Concerns about Treatment
How do I know if I need therapy?
No form of treatment is a panacea. Psychotherapy, however, has been proven to be very effective in a wide variety of circumstances. Many people that seek therapy do not "need" it at all but feel it may be helpful to make some personal changes. Others are well familiar with how "talk therapy" can and has helped them and clearly know when it is best to seek it out. Once you and I meet for our first session, we will begin to establish an idea of how and if psychotherapy can be helpful to you. Even if you are unsure about trying psychotherapy, it may be beneficial to discover what it is like to talk to a trained professional who likely has experience with your concerns or is willing and able to explore them with you.
How long will therapy last?
Some people may greatly benefit from even a single session. Most often, however, people attend a minimum of four to six sessions. Keep in mind that if you would like to change some life-long patterns, you may need several months or more of weekly psychotherapy to make headway. After your first therapy session, we will discuss your goals and start to have a better understanding of how long it will take to accomplish them. Some people benefit greatly from ongoing support while also making underlying changes in how they live their lives, how they feel, how they think, and prefer longer-term therapy. Others wish to focus on negotiating a specific situation or circumstance and require only short-term therapy.
Is my information confidential?
Everything you share with your psychologist is completely private and will not be divulged to anyone, except for the special circumstances described below. Your information, including the fact that you are in therapy, is protected both legally and ethically. Therapy works most effectively when you can be confident that every effort is made to protect everything you tell me. If a close friend or family member were to contact me and ask for your appointment time, I will not disclose that I know you or that you are seeing me. Information will only be divulged with your written consent or if I have reason to believe that you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or another person. There are a few exceptions to the confidentiality rule, and these will probably be obvious to you. For example, if I have reason to believe that a child is being sexually abused, I am required to inform the appropriate authorities. These exceptions will be explained to you in detail in the information packet that I give you during your first visit.
What is the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and other types of therapists?
Anyone can call him or herself a "psychotherapist," even without any formal training. A "psychologist," on the other hand, must complete a doctoral level program of study focusing on psychology, which usually takes about five years of graduate school after completing a four-year undergraduate university program. Doctoral level psychology programs require that a large number of hours are spent in clinical training in psychotherapy. After a doctoral degree is awarded, usually a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology), psychologists are required to complete a minimum of one year of supervised clinical experience before taking the Psychology Licensure Exam. This exam is administered jointly by the state psychological association and the state department of health. Only then, once a person obtains a psychologist license from the state, can one legally refer to oneself as a psychologist, clinical psychologist, or licensed psychologist. Psychiatrists complete psychological and psychiatric training after attaining a medical degree. Many psychiatrists spend most of their clinical time focusing on medication and symptoms related to medication. Some psychiatrists in clinical practice do not do any psychotherapy at all and focus on medication evaluations and management.
Seeking help from a psychologist, rather than from therapists of other disciplines, ensures that the psychotherapy you receive will be with someone trained to the highest clinical standards in the mental health profession.
What if I need medication? Will you refer me to a psychiatrist?
I work closely with several medication providers, including a psychiatrist and a licensed nurse practitioner because psychologists do not prescribe medication. These other providers are available to meet with you, assess your needs, and prescribe you medication if needed. Quite often, your primary care physician will be able to provide you with medication and, with your permission, I can speak with him or her if we feel it would be helpful to you.
Can I reach you in the evening or on a weekends and for emergencies?
When you call my office at 206-675-8757, I will always answer your call as soon as I can. Monday through Friday between the hours of 11 AM and 8 PM, I can usually call you back within a couple of hours, often even sooner. However, at other times, I am not immediately available unless previously arranged. When the most pressing needs require an immediate response, you can call the mental health crisis line at 206-461-3222 or 911. If you anticipate that you will need to get in touch with me at any time in particular, please discuss this with me and we can make arrangements.
Do you do psychological testing and other types of assessments?
I occasionally do psychological testing to gain insight into an individual's personality, but testing is not a major part of my practice. I work with other clinicians that specialize in testing for neuropsychological assessments and other types of testing and I will gladly refer you to them if needed.
Do you work with couples or do marital counseling?
Yes, I do work with couples, whether it is to help rekindle the depth of love and trust in a long-standing relationship or to assist in establishing a sense of security and understanding in a new relationship. I find my work with couples to be an exciting and dynamic process.
Do you work with children and teens?
I work with clients that are thirteen years of age or older.
Concerns About Payment
What is your fee?
My fee is $130 for each fifty-minute session.
Do you accept insurance?
I accept most types of insurance and I will bill the insurance company for you. If you are unsure if you can use your insurance to see me, let me know and I will help investigate it for you or contact your insurance company.
Do you have a sliding scale?
Under some circumstances, such as financial hardship, I may be able to see a limited number of clients for less than my normal fee.
Please to not hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions or would like to discuss any of the above issues in greater detail.