FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO THERAPY?
My primary approach helps people learn to separate feelings from thoughts, particularly within difficult situations, relationships, and states of mind. You'll also begin to develop skills to tackle the normal, every day struggles that can prevent you from reaching your goals, and instead use these struggles as motivators. I will work alongside you to assist through the short-term discomfort that comes from moving toward long-term change, such as when it's time to have a very difficult conversation with a loved one, ending a relationship with a substance, and improving mental health, as just a few examples. My approach helps people choose to face obstacles rather than avoid them, and in doing so, I'll encourage you to maintain a strong sense of who you are, even in the face of difficulty or conflict.
You'll be challenged at times, which can feel uncomfortable, but it is through that discomfort that we make change and break away from thinking and behaviors that no longer work for us. If you're putting the work in, both inside and outside of sessions, you'll be surprised at what you see changing in your life.
This exact approach is called differentiation-based therapy, which extends from Bowenian Systems Theory. I invite you to read my in-depth article on this treatment approach commissioned by Choosing Therapy.
I additionally may implement where appropriate cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for certain concerns and symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy often involves homework, tracking, and direct confrontation with unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
WHAT WILL MY FIRST VISIT BE LIKE?
You'll have already taken a big leap just by showing up. It can be tough to take the step toward a first session. Our minds play tricks on us sometimes, saying the perpetual, "I'll just do this later," or "Maybe things aren't so bad after all." And it can be scary meeting a stranger for the first time. But people generally feel relief after their first session - a sense of accomplishment and agency. Mostly we'll go over how therapy works. I always want to get a sense of your prior therapeutic experiences, if any. And I'll have a lot of questions to ask you about your history over a variety of areas, as well as your goals. First sessions sometimes feel like interviews, but there are no wrong answers. Know that legally, all first sessions involve some level of paperwork, and in order to maximize our time to discuss your concerns and goals, I will have provided you those documents before session to review and sign. However you feel about the first session, bring it up. I want to make sure things get started on the right path for you.
HOW LONG DOES THERAPY TAKE?
Everybody asks, but there's no real answer. It depends on so many different factors, such as what brought you to therapy in the first place and the severity of what you're experiencing. Here's what really makes a big difference: Are you implementing what you're learning in therapy into your life outside of the sessions? For example, that could look like applying tools for managing symptoms on a daily basis, establishing boundaries with friends and family, or behaving and responding to yourself and others in new ways. If you're not making changes, therapy is going to take a lot longer. In any case, my goal is not to have you dependent on therapy, but to assist you until you no longer need assistance.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS AND COMPLAINTS ABOUT PREVIOUS THERAPY?
One typical misconception about therapy is the expectation that the therapist will make decisions for the client. That is not my role, nor the role of any other psychologist. Say I were to make a difficult decision for you, and it all worked out. That's not helpful on two levels: 1) You actually won't feel that great, because you lost responsibility for the positive outcome, and 2) you're left without the ability to make difficult decisions in future situations. Instead, we can work out why you feel stalled and how to move forward.
Another misconception is that you will leave sessions feeling great each and every time. Therapy does involve some relief, as it should, but at times will result in some discomfort. That just means there's good work happening.
In terms of complaints about previous therapy, the most common I have heard from clients regarding their prior therapy experiences are that they felt they "did all the talking," "got no feedback," or that all the therapist asked was some version of "How do you feel about that?" In my experience, people typically have a good sense of how they feel about something, and they expect more from their therapy. I am very engaged, offer consistent feedback, and will encourage you to take therapeutic risks.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT COUPLES THERAPY?
Starting couples therapy does not mean your relationship is failing. In any long-term relationship, if couples describe their relationship as "perfect," that more often than not signifies a couple who ignores problems. In actuality, you're probably experiencing many of the same issues your partnered friends experience, with the difference being you're willing to work on them...together with your partner. My goal when working with couples is to help each of you grow individually so that you work better together as a team. Think of it as two cars traveling the same direction on the highway but in two different lanes. Sometimes one of you is speeding up while the other is slowing down. Then it's vice versa. The goal is to get you going at the same speed, driving side by side down the same road.
