will discuss them more in counseling.
What happens if I run into you in public?
If you see me in public, my general policy is to treat you as if you are someone I don’t know who I happen to be passing by. I will only interact with you if you acknowledge me and approach me on your own. Sometimes clients choose to ignore me, and sometimes they choose to introduce me to people they are with. This is up to you and if you choose to talk with me I won’t say anything about our work together in the presence of others.
Why don’t you take insurance?
Many experienced therapists do not accept insurance. There are several good reasons for this. Most insurance companies require that you be given a diagnosis they approve of in order to receive treatment. This means that people struggling with things like grief/loss, couples issues, and sometimes even depression are not eligible for treatment through their insurance. If you receive an approved diagnosis, it goes on your record with the insurance company. It is then common for insurance companies to request copies or your records from your therapist so they can evaluate the treatment you are receiving and the need for further counseling. By using your insurance for therapy, you agree to allow your insurance company to do this any time they want. This damages confidentiality and allows other people to decide what problems are worth treatment, how those problems are treated, and the length of therapy. Lastly, it is quite common for therapists who accept insurance to spend hours every week arguing with insurance companies and submitting redundant paperwork.