Therapy FAQs

How do I know when I should seek counseling?
Deciding when to seek counseling is a personal decision. Many people seek counseling because they wish to make positive changes in their lives (i.e., go back to school, change careers, lose weight, stop smoking, begin a relationship or end an unhealthy one), and they believe they would benefit from support and guidance along the way. Others seek counseling because change has been thrust upon them (i.e., illness, divorce, death of a loved one, job loss), and they need some support and assistance in order to cope with the experience and move on in a healthy way.

Whatever your reason, counseling can be beneficial for everyone — how often in our lives do we have people really sit down and listen to us, focus on us with 100% attention, and invest their energies into our personal well-being? Counseling is an opportunity for you to focus on you. There does not need to be something “wrong” with you in order to benefit from counseling. Everyone can benefit from non-judgmental support, guidance and caring attention. Additionally, the mind/body techniques that you can learn in counseling will be beneficial to you far beyond your weekly (or bi-weekly) sessions. [Top]

What should I expect when I come to counseling?
Generally, when you come to your first session, or “intake”, I will go through some structured questions with you, so that we can work together to determine what your needs are and what the best plan of action will be to get those needs met so that you can get back on the path to wellness.

Subsequent sessions will generally be less structured in nature, and will be tailored to your needs and your personality.

When you come to counseling, I think you will find me to be friendly, laidback, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and valuing humor as an important component to counseling.

In my work, I tend to be solution-focused, which means just what it sounds – focusing on your strengths, and only delving in the past as it’s relevant to the present, helping you to clear old “ghosts” so that you can move forward into a more fulfilling, free life. I also utilize a lot of mindfulness techniques, which are techniques designed to help quiet the mind and get it to be more focused on the present. It’s often what the yogis call “monkey mind” that gets us into trouble – a mind that bounces around, never turns off, obsessing over events over which we have little or no control. I use mindfulness-based talk therapy techniques, breathing techniques, visualization, and sometimes gentle yoga help you release those ghosts, quiet your mind, and achieve peace.

Gentle yoga is a wonderful component to therapy, helping to release stress and even old traumatic memories in the body, and releasing physical pain. But it is always up to you as whether you want to include this as a part of your treatment.[Top]

How long will counseling take?
Generally, individual counseling sessions are 55 minutes in length. Depending on your situation, it may be possible to conduct shorter (30 minute) sessions. Group sessions are generally longer (60-75 minutes). Some clients come for weekly counseling sessions, others come bi-weekly, and occasionally some clients come monthly. We will work together to determine which plan would work best for you.

Answering the question, “how long will it take until I feel better?” is a little more difficult, as this depends quite a bit on your personal concerns and needs. Wounds that took years to create cannot be healed in hours. However, because I take such a pragmatic approach to counseling, it is often possible to achieve the results you want in 6-12 sessions. You may even feel somewhat better after the first couple of sessions, as I will work to give you specific skills to cope with your concerns. I will also often suggest “homework assignments” between sessions, so that you can integrate the work we do together into your daily life between sessions, thus making therapy much more effective. [Top]

Why do some people choose not to use their health insurance benefits for counseling?
It can certainly be helpful to be able to use insurance benefits to cover the cost of counseling. The concerns of the mind are equally important, and connected to, the concerns of the body, and it would be wonderful if health insurance plans covered both equally. However, the following are several reasons why people may choose not to use their benefits, and are things you should know if you choose to use yours:

