Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do you know when you need counseling?
A. Counseling or therapy is recommended for those who are experiencing significant distress (which is relative to the individual) and/or impairment to their daily responsibilities, relationships, work, school, etc. You do not have to have a mental health diagnosis in order to benefit from counseling. It can also be beneficial for those who desire to understand themselves better and to experience personal growth.
Q. I've never been to counseling before, but I've seen it portrayed in movies. People lie on couches and talk while the therapist takes notes. What can I expect during sessions?
A. Well, you are welcome to lie on the couch if you choose to, but most clients just sit. :) And sometimes, I do take notes, to help me track with you and remember the things you're sharing. Different presenting issues warrant different treatments and interventions. My job is to help create a safe environment in which you can understand yourself better, develop your ability to identify your needs, and make decisions that help you lead a healthier life. Sessions typically include psychological education and interventions that help you to develop awareness of your needs and to address barriers to them.
Q. What are the frequency of sessions and duration of treatment?
A. Recommended frequency of sessions are dependent on the client's mental health needs. However, I generally recommend that clients come to session weekly for about 3-4 sessions to develop a strong working relationship with me and to build momentum for their work in counseling. It is not uncommon for clients to transition to biweekly sessions once they have experienced increase in mental health stability. Duration of treatment is dependent the client's mental health needs, progress toward counseling goals, and the type of therapeutic treatment being conducted.
Q. How do I choose a counselor?
A. Choosing a counselor can be a daunting task--there are so many choices! I recommend researching a few counselors--look at their websites, talk with them over the phone (take advantage of the free phone consultations!), even meet with them for an initial session. You are the consumer and you get to choose who you want to receive support from. I recommend choosing a counselor that you resonate with in some way, whose approach to counseling you respect, and ideally, whose personality you jive with. You're looking for someone who you could feel safe and be honest with; your honesty will be important to your experience and progress in counseling.
Q. What is the difference between a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a mental health counselor?
A. In Washington state, a "psychologist" refers to someone who has received a doctorate in the field of psychology. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry (i.e., the study and treatment of mental illness). A mental health counselor may refer to someone trained to provide counsel to individuals with mental illness. In Washington state, a mental health counselor has received a masters degree in counseling.
Q. What's the difference between Christian counseling and spiritual direction?
A. Every mental health professional practices in a way that is unique to them and their respective discipline (i.e., psychology, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, etc.). As a psychologist, I am a mental health professional, trained to provide treatment for mental health issues. I identify as a Christian and my goal as a Christian psychologist is to integrate faith and science as I work with clients to care for their mental health. For clients who desire it, I adapt therapeutic interventions and treatment recommendations to include a client's spirituality. For many people, "counseling" is a recognizable term for mental health treatment.
Q. Do I have to be a Christian to participate in counseling with you?
A. Absolutely not! While I identify as a Christian and understand human nature from a perspective that integrates Christian faith and science, clients do not have to share my religious beliefs. Your beliefs will be respected in our work together. People of varying faith backgrounds, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., are welcome.
Q. I'm concerned for my loved one (adult). How do I encourage them to go to counseling?
A. Watching a loved one struggle can be a difficult and helpless-feeling experience. You can express your genuine concern for your loved one, offer to help them find a counselor, or even take them to their initial session. But, ultimately, you cannot choose to make changes for another person. You can care for them, support, them, listen to them, but ultimately it is their choice whether or not they receive professional help. Make sure that you're caring for yourself as you care for your loved one--you matter as well.
Q. Do you take insurance?
A. I am an out-of-network provider. Depending on your insurance plan and provider, you may receive partial out-of-network reimbursement for my services. If you qualify for out-of-network benefits, I will provide you with a superbill (i.e., detailed receipt) and/or claim form after you have made payment to me. You can submit this superbill to your insurance company for potential out-of-network reimbursement. Reimbursement is also dependent on diagnosis.
Q. Do you have a sliding fee scale?
A. Yes, I do! I have a limited number of sliding fee scale slots in my caseload. Eligibility for sliding fee scale is based on annual income.