Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

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 life, such as a divorce or losing a job. Many seek advice 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 issues in life. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, and general life transitions.

Therapy is right for people who are interested in getting the most out of their lives by creating greater self-awareness, taking responsibility for themselves, learning new skills, and working towards improving their relationships. Helping people learn how to be assertive, how to handle emotions such as anger, fear, and pain, resolving old resentments can all be addressed in counseling.

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

Sometimes we just need to bounce ideas off of an objective person. Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support.

In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness and courage to realize they could benefit from a helping hand. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy.

Among other things, therapy can teach you tools and skills you need to avoid triggers to negative behaviors (using alcohol/ drugs, anger outbursts, etc.); to change negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors; and to cope with stress and challenges in life. This can improve relationships in your life.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits can come 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, etc.

Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, marriage issues, inter-personal relationships, and the hassles of daily life.

Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem, or help you brainstorm solutions. 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 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 issues
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Identifying irrational beliefs
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your life
  • Improving self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What are the risks of counseling?

Like most things in life, there are no guarantees in psychotherapy. A lot depends upon how much you practice what you're learning, complete reading assignments, how honest you are with the therapist, etc.

Sometimes as you grow and change your ideas and behavior other people in your life might dislike you "changing the rules" on them.

Some relationships may change or even end.

Sometimes looking deeply at yourself can be uncomfortable.

It's sometimes scary to try out new behaviors.

Most clients think that the risks are worth taking, because of the possible gains that are there.

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

Some disorders run in families, and are genetically-based (chemical imbalance in the brain), these often require medication to stabilize symptoms and moods. Consultation with your medical doctor is always recommended so you can determine what's best for you. In many cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the ideal course of action.

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 our progress.

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 (their phone number is on the insurance card) 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 per year?
  • Is approval or a referral required from my primary care physician?
  • Is pre-authorization necessary?

Currently I accept these insurances:

  • Aetna Plans : MHMO, MEPO, MCPPO, EAP, MPP, MPPO
  • Blue Cross / Blue Shield (but not Biodyne or Magellan)
  • Beacon Health Options (Value Options)
  • Cigna Behavioral Health , and their EAP
  • Curalinc Healthcare EAP
  • Medicare / Noridian
  • Arizona Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) (as of 9-16-2013)
  • GEHA -- Government Employees Health Association (Federal)
  • Mental Health Net (MHN) (as of 12-11-2013)
  • United Healthcare (as of 5-1-2014)
  • Value Options (as of 4-15-2014)
  • Tricare / OPTUM (as of 8/28/2015)
  • Military One Source

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and 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:

  • If abuse, neglect, or exploitation is suspected of children, vulnerable adults, or the elderly, the therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person the therapist is required to notify the police, and the person being threatened.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself the therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure his/her safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
  • To obey a court order from a judge
  • To insurance companies, to provide enough information for them to process payment.