Q. How long does therapy take?
A. The answer to this of course is, it depends. When we look at research on the national average for individuals who enter outpatient therapy or counseling the number of visits is between 7 to 8 sessions. When I take a look at the closed cases in my practice the same statistic seems to bear out. However, I do have individuals that I have seen for years, but their problems are much more complex. Therapists deal with people with everyday problems as well as people with more severe issues.
Q. Is what I say in your office confidential?
A. Yes, things you share with me are confidential. The exceptions are few, if you tell me you are a danger to self or others in that situation I am obligated under law to break your confidentiality and help you and other parties to be safe. If I am informed about child or elderly abuse that is also of situation that requires me to report to the abuse registry my concerns. If someone is involved in illegal or immoral behavior I am not required to report that unless it endangers someone's life.
Q. What if my child or teenager won't talk with you?
A. Not to worry. I work with resistant children and teenagers on a regular basis. My 1st goal in treatment is to try to help this be a safe and comfortable place for you and your child, so that the necessary work that is needed can be done.
Q. What if my partner won't join me in couples counseling?
A. Ideally I like to have both parties willing to engage in some couples counseling but I do believe a change in one part of the system can indeed change the system. So with that belief stated, I do at times see one part of the couple and work toward including the other partner in the therapy process.
Q. Do you assign homework?
A. If I see someone for about 1 hour and we don't meet again for 2 weeks, 336 hours will have passed. So knowing this, I sometimes will encourage people to work on things between sessions. I have a list of suggested readings on this website and many clients have found some of these resources to be helpful.
Q. What education does a therapist have?
A. A therapist in the state of Florida does not have to have a PhD but many do. I elected to get a Masters in social work as my terminal degree. In addition to the education therapists must have 2 years post graduate degree supervision by a licensed therapist and then pass an exam. I have been licensed as a marriage and family therapist since 1987 and licensed as a clinical social worker since 1991.
Q. What is the 1st appointment like?
A. The 1st session is really an information gathering session. I'll be asking questions to form an assessment that will help guide you and me in treatment. I will want to know your perspective of the problem, or problems, that bring you into counseling. I'll ask questions about your living situation, general health, any past history of abuse, alcohol and/or drug use, education, employment, legal issues, and extended family history. Often I try to help the client identify some objectives that we are working toward.