Therapy is for everyone. There is no issue too small or too large to be addressed in therapy. The great thing about it is that all you have to do is come in and chat. Just chat. About the things that are bothering you, about how to change a situation, about how to move on from unpleasant circumstances, about anything. The first step is just to come in and chat.
After that, there are two things that will make the most difference in your experience of therapy. People who get the most out of therapy are the ones that are dedicated to purposeful effort to create change and that utilize a support system in the therapy room. That is called Relational Therapy and it is what I specialize in at Better Together Therapy. You're going to get better with the help of others. Yes, with me as the therapist, and also with your chosen "village." So pick out a family member, a friend, a member of your favorite group and let's get started!
Move towards Each Other
As human beings we crave the attention of and attachment to significant others. When these relationships are in conflict it can lead to emotional tension, communication difficulties, intimacy issues and much more. In today's "happily-ever-after" popular culture, people have no formal education on how to deal with these struggles and families often suffer with these issues behind closed doors. This is what therapy is about. Sometimes we just need a little help to get us through the tough times.
As a relational therapist, I have specialized training and skills to assist with the specific struggles that come with being connected to another person. I will not take sides on the issues that you bring to therapy. Both partners participated in getting the relationship to the point of struggle and both will need to work purposefully and diligently to repair it. We will explore the positive aspects of your relationship and how you would like it to look in the future. We will work together to move you closer to each other and on a path that is beneficial for all involved.
Embrace a New Experience
For those that have never been married: it's important to realize that marriage is something completely new, that you have never experienced before (even if you've lived together for a long time). It is likely that no one gave you a class on how to function in a marriage. You may be looking for some guidance. We will discuss finances, living space, in-laws, children, and more. We will work on communication, sex, and how to maintain your personal identity within the relationship.
For those that have been married before: your previous relationship likely did not go the way you had hoped or planned; we will address those issues and create new patterns for your new relationship. We will work together to establish clear communication about your expectations and also discuss finances, living space, in-laws, sex, and a sense of self. We can also form strategies for how to engage with children from previous relationships.
Pre-marital Counseling is different from Couples Therapy. It is often more casual and deals with the more surface level needs in a relationship. If you feel you need something deeper, Couples Therapy is recommended.
Create your preferred lifestyle
You are probably coming to therapy because you are looking for a change, something about your life is not working for you the way you would prefer. These types of struggles are human and are to be expected in life. Difficult experiences and unpleasant emotions happen to everyone. They are necessary to live a fulfilling and well-adjusted existence.
Some people are taught how to work through difficult issues and some people just haven't been given that education. It takes special skills and knowledge to navigate hard times and challenging emotions.
Together, we will address those issues and create new strategies for the future. You may bring any topic to therapy - no matter how unpleasant or taboo. I will not judge you in anyway. We will work together to discover what you want for yourself and and your future.
Who do you see in therapy?
I see only clients over the age of 18. I specialize in romantic relationships and everything involved in them. I see individuals, families, friends, coworkers, couples, and other romantic relationships. In some family situations I will bring children into the session, and often require a separate child therapist to be present in the session with us.
How can I expect to pay for therapy?
I am not currently boarded with any insurance companies; I cannot accept insurance. Sometimes, you can submit our sessions for reimbursement, this varies between companies and policies. I do not have this information, you will have to contact your insurance carrier on your own. Additionally, I may not ever board with insurance companies because they place unreasonable restrictions on the way therapy is practiced and on the things they will pay for. I’m going to do what I need in order to provide you the best and most ethical care, regardless of bureaucratic flaming hoops.
I do not currently offer special discounts or a sliding scale for session fees, nor do I currently have openings for reduced fee clients. I set my fees to be very competitive in our local market and to cover my operating costs. If finances hinder your ability to attend session, we will work together to make any possible adjustments for you to get good therapeutic care.
Standard therapy sessions are 50 minutes long. All clients start with an Introductory session for double the time at a cost discount. I do not typically offer “consultations,” though I am happy to answer any general questions through email.
I accept cash and credit/debit card payments. I do not accept web-based digital payments like automatic bank drafts or PayPal/Venmo. I do not accept third-party payments. If your employer or a friend/family member is covering your therapy costs, you will need to pay me directly and have them either prepay or reimburse you separately.
How often do people go to therapy?
However often they want. If you want to pay me to have 5-hour sessions Monday through Friday, I’ll let you! That would be too much, but generally speaking I can be fairly flexible about working out the schedule. A single session (50 minutes) once per week is the most common time-frame for therapy appointments. I also see clients for double sessions every other week or once per month. I have some clients that drive from farther away and have longer sessions less often. I have clients that need to space out sessions for financial reasons. If you have a concern about attending sessions, I’m sure we can find a way to work it out. I really can be quite flexible. The only things I’m strict about are: arrive early to session so we can start on time, give at least 24 hours’ notice for canceled or rescheduled appointments, and pay me. That’s it. Other than that, we can probably find a way to work something out.
How do I ask off work for therapy?
