FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OVERVIEW

Why work with you?

Couples’ therapy is my passion and it’s what I do best. I’ve spent thousands of hours helping couples heal, grow, and have the connection they desperately want. I get relationships both as a professional and as a person in a long-term relationship. That means that beyond my training and professional experience, I know what it takes to make a relationship work throughout the years.

As a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, I have extensive training in couples therapy, but that never stops me from continuing my post-graduate education in the field. I make sure to stay updated on the most cutting-edge therapy modals and research related to couples and relationships.

I’m a Relationship Expert, not a “generalist”. Some therapists offer no specialization and will see you for almost any issue from depression to sibling rivalry. As an expert, I specialize in seeing couples for their relationship issues solely. This means, that I offer my experience and expertise to couples with issues such as communication, infidelity, divorce, and lack of desire, and be happy to refer out to my excellent network of expert colleagues for other issues.

What’s the difference between working with a licensed psychotherapist and a coach?

Considering working on your relationship with a professional is not simple and the process often requires some inquiry. Licensed psychotherapists spend years in academic training, hold a Masters or a Doctoral degree in their field of therapy, and go on a minimum of two post-graduate years of internship or residency before receiving their license from the Department of Health in their state. Their license allows them to conduct psychotherapy and treat all mental health and relationship issues as well as bonds them under specific laws and ethics to protect client’s confidentiality and well-being. Licensed psychotherapists have to go through constant continuing education (CE) to maintain their license.

A coach has trained anywhere between a few days to a few months in order to get certified after which, he or she is capable of coaching clients for various issues such as life, health, relationship, business etc. Coaching is not a regulated profession, therefore, coaches are not bound by laws and codes of ethics of their occupation. They are not required to do continuing education, it is up to their digression.

Often, coaches use therapy or counseling as a synonym for long treatment that focuses on the past, while offering quick fixes concentrating on the here and now. This is completely wrong and shows a serious lack of understanding of the counseling process. As a licensed psychotherapist, I have the knowledge, experience, and ability to work with clients on their present issues, offer tools, enhance skills, and help heal underlying issues. My work is not long-term, in fact, my couples’ programs are anywhere between 8-12 weeks long offering both healing and relationship-building tools.

PROGRAMS AND SESSIONS

How do you work with couples?

Going into the couple’s therapy process, you want to have a clear idea of what it means in terms of time and commitment. Rather than have you enter counseling wondering, I offer therapy programs that have a clear structure that is thoughtfully tailored to couples work & to your specific need.

Making It Work is my signature couples counseling program that is offered in two different “sizes”: 8-Week Program, and 12-Week Program. I will recommend one or the other according to the intensity and complexity of your relationship issue(s).

  1. Consultation: I speak with you to find out the issue, determine if I’m the right professional to help your relationship, and suggest ways I can help. This is an opportunity to ask me about the process, my special Making It Work couples counseling programs, fees, approach, or any other question you may have regarding couples therapy.
  2. Initial Session: I see you for an initial 90-minute assessment session where I get to know you, learn about what’s working and not working in your relationship, and establish some ideas on how to continue to make your relationship work. By the end of this session, I will make a recommendation on how we can continue to work together. You will then have the option to choose from one of my Making It Work couples counseling programs.
  3. A full Couples Assessment: The Gottman Relationship Checkup is assigned to you and your partner after the first session.
  4. Continuing Sessions: Throughout the following sessions, we collaborate on understanding your relationship, where it is,  where you would like to be, and what it will take to get you there. We then work towards getting you where you want to be in your relationship / marriage by giving you tools for healthy communication, healing pain and resentment, getting to underlying issues and working on them so you can enjoy your relationship again.
  5. Mid Process Assessment: A short assessment assigned towards the middle of the couples counseling program in order to gather information on where you’re at in your relationship, your level of progress and content with the process.
  6. End-of-Process Assessment: A short last assessment assigned before or at the last session in order to gather information on reaching your goals for your relationship, your level of content with the program, and continuing care after the counseling process is over.
  7. End of Process: The process ends when you have reached the point where your relationship / marriage is in a comfortable stable place. When you are ready to enjoy your partner and your relationship again is where counseling isn’t needed anymore. I often check in with my couples (with permission) after counseling is over to see how they are doing and to let them know I am there for them.