  • Lack of Confidentiality. Most manage care plans are directly involved in your treatment, and this requires that the therapist disclose a great deal about your counseling sessions to the plan’s clinical case manager. While this does not often pose a problem, it may come into play if a client is dealing with a court or other legal issue, or if he is applying for a job in the military, law enforcement, or high-level government (FBI, CIA, State Dept.) sectors. This can also be difficult if we are using modalites that are more “outside the box”, such as yoga.
  • Authorization for Treatment. Obtaining authorization for treatment from some managed care plans can often be cumbersome and time consuming for both counselor and client. Insurance plans may only authorize a few (generally 3) sessions at a time, making clients wait long periods between sessions. They also may refuse to authorize further treatment even though a client does not feel that his issues have been adequately resolved.
  • Over-diagnosis. Managed care plans sometimes will not authorize treatment unless it is deemed “medically necessary”. This can put both client and counselor in a awkward position: the client may feel he must pretend to be sicker than he is in order to access his benefits, and the counselor may feel pressured to provide a diagnosis that isn’t really necessary in order to get authorization for treatment. Unfortunately, such a diagnosis may follow you in the future as a pre-existing condition if you change insurance plans, possibly resulting in a denial of coverage for future therapy. Insurance plans frequently refuse to pay for family counseling, marital counseling, or counseling to deal with adjustment issues. [Top]

Why do some people participate in group sessions?
Group sessions involve small groups of individuals working together under the facilitation of a counselor, either on general life issues, or on a specific topic area (i.e., stress management, anxiety, substance abuse, women’s issues). Group counseling can be a very cost-effective experience, because clients learn not only from the therapist but from each other. It can help people to feel less isolated, recognize that they are not the only ones with their specific problems or feelings, receive feedback from others, and instill a renewed sense of hope.

The availability of group counseling depends on the number of interested people at any given time. At present, I am offering a Gentle Yoga and Mindfulness group ona bi-weekly basis, which incorporate gentle yoga for stress relief, breathing techniques, mindfulness meditation and relaxation. Please contact me for more information if you are interested in joining this group. [Top]

What is yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy is swiftly emerging in western culture as a way to use the ancient tradition of yoga for therapeutic purposes. There are several different training programs for yoga therapy. Many incorporate “prescriptions” of specific poses to address specific ailments, such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, or chronic pain. Other techniques looks at the physical yoga poses (called “asanas” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga) as a conduit to help you access and release emotional blocks (old trauma, etc.) that may have been stored in the body.

I have been trained in both these modalities, having completed a 200 hour Hatha yoga certification, which has a more physically therapeutic focus, and having trained in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which has a more emotionally therapeutic focus. I am equally at home adressing your physical needs as well as your emotional ones through yoga. My goal is simply this, “how can yoga benefit you?” I find frequently that when we work to clear physical pain or tension, emotions get released, too, and the opposite can occur – when we use yoga poses and dialogue to address and release emotions, sometimes your physical discomfort disappears, too.

Private, therapeutic yoga is a wonderful, special, even pampering experience, and I believe strongly in its healing potential. However, it is not necessarily for everyone. Some people may be uncomfortable with such techniques. It is most important that you feel comfortable with your treatment; in fact, that is the most important factor to a successful outcome! Please be assured that we will devise a treatment plan that is best for you, and that I will put all my energy into your well-being and peace of mind. [Top]

What is EFT?
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, and it is often referred to as “emotional acupuncture”. EFT falls under the category of energy psychology, which refers to a variety of holistic treatment techniques, all of which are based upon the premise that many of the negative emotions we experience in life (stress, anxiety, depression, sadness) are due, at least in part, to disruptions or blockages of energy within the body, and if we can “unblock” the balance to the energy within our bodies, we can achieve healing. EFT is based on traditional Chinese acupuncture, but there are no needles. It involves tapping on specific acupuncture points on your body while engaging in very specific therapeutic dialogue.

This technique is great for many issues, but it is especially terrific for address issues related to anxiety and healing from past trauma. People generally find that working through painful memories during EFT is far less painful than doing so with traditional talk therapy, and they tend to fee relief much more quickly. I find this technique especially useful for teenagers, particularly if they are reluctant to come to counseling, because they get involved in the “tapping” (it can feel a little silly at first) and forget that they are actually participating in counseling.

If you would like answers to questions regarding either my practice or counseling in general that you do not see answered here, please feel free to contact me via phone or e-mail.

I look forward to assisting you on your journey to achieving peace of body, mind and spirit.