Q:  Are you providing Telehealth services or In-Office services or both?  

A:  I am providing primarily In-Office services.  I am willing to discuss with you any health conditions you have that preclude your coming in person.  I can also provide teletherapy to those whose travel distance is too great.

Q: Why do you prefer in-person therapy to Telehealth services?

A: I prefer working in person for several reasons. First, it is the mode on which psychotherapy techniques were developed and have been proven by research to be effective. Secondly, the effectiveness of most therapies depends on the emotional connection between therapist and client. I find that it is easier to make a good emotional connection with each other when sitting in the shared space. Thirdly, I lose a lot of useful information when I can see only your head and neck. There are shifts in your energy that are harder to perceive on a screen. Likewise, we are restricted to remaining in our seats with limited space to move. So, I am unable to use the full range of methods and techniques I wish to use with you. Lastly, with in-person work, there is typically more privacy and there are fewer distractions. In short, I can do my best work in person and, therefore, enjoy myself fully!

 Q: How do I know if I need therapy; is there really even a problem here?

A: You can trust your judgement. In most cases, if the problem has reached the point where you are considering getting some help, you probably need help.  Please come in for a consultation. If you are not sure now, it will become clear to you by the end of our first meeting whether you would benefit from my services. If you or your child do not need help or need some other kind of help, I will not only tell you, I will help you find it.

Q: Can you help me with my kind of problem?

A: I have more than thirty years of full-time, post-doctoral practice.  I have had broad education, training and experience and I enjoy helping people with a wide variety of problems.  If your therapy needs fall outside my area of expertise, I will gladly help you find a provider who works in that practice area for your referral.  

Q: How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?  

A: You will know that I am the right provider for you if you believe that I am listening well, that I am attentive and focused, that I have a good understanding of the problem and of your stated objectives, that the important points are being addressed, and that you are learning about yourself (or your child is learning about himself/herself).  You may not like everything I say to you, but that is not necessary in order for you to benefit.  In fact, in a good therapy, there will surely be some things I say that are hard for you to hear.  Sometimes you may not like me, but I’m okay with that.  As we say, “It’s all part of the work.”

Q: What is the difference between a psychologist and a counselor or social worker?

A: What sets doctoral psychologists apart is the breadth and depth of the training.  The training is comprised of five years of graduate school following four years of college including two and one-half years of practica and internship.  The clinical psychologist’s training comes from the social science of psychology.  It uses the scientific method used in medical science and in academic research and is based on well-founded scientific models of human behavior. Clinical Psychologists excel in the treatment not only in the common and transient problems of living that counselors and social workers commonly work with, but also in the more complex problems of thought, emotion and behavior that warrant deeper exploration. We are particularly skilled in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning when the problems are more disruptive or persistent than people are able to manage on their own.  

Even if you do not consider your problem to be very complex, the deep and broad training of a doctoral Clinical Psychologist will be very effective in helping you identify the nature of your problem(s) and find solutions.  Of course, some people come in not as a result of difficult problems or crises, but simply to continue personal growth.  I love that kind of client, too!

Q: What populations do you work with and what age groups?

A:  Most of my work is with adults.

I work with children (starting as young as age 6) and teens regarding grief/loss work.  I use play therapy, which is a specific mode of therapy, and a variety of means to communicate with young children.  I have a variety of media and board games I use when working with tweens and young adolescents. 

I love working with the elderly, but I have opted out of Medicare.  This means that if you are 65 or older, you would have to pay me private pay and would have to agree not to file a claim to Medicare. 

I conduct individual psychotherapy and informal assessments to help provide directions for therapy.  I do not conduct formal testing/assessment for school or court.  I do not conduct marital or couples therapy.  I do not work with actively using alcoholics or substance addicted individuals or those who are currently abusing a substance.  If you suspect you have a substance abuse problem, you probably do. In that case, you should seek an assessment and follow the recommendations of a certified substance abuse counselor. After completing a course of treatment for your substance abuse and once you have several months of clean time, you are welcome to come work on other goals and I will be delighted to have you!

