It is normal and encouraged for individuals to ask a lot of questions when choosing to work with a therapist. Below, I have compiled a list of the most frequent questions that clients or potential clients ask about my services and approach; I have tried to answer each as clearly as possible. If you find that you still have a question that isn't covered here, please get in touch with me.
DO I EVEN NEED THERAPY?
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
WHAT IS A MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST?
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who work with people and their relationships. We are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social relationships. We also provide premarital counseling, child and adolescent therapy, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of a comprehensive written and oral examination and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
WHAT IS ART THERAPY?
Art therapy uses art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork as a therapeutic and healing process.
Clients - young, old and in-between - are able to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem. Clients come from all walks of life, facing a full array of challenges. Individuals, couples, families and groups can all benefit from various art therapy formats. A key goal in art therapy is to improve or restore the client's functioning and their sense of personal well being. Art therapists are trained in both art and therapy. The process isn't an art lesson - it is grounded in the knowledge of human development, psychological theories and counseling techniques. Art therapists are governed by the American Art Therapy Association and are required to receive master's level training to enter the field.
WHAT IS EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma, post traumatic stress, anxiety, panic attacks, complicated grief, addiction, and countless other disorders. EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps people experience disturbing memories in a new and less distressing way. Individuals still remember what happened, but through "processing" --a standardized protocol, which uses bilateral stimulation-- targeted memories are less upsetting. While many types of therapy have similar goals, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health. "Processing" does not mean talking about it, but rather, to create a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be "digested" and stored appropriately in the brain. That means that what is useful from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in the brain, and be able to guide individuals in positive ways in the future.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
I wish there was a straightforward answer to this. There are just so many factors to consider, such as: What sort of life have you had before coming to therapy? Why are you deciding now to come to therapy? How long has the problem been in the making? How have you coped with the problem up until now? How have your ways of coping compromised your deeper sense of well-being? What are your goals or hopes for therapy? How will we know when they have been met? (I know! So many questions!) Most of these questions cannot be answered right away; we typically find the answers collaboratively and have a shared sense of when you're ready to wrap up your work, which we discuss together. I should add: I am very interested in seeing all of my clients move on with their lives and be the very best version of themselves in the world, so I am just as motivated as you may be to get to the root of whatever issues you might be facing and find helpful, long-term solutions.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES? WHAT METHODS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
My standard fee for a 50-minute session is $200 for individuals and $250 for couples/partners/families; longer sessions are charged on a pro-rated basis. Fees are payable at the time that services are rendered and I accept cash, check, and credit card. So that we can work up until the end of our sessions together, credit cards are stored via a client portal and are billed the morning following our session together; no "swiping" during session necessary!
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
While I am not a contracted provider with any insurance company or managed care organization, I do provide clients monthly statements of payment along with a “super bill” which you may submit to the third-party of your choice to seek reimbursement of fees already paid. The amount of reimbursement and the amount of any co-payments or deductible depends on the requirements of your specific insurance plan. You should be aware that insurance plans generally limit coverage to certain diagnosable mental conditions (i.e. your insurance may refuse payment of your claim without a diagnosis). Current and prospective clients are responsible for verifying and understanding the limits of their insurance coverage.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
DO YOU HAVE A SLIDING SCALE?
In cases of financial hardship, and depending on the limited-availability of such slots, I may offer a partially-reduced (or, “sliding scale”) fee for therapeutic services. This is on a case-by-case basis and is done with the intention of providing/continuing services with those in serious need.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH YOU?
Call me! Or if you’d rather email me, that is fine too. You can go to the "contact page" on this website to do either. If you have a sense that you want to move forward, let's schedule a phone consultation so that we can chat and see if we would be a good fit for one another. Following your consultation call, and if we schedule a session together, then I will send you an email with a link to set up your online client portal, which will ask for your personal, emergency contact, and billing information before your first appointment.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FOR MY FIRST SESSION?
Show up with the intention to be as open and honest about yourself as you can be. The first session is like a first date. I will want to learning about your life and hopefully you will be interested in filling me in. The likelihood is that there is much you will want to tell me and I’ll be listening carefully and giving you my full attention. I will also go over your rights as a client, and what to expect during the course of our work together. By the end of the first session we will each have a sense of each other and will have talked some about the possibility of working together. Hard research has shown that the success of therapy is determined more by the quality of the relationship, than the theoretical orientation of the therapist. If the fit doesn't feel good to you, then you owe it to yourself to keep looking. If I don't think I will be the most advantageous therapist to work with you for whatever reason, I will tell you and make a good referral to someone who I think will be able to help you. If we decide to move forward together then we will schedule a follow up appointment.
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
I work out of two offices: one in Los Feliz on Hollywood Boulevard (across from Wacko and Goodwill), and one in Eagle Rock on Eagle Rock Boulevard, just off the 2 freeway. Both offices are easily accessible by public transportation. The Los Feliz office is a quick 5 minute walk from the Vermont/Sunset Red Line Metro station. The Eagle Rock office is close to the Eagle Rock/Westdale stop via the Metro Bus Line (Stop ID# 10308). Street parking is available at both locations. We will discuss which office is most convenient for you in terms of both location and scheduling.