FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I do hope you will forgive some of my meagre attempts at humor. I take very seriously what I do as a therapist. But in writing the various articles for this website, I needed a little comic relief from the seriousness of the various issues. And since the FAQ page of any website risks causing severe boredom, I thought it best to take a few liberties here.

Are therapy sessions in-person or via Zoom?

I started doing video sessions at the beginning of the pandemic.  I found it worked so well that I have just continued seeing couples and individuals using video service that wraps encryption around the zoom platform.  I now see clients from all over California.  At this time, I do not meet with people in person.

 

What are your hours?

My appointment schedule is 9 am to 5 pm week days.

 

How long are therapy sessions?

Sessions are 50 minutes each, but I extend that to 60 minutes whenever I can. 

How much do you charge?

My fee is $225 per session. I receive payment electronically prior to each session.

 

Do you take insurance? Why or why not?

I do not take insurance, nor do I bill insurance. Rather, I collect my fee upfront and send a monthly invoice to my clients that is marked PAID. If you have a PPO plan, you may be able to obtain reimbursement from your insurance company. My invoice functions as a receipt and contains all the necessary insurance codes so that you can submit my invoice to your insurance company for reimbursement.

In such cases, I am considered an Out-of-Network provider. Practically, this means that your net costs will be higher than if you were to see a psychologist (provider) who is inside the network of your insurance plan.

HMO insurance plans generally do not give any reimbursement for out-of-network visits to a psychologist.

How do I set up an initial appointment?

The best way is to call me or or use the contact form on this website to send me an email to schedule a call. I like to talk with potential clients for 15 minutes or so on the phone before scheduling an appointment for a first session.

 

What is your cancellation policy?

I require 24-hour notice of cancellation to avoid being billed for a scheduled appointment.

What age ranges do you work with?

I work with ages 18 through 180. Typically, my youngest clients are 18-25 and my oldest clients are in their 60s or 70s. 

 

Do you take Medicare?

I do not bill Medicare.  I have formally opted-out of Medicare as a provider.  So please be aware of this if you are 65 or approaching 65.

 

Do you work mainly with women or men?

Over the years I have worked with both women and men in roughly equal numbers. I have no preference. I enjoy working with women. I enjoy working with men.

The feedback that I often receive from both men and women is that I understand the unique concerns of each gender. This is part of the reason that I am able to be even-handed when I do couples therapy.

Do you offer marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling and couples therapy is one of my favorite specialties. I have been working with couples for decades with good results. I enjoy the process of helping couples discover how to love each other better while feeling like their own individual lives are thriving.

I have obtained extensive advanced training in marriage counseling and couples therapy, including the Gottman method (John Gottman) and Emotion-Focused Therapy (Susan Johnson).

What do you do in sessions with clients?

I describe what I do in individual therapy under services (See the main menu under services).

I describe my approach to couples’ therapy as one of my specialties:

See Couples Therapy.
See Marriage and Pre-Marriage.

Do your clients receive assignments to work on between sessions?

It depends on the type of therapy that the client needs. Some types of therapy do not lend themselves to working on things between the sessions. However, whenever I see value in it—which is most often—I recommend reading or simple experiments that will move a client’s growth process forward. I am also sensitive to how much discretionary time a client has for other growth-oriented activities.

What modalities (therapy approaches) do you use in your work with clients?

While working toward my Ph.D., I made a point to learn several different approaches to therapy: interpersonal, cognitive behavioral, family systems, emotion-focused, developmental, and the list goes on. As a result, I don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. I know how to switch gears to give you what you need for your unique situation.

Good therapy is interactive. It is a conversation. It is a profound connection that can change your life. It is a real relationship with a therapist even though it has professional boundaries. I have sifted through a lot of things so that you can experience a rare blend of effective approaches when you start therapy with me.

What is your professional training and experience?

My psychology training includes a M.A. degree in psychology and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology. Both of these degrees are from the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant University (Los Angeles Campus). Can you believe there were no cell phones back then?

Just out of high school, I earned a B.A. from Westmont College, completing two majors: Philosophy and also Religious Studies. After college, I studied at Westminster Theological Seminary and obtained a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree.

By the way, I grew up in Ventura and then went to college up the coast in Santa Barbara. But I never learned to ride a surfboard. But I do really love the ocean.

 

What else does a client need to know to make the most out of working with you?

Prospective clients need to know that I have given much of my life to cultivating a high degree of expertise in guiding clients to their goals in the best way possible. My best work is with clients who are motivated to find change: they really want a quality of life that is better than what they are currently experiencing.

I generally avoid keeping a client who is very ambivalent and torn about whether they wish to change. Of course, we all have some doubts and mixed feelings about things. But, generally, I try to work with individuals and couples who are desperate enough to say, “Whatever it takes…”

Prospective clients also need to know that I care about people. I find people fascinating. I am genuinely curious about the lives of men and women I encounter, whether they are clients or not. Clients pay for my time, but they cannot pay for my interest and attention. That I give willingly.

From my perspective, one of my main gifts in this work is to truly see people as infinitely valuable human beings who have a life story that matters. Their problems matter. Their happiness matters. Their relationships matter. Their well-being matters. My clients seem to find deep satisfaction in being truly SEEN in this way.

Do you write prescriptions?

All the time! The most common ones are

  • “Don’t use sarcasm with your partner.”
  • “When your partner complains about his/her boss, don’t take the boss’s side.”
  • “Stop looking at your phone when stepping into a busy street.”
  • During the first session, don’t say to me, “I want you to fix everyone else, but me!”
  • “Don’t compose text messages to me while creeping forward at an intersection”

However, because I’m not a physician, I don’t prescribe medications.

Do you make jokes during serious therapy sessions?

I never make light of anyone’s pain. However, I did have a client tell me once that I helped her laugh her way out of a deep depression. Therapy is a conversation among other things. I have found that my clients appreciate the use of humor at key moments. In fact, when clients find their own sense of humor in the middle of everything, they feel empowered to face difficult things.

It’s not about dodging serious emotions or topics. Rather, it’s about getting occasional relief from intensity so that serious work can be completed.

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