Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Mindfulness Practice and How Does it Help?
Much of our thinking and daydreaming time is spent planning, fixing, and otherwise analyzing events from the past or those we imagine happening in the future.
Although there may be no particular cause for distress in the present moment, our bodies and minds tend to react to our thoughts as though they are actual events. If the thoughts are stress inducing, then the brain orders a host of commands to prepare nearly every organ in our body as if we are under threat -- provoking all sorts of unpleasant symptoms.
When these commands are carried out too often and over extended periods of time, we begin to experience a negative impact on our bodies, i.e. our hearts, our lungs, our digestion, and our entire immune system and our minds, i.e. moods, perceptions, emotional reactions.
Mindfulness teaches us how to purposely interrupt this health depleting cycle. When we learn to notice where our thoughts are leading, we can take a moment to pause, recognize what's happening, and choose to let the train of harmful rumination pass on by. A mindful practice helps us approach challenges with more patience, openness, optimism, and compassion.
To learn more about the significant research supporting the physical and psychological benefits of mindfulness please go to the Center for Mindfulness webpage at www.umass.edu/cfm.
Why do you encourage a free 30-minute initial consultation?
Therapy is a very personal experience. This introductory session allows us a chance to discover how we might work together. I'll begin by asking you to describe the challenges you feel you'd like to address in therapy.
As I become acquainted with you and what brings you to my office I'll suggest some approaches I might take to begin bringing more ease and resolution into your life.
At this point you may need more time to think about your next steps or you may feel ready to schedule your first appointment. In either case, your personal sense of readiness is important to me and is typically the best predictor of a successful therapy experience.
What will my first session be like?
In our first session I'll be doing a lot of listening as you describe the challenges you currently face. I'll be interested to hear your perspective on what you have found helpful in the past and what you think could be helpful now with regards to your current situation.
Together, we'll explore some possible avenues for creating a focused plan that feels comfortable and productive for you.
What does it cost?
Cost depends on your choice and length of services. Fee payment plans can be negotiated prior to beginning a service. Please click on the Fees and Policies page for more information.
Do you take insurance?
I am not a member of insurance carrier panels. If you choose to submit a reimbursement request to your insurer it will be important to speak with them concerning their policy for out-of-network providers.
As a standard practice I provide an invoiced receipt for services which can be used for a reimbursement request.
Please be aware that insurance companies require a psychological diagnosis and formal treatment plan. My choice to not bill insurers is driven by these policies which I feel compromise your confidentiality.
How will I feel during therapy?
Research indicates that therapy is successful in reducing symptoms of distress, improving relationships, and strengthening self-confidence for handling life's challenges.
The therapy process usually requires acknowledging painful emotions. I will support you in this experience by providing a safe, non-judgmental place for your feelings to emerge and offer key skills to help you manage your painful thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
I'm not crazy or 'sick' how can counseling help?
Acknowledging and seeking help to cope with life's challenges is a true sign of health! Counseling offers a supportive environment that helps you explore the obstacles standing in the way of effective, healthy coping when life presents difficulties.
Whether your issues are a recent development or stem from past events, counseling offers a place to gain helpful insight and a better understanding of yourself in relation to your distress.
With this richer perspective you'll find it easier to generate fresh ideas and more gratifying ways of dealing with life's ups and downs.
How do I begin the process of therapy?
I encourage a 30 minute pre-visit consultation (see above). Following this meeting you'll have a clearer sense of how I work with the concerns you have. At this time you can schedule your first session by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.