What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT/LMFT) is essentially an expert in relationships. An MFT is uniquely trained to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of issues so that clients can achieve more satisfying and productive relationships.
I have a bachelors degree in psychology and masters in marriage family and child counseling. I was licensed after earning 3,000 supervised clinical hours and passing comprehensive written and oral examinations.
Since you are an MFT, do you only counsel couples?
No, I don't provide couples or family counseling. I specialize in individual therapy for adult women. (I'm happy to provide you with a referral to colleagues who do couples/marital/family therapy.)
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Some include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I'm used to relying on myself.
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.
Why do people go to therapy? How do I know if it's right for me?
People have many different reasons and motivations for seeking therapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
How long does therapy take?
I don't adhere to the "one size fits all" approach to therapy---we will see what works best for you. Generally speaking, I meet clients on a once/week basis.
How long are the sessions?
Mine are 45 minutes long, i.e. 1-1:45PM. For clients who are self-pay, I can schedule extended sessions beforehand, if we agree that they may benefit them.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are most successful when they are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication versus therapy?
Again, this depends on the individual.
It is well-established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
What are your rates?
I charge $200 for the initial (intake and assessment) session and $140 for follow-up sessions.
(If you are needing low-cost counseling, you can visit opencounseling.com)
Do you take credit cards?
Yes. I accept cash, check, debit and major credit cards (a $40 minimum for use).
What if I have to cancel?
Do you take insurance? How does that work?
If you do not show for your scheduled therapy appointment, and you have not notified me at least 24 hours in advance, you will be charged the full cost of the session, whether or not you are using insurance for therapy.
I do take some insurance plans: Aetna, Anthem, OPTUM (UBH and United Health Care). I am also contracted with some EAPs.
IMPORTANT: To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
Do I have a co-pay or deductible? What are they?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is pre-approval or a referral required from my primary care physician?
Does what I share with you remain confidential?
Yes. Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.
I'll provide you with a written copy of my office policies form that covers what is confidential and what may need to be disclosed under the law. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney, etc), but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.
If you have questions about therapy, the risks and benefits of using your insurance, confidentiality, etc., call or email me, and I'll get back to you with answers.