How long is a therapy session?
For individuals, I meet for the traditional 55-minute therapy hour. For couples and families, I meet for a minimum of 60-minutes and up to 75-minutes when needed. In experiential therapies like Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the goal is to connect with your emotional experiences in session and practice new ways of relating here and now, either with yourself or someone else. I will guide the session to make sure our time is well spent and we stay focused on the important stuff - no endless chatting or venting sessions here.
Do you offer a sliding scale rate?
Yes. I have a limited number of daytime (9am-3pm) sliding scale (i.e. reduced fee) slots based on client financial need. These are occasionally available. Please mention any financial concerns during our initial consultation call. If I am not able to accommodate your financial circumstances, I will refer you to a trusted colleague or supervisee who may be able to help.
How long does therapy take? How often do we go?
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. It all depends on the problems you want to address, your treatment goals, and your preferences/limitations. Typically, people come to therapy once per week, especially in the beginning to understand their problem and develop a plan. It takes consistent contact to develop our working relationship and see results. Think of it as learning a new skill, like a language, sport, or musical instrument - practice makes the difference! I do understand that therapy is an added expense; however, trying to save money by meeting less frequently can inhibit your progress because it disrupts this practice. Regular weekly sessions often also result in shorter treatment time overall (i.e. fewer total sessions), which costs less in the long run. My goal is to help you achieve lasting results in the shortest time possible so you are able to work through conflicts and challenges on your own. In terms of length of treatment and total number of sessions, some very specific concerns can be resolved in just a few sessions, while larger goals require longer. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples generally lasts 3-6 months (12-24 sessions), though added factors like trauma, infidelity, addiction, or longstanding conflict often require longer treatment periods. There is more variation with frequency/duration in individual and family therapy. I will honestly explain my treatment recommendations for your situation based on scientific research and my training and experience, but the decision is always yours.
Do you accept insurance?
For a variety of reasons, I do not work with managed care/insurance companies in my practice. This is to protect my clients' privacy and to ensure that treatment decisions are made only by us. Often, insurance company representatives work to limit or deny care, placing restrictions on how, when, and for what reasons you are in therapy. Utilizing insurance benefits also grants a third party access to your health records and the sensitive information within, which can impact your future for years to come in various ways. Additionally, because my practice is dedicated to relationships and interpersonal health (e.g. couples & marriage counseling and family therapy), some insurance companies do not consider this focus "medically necessary" and would therefore require one person to be given a mental health diagnosis to qualify for reimbursement. Because of this policy, I am not able to offer "super bills" for out-of-network reimbursement; however, I can provide you with a summary financial statement that may be used for tax deductions as a healthcare expense.
Will I (or my partner/family member) be given a diagnosis?
As described above, my practice is dedicated to relationship therapy and interpersonal wellness. While problems in relationships can certainly be related to mental health symptoms in one individual - either by causing them or being caused by them - my treatment focus is on the relationship. Because of that, I do not formally diagnose clients in couples or family therapy with mental health disorders because that changes the focus of therapy. This does not mean that we don't discuss mental and emotional symptoms; I still complete assessments with all clients as part of my intake process, as well as ongoing assessments throughout treatment. What it does mean is that I may refer you (or your partner/family member) to another provider if an individual diagnosis with a specific treatment beyond the scope of my practice is needed. This may involve me collaborating with other therapists/providers as we continue treatment, or taking a break from relationship-focused counseling until the individual concern is sufficiently addressed.
Can I see you in individual therapy and later with my partner/family?
As a marriage and family therapist, my success in helping clients is based on their trust and openness with me. Often, people come to relationship counseling feeling angry, hurt, and mistrustful - and rightfully so; they are not getting along with the person or people they depend on the most in life. When therapy becomes just another place to feel misunderstood, hurt, or blamed, it cannot be successful. I do not switch back and forth between individual and couples or family therapy because it can lead to mistrust or feeling left out for one person, which undermines my ability to help you. Once I begin with a client in individual therapy, then it must remain that way (though sessions with a partner or family member in support of your individual goals may be helpful). Similarly, if we begin working together in couples or family therapy, I do not also see members in individual therapy except for during planned one-on-one assessment sessions with each person at the beginning of treatment. In cases where a different mode of counseling is needed, I will make appropriate referrals to other therapists and can coordinate care with them.
