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  • What is therapy? What happens in therapy sessions?
    Therapy can be different things to different people. But in general and very simply put, here's one way to think about it: through a process of the therapist asking deliberate questions to the client, it is meant to open up a discussion that can shift a client’s perspective in a way that benefits them, opens them up to new possibilities, or if working with a couple of a family, shift the dynamic that was not working for them (and brought them into therapy in the first place) into something that they can feel good about. Through therapy, you will hopefully have a better understanding of yourself and better clarity about what you want out of your situation.
  • How much does it cost? Do you take insurance?
    You can click here to see the costs. I am not accepting insurance at this time. Though there are important benefits of working with insurance, such as making a therapist’s services more affordable to a greater number of people, working with insurance also imposes restrictions and requirements on how a therapist can work, such as having to provide a diagnosis code to bill and having to answer to insurance companies requesting certain mental health information of clients. At this time, I have made the decision to not accept insurance in order to have the flexibility to respond to clients’ needs as I see fit.
  • What is the free consultation for?
    The free 15-minute phone consultation is so that you can get a feel for how it feels talk to me. You can see if I am a good fit for you. There is no obligation to schedule anything after the consultation. Therapy is an important investment of your time and money, and you need to feel comfortable with your therapist.
  • What can I expect in my first session?
    After we connect during the free 15-minute phone consultation and we decide to move ahead and schedule a first session, you will get a link to a secure client portal ahead of your first session, where you can fill out paperwork all online in a seamless process.   Generally speaking, the first session is where I aim to have a good sense of the “why now?” question. Why now are you seeking therapy? What is at stake? What do you hope to get out of it? Getting a sense of your goals in the first session is important because it provides a benchmark against which we can track your subsequent progress. The first session is also a glimpse for me into your universe and what it is like to be you.  Beyond that, I will follow your cues on how you want to use the session. Some clients need to get certain things off their chest right away in the first session and prefer the therapist to be fully in the listening mode, while others prefer the therapist to take the lead and actively ask questions that draw emotion and information out of them. It takes some longer than others to feel comfortable enough to truly open up. I know a client’s trust must be earned and is not given. Different clients also have different needs. For example, a client who has endured years of abuse will approach opening up to a stranger (me) differently than a client who has not. Working with a couple client or a family unit is also a completely different ballgame than working with an individual. I will tailor my approach to your specific situation and needs.
  • What is your cancellation policy?
    You can cancel or re-schedule free of charge up to 24 hours before your appointment. After that, the full amount will be charged.
  • What kind of therapy do you offer?
    I offer individual, couples, and family therapy. For more on each and which one is right for you, click here.
  • What therapeutic models do you use?
    In my work with couples, I primarily use the Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy, having received advanced training in both. I have completed the Gottman training on treating affairs and trauma as well. In my work with individuals, I am trained in Narrative, Solution-Focused, and Collaborative Therapies, but I also draw on other therapy models as well to fit the unique needs and circumstances of each client. Over the course of many decades, many brilliant clinicians have come up with different approaches for the common goal of reducing people’s distress. To me, it would be a waste of wonderful resources to not take the best of what each approach offers, so that I have a wide tool kit from which to draw. There is also strong evidence to indicate that the trust between the client and therapist and how well they work together towards therapy goals are far more powerful indicators of a positive outcome than specific techniques. This makes intuitive sense also - mutual trust is the foundation of most viable relationships. This is why I emphasize building a sound rapport with clients and carefully listening to them before introducing any intervention.
  • How long will therapy go on for?
    This depends largely on you and a number of factors, including the nature of your presenting issues, where you are in your life right now, and what you define your goals to be. There are no hard and fast rules. A client I worked with came in with a profoundly traumatic background, involving years of abuse by countless people, and we worked together for a year before she came to a point where she felt she finally had closure on her past and felt optimistic - even joyful - about her future. Meanwhile, a couple I worked with had what both described as a “breakthrough moment” during their second session, which proved to be a turning point for them in their marriage. In their third sesion, they reported that the insight gained during the breakthrough moment improved so fundamentally their bond that they felt they had what they needed to work through any other issues on their own. I bring up these examples to highlight that the length of the therapy varies greatly from case to case, and the length of therapy is also not necessarily a good indicator of how “effective” therapy is. Depending on where you are in life and other factors, you may need just a few or even a single session, or you may need to go slow and steady for a much longer period of time. Ultimately you will decide what feels right to you.
  • What do you think makes you different from other therapists?
    It took me many detours to arrive at this profession, even though I always knew this was my passion. It was a huge leap of faith to finally pursue my dream. Before I got here though, I worked in various industries and various roles, in different cultural contexts. I experienced different mindsets and diverse people. This has given me a wide range of reference points from which I can try to understand the different pressures my clients might be under. My upbringing of constantly moving countries and meeting people from different walks of life has also taught me to not assume anything and that there is no one fixed or "right" way of doing things. I don't assume that my "normal" is your "normal."
  • I’ve had a bad experience with therapy before. Do you have any advice?
    Don’t give up! It’s true that it is not always easy to find someone who is a good fit for you. It’s completely understandable to feel demoralized after having a bad experience with a therapist, especially since you were likely at your most vulnerable. But your bad experience is not a reflection of who you are or what therapy can be - it is just a reflection of the compatibility (or lack thereof) between you and your therapist. When I was first learning to drive, my first driving instructor's style felt intimidating and impatient to me. Someone else may have been fine with his style, but I didn't enjoy driving when I was with him. It was only when I found an instructor who had a relaxed, warm style that I came to enjoy the driving lessons and built my confidence to drive. The same goes with finding the right therapist - find a therapist who is a good fit for you to get the most out of your experience.
  • Are there cases where certain therapy is NOT recommended?
    Yes. If there is abuse occurring in the couple or family, couples/family therapy is contraindicated because it can do more harm than good. For example, therapy may unwittingly elicit information that may be used against the abused party later by the abusive party, thereby putting the abused person at greater risk. Couples/family therapy is also conducted on the premise of mutuality, where the parties involved share mutual responsibility in the presenting issues and must cooperate towards mutual goals. In the case of abusive relationships, this concept of mutuality does not apply - there is no justification for violence and abuse, and it would be dangerous if therapy were to somehow lead the couple or family to believe that there was. In those cases, it is recommended that the abusive party seek individual therapy with a specialist to work on anger management, address any underlying substance abuse issues, or any other issues. Group therapy is also an option, where the abusive party can work in a collaborative group setting with others dealing with similar issues.   If you are currently experiencing abuse, click here for resources that can provide help. You are not alone, and there are professionals trained to help you.

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