My approach is collaborative and goal oriented. I work with clients and patients for quickly set goals, identify the support team you want to utilize (family, friends, psychiatrist, therapeutic group, faith community, etc.), and then focus on changing the patterns and behaviors that are most troubling.
Whatever the symptoms and diagnosis, individuals, couples and families tend to improve in therapy when their goals are clear and progress can be measured. Sometimes it only takes a few sessions to improve one’s mental health outlook or radically transform how a couple communicates and deals with conflict. And then sometimes people need months and years of therapy to heal from some forms of severe trauma, some forms of betrayal. Whatever the issue or condition, I am committed to helping you or referring you to someone else who can help you more.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have additional training and experience helping clients with relationship problems. I utilize attachment theory and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) with most relationship problems because it has proven again and again in research studies and in my own experience to be the most effective. Whether it is a child, an adult family member or the entire family system that is experiencing distress, I believe therapy can produce positive change.
How long does therapy last?
This depends on each client’s specific needs and treatment concerns; however, a realistic average is 12 – 30 sessions for ongoing depression, anxiety, or relationship issues. When treating trauma it will depend on how your comfort level as we work through coping with the strong fear and anxiety triggered by trauma and learning to build and experience supportive new relationships. With couples and families treatment lengths range from one month for learning a targeted skill to 6 months or more when addressing issues of infidelity, domestic violence, and entrenched alienation from fighting.
What is a sliding scale about?
This is when I reduce my regular $120 fee based on a client’s household income. This is a way for me to uphold my profession’s ethical obligation to provide therapeutic services to more of my community. The way it works is if my regular fee is too high for you, we will talk about your monthly income and I will offer you a discounted rate. If we use the sliding scale, you can usually still submit that receipt to your insurance company to apply to your deductible. One benefit for many clients who prefer a sliding scale or to pay out of pocket is to prevent information about your treatment and diagnosis being shared with any insurance company. Some clients prefer that. Some are not concerned about that.
How do I know if therapy is working?
We set goals during the first session or two and break down those goals into manageable pieces. If you or I am not seeing us accomplishing our goals, we will re-evaluate whether the goals are relevant and what may be getting in the way of progress. By repeatedly checking in on our work together, assessing your growth, and setting clear goals we can measure your progress and easily make course corrections .
Do you take insurance?
I am an “in-network provider” for some insurance plans. I am currently in-network for TRICARE, and Blue Choice PPO from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. If you have one of those plans, it is best for you to call the number on the back of your insurance card ask what it would cost you to work with me. I have found that sometimes, even if you have a plan that I am in-network for, you still may still have to pay out of pocket because your deductible is not met or nor plan doen’st cover mental health very well. That is why I also offer the sliding scale. No matter what your insurance plan, I can provide you an itemized receipt that you can submit to your insurance to seek reimbursement if possible.
What makes therapy most effective?
Most research into what made counseling effective points to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist as one of the most significant change agents. If you feel safe and understood by your therapist, there is a much better chance for success. A client’s motivation level is also another key ingredient because therapy is a collaboration between the client and therapist. Do not expect your therapist to work harder than you, but do expect to feel supported. Finally, the goals and strategies you and your therapist agree on to pursue your goals are a final piece of the puzzle. Those goals need to be relevant.
What is marriage and family therapy?
MFT’s address psychological problems, from chronic mental illness to short term emotional and mood disorders with a focus on how relationships contribute to mental illness symptoms, offer relief from symptoms, and perpetuate this symptoms. Important relationships that directly affect your mental health include spouses, children, extended family, the workplace, disconnection from the self and even spiritual beings like God. Since one cannot experience mental health without intrapsychic, interpersonal and transpersonal relationships, MFT’s focus on all types of relationships. You can read about MFT’s here and watch a video introduction here.