Frequently Asked Questions

What is your approach to Psychotherapy?

What is your Fee?

What Insurance Plans do you accept?

What Hours and Days are you available?

What is the age range of your practice?

Do you do Psychological Testing?

What is involved in assessing a child?

What types of Therapy do you provide?

What Conditions to you treat?

Do you accept Credit Cards?

What is the difference between a Licensed Psychologist and other mental health professionals?

You work with adolescents and adults, how does that work?

What is your position on the use of psychotropic medications?

 


Therapeutic Approach

I describe my approach as practical, integrative, systemic and developmentally informed.

Practical: I focus on helping a client find the most direct and effective way to identify and overcome the psychological barriers to living their values and achieving their goals.

Integrative: Rather than adopting one approach and applying it to all situations, I have woven together several theoretical orientations and use them to co-construct an understanding of my clientís often complex dilemmas. The theoretical orientations I draw from include psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, existential-humanistic, Interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, systems, and developmental. My treatment approach also includes elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mentalization Based Treatment, Positive Psychology, Relapse Prevention and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples.

Systemic: This reflects my respect for the multiple spheres of influence in each of our lives.  In addition to our internal experiences and unique ways of construing our world, we are influenced by our relationships including those with our parents, family, significant others, friends, peers at work/school, community, culture, and so on. Each of these relationships represents a subsystem of the individualís overall system.  I look at the totality of a clientís system to identify all the factors that are contributing to their current dilemma. 

Developmentally Informed: My approach to addressing a clientís difficulties is informed by my assessment of their attachment style and the commensurate methods they use to manage their needs. All individuals are developing and for a variety of reasons some aspects of his or her personality can be stunted while others excel.  My approach is to harness a clientís strengths to facilitate the development of the areas that have been halted.


  

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Psychological Assessment

Often times it is hard to know what is causing and/or contributing to a personís difficulties.  The most common problems for which people come to my practice are those related to relational difficulties. Work avoidance, behavior problems, peer difficulties, career failure as well as the concomitant negative affect on intimate relationships are common reasons people seek my services.  While the sources of these problems are at times readily discerned, it is sometimes difficult to assess the factors responsible for a symptom's development.  It is for this reason that a comprehensive evaluation is undertaken to assess the presence and contribution of the many sources of symptomatic behavior.

These factors include:

 

A comprehensive evaluation includes the following:

          Completion of behavioral questionnaires.

          A review of the Patient's Developmental History

          Parent/caretaker completion of behavioral questionnaires (where appropriate)

                   Psychological Testing to assess:

                    Intellectual / cognitive functioning

                    Executive Functioning

                    Academic functioning

                    Emotional Functioning

                    Interpersonal Functioning

                    Social Functioning

Testing usually takes place over two mornings but can sometimes require a 3rd meeting.

 

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Fees

My full fee is currently 225 dollars per hour.  That being said I am usually able to adjust my fee to the financial realities of those seeking my services.  I have had little trouble finding a fee that fits within the means of those who come to me and am confident that most financial concerns can be negotiated.

With regard to psychological testing, my full fee for a complete evaluation is 4000 dollars. This fee includes all the meetings, interviews, feedback sessions, generation of a psychological report, and any letters that are required.  Again, I am usually able to work with patients to find a fee that will not create an undue hardship.

 

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Insurance

I do not currently accept any insurance plans.  I am however, able to provide my patients with a Superbill that includes all the necessary information for them to receive the level of compensation afforded by their plan.  I recommend that anyone wishing to use their insurance contact their provider to learn what the rates of compensation are and what the procedures for submitting billing involve.

 

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Office Hours

I have hours to fit most schedules with evening and weekend times available.  I have not had trouble finding a time that will work for those seeking my services.

 

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Age Range of Practice

I see adults and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 65.

 

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Psychological Testing

One of my specialties is psychological testing.  By conducting a "Psychodiagnostic" evaluation I can help a patient identify their sources of difficulty, areas of strength, key points of intervention, and a treatment plan to put them on a path to a more successful future. For More information on psychological testing please click here: Psychological testing

 

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Therapeutic Methods

While I work to pull together many scientifically supported treatment methods into an integrated whole, there are a few methods and theoretical positions I count as being at my core. Some of the foundational methods that I integrate to provide a uniquely tailored therapeutic experience for my patients include:

  • Psychoanalysis: Object relations, Self-psychology, Ego Psychology, Dream Analysis, and Control Mastery

  • Mentalization Based Treatment

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy

  • Interpersonal Therapy

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

  • Existential Humanistic Therapy

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Relapse Prevention

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • Mindfulness

  • Executive Skills Training

  • Parent Centered Treatment

  • Multisystemic Therapy

  • Child Centered Therapy

  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

  • Positive Psychology

 