What ages do you work with? Can you help my child?
I work with clients who are 18 years old or older, whether they are coming for individual therapy or as a part of a couple or family seeking counseling. I have specific training and experience working with young couples, adult children and their parents, and middle-aged people adjusting to changing life circumstances. While I do not work with children/minors, I am happy to refer to other providers in the Palm Beach County area who can help.
What is your clinical philosophy? What kinds of treatments do you use?
After more than a decade of helping people in therapy, I have come to see that certain things work better than others. Clinical research on what makes counseling successful is clear: The therapeutic relationship (my relationship with you and your partner or family) is a key ingredient. In the spirit of Carl Rogers, the founder of Person Centered Counseling, I approach every encounter with genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard for my clients. I am here to collaboratively help you improve your life, not judge, criticize, or disempower you.
Almost all models of counseling agree that our thoughts, feelings, physiology, and behaviors are interrelated. These connections are shaped early in life (like a blueprint), and create our realities - how we see ourselves, other people, and the world in general. People can get stuck in repeating loops (i.e. patterns), where the situations and characters might change, but the thoughts, feelings, and problems stay the same. Some of these connections are outside our conscious awareness; therapy can shed light on them, giving people an opportunity to act and think differently. I also pay careful attention to attachment, our early bonds with caregivers and the important people in life now. A person's attachment style influences how they move about the world, whether they feel safe and secure or otherwise. Often, the problems people bring to therapy are related to attachment when we get to the bottom of the issue. This is true for individuals as well as for couples and families. When working with individuals, I will focus on the sources of their distress and how it shows up for them - in their feelings, thoughts, bodily experiences, and actions. Through understanding and expressing these experiences, they can begin to heal and access new ways of being with themselves and others.
Couples & Families
As a relationship counselor, I keep the whole system in mind - whether I am working with one person, a couple, or a multigenerational family. The systemic perspective focuses on how people are interrelated and, in a sense, balance each other out. Problems are seen as something that happens between people rather than something that exists just inside of one person. I help my clients understand how their past and current relationships shape how they experience distress and cope with it, as well as identify interpersonal changes that will lead to individual health and wellness. When working with couples and families, I practice Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) - one of the most well-researched relationship therapies around and considered the "Gold Standard" of treatment. Here, my "client" is really your relationship, rather than any one individual. I take great care to make sure everyone feels heard, valued, and understood - and I'll help facilitate you growing the connections needed so that you don't need to be in a therapy room to feel safe and understood. My goal is for couples and families to overcome their emotional blocks to connection and create a new kind of intimacy they can depend on when they need it most. It's never about finding the "guilty" person or holding court. I help my clients deescalate conflicts, put words to their experiences, and feel truly heard - all without sacrificing their self-respect or identity.
Substance Use & Addiction
For clients who have concerns about their own or a loved one's substance use, I work from a harm reduction and multiple recovery pathways perspective. This means that you are free to explore your relationship with substances without judgment or some predetermined goal like abstinence or identifying with a particular label. Addiction brings with it a lot of stigma and shame. With me, you will always receive respect and autonomy. I understand that substance use is often a perfectly logical solution to pain - and it works very well! Unfortunately, it can also cause a new kind of pain that builds over time and makes everything worse. I help clients gain awareness of their triggers so they can begin healing and find new solutions. Depending on a client's severity and risk, this may require stabilization at another level of care first.
If your loved one is struggling with addiction and you are trying to determine how best to help him or her, you will not be shamed or told to send him or her immediately away. Often, partners and families are blamed for problems ("you are an enabler!") or told to practice "tough love" and "let them hit rock bottom." Harsh methods are not supported by research, and can in fact make problems worse. My work with couples and families is based on relational (not moral) interventions. I will help you experience how to be more effective in relating to your loved-one, which can help improve your own individual health and wellness. Recovery is firmly rooted in our secure bonds with the people we love; I can help you strengthen that powerful resource while also understanding the triggers that can lead to substance use and relationship distress.
Call or email to see how counseling for individuals, couples, or the whole family may help you!
(Please note: Messages will be returned within 48-hours. In case of emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department)
801 Northpoint Parkway, Suite 22, West Palm Beach, FL 33407