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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I find your office easily?

Coming to new place can make anyone feel a bit nervous.  My office is easy to find at the northwest corner of Litchfield Road and Thomas Road in the Palm Valley Professional Plaza.  The office is adjacent to the circle in the center of the parking lot on the Litchfield Road side.  You'll find plenty of free parking.  Our office is convenient to several communities on the westside including Goodyear, Avondale, Litchfield, Pebble Creek, Buckeye, Glendale, Peoria and Surprise.

How do people change in therapy?

My work with people over the years has taught me that change is possible at any age. When it comes to children, it is important to know research shows that early identification and treatment is the ideal.  I am passionate about the early identification of childhood conditions including ADHD, learning disabilities, autism and other developmental disorders as well as anxiety and depression.  Early intervention is the best prevention for later associated conditions of these complicated disorders.  When working with children, I use a team approach that involves the child, parents, teachers and other health care professionals in developing and implementing plans for change.  Our common goal is to help children get back to their own normal and healthy developmental trajectory.

The key to change in adults is appreciating that our brains benefit from neuroplasticity, the ability to change at any stage of life.  Adults grow by understanding the early programs and patterns that have been laid down in their lives.  As these early connections are identified, adults begin to appreciate how the brain functions and how to establish new pathways that enable them to change their perceptions and actions.  As you begin to understand these connections through therapy, you will be able to choose to change from the inside out. 
 
As your therapist, I will help you practice and experience new ways of thinking and interacting with others.  The connections between physical health, mental health and spiritual health will become evident as you learn how your current thinking, your behaviors and your feelings are interwoven. 

Is therapy right for me?

There are many things to think about when answering this question.  There are many reasons why people come to therapy.  Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression.  Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce, loss or work transition.  Sometimes parents bring their children because of concerning behaviors.  Many seek psychological support as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth.  Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges.  Ultimately, seeking out therapy is an individual choice. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.


Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.


Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's everything right with seeking out extra support when you need it.  In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired.  You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy.  Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.


How can therapy help me?


A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy.  Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks.  Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life.  Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.  The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence


What is therapy like? 


Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and the individual's specific goals.  It is standard for psychologists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions.  It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around 45-50 minutes.  Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth.  There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors.  It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions.  For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions.  People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.  Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

May I bring someone with me to the initial session?

Sometimes people like to bring a friend or family member with them for their first appointment until they get to know the therapist.  If you think that might be helpful, then please let us know who will be coming and then bring that person along.  However, during psychological assessment, it is not a good idea to have someone with you since you will need to be able to focus on what is being asked and to respond in a timely manner.  Having someone else in the room can often be distracting under such circumstances.  Certainly, the person doing the assessment can take time to meet and get to know you before beginning the assessment if you wish.  During that initial time, if you wanted to have someone in the room, that would be welcome.  You should also be aware that by having someone else come in with you, you are limiting the confidentiality of the information that you are going to be sharing with your psychologist.  However, if it's going to make you more comfortable in the first session, by all means bring someone who is helpful to you.

 

 

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.  Working together, we can determine what's best for you.  It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication.  Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb your progress.  You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  Most of my patients find comfort in knowing that the same person who prescribes is also involved in their therapy.


Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?


To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • What is the deductible amount and does the insurance company require that I pay all of it before benefits begin?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • Will my provider have to submit my diagnosis and treatment plan to my insurance company?

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychologist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The psychologist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The psychologist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself.  The psychologist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety.  However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken to try to keep everyone safe.
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