Does therapy have to take years?
Therapy does not have to take a long time. Professional therapy can be brief for many clients (1-2 months). Therapy can also be lengthened for people ready to make significant changes in their life (more than 3 months). In my office, many people report that they have had good changes within four sessions. Counseling services include using Client Centered Therapy, EMDR, Cognitive Behavior Therapy as it is often used in treating depression and anxiety.
People that come to my office are in charge of their therapy, as a counselor, I provide the guidance, support, and the expertise and they may start and stop at anytime.
Do I have to take medication?
Maybe or maybe not. You are in charge of what you put into your body. I have never pushed medication nor do I prescribe medication for my clients, because I don't do that. If you feel that you need medication management I would refer you to your General Practitioner or Psychiatrist and maybe have you consider counseling first, and see if there are measurable changes. I have assisted many people considering medication and after a few to several sessions, they have felt no need for the meds, for which I supported their decision.
Lastly, you also need to know that there can be very dangerous and also minimal side effects for using certain medications and for quitting medications without being weaned off of the medication properly under doctor's care. However, there are some medication that can be perfect for certain people, but not for all.
What if I do not want to continue counseling?
You may begin and end counseling at any time - regularly scheduled sessions usually work very well for all of my clients. If something in counseling is not working for you, I would really be happy to assist you during this time of need, so please let me know what is not working. Sometimes when a caring professional may say something that was not intended to be offensive, becomes offensive to the individual, this might be an experience "from the past" reminding you of the pain from the past and you may want to abandon your progress. My job requires many traits and one of them is to consistently respect the client, so please feel free to express yourself in therapy.
Do I have to use EMDR and what is it?
EMDR is never required. EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or Bi-Lateral Stimulation) and it is an approved treatment for PTSD symptoms. Agencies like Kaiser Permenente, the Vet Center, and the Veteran's Administration have used EMDR as a means to help their clients who have been traumatized to decrease the PTSD symptoms. These clients are usually military combat veterans, rape victims, and crime victims. I have performed EMDR since 2005. I have witnessed considerable success in clients at about a 94% success rate with decreasing their PTSD symptoms and I follow the prescribed 8 phase protocol, because it works. For more EMDR info, please refer to the EMDR website at: www.EMDR.com
Do you have hours of availability at night?
I have hours of availability during certain days, late afternoons and evenings.
How do I get help for Alcohol or Drug Dependence, Eating Disorders and Domestic Violence-related help?
I do not specialize in these specific areas. I do provide emergency/crisis related support, but I would suggest to continue looking for a different clinician.
Do you have a strict 24 hour cancellation policy with a 100% penalty like other clinicians?
No! I have a reasonable 6-hour cancellation policy with an initial $60 missed session fee to promote self-responsibility and consideration of other people. Additionally, if a client cancels within the 6 hours, I will reasonably try to fill in the time slot for another client and there will be no penalty assessed if I am able to fill in the time slot vacated within six hours. I believe in flexibility and I understand that life happens.
What insurance do you accept?
IEHP is accepted. I am an out of network provider for all other insurance companies. If you would like my office to proceed, I will charge the normal fee and I will bill your insurance company for reimbursement.
I, like other professional therapists do not accept all insurances.
What are your views, therapeutic orientation, and time frame on marriage counseling?
I have counseled thousands of people from different cultures, ethnicities, and in different languages. I care about the people I see as clients, because I know that they are often stick at an impasse or are considering divorce and permanent separation and many times they are hoping someone skilled can assist them through this overwhelming time in their life. I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, at times, the Gottman Methods, and Family System Theories and other skills that I have gleaned over the years from my interest to help support healthy marriages.
I assist couples whom have religious beliefs and many who do not. I respect their religion as I have not pursued theological seminaries, I am very serious about what is at stake, and even moreso when children are involved. My theoretical orientation is to lean on the side to help a marriage recover and continue. Often times, but not every time, many couples have already made up their minds about splitting up when coming into counseling. When I listen to the ways that a couple has devastated each other verbally, I can clearly see why their minds have been made up. I am married and I know, that noone likes to be criticized, show contempt against, be defensive against, nor to be stonewalled. I focus on the communication styles being used, unresolved issues, listen to patterns of decision-making, personal responses, identify each person's needs and their past, present, and future goals. If you (or your spouse) have rage in your marriage it is likely because of unresolved past issues. Similar to a disgusting infection, the problem needs to be purged out, cleaned up, and follow a plan to recover and it may not be painless.
Marital counseling success depends on each person in the couple (doing their homework) and a willingness to forgive, taking responsibility, recognizing their own contributions to how things went wrong, and a willingness to practice new behaviors from a different approach.
**Warning about divorce - with the exception of domestic violence, as it is appropriate to seek protections.
You may want to take extreme caution of friends or even therapists suggesting to you or your spouse to divorce, as they will not be there during the divorce process. It is easy from the "cheap seats" that friends and therapists speak to somehow promote divorce. I have heard of many stories of misdirected friends and know it all therapists that certain couples should divorce. Unless there is physical abuse, my policy is if you have a therapist or Psychologist suggest divorce within 6 sessions, feel free to walk out on the "professional" because they (usually) do not have the tools or patience to work with couples or still have significant issues of their own.
For the friends or therapists that suggest divorce, have them answer these questions: Will they give you the money to divorce and the money for the court ordered 730 Psychological Evaluation (anywhere between $3,500 - $15,000 - feel free to look that up)? Will they provide the missing income or provide free babysitting during and after your divorce? Will they be there for every court-ordered meeting? Who will bathe or watch your toddler while your ex has a new boyfriend or girlfriend? Will they be there for you every step of the transition process when it comes to custody? Will they provide free support services for your children that may miss your spouse? So, please be careful for soliciting advice on whether or not you should divorce. Whether one divorces or not, one will still have the unresolved pain from the marriage and actively participating during therapy will often decrease the pain.
I provide Marital Therapy in Riverside and Moreno Valley because I know that good marriages do have a good fighting chance and our society is lacking in having strong families. If anything, our society (and Hollywood) promote divorce and the ONLY people who usually get ahead in divorces are the lawyers! If you don't believe me, ask any good Family Lawyer, because most of them need your money to pay for their new BMW and to fund their child's college education with your money or travel to Paris or the Cayman Islands with your and your children's money. Also, the courts have no problem taking your money, as their docket is full almost on a daily basis and do you really believe that a government official is going to listen to every problem that you will be presenting especially when they have had a long day listening to adults bicker at each other? Laws get interpreted differently in different family courts and more than likely, you and your lawyer have no control over that. Also, you will notice that soon after you file for divorce, you mailbox will be filled with lawyer mailers who would love your money.