While it is sometimes the case that you can find a therapist that has late evening or weekend hours, even if you do, those time slots are highly coveted and we may not be able to fit you into the schedule. Therapists are people with lives and families; we want to work standard hours and have time available for fun activities, just like you. This means that most therapists work a “9-5” schedule that conflicts with other “9-5” type jobs. It can be hard to feel like it’s ok to ask for regular time off every week in order to make it to your therapy appointments. Income and steady work are very important; your mental health and relationships are as well.
Some jobs have more flexibility and you can arrange the hours or days that you work to accommodate a recurring appointment without losing any paid time or having to dip into sick or vacation days. Others are less flexible. In these cases, a great many employers, supervisors, and managers will be more accommodating than people often believe. Perhaps you can go in early or stay late on a given day so that you can attend your session. If you work very close to the therapy office, you might be able to take an early or late lunch. You may not need to take off every week; some therapists are happy to schedule multiple sessions in one day. You could have a two-hour session every other week and leave one hour early that day after working through your lunch hour.
Talking with your superior about the logistics of leaving the workplace is not the only consideration in these conversations, you may also feel unsure about how much personal information to disclose. You do not have to explain that you need the time off specifically for therapy, feel free to keep that confidential. You could say that you have a “recurring medical appointment.” Doctors’ offices are generally only open during standard business hours and you’d need time off to attend any kind of appointment. You don’t have to use medical terms at all by referring to therapy sessions as “standing appointments.” In contrast, there is value in talking about attending therapy in an open and transparent way. Much of the world would greatly benefit from therapy and your openness might be what convinces someone else that getting help is a great idea.
Your best strategy for getting the time you need to attend therapy sessions is to already have potential solutions in mind. Be prepared to offer two viable options for how you could maintain your time at work and attend your therapy sessions. If you demonstrate that you have carefully thought through your request, and show that you place value on the needs of the business and that tasks and projects are completed on time, most professionals will find a way to work with you. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish just by asking; maybe your boss is in therapy and understands just how important this kind of work is. Go in with a plan after having rehearsed ahead of time. Keep a note card in your pocket with all the pertinent details. Ask your friends or coworkers what they would say in a similar situation. And of course, you can always ask your therapist for help, we’re here for you.
Who is therapy for?
Therapy is for everyone! Always! I have some clients that come for general life functioning like communication skills or career coaching. I have some clients working on deep traumatic events. Some come because of infidelity or abuse. Others are doing really well and want to be doing even better. There are no bad reasons for therapy and there are no issues too big or too small. If you’re looking for help on any question or concern in your life, I’m here for you. We can have just a few sessions to get you through a specific and short-term dilemma or as many as you want to keep working on new or complicated issues. Whatever is going to move you down the path you want to be on, I’m here for it.
What about therapy or counseling stigma?
First of all, if anybody gives you a hard time for wanting help, therapy would probably be good for them. Second, a lot of the work in therapy is breaking through social/cultural/familial restrictions and expectations that are hindering your life and your relationships. If you are worried about what it means that you are in therapy, let’s talk about it and remove those barriers so you can be authentic and powerful in yourself.
Do I have to tell you everything?
The only way therapy actually works is if you are open and honest about what you feel, think, believe, and do. If you hide or ignore things, we may be missing a vital part of the equation and going in an unhelpful direction. Therapy can be hard. Being vulnerable and authentic can be hard. Sometimes we don’t even want to admit to ourselves, much less someone else, that we are having trouble or contributing to the problem. I guarantee you that my office will be a place you can say anything and still be valued and respected and understood.
Can I tell you anything?
Nothing you can say will make me angry or embarrassed or not want to work with you anymore.
While it’s not possible for me to have “heard it all” because human beings are endlessly creative, I truly live by the axiom that you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt yourself or somebody else. I have yet to be surprised by anything anyone anywhere has ever said to me, much less in a therapy session. Go be you, go forth and conquer.
Additionally, I don’t have an embarrassment gene. I have never (really, never) been embarrassed by anything that ever happened to me or was said to me. I talk about sex and bodily functions all day long, and I strongly and loudly advocate for everyone else to do the same.
Finally, I work for you, if something I am doing is confusing or upsetting, please don’t hesitate to bring it up. I have had clients do this in the past, even straight up tell me they didn’t like me and were thinking about not coming back to therapy anymore, and our therapeutic relationship always gets stronger when they do. There are lots of ways to do therapy and I am very happy to make adjustments for you to get what you want and need, but I can’t read your mind. If something is bothering you, please let me know so we can address it. If it’s something that can’t be changed, I will refer you to another trusted colleague so you can get good therapeutic care.
Are you going to ask about my feelings?
Yep. But I probably won’t say, “And how does that make you feel?” My style of therapy and belief about humans is that we do what we do because it means something to us. It is this meaning that can be helpful or unhelpful in how a person functions in the world. So we dig deep into these meanings and what we want to do about them to create the change we are looking for in our lives. The fastest way to get at meaning is to address the emotion that arises from a given stimulus. Humans can understand when they feel mad, sad, glad, scared. Emotion gives us the language to get at the meaning that things hold for us.
On a more practical level, we can change all the behaviors we want. If we don’t change what the behavior means to us, we’ll keep getting stuck in the same patterns.
