Frequently asked Questions

How do I begin?

Your first step is to  consider whether or not you wish to use your insurance benefit. If you decide to use your benefit, contact your insurance company. Call the number on your insurance identification card. Your benefit company can tell you what your coverage is, and what you need to do in order to obtain treatment. For example, you may need to contact your Primary Care Physician to obtain a referral to a particular psychologist.

When you are ready to schedule you are welcome to call(206) 683-8625 or schedule online.

How long are sessions and how long can I expect to be in therapy?

Session are generally  50 minutes and are scheduled weekly.  How long to expect therapy to last is a very difficult question to answer.  The length of therapy depends on what you want to work on, how long it has been a concern, what you have tried on your own, and other complicating factors that we might not know about until we get started.  Something you might compare it to is a diet.  If you've been gaining weight for five years, you can assume it is going to take a while to lose the weight.  Change does not happy overnight.  Habits take time to lose.

How important is it to bring my child regularly?

It is very important to bring your child regularly.  Bringing your child regularly helps your child to count on consistency and can learn to trust.  These are the building blocks:  trust, safety and consistency which allow your child to decide to do therapy work.  Relationships are based on trusting and people will be there and rules and limits will be consistent.

What's my role in therapy if I am bringing my child to see you?

As a parent myself, I can relate to the fierceness each of us love our children  You have a big job. You know your child the best and spend the most time with him/her. Initially, I will schedule separate appointments with you.  After that, we may choose how often to meet in the months following.  

This time is about your child and will give me an opportunity to understand your parenting and the present challenges your family faces. It also builds a place where we can talk about what your child is working on in therapy and how to continue to support him/her outside the therapy office. It gives you a chance to ask questions, bring past parenting scenarios to light, and discuss ongoing school challenges/advocacy.

How long will therapy take for my child?

Again, this is a hard question.  Generally, it takes one to four weeks for a child to feel at home with me, the office space, and be ready to trust the situation and start to work on what bothers him/her.  A child has to take this time to know that it is safe to reveal problems and feelings.  Once they are ready to talk about problems or play through their problems, time depends on the child.  Each child is unique and they may take longer or shorter to work out whatever is on their mind.

What should I expect to happen to my child in therapy?

Generally, there are stages that each child goes through while doing therapy.  Initially, it is common for a child to immediately "get better".  I call that the honeymoon period when whatever the problem was is magically gone and all is better.  All better until things "crash".  The crash seems to happen when the child realizes that things are not really better, and therapy has begun to awaken their emotions.  Therapy is starting to work. This usually happens about one to three months into therapy.  The Crash is the hardest time for parents.  This crash period may sound backwards; why get worse to get better?  This is similar to a medical problem requiring surgery.  The patient gets worse after the surgery and then begins to feel better.  When you open up a sore spot, at first it feels worse, and then it can start to heal.  The same is true for a child who has some very painful feelings, or life events to handle.  When the painful feelings are beginning to be exposed, it hurts, and the child feels worse.  When they start to understand and work out their painful feelings, they begin to slowly feel better, and the crash slowly goes away.

How does family therapy work?

When people all live in a home together, or a child shares two homes, all of the family members become a team. Everybody on the team has a certain job, and if someone doesn't do their job, or suddenly does their job differently, it changes things for everyone.  Just imagine a baseball player deciding to leave first base and go for a walk during the game.  The whole team would be affected by this new behavior.  The same thing happens in a family.  If someone in the family changes how they feel or how they behave, the other people in the family are going to be surprised.  They are going to need help to understand that change.  Family therapy becomes a place where each member of the family can work as a team to help make changes in their family. I always ask kids, "what do you want to see different in your family?" And that is where we start all together.  

All family members come to the therapy sessions generally.

How will I know when I'm done? Can I come back?

When you feel like you figured out a different way to the original problem you came in for and it is helping you, then, are close to ending therapy.  Next steps are feeling confident in that changed behavior or new way of thinking about it.  And practice, lots of practice.   Through the years many of my clients have returned to therapy much like you would with a family doc.  It's always an honor to have the opportunity to work with such loving and dedicated individuals (and families) who want change in their life. 

What are your areas of specialties?

Children and their families who have particular issues involving social challenges (i.e. making friends, keeping friends), anxiety (i.e.worries….so many things to work about…friends, starting school, divorce, illness, fear of dogs), attention (i.e. not keeping your hands to yourself, staying on track), and problematic behaviors at home and in school. After teaching social skills to elementary and middle school aged students for 7 years I have a lots of tools to share.  Also, children and adults who struggle with past traumas or are presently involved in a current stressful situation.

Parental coaching is another area of specialize in.  Sometimes parents come for help without even bringing their child.  Parents have such a huge impact on their child and his/her challenges.

With adults, my work focuses on trauma, relationship issues, anxiety, and depression.

How long does it take to get an appointment?

I try to schedule and see new clients as quickly as possible and usually are scheduled within the first week. Depending on availability subsequent appointments vary.   Please keep in mind the wait times for daytime appointments are generally shorter, because these times are in lower demand than after-school and evening appointments.