Frequently Asked Questions

Can you see us individually and as a couple?

I do not usually work with a couple and see either person individually on an ongoing basis. Sometimes, when I am working with a couple, I will see both individually for an occasional session. But this is only to further the couples work. It is never ongoing long term individual therapy. If I am seeing a couple and one or both clients would like individual therapy, I refer them out to a different therapist for individual therapy.

What happens in couples counseling?

When couples come to see me there usually has been some damage to the relationship. So the counseling includes both a focus on repairing damage, improving communication skills so the couple doesn’t continue to damage the relationship, and learning new skills to keep the relationship happy and loving. So couples counseling is a conversation between the members of the couple and the therapist. I will stop arguments that are escalating, because I do not want the damaging communication to continue in my office.

Do you only offer couples counseling or do you also offer individual therapy?

I offer both individual and couples counseling. I usually will just be in one role at a time – meaning, I will either be your couples therapist or your individual therapist, but not both.  If there is a need for both, I will see you for either the couples therapy or the individual therapy and will refer you out for the other therapy.

Do you work individually with issues of anxiety, depression or anger management?

I do work with all of these issues in individual therapy.  Sometimes the treatment for these issues can even be similar.  For example: learning stress management strategies are very helpful for both anxiety management and anger management.  

How long will it take to complete the therapy?

This is hard to predict as every case is individual and different.  Typically it takes a while to create the changes that you want.  With couples therapy, how long it takes is usually related to how much difficulty there is in the marriage.  I would say to plan for more than just a few sessions.  But it really depends on what you come in for.  If you come in for a specific solution to a very limited matter, we may be able to treat that relatively quickly. I’d be happy to review this question with you, when you come in to counseling, so that we can discuss your particular circumstances.  

Can you do couples counseling with us if my partner is addicted, has anger management issues, depressed or suffering from anxiety?

Yes, I do work with many couples, where one or both of the partners are suffering with any of these issues.  While some of these issues may get treated as a part of the couples therapy, it is also possible that I will refer out the individual for individual therapy with a different therapist, while I continue to work with the couple.

My partner says he will never change, that he is just the way he is. Is there any hope for change?

This is what some people say.  I’ve never found it to be true. Everyone can change.  They just need the right motivation, the right support, and the right information. Making a change is sometimes called personal growth. It’s one of the ways we become better people and better partners.  Personal growth is usually a positive experience…people feel good about getting even better.

I am so stressed out, fatigued and overwhelmed all the time. Can you help?

You are describing “burn-out”. And yes, I do work with burn-out.  It is surprisingly common in the modern world, for individuals to get over stressed.  Sometimes it comes from a combination of stressors that could include: working too many hours in difficult work conditions, relationship difficulties, the death of a loved one, and any number of other stressful situations.  Too much stress at the same time can produce the burn-out experience.  

How serious is depression?

Depression really ranges from very mild to very serious situations. In a very severe case of depression, you may be unable to get out of bed, to get anything done and unable to even get to work. While probably everyone has felt a mild sense of being depressed at some point in their life, when that depressed feeling stops you from working, socializing and taking care of your basic needs, that is a depression that you deserve to treat in therapy. The problem here is that if you are depressed, you may not feel like you deserve treatment. Your depression may have increased a sense of hopelessness, and low self-esteem. In less severe cases, depression may still leave you feeling unhappy, or unsatisfied with your life. It may limit how much you achieve in your life, or may cause you to not follow your dreams and goals.

Signs of depression include:

Depressed mood
Trouble sleeping
Loss of energy most days
Feeling worthless
Loss of interest or pleasure in most things
Thoughts of suicide

This is just a partial list of some things you may experience with a depression.

How does therapy help depression?

Therapy is used sometimes to treat a depression. Therapy can help lift the depression, sometimes forever, sometimes for a period of time. Therapy works by addressing some of the causes of depression. Those things that seem to be related to depression include: difficult relationships in the past and present, traumatic experiences from the recent and distant past, emotions that are unexpressed in healthy ways, and ways of thinking that were learned from those around you, from both childhood and adulthood. Another major trigger and cause for depression is intense or long term stress. Too much stress can lead to burn-out and resulting depression and/or anxiety.

 

If you have any questions that are not answered above, please use my CONTACT FORM to email me with your questions  or call at 415-339-7890 or 707-583-2305.


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