Will you push me to get work done?
I am here to work myself out of a job. The only way people feel better is if something changes. So I will challenge you, and I will push on you, and I will say things you don’t agree with or don’t like. I’m trying to get your brain to do things differently. I will never push you farther than you can go in a given session. I will never be hateful or dismissive towards you. I also do not know the “right” or “best” way for you to be, only you know that. You come to therapy because you don’t like the way something is. So I will present other ways for it to be and you can decide for yourself which way works best for you. Everybody does the best they can with the information they have at the time so I’m going to push your brain to acknowledge new and different information. Only then can you decide to do things differently.
What about homework?
I don’t generally use structured homework like worksheets or making charts or reading specific chapters. I do often say, “spend some time on this.” Our brains and selves are doing work outside of session whether we want them to or not. When we add intentionality, purposefulness, and deliberate choices to this work, it creates change much faster and much more consciously. I do not ascribe much to CBT type therapies, I lean much more to the meaning-making theories built on self and emotion. At the same time, writing things down, drawing, reading, talking to others, dancing, and other behavioral activities help access other types of learning and other parts of the brain to solidify the emotional meaning of the work we do in session. Feel free to do any kind of homework you think will be helpful, and take notes in session!
What styles of therapy do you use?
I most naturally gravitate towards emotion centered and meaning making styles of therapy. These include: Emotionally Focused Therapy (Sue Johnson), Internal Family Systems, Symbolic and Experiential therapies (Satir and Whitaker), Narrative Therapy, Somatic, and Trauma based therapies. I also use a lot of the Gottman Method in early couple work.
I do not use behavioral or expert oriented modes like Structural Family Therapy, Multigenerational Family Therapy (Bowen), Milan Systemic, Mental Research Institute Systemic Therapy, Strategic Family Therapy, or any of the more individually based therapies. These methods and theories require that relational systems function in specific, "right" ways. They often assume changing behaviors will change everything else, and rarely account for deeper reasons that couples and families might behave the way they do.
I will occasionally pull specific activities from Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), but only for very specific and limited circumstances.
Are you LGBTQIAPK+ friendly, sex positive, kink allied?
(and also everything else)
Other therapists and clinics will say they are friendly with all types of people and then don’t truly embody that characteristic once the client is in the room. You will always belong in my therapy room, you will always be treated with validation and respect. You are human and you deserve this concern and treatment just for breathing. Also, I am part of the letter community as well.
I talk about sex with every single client. I talk about sex with strangers. I talk about sex with my colleagues. I talk about sex with my husband and my children. My friends probably think I talk about sex too much (there’s no such thing). Any conversation, any question about any sexual activity with any type of and any quantity of consenting adults is accepted and celebrated in my therapy room.
Why do you require in-person sessions?
While it is possible to get good work done during teletherapy sessions, in-person sessions are so much better than online videos or phone calls. First and foremost because internet connection issues are really problematic and can completely derail a session. But the bigger issue is that human connection is so much stronger in person. You’re going to feel more heard and understood when you can see my face and body language clearly. The emotional energy that is present in the room is also incredibly powerful for creating change and experiencing growth. I am an intuitive, empathic therapist, I can pick up on minute changes in facial expression, voice tone, word choice, subtle movements, and body positions. And for some clients, the immediacy of dealing with an actual person really looking at them can help spur them on to make the changes they are wanting and needing.
Additionally, I use touch and structured interaction in the therapy room. For clients that want it, I hold their hands, hug them, sit on the couch with them, and use calming movements to address high emotion in the moment. I have clients move around, turn and face each other, and stand up and engage with me or each other. I also use structured interactions and “sculpting” techniques as therapeutic interventions. These are much easier when I can actively move clients around the room which is impossible in teletherapy.
I don’t touch clients before we’ve had an opportunity to talk about it and I will never touch clients who ask that I don’t.
Why do you require joint sessions?
Relational therapy means that more than one client is in the room at the same time; people that are involved in the problem and people that can provide support participate in the therapy session. This makes sense for couple sessions, having both people working on the problem is the only way to truly change it. It is of utmost importance that I see the relationship in action in front of my eyes so that I can help you truly get what you want and need out of therapy. Working on both sides of the problem, working with both people’s feelings, thoughts, and actions means we get better faster because you don’t have to wait for me to work with the other partner, we’re doing it all at once. It also means I can teach the other person with you how to be more supportive in the moment. Relational therapy is also the most effective mode for “individual” struggles like trauma symptoms, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and more. Research from the last 40 years tells us that people get better faster with stronger and longer lasting positive outcomes when relevant others are involved in the therapy process. We are a social and connection driven species, we exist in systems of relationships. When we use these systems to work on difficult issues, we are utilizing a fundamental component of humanness. Trying to get better individually means ignoring vital and valuable parts of our existence.
I will still host individual sessions for clients in relationships, it can be really important to have my attention and care solely and completely on you to feel understood and validated. And sometimes, relationships are so fraught with anger and pain that clients need a fully safe and nonjudgmental place to express themselves. I am happy to provide this and very flexible about who comes to therapy when, after we have had three joint sessions first.
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