Please read my list of frequently asked questions below.
Does psychotherapy really help?
Research (e.g., Schedler, 2010) suggests that psychotherapy usually does help alleviate psychological distress. Psychodynamic (or depth oriented) psychotherapy has been found to be helpful even after treatment is discontinued. I also make use of several different approaches that have been shown to be clinically effective. However, sometimes therapy does not help, or it doesn’t help that much. Some of that depends on the fit with the therapist and the type of therapy. Sometimes, even when therapy is helpful, it can be activating of difficult emotions, that can make it challenging. Part of my job is to monitor with you how well the therapy is going and whether you are seeing productive gains in your life.
Success in therapy is a shared responsibility. Through our collaboration I am committed to doing everything I can to help you reach your goals and make the most out of our work together. Excellent overall self-care between sessions will significantly improve the chances of a robust response.
What can I expect from our first session?
Our first session or two is normally focused on discussing what issues are currently a source of concern for you, as well as a discussing some of history of these concerns, e.g. family and cultural history, past experiences with therapy–what has worked and what has not. We will also see how well we work together. Usually after a couple of sessions we can establish a better sense of what approach will best serve you.
How much does it cost to work with you?
My fees vary depending on the services provided. I do my best to keep my fees in the moderate range and still maintain the expenses of an independent practice. There are less expensive ways to receive psychotherapy such as finding an in-network provider through your insurance company. Or you may consider any of a number of good lower fee psychotherapy clinics in the Los Angeles area.
Do you accept insurance?
I am considered an “out of network” provider by PPO insurance plans. I can provide you with a superbill upon request that will contain all the information you will need to submit a claim to your insurance company. Mental health insurance benefits vary from plan to plan. I encourage you to consult with your insurance company to get a clear understanding of the extent to which your plan will assist you with my professional fees.
Do psychological services apply toward HSA or FSA accounts?
Yes, if you have a dedicated pre-tax dollar fund set aside for qualified health expenses, I can provide you with a statement to submit to your plan that would normally allow for reimbursement from this account based on your account limits.
How do I pay you?
You can pay using cash, check, or Zelle at the time of the session.
How long are sessions and how often do we meet?
Normally sessions are 50 minutes. Sometimes a longer or shorter session may be arranged. On average we would meet once a week. Sometimes meeting more often would be suggested. Meeting less often can also be discussed.
Is your work helpful for people who don’t identify as LGBTQ?
I have worked with both LGBTQ and straight, non-LGBTQ clients throughout my years in practice. I look to each client to let me know their particular concerns and objectives for our work together.
Can we meet out in nature?
Walking in nature can provide many benefits. I’m glad to discuss with you arranging to meet or walk in nature.
How long is the course of therapy?
Psychotherapy can vary in length from shorter treatment focusing on a particular issue to longer term treatment in which more complicated traumatic history, relationship issues, and chronic patterns can be addressed. Some people prefer to use therapy as a form of mental health maintenance. There is no contractual obligation to remain in therapy and clients may end treatment at any time. Ideally, the ending of therapy is part of an overall discussion and the timing is arrived at collaboratively and intentionally.
Do you offer phone or video sessions?
Yes, when clients need to travel regularly for work meeting through phone or video conferencing is an option (this is called telepsychology). Research and my own experience have shown me that this way of working is effective. I use an encrypted video conferencing platform that meets HIPAA (federal privacy) guidelines. If you are a resident of California and need to meet primarily at a distance, you are welcome to contact me to discuss further.
Is psychotherapy confidential?
Yes, all licensed mental health providers must follow legal and ethical guidelines that prohibit us from disclosing even the fact that a client is being seen to anyone unless the therapist is given written permission by the client to do so. There are legal exceptions to this, which will be reviewed in intake paperwork. Generally, if a client is threatening to harm someone or themselves with a plan to do so, or if a child or elderly person is being abused by the client, mental health professionals are mandated by law to break confidentiality and seek assistance under these outlying conditions.
Are emotional support dogs welcome?
Yes! Research is validating what pet lovers have always known–that beloved pets are healing to be around. Some clients have brought their pet dogs into therapy session with them, as a source of comfort and mutual support. If you have an emotional support dog that you would like to bring with you to session, I’m glad to talk this over with you. (Please don’t bring in your pet unless we have talked about if first.)