Frequently ask questions

Can I use my insurance benefits to pay for marriage counseling?
Some plans do cover marriage counseling. However, I am only a provider for those plans administered by Magellan Healthcare which include several Blue Shield of California plans.  If you are not covered by one of those plans, I would be happy to refer you to another therapist.

What is the counseling process?
During our initial meeting we will review your relationship history and the presenting problems. I will explain what you can expect as our work progresses.  At the conclusion of our first meeting, we will determine if our work together is likely to be successful and if so, set our next appointment.  If I do not believe I can help or you are not comfortable with me, I will offer a referral to another therapist who might be a better fit.  The second and third meetings will likely be individual sessions with each partner to gather further history and perspective.  In the fourth meeting I will explain how I understand your situation and, if you agree, we will set goals and lay out a treatment plan. Weekly meetings with exercises and home readings typically follow.

What counseling model do you use?
My approach is based on the highly effective Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Relational Life Therapy (RLT) developed by Terry Real.  You can read more about both at: www.eft.ca and www.terryreal.com.  In summary, strong, trusting, supportive relationships grow through an ordered process. When the needs of each individual are clearly expressed and the partners can respond openly and generously, the trust is built and the bond is strengthened. Too often, however, fears and expectations confuse the communication and hamper the response, which results in broken trust and a weakened bond. My approach is to help reduce fears and set reasonable expectations so that couples can communicate in a more effective way that strengthens the relationship.

How long does counseling last?
Length of treatment is determined by several factors.  The severity of the problem, the length of time help has been postponed and other factors, such as addictions, tend to increase the length of treatment. A high level of trust between partners, high levels of commitment and continued willingness to communicate reduce the length of time needed.  An initial consultation is the only way to begin setting goals and estimating timeframes.  In less severe cases, however, the model I use is frequently successful in 6 to10 sessions.

How much does therapy cost?
50 minute session: $90
80 minute session: $135
 
A reduced fee is available on a limited basis.
Payment by cash or check is made at the time of each session.
 

What if my partner won’t come to counseling?
While it is always best to have both partners participate in treatment, relationships can improve significantly in many cases when only one partner seeks help. This, however, requires that the participating spouse devote his/her energy to changing him/herself rather than focusing on changing their partner. Because a relationship is a system, changing one partner can often result in a change of the other.

Do you work with unmarried couples?
Yes, I gladly offer my services to unmarried couples. I most enjoy helping people deepen and strengthen their relationship as they move toward or improve their marriage.  However, while the goal of married couples is usually to remain together, unmarried couples may want to explore their long-term compatibility as part of our work.