Q: What is Play Therapy and how so you do it with my child?

A: Play Therapy is a kind of therapy used with children and, sometimes, adolescents.  Although it is called “Play Therapy” it is work for the child and the therapist.  In fact, play IS a child’s work.  Play is the means by which children express themselves and make meaning of the world.  With regard to therapy, play is also the means by which children sort out their conflicts and struggles and gain mastery over them.  Children’s play shows how they are understanding the world and how they are feeling about it.  Through analysis of the play, the therapist is able to understand the child’s conflicts, needs and wishes and facilitates the child and parent understanding better, too.  Play therapy takes time.  Your child first must establish a trusting relationship with the therapist. Media such as art, books, therapeutic board games, and a sand tray with figures, as well as other toys and media are used.

Q: How can you be good at treating both children and adults?

A:  I was trained to work with children and adults and have extensive experience with both.  My two practica were with adults.  My internship was six months of each.  Next, I worked exclusively with children full time for ten years in public mental health and in group home settings.  Since starting my private practice in 2002, I have worked with adults and children both.  Also, the best training to be a psychotherapist is based on models of human development and behavior that capture the entire lifecycle.  I have been immersed in work with people from age 6 to age 86. I have come to know each stage of the developmental life cycle in an experiential, emotional and applied way, not just as theoretical constructs. The therapy work unfolding in my office reflects “real life” in that regard and that work across the life cycle enriches my work with clients at each stage of life.

Q: What is Gestalt Therapy?

A: Gestalt therapy uses here-and-now awareness of body sensations, perception, awareness of self in relation to the other, and our experience of self in context of the immediate environment, in order to increase one’s awareness of needs, wishes, and emotions. It is in the existential family of psychotherapy approaches. Clients are encouraged to focus on becoming more aware of themselves, to stay present, and to process things in the here and now. There are many fun techniques to use, one of the now-classic techniques being role-plays. Most clients find Gestalt work to be illuminating and energizing. (And so do I!)

Q: Don’t you get tired of listening to people’s problems?  

A: No, I don’t get tired of listening to people and I don’t get tired of their problems.  Each person’s story is unique and compelling.  I feel privileged and honored that people trust me with their thoughts and feelings.  I don’t tire of my work because it is beautiful to see people create the life they want.  I don’t get bored because if either one of us is off track, we talk about it.  I am as interested today as I was 30 years ago.  I marvel at the courage my clients demonstrate and I admire their determination to face their problems and improve their lives.  My clients bring their energy and I bring mine.  Our collaboration creates the energy for the therapy process in a way that is new and fresh each time.   

Q: Yes, but don’t you get burned out?

A:  It takes a lot of work and dedication to do my self-care and prevent burn-out.  Proper sleep and rest, exercise, social life, spiritual life, hobbies/fun, continuing education/training, peer consultation, and continued personal therapy are necessary pieces I maintain to take care of myself and prevent burn-out. 

Q: How will I know when it is time to end therapy?

A: When you begin to have thoughts of stopping your therapy, I would like you to discuss it with me so we can process through your decision together.  Usually clients are a good judge of when it is time to stop. I like to know what your thoughts are and I appreciate being included in your plans.  In general, when you, or your child, have reached your therapy goals to your satisfaction, it will be readily apparent to you and to me. 
Occasionally, clients think it is a good stopping point when it is not. In that more unusual case, we will explore whether perhaps the wish to stop is being driven by a less mature emotional need. Lasting changes take time and feeling better in the short run does not necessarily mean progress will be maintained in the long run. 
Another reason to bring up your therapy ending with me is that clients who make a planned therapy ending that is processed through and discussed, including saying Good-Bye, tend to preserve their gains better.  This is documented in psychological research studies.  
Lastly, it is good to discuss your therapy ending with me so we can say good-bye.  Although good-byes are hard; they are valuable.  Plus, I hate not saying good-bye!  So, please don’t skip your therapy ending!

