FAQ

Find your comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you the right therapist to help me?

This is an important question not just because you want to have the right person for the job, but also because recent studies have shown that the relationship or “fit” between the client and therapist is the most important factor in determining successful outcomes. While some people tout X or Y type of therapy as a “cure all” it is really the commitment of the therapist and client that determines how therapy “works”. Your comfort and ability to tell me your experiences, emotions and responses in a genuine way is fundamental to our work being the most benefit to you. I provide a brief consult to see if we are a good fit prior to our first meeting.

What type of therapist are you?

I like to think I use an eclectic mix of therapeutic modalities in my work with my clients. Narrative therapy is probably my most commonly used modality. Existential, Family Systems, Psychodynamic, Positive, Motivational, Person Centered, Transpersonal, Relational, Relational, Somatic, Reality, Psychoanalytic, and Jungian all resonate with me at times. I am also “informed by” many theories and philosophies, which means my mind anchors to these as considerations when I work. These include social justice, LGBT/Queer rights, gender equality, culturally sensitive, mindfulness based, to name a few.

What is your educational background?

I know this is information important to many people. I feel that education is there to help make sense of lived experiences. I draw from many experiences, including but not limited to, my formal education when working with clients.

I hold a BA, a JD and an MA. I studied for my BA at the Claremont Colleges, got my Juris Doctorate (JD) Law Degree from the University of California Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and my Master of Counseling Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley.

I also enjoy ongoing education and blend all new knowledge with my formal education to assist my clients. I hold a Certificate in Conflict Mediation from UC Berkeley School of Law and have taken classes in Eastern Medicine/Philosophy, Herbalism/Nutrition, Self-Awareness and Intuition, Mindfulness, Reiki, as well as regular Medical/Surgical updates regarding Trans* and Intersex populations.

What is a narrative therapist?

For me Narrative therapy is the way our brain makes stories (and truths) out of our life experiences. Joan Didion said “we all tell ourselves stories so that we may live.”

Narratives are the means by which we formulate understanding about ourselves and our world. They are expressed in how we talk to ourselves. Harmonious narratives communicate well and feel right. Those which are out of tune create stress, confusion, fear and distrust. If the world tells us something about itself (or about us) that is in conflict with our own experience, we feel out of place and out of touch. That is why some people, places, things resonate with our beings and others really don’t feel right. Those instincts tell us about ourselves and they are the most important thing to which we can focus our attention.

To survive in this world, we also must also be aware of the tales of our culture and how others take us in. I’m a Narrative Conductor, making harmonious my clients’ understandings of the world and their internal understandings of themselves.

This type of functional narrative (or understanding of reality), be it legal, personal or cultural, is at the root of my professional life. This craft has taken various forms. I’ve created progressive narratives for a national magazine, evaluated the personal narratives of countless students seeking admission to academic institutions, aligned the narratives of warring families and couples, analyzed the narratives constructed about trials and public policy, and challenged narratives by assisting individuals in considering the effects of their own personal/cultural understandings on their day to day lives.

Together we will explore: What do your narratives say about you, what they keep you from seeing clearly, and how can they work for and not against you.

Do you take insurance?

I am an out of network provider for insurance, which means I will provide you with a superbill and you can submit that to your insurance company for reimbursement.

How long do we meet? How often?

The typical session is a standard “therapeutic hour” which is 50 mins. I will let you know when we need to end. If we are in the middle of something I may allow for us to go over, but I can not always accommodate this time-wise.

Standard frequency of therapy/coaching is 1x a week or more. There are some exceptions to this and we can discuss a different frequency if you prefer. This may affect your fee and scheduling flexibility.

What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

Coaching and Therapy/Counseling have different focuses, requirements and flexibilities. One or the other might be more appropriate for your needs. We can discuss this further when we talk, but to get a general idea:

Coaching Therapy/Counseling
Can it be Covered by Insurance/HSA No Sometimes
Perspective Mostly forward looking forward and past looking (global)
Confidentiality Contractual, fewer notes required Contractual with Legal protections, more notes may be required
Diagnosis No sometimes required
Can I switch to the other? Rarely Once
Tele-health options (internet/phone) yes some limitations
Short or long term? either,  decide together either, we decide together
is therapy required? maybe n/a
Limitations on where/how we meet? no maybe/some
Do I have to come once a week? flexible requires regularity
Do I have to be in california no yes
Can we do phone or internet therapy?

With this type of work, I bring my office to you. Online work is effective because as we can share non-verbal communications during our session. If we have worked together before, phone may also be an option for us.

