What type of therapy do you do?
I do individual therapy mostly, although I do some family work too. I use a variety of skills (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy) and specialize in working with people who are struggling with substance abuse. I also specialize in working with people who have experienced trauma. I’ve been trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), two techniques with solid research behind them demonstrating their effectiveness. I’ve practiced using both for some time, and I have seen firsthand that they are really good.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been practicing as a therapist since 2003, and as a clinical supervisor (supervising and training other therapists) since 2009.
Isn’t therapy just talking?
It can really feel that way sometimes. It’s a weird thing–therapy I mean–right? You contact a stranger, come talk to us about deep and likely difficult things, and our job is to make it so you don’t need to see us anymore. Sometimes therapy is just talking, but if it’s a good therapist it’ll be far more than that.
What should I expect when I first see you?
So when you first meet me, we will spend the hour going over some basic “housekeeping tasks”–talking about what brought you to see me in the first place, and why now (rather than last year or sometime in the future); and getting some history about you and your life. You’ll get the chance to see if I’m the right fit for you, and we’ll talk about future sessions.
Why should I come to therapy?
Well, besides the fact that I think we can all benefit from being seen and really heard, I can’t really answer that for you. I can say that if you feel like bad stuff, difficult feelings, and unhelpful habits are getting in the way of your life, then maybe it’s time to come in. Most important though, come because you want to, not because someone else wants you to.
Why should I see you instead of someone else?
It’s vitally important–crucial even–that you see the right person for therapy (relevant blog post). Research consistently shows that the relationship with a helping professional is the biggest predictor of success in therapy. When you meet a therapist you should have some variation on, “Yeah, I can talk to her.” Therapy can be hard, and you don’t always leave a session feeling better, so you need to see someone you can trust to take you through that. I am me, just that. I’m genuine, non-judgmental, caring, empowering, and I like to think I’m occasionally funny. Hopefully, you’ll get a sense of what I’m like as you read the website and blog posts. If I’m not the right fit, I promise I will do my best to help you find the right person.
Can you help me?
This is one of the biggest questions people have when they come to therapy, even if they don’t ask it out loud. Therapy can help if a few things are true. You have to be willing to show up consistently, and you have to be honest. You don’t have to spill everything at once, but therapy is about what you put into it. I know it can be hard to feel like anything can help. I encourage you to just try it. Even if you’ve tried before. Commit to finding the right therapist and showing up. We’ll show up too, and walk with you every step of the way.
Will it be weird to open up to a stranger?
Sometimes, but it goes away. With the right therapist, you’ll find that opening up to that person is easier all the time. You’ll be able to talk about things you never thought you would and hopefully gain insight about yourself and be able to make changes.
Does it really matter what therapist I see?
Over the years there have been numerous studies done on therapy outcomes. Know what they found? That the relationship is more important than technique. Specifically the relationship between the client and therapist is a large part of why a client gets better.
As therapists we spend a ton of time and money on education and so one could reasonably think that technique is the biggest thing to look for. For instance if my surgeon doesn’t have great bedside manner, I sort of don’t care. I need him to be a good surgeon considering that I’m going to be knocked out while he’s with me. I can deal with an awkward office conversation as long as he’s awesome at operating on people. With therapists, its nearly the opposite.
I learned this lesson personally. During graduate school, all the students were encouraged to be in therapy. After all, how could we be good therapists without knowing what it’s like to be in therapy? My health insurance wasn’t great and didn’t cover therapy. So I set out to find a therapist who had a sliding fee scale. I found a therapist who would see me for a low fee. I scheduled an appointment and off I went. From the moment I laid eyes on her I knew it wasn’t going to work. Know how you can just tell when you meet someone? Yeah, it was like that.
Now, someone else wouldn’t have had that same thought. She didn’t have three heads or wear too much patchouli or have a weird voice. The reason it wasn’t going to work was part of my own history. In that walk from the waiting room to her office I decided “I’m going to grow. I’m going to stick this out.” I spent a year with that therapist and saw her nearly every week. Let me clarify some things here, she went to a good grad school, she was kind and thoughtful, she had all the makings of a good therapist. Just not for me. I switched therapists and immediately when I met him, I just knew it was a good fit. I ended up doing more work with him in 3 months than I did in an entire year with someone else. And the thing that had changed wasn’t just the therapist. It was the relationship between me and my therapist.
Finding a therapist can be hard. Insurance can be difficult, cost can be a barrier, not knowing what to look for can make it harder and the sheer number of therapists that pop up when you hit google complicate things further. Don’t let those things stop you from getting into therapy.
Here’s some advice when you decide to look for a therapist:
- Ask friends or family who they would recommend. You’ll get information that is way more helpful than just picking a random person from the web.
- Check out websites and therapists bio’s. What a therapist chooses to put on their bio says a lot about them.
- Ask the intake person or receptionist who in the practice works with whatever your particular issue is
- Don’t settle for a less-than-stellar relationship. Take a few sessions to see if this person is a fit for you. I usually ask people to try 3 sessions before making a decision if they aren’t sure right away
Technique does matter in some cases such as treating trauma, eating disorders, addiction, couples counseling (to name a few).
Just a couple studies to look at if you are curious
How do I schedule?
You can either call our office number (715-342-9002) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll connect by phone or email to discuss what you are looking for and set up a time to meet. Once you establish with me as a client, you can schedule future appointments when you see me, over the phone, or by using the patient portal.
What’s your cancellation policy?
I totally get that sometimes we can’t get to an appointment. As a client, you will have access to the patient portal and also secure messaging. Let me know as soon as you can that you won’t be able to make it (hopefully at least 24 hours before your appointment so another client can use that spot). If you are sick and have the plague (my word for an cold, flu, general ick), please, for your health and ours, just stay home. You won’t be able to get much out of therapy if you feel terrible.