Why do some people seek your services?

It is important to work as partners to resolve the challenges in your life.  A Marriage and Family Therapist is a professional who is licensed and trained to help people understand their feelings and assist them with changing their behavior and relationships. People often consider psychotherapy under the following circumstances: Some people feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of sadness and helplessness, and they lack hope in their lives. For others, emotional difficulties make it hard for them to function from day to day.  Sometimes their actions are harmful to themselves or to others. They are troubled by emotional difficulties facing family members or close friends.

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and family therapists (commonly referred to as MFTs or family therapists) are trained and licensed to independently diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems. Marriage and family therapy is one of the core mental health disciplines and is based on the research and theory that mental illness and family problems are best treated in a family context. Trained in psychotherapy and family systems, marriage and family therapists focus on understanding their clients’ symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment. MFTs treat predominantly individuals, but also provide couples, family and group therapy. Whomever the client, Family Therapists treat from a relationship perspective that incorporates family systems.

What distinguishes Family Therapists from other mental health professionals?

A family orientation coupled with rigorous training requirements make Marriage and Family Therapists uniquely qualified to provide mental health services. Family Therapists are trained in various modes of therapy in order to prepare them for work with individuals, families, couples, and groups. The training of MFTs includes live supervision by experienced MFTs, which is unique among the mental health disciplines.

Research shows that marriage and family therapy is a cost-effective, short-term, and results-oriented form of treatment. In a recent study, researchers found that clients report high satisfaction with marriage and family therapies, with significant improvements in emotional and physical health, functioning, and relationships.

Do I have to be married to go to a Family Therapist? Can you do family therapy with only one person?

Individuals often seek family therapy for help with behavioral problems, relationship issues, or mental and emotional disorders. Family Therapists provide the same services as other mental health professionals, with a different orientation. I believe all families have strengths and am committed to working with all forms of families: married, cohabitating, single parent, or blended families.  I support Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and welcome families with homosexual parents and/or children. Family therapy is effective with just one individual or with couples, families or groups.

Do I have to be married to go to a Family Therapist? Can you do family therapy with only one person?

Individuals often seek marriage and family therapy for help with behavioral problems, relationship issues, or mental and emotional disorders. Family Therapists provide the same services as other mental health professionals, with a different orientation.  Family therapy is effective with just one individual or with couples, families or groups.

What Services are Provided by Family Therapists

  • Diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders
  • Individual, child, and adult psychotherapy
  • Couple, family, and group therapy
  • Treatment planning
  • Marriage and relationship counseling
  • Premarital education and marital enrichment
  • Life coaching

What Disorders are Commonly Treated by Family Therapists

  • Depression and other Affective Disorders
  • Childhood Behavioral and Emotional Disorders
  • Marital and Relationship Problems
  • Conduct Disorder and Delinquency
  • Substance Abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Domestic Violence
  • Severe Mental Illness
  • Physical Illness

What can I expect in a therapy session?

During the initial session you will be asked to talk about what is meaningful to you in your current life, the challenges you are facing and your hopes, both as an outcome from therapy and in your relationships. Together we will identify your goals and develop strategies for achieving those goals.  Sessions are usually scheduled for 50 minutes and it is important that you arrive at the time of your appointment to make sure that you are available for the time we have allotted to work on your concerns.  There are times when we may schedule longer appointments when more time is needed.  Between sessions you may be asked to do homework to learn or practice new skills, to find resources to support your goals, and to try things that may be new to you.  Depending on they way you learn you may be asked supplement the work in therapy with reading, listening or viewing recordings or to document your progress.

How long will therapy last?

The answer to this question largely depends on you and your goals for therapy. I commend people who have the courage to seek assistance when they feel that their lives are not where they would like for them to be. To me, seeking help is a sign of health, not pathology. I believe that everyone deserves to have positive relationships with themselves and those around them. To achieve this goal, we will work together to determine what the goals of therapy will be. Depending on the nature of the goals, we will decide realistically how short-term or long-term the therapy will be. For some, this may be a few sessions. For others, it may be several months or even years. However long it is, you will be part of this decision making process.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

I do accept some insurance plans, and it is important that you understand your benefits and eligibility.  Some insurance companies require referral from your doctor, and may have limits on what they cover.  You should check with your insurance carrier to understand your benefits and eligibility. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

Do I have mental health benefits?
What is my deductible and has it been met?
How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
How much do you pay for an out-of-net provider?
Is there a limitation on how much you will pay per session?
Is primary care physician approval required?

You may submit forms to your insurance company and may be eligible to receive reimbursements from them. Since this may require a clinical diagnosis, we will discuss what this diagnosis is, and what it means, so you can make an informed decision before deciding if you wish to use your insurance benefits which requires revealing confidential information to the insurance company.

Several insurance company contracts require that the therapist file for insurance and collect only the co-payment.  Although I will verify benefits and eligibility if you choose to use health insurance, it is your obligation to understand your own insurance benefits, limitations and exclusions.  If there are changes, you are expected to keep me informed of any changes to insurance that may affect payment.  You will be obligated to pay for services rendered if the insurance company denies payment for any reason.

What are my rights?

As a client, you have a right to:

  • Ask questions about the therapy process
  • Stop therapy at any time without any obligations other than the costs incurred
  • Confidentiality of information (within limits, see below)

Is therapy confidential?

The information from our sessions is confidential and will not be revealed to any other person or agency without your written permission. When treating a couple or family, I cannot reveal any individual’s confidences to another member of the treatment unit. If there are secrets revealed during therapy that I feel are detrimental to the therapeutic process I may ask the family member to reveal this information as a condition of continuing therapy, but will assist the family in doing so as a part of the therapy.  However, there are certain situations that I am, by law, obligated to disclose, whether or not I have your permission. Although I am not required to inform you of my actions in this regard, I will make every effort to do so prior to it happening.

The mandatory reporting situations are:

  • If you threaten bodily harm to another person or yourself
  • If you reveal information regarding the abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult
  • If a judge issues a court order (must be signed by the judge)
  • If you are in therapy by order of a court of law