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Conditions Treated

While many diagnoses have names that are not effective in describing the nuances of a problem, they have come to stand for a set of difficulties that most clinicians agree on.  However, diagnoses are a reality of my professional life and are an important part of making sense of problem behaviors. I would say that I treat those conditions that create barriers to an individual being able to enjoy their life.  Such barriers usually manifest themselves as poor work performance; frequent negative experiences with family, peers, and/or those in authority; avoidance of feared situations including escape into substances or other self-destructive behaviors.  Diagnostically speaking, I treat the following:

  • Depression (Dysthymic Disorder, Major Depression)

  • Anxiety (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Phobias, Panic Attacks, PTSD)

  • Mood instability (Bipolar Disorder)

  • Truama

  • Personality Disorders

  • Psychotic Disorders

  • Behavior Problems (Oppositionality, Defiance, Disordered Conduct)

  • Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Substance Abuse

Other issues I help individuals address include:

  • Relational Issues such as difficulty with commitment, repeated patterns of being exploited, rejected or abused.

  • Motivation issues including those pertaining to career

  • Creative blocks

  • Rejection fears

  • Anger

  • Envy

  • Shame

  • Family of Origin Issues

  • Parenting Difficulties

 

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Methods of Payment

I am not able to accept credit card payments. Once a Patient has established a treatment plan with me, I usually bill him/her monthly and receive payment by check.

 

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Licensed Psychologist vs. Other Mental Health Professionals

A licensed psychologist is a practitioner who has completed a Doctoral program (4 to 6 years beyond a Bachelors degree) in psychology or education, has passed the ASPPB Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), has completed 3000 hours of supervised professional experience, and has passed the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE).

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is a practitioner who has competed a Masters program in psychology (2 years beyond a Bachelors degree) with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy, has completed 3000 hours supervised clinical work, and has passed both the standard MFT and Clinical Vignette Exams.

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LSCW) is a practitioner who has completed a Masters program (2 years beyond a Bachelors degree) in Social Work (MSW), completed 3200 hours of supervised clinical experience, and has passed both the standard Social Work and Clinical Vignette Exams.

One of the biggest differences between a psychologist and the masters level practitioners is the additional time spent in learning and practicing therapeutic interventions. Other important differences include training in psychological assessment, statistical analysis, test construction, and research methods. While it is not always the case, most psychologists have completed a Dissertation involving a comprehensive literature review, design and implementation of a research study, statistical analysis of the results, and an integration of the findings into a publishable manuscript.

For some people the level of experience and training that a psychologist has to offer is overkill for the problems that they are experiencing.

It is not uncommon for MFTs and LCSWs to obtain their doctoral degrees in Psychoanalysis.  They are able to use the title "Doctor" but are not psychologists.

 

 

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Adult vs. Adolescent Treatment

Experience has taught me that while there are significant differences between treating a an adolescent and an adult, the core issues are essentially the same. In fact, through working with young children one experiences the raw personality dynamics that lay beneath problem behaviors seen in adults. Furthermore, having worked with children has allowed me to appreciate the powerful influences of early experience and readily recognize their "echoes" in adulthood.  Oftentimes the problems we experience as adults are a result of those aspects of ourselves that we do not have words for. Much of what is therapeutic is finding ways of describing our emotional experience.  Working with children requires that a therapist become very adept at finding language to capture a child's emotional experience. I have found that my work with children has made me more able to understand, and accurately communicate, my grasp of the emotional experiences of the adults I work with.

 

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Psychotropic Medication

I have found that the right medication applied to a correctly identified problem can be miraculous.  Having said this, I want to be clear that in my opinion, medication must be turned to only as a result of careful evaluation and exploration of alternatives.  In the case of depression this usually involves at least 8 weekly sessions of psychotherapy alone. If at the end of this period the individual's depressive symptoms have not shown some improvement, a referral to psychiatry is initiated. One of the most common concerns I face is the question of medicating a child to treat their symptoms of inattention and impulsivity.  I have seen dramatic improvements occur when a patient who has genuine ADHD is given the right stimulant medication. There is ample scientific evidence that when inattention and impulsivity are the result of ineffectual processing of dopamine by the areas of the brain that control these functions, medications that increase the availability of this neurotransmitter effectively bring these capacities online. The ultimate evidence is when children report that they feel as though they have control of their minds and can really listen to and watch what is happening around them.  They are the same children but with improved abilities to attend to information and make thoughtful decisions about their actions.  This is a complexly emotional topic and there is only so much I can address here. Suffice it to say that I am not anti-medication.  I am strongly against medicating anyone who could be better served by another means.  I would like to add that Neurofeedback is showing more and more promise as a drug-free method for improving concentration by training the brain in ways analogous to using weights to strengthen muscle.

 

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