Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working toward real change in their lives.

Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like?

Every therapy session I do is unique and caters to YOU and your individual goals. A typical session with me lasts from one hour to 1 3/4 hours. I do not do "the 50-minute hour" common to many therapists. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of treating only the symptom, therapy addresses the underlying causes of distress and the behavior patterns that curb progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

NOTE TO CONSUMERS: While I do not accept health insurance, if you are considering using mental health insurance with another provider you should strongly consider issues of confidentiality in making that decision. While therapy is confidential and the therapist may not discuss the client or treatment, it is important to note that the insurance company can require a great deal of information about the therapy. Thus, if you choose to use insurance to cover your counseling or therapy, know that your therapist does not know who will see the information required by the insurance company. Generally, the insurance company or managed care company requires a treatment plan - often quite detailed. Sometimes the managed care or insurance will require the therapist to use certain forms of therapeutic intervention or otherwise becomes quite involved in the therapy process. By using your insurance, you are giving the participating therapist permission to provide the insurance company with any information it requires. Sometimes that is far more than the client might be comfortable with.
(Note from JANICE - Insurance companies generally require far more information than I am comfortable with providing and that is another reason I do not accept insurance. )

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

NO. I DO NOT ACCEPT MENTAL HEALTH INSURANCE. I provide the reasons why in my note below and in the section on Rates and Insurance. I do understand that is is very helpful financially for some people to use their mental health insurance to obtain counseling. For that reason, I provide some information following regarding issues to consider and answers to obtain when making the decision to use mental health insurance coverage. I would urge you also to read the reasons why I do not accept insurance before making your decision. If you would like to discuss this with me, please feel free to call me. I'll be glad to talk with you.


To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Not all types of therapy are covered by insurance. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits? What types of therapy are covered?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • Is a Medical Diagnosis required?

Note from Janice (See also under Rates and Insurance) I have strong concerns regarding providing therapy involving insurance or managed care providers. The biggest issue with using your insurance is CONFIDENTIALITY. I'll be glad to discuss this with you. At this time, I do not accept insurance. In some instances, I will provide a flexible fee. I can provide a periodic statement. I do not provide written treatment plans to insurance companies or request authorizations for therapy sessions.

A related concern is the insurance company's requirement of a medical diagnosis . Most insurance plans do not cover marital or relationship therapy, family therapy, etc. With most policies, there is a requirement for an "Identified Patient" - with a diagnosable condition . Otherwise, the insurance will not pay for the counseling.

Mental health insurance can be quite valuable and necessary for many patients. Services by other providers may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. If you wish to explore using your mental health coverage for therapy, I would suggest that you check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions and then make an informed decision for yourself:

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met?
  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

I would also suggest asking what kind of therapy sessions are covered, who has access to my records and whether a medical (DSM-IV) diagnosis is required to obtain benefits? It is important to remember that a medical diagnosis for mental health services will be a part of your ongoing medical record . Most insurance companies and managed care require a medical diagnosis and often after only one session. Their general goal is to pay for counseling for your medical mental health issue - not to improve your life or your marriage, clarify goals or aid you with troubling issues.)

While there should be no stigma regarding a diagnosis for mental health "disorder" or issue, I would suggest that you give strong consideration to whether you want to take the chance on having a DSM diagnosis in your medical records. If you decide to run for President one day...? My concern is that I do not know what happens to the information once it is provided to an insurance carrier. And I don't think you do either.


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