Telemedicine may also be a good fit if there are no therapists in your area who have my specializations. For example there may not be services available or with which you are comfortable in your area if you are transgender, intersex or genderqueer. I also welcome lesbian, bisexual, gay men, queer folks and people questioning their sexual orientation.

In addition, lawyers and law students also often seek therapy or coaching via telemedicine because of a busy schedule. If this is a factor, we can discuss if this alternative to meeting in person might be right for you.

This type of work is not appropriate if you:

  • Are under age 18
  • Seek a therapeutic model and reside outside of the state of California
  • Are frequently in a mental health crisis
  • Suicidal or severely depressed
  • Want to work on complex trauma issues
  • Are addicted to internet porn or online activities
Where do we meet?

Depending on the type of service in which we engage, we meet in my office, in a conference room or via the phone/internet. Depending on the situation, and your informed consent, we might also engage in walking/eco therapy where we talk and walk in a local park or sit outside. In some limited situations, you may request a home visit for an additional fee.

Are you going to diagnose me?

Your “diagnosis” is rarely the first or even second consideration in getting to know you and crafting your care. Often a diagnosis is not needed. However, if you need a diagnosis for insurance or another reason please let me know, we will discuss this together. If you decide to submit your fees to insurance they may call me and require a diagnosis for you and this may limit your coverage.

Are our sessions confidential?

No matter what service I provide you, one agreement we have via contract is that I will not share the information you provide me with, with a few exceptions. One is if you decide to use your insurance, I will have to communicate with your insurance company (this is sometimes a reason clients choose not to use insurance). Another is in the event of a court order.  Finally, if you tell me about potential abuse of a child or elder, or if you are a danger to yourself or another person, I have a legal requirement to break confidentiality.  If you have more questions about any of this please feel free to ask.

Can we be friends on social media?

I have a professional page on Facebook and welcome you to like that page. If you would like to stay in touch with me we can also become connected via LinkedIn. You can also always email me. I don’t connect with or respond to clients in other ways online because it can limit your confidentiality and might muddy our relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you the right therapist to help me?

This is an important question not just because you want to have the right person for the job, but also because recent studies have shown that the relationship or “fit” between the client and therapist is the most important factor in determining successful outcomes. While some people tout X or Y type of therapy as a “cure all” it is really the commitment of the therapist and client that determines how therapy “works”. Your comfort and ability to tell me your experiences, emotions and responses in a genuine way is fundamental to our work being the most benefit to you. I provide a brief consult to see if we are a good fit prior to our first meeting.

What type of therapist are you?

I like to think I use an eclectic mix of therapeutic modalities in my work with my clients. Narrative therapy is probably my most commonly used modality. Existential, Family Systems, Psychodynamic, Positive, Motivational, Person Centered, Transpersonal, Relational, Relational, Somatic, Reality, Psychoanalytic, and Jungian all resonate with me at times. I am also “informed by” many theories and philosophies, which means my mind anchors to these as considerations when I work. These include social justice, LGBT/Queer rights, gender equality, culturally sensitive, mindfulness based, to name a few.

What is your educational background?

I know this is information important to many people. I feel that education is there to help make sense of lived experiences. I draw from many experiences, including but not limited to, my formal education when working with clients.

I hold a BA, a JD and an MA. I studied for my BA at the Claremont Colleges, got my Juris Doctorate (JD) Law Degree from the University of California Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and my Master of Counseling Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley.

I also enjoy ongoing education and blend all new knowledge with my formal education to assist my clients. I hold a Certificate in Conflict Mediation from UC Berkeley School of Law and have taken classes in Eastern Medicine/Philosophy, Herbalism/Nutrition, Self-Awareness and Intuition, Mindfulness, Reiki, as well as regular Medical/Surgical updates regarding Trans* and Intersex populations.

What is a narrative therapist?

For me Narrative therapy is the way our brain makes stories (and truths) out of our life experiences. Joan Didion said “we all tell ourselves stories so that we may live.”

Narratives are the means by which we formulate understanding about ourselves and our world. They are expressed in how we talk to ourselves. Harmonious narratives communicate well and feel right. Those which are out of tune create stress, confusion, fear and distrust. If the world tells us something about itself (or about us) that is in conflict with our own experience, we feel out of place and out of touch. That is why some people, places, things resonate with our beings and others really don’t feel right. Those instincts tell us about ourselves and they are the most important thing to which we can focus our attention.