Q: Yes, but how long is this going to take?

A:  I cannot answer that on the phone and, often, not in the first session either.  It takes a couple – two to three – sessions for me to get to know you, learn what are your therapy goals, learn what are your areas of strength, learn about your level of interest, motivation, energy, and focus, as well as your support system, in order to gauge what the process is going to entail, and how long it might take to accomplish what it is you are saying you want to do.  Also, it depends how often you attend sessions. Additionally, it depends on how many goals you name and how complex and difficult to reach those goals are.  These days, most clients are coming in with three or four significant problem areas that are troubling them.  Having prioritized treatment goals with clients, I have noticed many clients achieve to their own satisfaction significant initial improvement on at least one or two of their main goals around the six month mark.  Many clients along the way discover there are other areas in which they want to work and grow.  Many decide to continue beyond their initial goals achievement mark and want to work on their new priorities.  Most of my clients are NOT in therapy for years (although many come back years later to do more work).  On the other hand, expecting to see significant gains in a few weeks is, for most problems, unrealistic.  So, generally you can expect the process to take at least some months.  You and I can discuss early in the process how long treatment will likely take based on the variables listed above.  Then, at intervals along the way, you and I will discuss how your process is going and what you are feeling about your process, including the issue of continuing versus ending.  Please bring up at any time how you think it’s going and what you are feeling about continuing versus stopping!  It’s all part of the process!

Q: Can I come back to therapy later one once I have finished?  

A: You are always welcome to return to therapy in the future.  I have seen many people at different points in their life in a similar way as a family physician.  It is an honor and a delight to see “old” clients again!

Q: Is my information confidential?

A: Yes within certain limits.  My Voice Mail, the verbal information you give, and my written records are confidential.  Your record will be stored the requisite number of years (mandated by state law) and then will be destroyed. Rarely, confidential information has to be shared such as in cases where someone’s behavior is a danger to self or other. Also, if you are using insurance, there will be some loss of confidentiality mainly in the form of a diagnosis which is used on the claim form. (See below under “Why Pay With Private Funds?” for more about this.)

Q: Will you recommend medication for me (or my child)? 

A:  As a psychologist, and not a psychiatrist, I do not prescribe medication or have opinions about specific medications.  However, I will conduct a complete assessment and consult with you about over-all treatment recommendations.  These recommendations may or may not include a recommendation for an evaluation by a physician about the possibility of a trial of medication. I have many clients who take medication and many who do not; I do not have a bias toward or against medication.   You will have ample opportunity to discuss all your treatment options with me including whether an evaluation for medication is indicated.

Q: Will you work with my doctor if medicine is needed?

A: If medication is needed, you may be able to receive it from your family physician.  If your case is more complex, it may be better for you to receive your medication from a psychiatrist than from a family physician.  I am happy to provide needed information to your physician with your signed Release.  

Please note that I do not conduct assessments for the sole purpose of helping clients obtain medication.  Assessments for diagnosis and for determining the need for a medication evaluation are services I provide only to those who are currently in therapy with me and have a treatment plan that includes emotional/behavioral psychotherapy goals.  

Q: Do you take insurance?

A: I am in network with Aetna and all BlueCross products except BlueLocal.  Even if you are going out of network, you probably still have mental health benefits, although you may have a higher deductible and/or higher co-insurance payment.  Going to a highly skilled psychologist, even if going out of network, may be less costly overall, in terms of time, money and energy, than going to a less skilled psychotherapist who is in network, because an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment plan, and effective interventions speed the assessment and therapy process.  It is a shared responsibility between you and me to track your insurance payments and make sure your insurance is paying correctly according to the terms of your plan.  Ultimately, you are responsible for your bill. Please see the “Payment” tab for more about this.

Q: Why should I pay with private funds when I have insurance?

A: There are several reasons why paying privately is preferable to using your insurance.  One is that when you pay with private funds, you receive all the treatment you need and you determine when you stop treatment, rather than having an agent of your insurance company make that decision.  Also, treatment is not interrupted by obstacles such as changing jobs, changing insurance, plan cycles ending and re-starting, and having a new higher Deductible amount.

