What is counseling like?
Counselors can have different styles, approaches, and of course their own personalities. Generally, most counselors agree that it only works if you “show” up. The length of time spent engaged in counseling will depend on your situation and needs. Sometimes people just need a brief, solution focused approach to get un-stuck, and sometimes real healing will require a much longer commitment. We will work together over time to figure out what is right for you.
What kind of counselor am I?
What I am not: the TV stereotype of shrink with note pad in the chair nodding head in disapproval and silence. Who I am: Someone who is going to engage with you, with curiosity and empathy. Most importantly, I want you to feel comfortable and safe, and we will go at your pace. My office is a judgement free room. And yes, I talk too. I draw from quite a few different therapy styles in order to match how you think and feel. For example, I’m not going to pressure you into trying meditation or other mindfulness based techniques if your brain really likes cognitive and concrete types of problem solving. I have also gotten feedback from clients that they like that I am direct and really engage in a meaningful way, verses in previous experiences where they just talked for an hour at the therapist, then given a useless handout and nothing really changed.
It is my priority to make sure you are getting what you need out of coming to counseling. How we define that will be very personal and specific to you and what brought you in to the office.
What all this means is, as a “person-centered” therapist- I don’t just try to cram all of your problems into a mold of one theory and solution I happen to really like. Have you ever had a friend recommend to you a book and say- “Read it-- It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!” Only to pick it up and just not get it? I help you make sense of what is going on and find new meaning and solutions in a way that works for you.
I remember one time when I was younger, not returning to a counselor I had talked to because I was afraid he was going to “judge” me and/or “get mad” that I made a particular life decision in spite of him hinting previously that it would not be a good idea. I am not going to do that. (He probably wasn’t either, but I didn’t give him the chance!) So, even if we problem solve together and you don’t follow through- it doesn’t mean it’s not working. This is not school. This is not work. This is not your family. This is part of the beauty of the counseling relationship. You can always just bring yourself. Not who you think you need to be.
When you walk through the door to my office and sit (or even collapse) onto the couch- it should be a place where you can exhale.
And don't worry, it is ALSO absolutely normal to feel really nervous or skeptical your first few times.
That is part of what the Initial Consultation is for-- seeing what it’s like.
How much does it cost?
Typically a 50 minute session is $125. Most insurance companies will reimburse you for a significant portion of this dependent upon your plan. (Usually 60-80%).
My fee is lower than the average. Most therapists charge $125-175 for a 50 minute session.
Please see my Rates page for more details.
Interested in a sliding scale fee? Please see RATES for more details.
How frequently should I come? And how long should I be in counseling?
Everyone is different. Your goals are yours and we will figure out what it will take to help you reach them.
Typically, it is most useful to come once a week to begin in order to get the most out of your experience and to see the biggest change. That said, I am flexible to what you are available to do. Coming to counseling just a bit is better than not coming at all!
Some of my clients come in to work on a particular issue- and after some good intensive work for several weeks they feel fine with no need to return. Others find that having a regular place to go and deal with their life in an ongoing manner is deeply meaningful. The more you invest in yourself, the more you will get out of it.
I will have no judgment of how you choose to proceed. That said, research continually proves that counseling is most effective if you go for at least 6-12 weeks.
Tried counseling before and didn't like it?
Even if you've had a negative or neutral experience of counseling before, it doesn't mean that it still can't be a meaningful and worthwhile experience for you now. There are various circumstances that can leave a bad taste. You have nothing to lose in stopping by and telling me what's going on. If I'm not the right fit for you, I'll help point you in the right direction of who might be.
What can I expect in the first session?
I recommend coming in to meet, free of charge, and we can talk for about 20-30 minutes. This way you can tell me about what is going on, and we can both decide if I'm a good fit for you as a counselor. You can also get a feel and see what it's like without any commitment.
If you are ready to jump in and come for a full session that is fine too! Sometimes it can be overwhelming, there may be so much to say or share, and it seems hard to figure out what you want to focus on in that first session. Don't worry. You don't have to have a plan before you come in. Your job is just to show up. You can show up feeling shy, nervous, anxious, apprehensive, doubtful, tearful, weirded out, excited, talkative, quiet- it's okay. I've seen it all. And it's normal! Just show up. I will be kind, I won't judge you. I will be patient. I will be confidential. And I will help you through it.
Do I need to fill out some forms?
After we schedule your first session I will email you with a link to my secure portal. You will be given a password to sign in and fill out the new client paperwork online. If you'd like to have a paper copy of my professional disclosure and privacy policies please let me know.