Whatever the issue is, I strive to provide a non-judgmental and supporting environment as I empower my couples to enhance their relationship.

What exactly is the full couples assessment you offer, and why is it important?

The full couples assessment is done through the highly respected The Gottman Institute. It is called The Gottman Relationship Checkup. I use the clinical analysis to get a wide picture of your relationship and its strengths and weaknesses. It is a great tool to use throughout our sessions, although my assessment and work with you is not restricted to it.

Here is a description taken from The Gottman Relationship Checkup handout (rights reserved to The Gottman Institute).

A new online assessment that automatically scores a couple’s strengths and challenges. This clinical tool consists of 480 questions about friendship, intimacy, how well you know your partner, how you manage emotions and conflict, how you share your values and goals, and what gives meaning to your lives. There are additional questions about parenting, housework, finances, trust, and individual areas of concern.

The questionnaire is completely confidential, fully HIPAA compliant, and your therapist will be the only person to see your responses. The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a breakthrough in couple’s therapy as it allows for a confidential, efficient way for your clinician to complete the evaluation process. By using this new technology, your assessment can be done at any time and in the setting of your choice!

Upon completion, it automatically provides valuable clinical information by pinpointing specific strengths and challenges in your relationship, while also suggesting actionable, research-based recommendations for therapy. You can feel confident in your results. Drs. John and Julie Gottman created this research-based assessment in collaboration with The Gottman Institute to help couples build a personalized treatment plan with their therapist. Dr. John Gottman is a clinical psychologist who has completed more than 40 years of research on couple relationships and is recognized as one of the top 10 most influential therapists of the last quarter-century. Dr. Julie Gottman is a highly respected clinical psychologist who is sought internationally by the media and clinical organizations as an expert advisor on relationships. Together, they have dedicated their lives to helping couples, and The Gottman Relationship Checkup is the result of this life work.

What’s the difference between your couples programs and regular couples therapy?

My experience from working with couples taught me that when the process is more structured, has a roadmap, and offers tools and assessments throughout – results are immensely improved. I noticed that couples who did therapy through my programs got a better outcome in less time than those who entered traditional week-to-week therapy not knowing what to expect. Since then, I kept developing and perfecting my programs learning from my experience with couples in the field. At this point, I have the pleasure to introduce a product that has been tried and perfected and brought some great results to couples looking to save their relationships.

Do you see both partners all the time?

As a rule of thumb, I start by seeing both partners and, according to the issue at hand, I may ask to see you separately from time to time. This is not done for the purposes of secret keeping, rather for moving the process forward. In some cases, individual sessions allow an opportunity to grow, especially when joint sessions revolve around patterns of problematic communication.

My partner isn’t willing to do couples therapy. Should I come by myself?

As a couples therapist, I see the value in having both partners part of the process present in sessions, however, in cases where it is not possible, I see great benefit in working with just one of the partners. As I see it, even a small change that you bring into the relationship affects the whole family/couple system and allows even more change. That’s why we don’t have to have both people in the sessions for the process to be successful. One interested partner can be in therapy introducing new things into the relationship that will influence it and bring about the enhancement you look for.

PRIVACY

Are the sessions confidential?

Yes, sessions, participation, and other details from your medical records are strictly confidential with some exceptions. The exceptions include cases relating to suicidal or homicidal intent, suspected child or elderly abuse or neglect, medical records or therapist subpoenaed by a judge. In these cases, the therapist is mandated by law to report to the right authority.

FEES

Do you accept insurance? What is your fee?

Couples therapy and marital discord are not covered by health insurances. I chose not to accept insurance for the following reasons:

  1. Health insurances ask for a mental health diagnosis to be provided in order for the therapist to be compensated for their service. I only see clients with relationship issues – a diagnosis that is not covered by health insurance.
  2. Usually, therapists who take health insurances have a large caseload and tend to be generalists. I specialize in couples and relationship issues while keeping my practice a boutique practice with a limited, quality caseload. I make sure to stay within the limits of my comfort zone regarding a number of clients I see each week so I can be accessible, fully present, and attentive to my couples.

I will be happy to discuss my fees with you and answer any question on our phone consultation.



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