Also, when you pay for your treatment with private funds, you retain control over your confidential information rather than your PHI (Private Health Information) released to your insurance.  When your diagnosis (and rarely also progress notes if requested by your insurance) are released to your insurance company, your information may be entered into the MIB (Medical Information Bureau).  The MIB is a central database of medical information shared by insurance companies.  The MIB retains information about patients’ medical conditions, diagnoses, and previous treatment which might in the future affect coverage and rates.

In addition, since insurance requires that treatment be “medically necessary,” I must use a medical diagnosis on your claim form.  That medical diagnosis follows you for life once it is entered into the MIB.  There are implications for employment prospects especially for those in positions requiring security or mental health clearance and for young people who might want to enter such fields in the future.  When you pay privately, you are able to receive consultation for whatever reason you choose including personal growth, coping with a stressful event or situation, marriage and family problems, and consultation regarding work related stressors without the burden of carrying a mental health diagnosis.

One of the most important reasons to pay with private funds is that it allows you to choose your provider.  Perhaps the best provider for you or your child is not in your insurance network. You should know that seeking treatment, even if out of network, with a very experienced and highly skilled provider, may turn out to be “cheaper” in terms of time, money and energy than going in network with a less skilled provider.  

 Lastly, there is a trend, which will likely continue, of insurance companies dictating what type of session (such as individual, but no couples/family therapy), what approach must be used for certain disorders, expecting the use of medication for certain severe and persistent conditions, expecting referrals to self-help groups, mandating treatment protocols the provider must follow for certain conditions (and which might not be best for you), and limited session length and session number.  

In sum, you will have much better control over the services you receive and over your Private Health Information by paying privately.

Q: What hours are you available?

A: I am available from 9am to 6pm Tuesday through Friday.   My last session is at 5pm.  That time slot is usually reserved for those in traditional business hours who cannot get away at any other hour.   

Q: Do you offer a free consultation?

A:  A brief telephone consultation is offered (up to 15 minutes) in order for us to answer each other’s questions about your therapy goals and how well they might fit with my areas of practice, schedules, fees and payment.

Q: Do you have papers I should fill out ahead of time?

A: I have a few forms and prefer to do them at the office in order to answer questions.  If you are doing Telehealth, yes, the forms will be sent near the time of your first appointment. The forms are not on the web-site.

Q: Will I like you and will you like me?

A:  The best way to see how well you and I might click is to meet.  If you aren’t sure after the first session, you will certainly know by the end of the third session.  You may not like everything I say to you, but that’s okay.  Good therapy requires sometimes hearing things about ourselves that are difficult to hear.  If you trust the process, you will gradually increase your tolerance for hearing difficult things and will be able to work well with your therapist, even if you don’t always like her.  As to my liking you, there are a great many things about my clients I find to like and admire.  

Q:  What should I do if I have a complaint?

A:  If you are unhappy for any reason with me, my clinical work, or my office policies/procedures, please bring it up in session.  Please do NOT leave negative public, on-line reviews.  Those cause permanent damage to my ability to offer services and could deter or discourage someone else who needs service from accessing service.  Addressing your complaint with me will allow us to work on the problem, and will likely be a beneficial, therapeutic process for you.  Don’t miss that opportunity!

Q: Can I schedule a New Client appointment by email?

A: I need for you to call in order to schedule a New Client appointment. I want to speak about what sort of help you are seeking. Also, each of us will likely have questions that will need to be answered in order to know if we should take the next step and meet. Also, we will need to discuss location, schedules, and fees/payment.

Q:  But what if I’m nervous about calling?

A:  It’s okay to be nervous about calling.  The only time nervousness or apprehension is truly a problem is if you let it stop you from taking your next step, which is to call me.  

Be brave.   You will be well rewarded!  Here’s the number:  704-776-6438.

Scroll to Top