Please note that insurance rarely covers couples therapy. You may have had couples therapy covered by insurance in the past. This is typically achieved by a provider or agency conducting couples therapy, then billing the insurance plan for individual therapy under one person's mental health diagnosis. I do not engage in this type of billing practice.
ARE SESSIONS PRIVATE?
Our sessions and the content therein are private and confidential. We'll talk about this in the first session, but know that there are some instances where I am legally and ethically bound to break confidentiality:
elder abuse (a person age 65 and older)
dependent adult abuse (a person between ages 18 and 64 with mental or physical limitations that require help with normal daily functions and/or with the protection of their rights)
child abuse (a person under the age of 18)
viewing or producing child pornography, or any other child sexual exploitation
serious and imminent suicidal intent
serious and credible danger to an identifiable other or property that may result in injury to others
when a client becomes gravely disabled due to their mental health and can no longer safely care for themselves
You can view a copy of my office's Notice of HIPAA and Privacy Practices here.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES
AND ACCEPTED INSURANCE PLANS?
Initial intake evaluation: $250
Individual therapy session: $200
Conjoint therapy session: $200
Couples therapy session: $250
Group therapy / Workshops: $75
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, individuals who are uninsured or who will not be using insurance to cover services are required to be informed of the No Surprises Act and are entitled to a Good Faith Estimate, which will be provided with your intake documentation.
You can view a copy of my practice's No Surprises Act here.
In-Network Insurance Plans
An in-network provider is a licensed professional who has been specifically approved by and has an existing contract with an insurance plan. As a result of that relationship, you will have either no fee or a small copay, usually between $10-30 per session.
I am in-network with the following insurance plans:
Kaiser (requires a direct authorization and referral from Department of Psychiatry at Kaiser)
MHN | Health Net
Limitations: My ability to accept your insurance plan will depend on the composition of my caseload at the time of your inquiry. Please note that insurance rarely covers couples therapy.
If you wish to use your out-of-network benefits, I will provide you with a superbill, which is a document you can submit to your insurance company for partial reimbursement.
No-Show / Cancellation Fee
No-shows and cancellations within 48 hours of your scheduled appointment will incur a $100 fee charged directly to your credit card on file. Please note that insurance does not typically reimburse for these fees.
Methods of Payment Accepted for Out-of-Pocket Fees and Copays
Major credit cards are currently the only form of payment I accept for session fees and copays.
ARE YOU LICENSED ELSEWHERE?
In addition to licensure as a psychologist in California (License #PSY29563), I am also a psychologist in France, where I hold the legally protected title of "psychologue," as awarded by le Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation and licensed by l'Agence Régionale de Santé Île-de-France (License #759384944). I am available for telehealth services to those within these two jurisdictions.
Note that there are significant differences between psychologists in France and in the United States, particularly those licensed in California, which demands some of the highest standards for licensure in the country. The following is a brief summary of these differences:
United States / California
10 years of academic study culminating in a doctorate (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) in psychology from an accredited university
A minimum of 3,000 supervised clinical hours prior to licensure
The passing of a national licensing exam evaluating scope of competency in all areas relevant to psychology such as treatment, psychopharmacology, psychobiology, statistics, diagnosis, research, development, etc.
The passing of a state licensing exam in law and ethics
Clinical psychologists are often trained to work within the medical model and in modalities treating high severity, high intensity diagnoses and concerns
The title "psychologist" and the practice of psychology are regulated by the Board of Psychology and protected under California law. Unlicensed use of the title and unlicensed practice are crimes.
Five years of academic study culminating in a masters degree in psychology
An internship of approximately 500 hours
There are no licensing or competency exams
The title "psychologue" is regulated by the Commission des Psychologues, while the practice of psychology is unregulated.
I am also certified by le Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale for French language proficiency at the highest level (DALF C-2); however, I require myself to conduct sessions in English or Parisian French only, as my competency in other dialects does not meet my strict standard of care for the provision of psychological services.