Q: How do I know if I need to see a psychotherapist?
A: Many people can benefit from therapy at difficult times in their lives. If you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or find yourself repeating destructive patterns, working with a psychotherapist can provide perspective, new skills and insight that can lead to positive change. One way to think of therapy is that it is a process of identifying and removing obstacles to help you lead a more fulfilling life. Counseling can address a wide range of problems including stress, marital difficulties, depression, anger and addiction. All too often we try to solve our problems alone only to see them recur or worsen. Seeing a counselor is not a sign of personal weakness; it shows that you are willing to engage in a process that can lead to personal growth.
Q: What will my first appointment be like?
A: Your first appointment will last about 50 minutes. It’s helpful to arrive about 15 minutes early for the first session. This will give you time to fill out paperwork that is similar to what you fill out when visiting a physician for the first time. You will also have the opportunity to fill out a form asking what you would like to accomplish in counseling. The first few sessions are spent getting to know you and understanding the issues that bring you to counseling. During this time we will also begin the process of developing a plan to address your concerns.
Q: How long are sessions?
A: Typically each session lasts one hour. Under certain circumstances, longer sessions can be arranged. Most individuals attend sessions once a week, but this also varies according to the severity of the issues you are facing, along with time and financial constraints.
Q: Is counseling confidential?
Q: What if I think I need to be evaluated for medications or what if I am already prescribed medications?
A: As a psychologist I do not prescribe medication. However, with your permission I will consult with your physician or psychiatrist or refer you to one if you don’t yet have one. Also, I can provide you with information about the different psychotropic medications, such as indications for use and side effects, to help you make the best decision about medication.
Q: How long will I need to be in therapy?
A: Most people attend a minimum of six to eight sessions. The length of therapy depends on the issues that you need to address, the severity of your symptoms, the amount of support you receive from family members and others, and the rate of your progress. We will regularly discuss how you are doing over the course of therapy.
Q: How will I know if I’m getting better?
A: At the beginning of counseling, we will identify your goals for therapy. As treatment progresses we will routinely evaluate your progress toward your goals. Also, it is often the case that as you begin making changes through the therapy process, the benefits of treatment will be obvious to you.
Q: How can I make the most of therapy?
A: Therapy is most effective when you approach it as a partnership between you and your therapist. It’s important to be an active participant in the therapy process—to collaborate on goals for treatment to share in decision making. The following will also help:
Q: Are you a licensed psychologist? What does “licensed psychologist” mean?
A: Yes, I am a licensed psychologist. To be licensed in Florida, the following criteria must be met:
1) Graduation from a doctoral program in psychology;
2) 2,000 hours of clinical experience and case supervision at the doctoral level;
3) Passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology;
4) Passing score on the Florida licensure exam.
Many counselors or therapists are not psychologists and do not have the depth and breadth of training that a psychologist receives.
Q: Do you conduct psychological testing?
A: I conduct personality assessments, intelligence testing and forensic evaluations.
Q: Do you take insurance?
A: I am a Medicare and a Tricare provider. I no longer participate in most private insurance networks. If necessary, I will work with you to come up with a payment plan to make treatment possible. If you have insurance, my office manager will answer questions about coverage and handle billing your insurance company.
Q: What are your office hours?
A: I am in the Marathon office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and in the Key Largo office on Mondays and Fridays. I tailor my hours to fit people’s schedules. Usually I’m in the office from 11:00 a.m. to 8 p.m.