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How does psychotherapy work?
The elements which make psychotherapy work seem somewhat mysterious. Psychotherapy is an intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client in problems of living. It
aims to increase the individual’s sense of their own well-being. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques, primarily based on the relationship between client(s) and therapist, which are designed to improve the mental health of a client, or to improve relationships. 

Techniques vary from therapist to therapist.

What can I expect in my visits?
You can expect to visit weekly for about 45 – 50 minutes per visit. I will write, with your help, a treatment plan outlining your goals for therapy. This will provide a map to help guide both of us during sessions. You will be responsible for your part in staying mindful of the plan, including completing homework assignments to the best of
your ability.
One major benefit that may be gained from
participating in therapy includes a better ability to handle or cope with interpersonal relationships. Another possible benefit may be a greater understanding of personal goals and values; this may lead to greater maturity and appiness. Most clients report resolving specific concerns brought to therapy.

How long will I need to attend therapy in order to see benefits?
Many clients find that the issues they come to therapy to address are resolved rather quickly, for some in as few as 3 -5 sessions. Marriage and family therapists regularly practice short-term therapy, which averages 12 sessions. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reports that over 65% of the cases are completed within 20 sessions, over 85% within 50 sessions.  In therapy, you are given the information and tools which will allow him or her to decide how often and how long to attend therapy.

Are there down sides to being in therapy?

In working to achieve these benefits, therapy will require that firm efforts be made to change and may stir up intense feelings of fear, anger, depression, frustration, and the like. Seeking to resolve issues can also lead to relationship changes that may not be originally intended.  

What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?
I will help you to translate what you think of as problems into concrete goals for therapy.  This is the first step of thinking in a solution-focused way.  Some typical therapeutic goals are: 
  • Develop alternative responses to anger that would be considered healthy and safe. 
  • Develop awareness of emotions.
  • Develop relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety.
  • Develop a spiritual support system.
  • Develop insight and problem-solving skills.
Does a marriage and family therapist only work with families and couples?
As a marriage and family therapist, I take a holistic approach to mental health care; this means that I am concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of you and your family. Although I do often work with individuals, I sometimes broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature of your role and interactions in primary networks such as your marriage, your family, your work environment, and your social culture.  I encourage you to invite to your session anyone who you feel can contribute valuable information or who might need to be involved in order for change to take place.  But on the whole, over half of my sessions are done with only one individual attending the session.   
Can therapy help my child?
A combination of play-based and other creative tasks are used in therapy sessions to help children to overcome difficult experiences. Parents are often engaged in these activities so that they are able to track their child’s progress and learn to process difficult feelings along with their child. Behavioral issues are often addressed by increasing the effectiveness of parenting through education and skills work.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

I am an in-network provider with
the following companies:

BlueCrossBlueShield of MN

BlueCrossBlueShield of WI


Preferred One

Tricare West

United Healthcare

Because there are a number of insurance reimbursement arrangements, it is a good idea to check with your insurance carrier or contract to find answers to the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health benefits?
  • What is my deductible and has it been met yet?
  • Do I have a co-pay or coinsurance?  If so, what do I need to pay at each visit?
  • Does my insurance plan require a prior authorization before each visit?

Is therapy confidential?

My office is a place to
safely express yourself without fear of condemnation or
exposure.  Everything you say will be kept in in strict
confidence, except in certain situations in which I am required by
law to reveal information obtained during therapy to other persons or agencies without your permission. These situations are as follows:

  • If you threaten grave bodily harm or death to another person, I am required by law to inform the intended victim and
    appropriate law enforcement agencies.
  • If a court of law issues a
    legitimate subpoena, I am required by law to provide the
    information specifically described in the subpoena.
  • If you reveal
    information relative to child abuse and neglect, I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authority.
  • I do not guarantee confidentiality among family members or other group participants in therapy, although I use professional
    discretion in disclosing communications between these individuals.

Why see a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Research studies repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating the full range of mental and emotional disorders and health problems. Studies also show that clients are highly satisfied with services of Marriage and Family Therapists. After receiving treatment, almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship. When a child is the identified patient, parents report that their child’s behavior improved in over 70% of the cases.
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