Seeking help can feel vulnerable and scary and that’s perfectly normal. It’s also really normal to have a ton of questions and to feel weird about asking me all of them. I promise, if you ask me, I’ll answer them, but lots of folks feel better scrolling through the list here.
What is your current availability for appointments?
I don't live in Portland but still want to work with you, is there any way that is possible?
Actually yes! I’m able to do one-on-one coaching with people from all over the world. We can use a confidential and secure video-conference system to meet in your living room, your office, or wherever you take your computer or phone.
What form of payments do you take?You may pay using cash, check, or credit card.
I do not take insurance (…read below to learn why).
Why do you not take insurance?
Further, insurance companies are strict about what they will pay for. Like couples therapy, insurance companies do not identify coaching as a reimbursable service.
Still, there are more pros and cons…
- Cost. If you see a therapist that is in your network, you only have to pay your copay.
- Monitoring. Your insurance company will closely monitor your progress to insure that you are making progress and getting the appropriate treatment.
- Ease of referral. Your insurance company will provide you with a list of their approved therapists in your area
- Limited sessions. Your insurance company will authorize a limited number of therapy sessions and then based on your progress, will either authorize continued treatment or not. If you decide to continue past this point, you will be responsible for the full cost of continued sessions.
- Diagnosis. In order to access your insurance benefit, your assigned therapist is required to diagnose you with a mental disorder. The record of this diagnosis can follow you for years to come and may make it more difficult to obtain insurance in the future. It will also become part of your MIB profile. MIB is the Medical Information Bureau and is the centralized clearing house for health insurance usage – performing essentially the same task as the credit bureaus do for you financial information.
- Loss of confidentiality. If you are using your insurance to pay for therapy, you should be aware that they have the right to know why you are going to therapy and what progress you are making. They have the right to audit your therapist’s files and notes and ask questions of him/her regarding your issues.
- Lack of availability. Due to several of the above issues, many therapists limit the number of their clients who are using managed care benefits and usually reserve their most convenient time slots for private pay clients.
- Limited specialties. Many therapists who have developed a specialty in treating a certain type of problem resign from insurance panels in order to focus on client care and developing the niche. This may make it difficult for someone using their insurance benefits to find a particular specialty or a certain level of experience.
How do I know if I need counseling or coaching?
Coaching is different from therapy in that we may or may not talk about your mental health but there need not be any mental health diagnosis. Coaching aims to identify a present-day problem area, identify goals, and provide structure and support along with a co-created plan to meet those goals.
While therapy often focuses on parts of the past that are influencing you currently. Coaching aims to stay in the present and help you work through whatever challenges are in your way by directly accessing the skills and resources you already have as well as building on them further and increasing your ability to bounce-back when hard things happen.
Though pain and challenges in life are most often temporary, they are also painful and challenging. Your world need not be falling apart for you to seek counseling. Wherever you are in your journey through life’s pain and challenges, I would love to meet you there and support you as you move forward.
I have an eating disorder, am I going to have to stop it to see you?
For most folks I’ve walked beside, their eating disorder helps them regulate their emotions and feel like they can get through life. I wouldn’t dream of asking you to give up that capability immediately. We have to build other, more effective ways of managing your emotions and navigating life first. Eating disorder treatment is tough, some of the toughest out there, and I believe in taking it slow. We will talk about what feels safe and doable and always strive to agree on our goals and action steps. I want to set you up for success not for failure!
And, bottom line, you are always in charge. I will never make you do something you don’t want to do.
I've been working to get past my trauma in talk therapy and it hasn't been working, can you help?
Yes, I can offer you some different types of therapy that can help when talking doesn’t. I’ll have a few questions to ask first to figure out what will be a good fit.
From my neuroscience education and background as a collegiate athlete, I have always been fascinated in the mind-body connection and in my personal trauma story, I have seen how disruptions in that connection can disrupt life entirely. EMDR, IFS, and expressive arts therapy can move us humans into a deeper space of healing than words alone. Sometimes words are just inadequate and other times we lack the vocabulary to describe what we so desperately need to say.
Additionally, for some people, talk therapy doesn’t work well because our emotions feel like they are too intense and we act out on them through risky behaviors and ineffective communication–DBT helps with this by offering a foundation for regulating emotion, tolerating distress, and attending to relationships in an effective manner even when emotions are intense.
As a human, not only as a therapist, I am naturally oriented toward change. If you’re looking for a therapist, life probably isn’t all sunshine and unicorns–you’ve got questions and a need for things to change. I believe you have the power within yourself to change your life into the life you so desire. Together we will harness that power and motivate the change.
What does DBT-informed therapy mean?
For different therapists, DBT-informed therapy, can look really different, so it’s fabulous that you asked. I can tell you a little bit here and if you’d like to talk more at length, please give me a call. I’d be happy to answer your questions.
Some of my past clinical experience came from working in a full-fidelity DBT clinic–a therapy clinic where all the therapists do is DBT and the goal is to do DBT aligned as closely as possible with the model that has been written about and researched. As a private practitioner, I cannot do that for a number of reasons; the biggest of which are that I’m simply unable to provide two of the four components of full-fidelity DBT–group skills training and the therapist consultation group. I can and certainly do refer clients to DBT groups in the community. Also, I do attend a consultation group, however it is not focused on DBT. For these reasons, I cannot ethically present myself as a DBT therapist. If full-fidelity DBT is what you are looking for, I can refer you to a local clinic for that service.
The DBT-informed therapy I do provide is steeped in the learning I engaged while working in the full-fidelity program and bolstered by other techniques I’ve experienced to be helpful in therapy.
Here’s what I can help you do:
- introduce the skills and review practical applications with them
- incorporate and teach dialectical (not black-and-white) thinking
- develop a crisis plan and willingness to use it
- decrease problematic behavior
- increase self-confidence and other positive emotions
I see you have a dog, what if I don't like dogs?
Is my problem the worst you've ever heard?
Is your office handicap accessible?
Unfortunately, my office is on the second floor of a historic (renovated) home in NW Portland complete with a staircase and narrow doorways.
What are your favorite therapy books?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked! Check out my resources page for some ideas.
If you become a client of mine, I’ll be happy to lend you books from my bookshelves.
How do you sit and listen to people's problems all day?
There are a few ingredients to what makes me love wading through the deepest, toughest stuff with my clients: coffee, self-care, my therapist, hope, and more hope. Let me explain.
Coffee, mostly decaf. Sitting across from you while cradling my wonder-woman coffee mug feels like a gift. You welcome me into your pain and I bet some of that pain exists because people didn’t understand, didn’t believe you, or just didn’t show up. Coffee in hand, I show up for you because you’re showing up for yourself by showing up to my office. It’s not really about the coffee at all.
Self-care, seriously. I walk around the block (or a few) or flow through some yoga poses between clients. Yes, I take naps on my couch and yes, there’s real food in the fridge, not just coffee creamer. By listening to my body’s need for movement, food, and rest, I’m able to be on my game when you arrive. The days when I’ve tried to rally and come to work when I’m sick haven’t gone well for me or my clients. When I listen to my body, everyone wins.
My therapist, thank god I found her. I have a person to go to, in addition to my natural support system, to help me figure out the messy middle parts of life. No, I don’t talk to her about your problems.
Hope, keeps us all afloat. That was cheesy. But really, I believe things can and will get better for you. I might not even know you yet but I know nothing in life is forever, so even in the darkest part of your hardest Wednesday, things.will.change. Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out how to get out of our own way.
Do you have any other questions?
If you do, let’s talk.