What services do you provide?
I provide individual and couples therapy and coaching via an online service called Zoom. Sessions with me are typically once per week with the option to reduce to bi-weekly or monthly as we resolve some of the issues you are experiencing. I will also be launching online self study programs and master classes presented through webinars in the near future so join my mailing list to be the first to know when they are released!
What qualifies you to do this?
This is a great question because there are a lot of people in the marketplace today branding themselves as life coaches with very little formal training or experience. It is important to know what qualifies someone to be working as a coach or therapist so you can make an informed decision as a consumer. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist which means that I have my Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.), have completed over 3500 hours of supervised work with clients pre-licensure, and passed both the national and state exams to get licensed as a Psychologist by the state of California. I have over 7 years of experience working with couples and individuals and many many success stories under my belt. Many licensed therapists like myself do both coaching and therapy depending on the client’s needs. In California, therapists can be licensed to practice at both the Masters and Doctoral level. A Masters Degree is typically 2 years of schooling whereas Doctoral programs range in length from 5-8+ years. Most Life Coaches are not regulated by a board and do not have to undergo any sort of supervision or certification process to practice. They are also not required to complete any ongoing education (which we as licensed therapists are) to ensure that they stay up to date with changes and developments in the field. While many life coaches are wonderful, it’s important to do your due diligence when hiring someone that is not regulated by a licensing of board. In reality, it’s important that you do your due diligence no matter who you are hiring!
What is the difference between therapy and life coaching?
Both therapy and life coaching are great alternatives for someone looking to make a change in their lives. Therapy is typically better suited for someone with a diagnosed mental illness such as severe depression or anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. Therapists have different modalities they work from but therapy will generally be less directive than life coaching and more focused on feelings, gentle support, and exploration of past issues. Life coaching tends to be a more directive approach where the coach helps the client define and achieve goals, develop a plan and structure for creating the desired results in their life, and holds the client to a high level of accountability to their goals. Life coaching is typically better suited for a client that is already functioning relatively well but would like some guidance or motivation to enhance specific areas of their life.
How can therapy/coaching help me?
A number of benefits are available from seeking the services of a therapist or coach. Therapists/coaches provide support, problem-solving skills, motivation, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as insecurity, relationship troubles, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. Therapists/coaches can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the challenges of daily life. Therapists/coaches can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy/coaching depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available 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 guidance
- Learning new ways to reframe and 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
Do I really need a therapist or a life coach? 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, coaching and therapy are sought out by people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need support, and that is something to be admired. Often working with a coach or therapist helps you learn things about yourself and your capabilities you would never have seen on your own. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking help. Therapy/coaching provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to overcome whatever challenges you face and lead a happy, successful, life.
Why do people hire a therapist/life coach and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for consulting a therapist/coach. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not happy with their current circumstances and know there must be something more available to them. Some people need assistance finding their passion in life or finding the courage to go after it and create a life they love. A therapist/coach can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them on track. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking therapy/coaching are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What are the sessions like?
Because each person has different issues and goals, sessions will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous session. Depending on your specific needs, our work together can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. It is most common to schedule regular weekly sessions in the beginning and many clients choose to move into a bi-weekly or monthly schedule as they progress.
It is important to understand that you will get the best results from our work together if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy/coaching is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of sessions to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
Are online sessions just as good as being in person?
Telehealth refers to the use of digital technology to provide clinical services. Telehealth activities may include providing clinical services by telephone, email, chats, or video communications technology such as Skype and Zoom. All major counseling, psychology and social work associations have endorsed telemental health services. I have found that meeting with my clients via Zoom (the video chat provider I use) is just as effective as meeting in person. All the nuances of facial expressions and body language can be seen through video just as they can in person. Many of my clients have commented that they prefer Zoom because they do not have to allocate additional time to travel to and from an office. They enjoy having their sessions from the convenience of their home or office.
As the industry continues to progress and become more widely used by clients and practitioners, online counseling is on course to become as mainstream as face-to-face counseling. The use of online counseling has been validated by the US Federal government and most states, as illustrated by the billions of dollars dedicated to setting up and delivering telemental health services and the installment of the federal and regional offices advancing telehealth. http://www.telehealth.va.gov/, http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/about/telehealth/.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I do not bill directly to insurance but I can provide a superbill for you to show your insurance company for reimbursement. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- 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?
Does what we talk about in session remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist/coach. Successful therapy/coaching requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but in session. What you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone as outlined in my Informed Consent form that all clients sign before working with me. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require me to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.