To survive in this world, we also must also be aware of the tales of our culture and how others take us in. I’m a Narrative Conductor, making harmonious my clients’ understandings of the world and their internal understandings of themselves.

This type of functional narrative (or understanding of reality), be it legal, personal or cultural, is at the root of my professional life. This craft has taken various forms. I’ve created progressive narratives for a national magazine, evaluated the personal narratives of countless students seeking admission to academic institutions, aligned the narratives of warring families and couples, analyzed the narratives constructed about trials and public policy, and challenged narratives by assisting individuals in considering the effects of their own personal/cultural understandings on their day to day lives.

Together we will explore: What do your narratives say about you, what they keep you from seeing clearly, and how can they work for and not against you.

Do you take insurance?

I am an out of network provider for insurance, which means I will provide you with a superbill and you can submit that to your insurance company for reimbursement.

How long do we meet? How often?

The typical session is a standard “therapeutic hour” which is 50 mins. I will let you know when we need to end. If we are in the middle of something I may allow for us to go over, but I can not always accommodate this time-wise.

Standard frequency of therapy/coaching is 1x a week or more. There are some exceptions to this and we can discuss a different frequency if you prefer. This may affect your fee and scheduling flexibility.

What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

Coaching and Therapy/Counseling have different focuses, requirements and flexibilities. One or the other might be more appropriate for your needs. We can discuss this further when we talk, but to get a general idea:

Coaching Therapy/Counseling
Can it be Covered by Insurance/HSA No Sometimes
Perspective Mostly forward looking forward and past looking (global)
Confidentiality Contractual, fewer notes required Contractual with Legal protections, more notes may be required
Diagnosis No sometimes required
Can I switch to the other? Rarely Once
Tele-health options (internet/phone) yes some limitations
Short or long term? either,  decide together either, we decide together
is therapy required? maybe n/a
Limitations on where/how we meet? no maybe/some
Do I have to come once a week? flexible requires regularity
Do I have to be in california no yes
Can we do phone or internet therapy?

With this type of work, I bring my office to you. Online work is effective because as we can share non-verbal communications during our session. If we have worked together before, phone may also be an option for us.

Telemedicine may also be a good fit if there are no therapists in your area who have my specializations. For example there may not be services available or with which you are comfortable in your area if you are transgender, intersex or genderqueer. I also welcome lesbian, bisexual, gay men, queer folks and people questioning their sexual orientation.

In addition, lawyers and law students also often seek therapy or coaching via telemedicine because of a busy schedule. If this is a factor, we can discuss if this alternative to meeting in person might be right for you.

This type of work is not appropriate if you:

  • Are under age 18
  • Seek a therapeutic model and reside outside of the state of California
  • Are frequently in a mental health crisis
  • Suicidal or severely depressed
  • Want to work on complex trauma issues
  • Are addicted to internet porn or online activities
Where do we meet?

Depending on the type of service in which we engage, we meet in my office, in a conference room or via the phone/internet. Depending on the situation, and your informed consent, we might also engage in walking/eco therapy where we talk and walk in a local park or sit outside. In some limited situations, you may request a home visit for an additional fee.

Are you going to diagnose me?

Your “diagnosis” is rarely the first or even second consideration in getting to know you and crafting your care. Often a diagnosis is not needed. However, if you need a diagnosis for insurance or another reason please let me know, we will discuss this together. If you decide to submit your fees to insurance they may call me and require a diagnosis for you and this may limit your coverage.

Are our sessions confidential?

No matter what service I provide you, one agreement we have via contract is that I will not share the information you provide me with, with a few exceptions. One is if you decide to use your insurance, I will have to communicate with your insurance company (this is sometimes a reason clients choose not to use insurance). Another is in the event of a court order.  Finally, if you tell me about potential abuse of a child or elder, or if you are a danger to yourself or another person, I have a legal requirement to break confidentiality.  If you have more questions about any of this please feel free to ask.

Can we be friends on social media?

I have a professional page on Facebook and welcome you to like that page. If you would like to stay in touch with me we can also become connected via LinkedIn. You can also always email me. I don’t connect with or respond to clients in other ways online because it can limit your confidentiality and might muddy our relationship.

Let's Connect

I offer mediation, active collaborative coaching, and therapeutic counseling for families of all kinds, alternative couple formations (both professional and personal), children and teens, and individual adults. 

I serve people in my San Francisco Bay Area office and online. Please contact me for a free initial phone consultation.

Please note that email is the quickest way to reach me.

Address: 1440 Military West, Ste. 103, Benicia CA 94510

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