I’m new to therapy, what should I expect when we first meet?
First of all, welcome. I know that starting therapy can often be difficult step to take and I’m glad you are here. I do a free 20 minute phone consultation with all my clients before starting therapy. This allows us to determine if we might be a good fit to work together and I can answer any questions you may have.
Generally all my sessions are 50 minutes including the first session or what therapists sometimes call the intake session (because we’ll cover a lot of information). Before your first session I will email you some paperwork and forms to complete ahead of time so we can spend our time getting to know each other (or if you don’t get to them we can complete them when we meet).
Our first session is all about getting getting to know each other. We will start with reviewing paperwork and forms and talking about the therapy process in general. We’ll talk about why you are coming to therapy, discuss what kind of goals you might want to work on and I’ll also ask you some different questions about your history as I believe it’s important to understand how your past influences who you are today. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about me or therapy in general.
What exactly happens after your first session is personalized and depends on what we are working on together and where you want to start. My style is supportive and warm and I work to create a safe and accepting environment. I view our work together as a collaboration so we can always talk about goals, the process or any questions or concerns you may have throughout our time together.
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist? Do you work with individuals?
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) work with individuals, couples, families, adults and children although some will choose to focus on specific specialities or areas. As a Marriage and Family Therapist you must have a graduate degree (often a Masters degree) and advanced training in psychology, psychotherapy and family systems. Before becoming licensed, a Marriage and Family therapist must complete extensive training, supervision, counseling hours and pass licensing exams; a process which often taking several years.
I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and I received my Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. In my private practice I work enjoy working with individuals and couples. I work with adults, young adults, adolescents and families. You can read more about me and my work here.
Is what we talk in therapy about confidential?
In general, everything we talk about is confidential and is protected by law. The confidential nature of therapy is important for the work we do and so that you can feel safe being honest about what is going on. I would only release information about our work together with your written consent, for example if we wanted to coordinate with your doctor or nutritionist.
There are some exceptions when I’m legally obligated to reveal information we discussed, such as if you were at risk for seriously harming yourself or someone else or if you told me about a situation where there was reasonable suspicion that child or elder abuse was occurring.
It’s important to note that if you are using your insurance to cover therapy that this limits your confidentiality and I may have to make a diagnosis or share information/records about your treatment plan with the insurance company.
How often do we meet and how long does therapy take?
Therapy sessions are 50 minutes and occur weekly at a time that we agree upon, although frequency may vary depending on need. I find that weekly sessions are especially important at the beginning of therapy as we get to know one another and then to help with keeping the momentum towards your goals and the work we are doing.
Sometimes I will offer stand alone check-in sessions for previous clients who have worked with me and want to come in to check-in or address something new that came up.
Can we do sessions over video chat?
Generally we will meet in person as I value the connection that happens when we can be in the same room and be fully present with one another. However, if you are traveling we can set up video sessions in advance as an alternative. I also offer video sessions for clients who are new parents and may not be able to make it into the office with a newborn.
Can you prescribe medication?
As a therapist, I can not prescribe medication but if you are interested in looking at how medication may help you, I’m happy to refer you to a psychiatrist. If you are taking medication or considering it, I often find it beneficial for us to collaborate together with your doctor so that we can develop an integrated plan that meets your needs. Medication can only be prescribed by Psychiatrists (a doctor) or your regular doctor.
Do you take insurance?
I am not on any insurance panels. Depending on your insurance plan you may be able to receive partial reimbursement (20-70%) because I’m a licensed therapist. More on this here.
Do you offer a sliding scale?
It’s important to me that mental health services and therapy are accessible to everyone. As one way to address this in our Bay Area community, I reserve some sliding scale spots for individuals working in public education, non-profits or are psychology students/interns and may not otherwise be able to afford personal therapy. I’m also a part of the Open Path Therapy Collective.
What’s your cancellation policy?
Once you have a scheduled appointment, I have a 48-hour cancellation policy. Appointments canceled with less than 48-hour (2 days) notice or no-shows will be charged the full session fee.
Schedule a Free 20 Minute Phone Consultation
Do you have more questions or want to talk to see if we might be a good fit to work together? I’d love to talk more. Set up a free 20 minute phone consultation by clicking the button below.