When you call in and go through an initial consultation, the therapist will be considering which of our therapists might be the best match for you. This person is taking into consideration various elements such as your presenting issues, your stated preferences (if any) and areas of expertise of our staff. The therapist who conducts the initial consultation then consults with our director to be sure of the fit. Then recommendations are made to you.
We start with a 15 to 20 minute free initial consultation by phone. We need to know a bit about you and what issues you are looking to resolve. We will ask questions about what is bothering you, how long it has been going on, what you have tried so far and when do you think it started. We will also ask about possible contributors to the problem (like a recent loss, or sudden change). If we think we are able to help you, you will come in for an initial session.
During your first session you will be asked more about your story and we will take the first few sessions for you and your therapist to get to know each other. We will ask you about what is bothering you, and about your life in general. We want to understand you and to help you gain a greater understanding of yourself.
Therapy is not like a regular conversation, and sometimes that might take a little ‘getting used to’. For example, in therapy, a therapist might not simply agree with you like a friend might. We also may answer a question with a question. Not as a game, but sometimes asking about your thoughts are more likely to help us get deeper. Our job is to help you understand yourself more and come to a place of accepting yourself and making any necessary changes. This is a difficult task. Many come out of a therapy session with a lot on their mind and often feel they need a little while to think over the things discussed.
We suggest meeting a minimum of once a week. It takes a good 10 to 15 minutes to catch up on the week’s events, or to get into a deeper space. Usually, we will not open up new exploration in the last several minutes of the hour – to make sure we give it the proper due and to not have you leave feeling ‘spun out’. From our experience, meeting – for example – every other week creates a situation in which there is much more time devoted to catching up, and it leaves much less time for the therapeutic work. Every other week can be appropriate in some situations, but these are less common when someone is starting therapy. The frequency of therapy is an important aspect of treatment, perhaps like dosing a medication. The decision about frequency should be mutually agreed upon. We typically do not initiate therapy on a less than weekly basis.
This is a common question. Each person is different. Some people stay for a few months, some stay much longer. We work to be productive and help you as quickly as possible. Sometimes people only need a little help with communication or some help with parenting or premarital therapy. These are examples of issues that are often quickly resolved. If a person comes in with a life-long pattern of choosing problematic partners, or repeatedly getting fired from all of their jobs, these are examples of issues that might take a little longer to resolve. While you might feel better soon it might be useful to work on these issues so they are less likely to repeat as frequently or with the same level of intensity. (Think of turning down the volume on a radio – we can often get the volume turned down enough that you can not even be aware of the issue most of the time).
We do not take insurance at this time. If your insurance is able to pay for an out-of-plan provider on a reimbursement basis we may be able to work with them. If you have questions, please feel free to ask us.
Our therapists have Masters degrees and/or doctorates in clinical psychology or social work. All of our therapists have been carefully screened and represent less than 5% of the applicant pool. Our therapists are trained in a variety of theories and have worked with a wide range or people.
We treat adults, adolescents and children. We treat people from age three years to people in their nineties. We offer individual therapy, play therapy, sand tray therapy, adolescent therapy, premarital counseling, parenting coaching and group therapy. We encourage you to talk to the therapist during your initial consultation about which modality might be best for you, at the present time.
Marriage counseling and couples counseling do work. This is often a very scarey time, and very often we find that couples wait a long time before coming to counseling. That’s understandable, because ‘needing’ to go to couples counseling may be a very frightening realization. However, we often find that the longer a couple waits before entering into couples counseling or marriage counseling, the more the resentments or other problems have built. That said, once the initial anxieties and resentments can be addressed, we often find working on communication and mutual empathy, we are able to successfully help a number of couples move into a new phase of increased happiness and intimacy.