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"Human freedom involves our capacity to pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight."
1. What does specialization in trauma mean?
In my graduate program at University of Missouri - St. Louis, I focused my research and training on empirically validated treatments for trauma-related distress (e.g., PTSD). I wrote my 2002 dissertation on the interaction between domestic violence, PTSD, and self-complexity. I have continued pursuing trauma-relevant training in the years since earning my doctorate and have been finding EMDR and DNMS to be very effective in helping clients with histories of complex trauma and/or neglect.
2. What if I don’t have a trauma history? Can you still help me?
Yes. Although major traumatic experiences such as rape and combat garner headlines and media attention, seemingly small events can lead to a great deal of suffering, too. No one lives a perfect life. Even brief experiences of feeling left out, resented by parents, rejected by peers, or failing to reach your own or others’ expectations for you can leave wounds. In the right environment these wounds can heal.
3. How long does therapy take?
The short answer is that it depends on your goals. The longer answer involves several factors.
a.If you are seeking therapy to deal with a traumatic or difficult experience that occurred in adulthood and you are comfortable with emotions, therapy may be very brief (e.g., 2-6 sessions).
On the other hand, if you are seeking therapy for ongoing, repetitive traumas that occurred throughout your childhood and at the hands of someone you relied on for support and survival, you should expect therapy to be lengthy, perhaps years. Within the first several sessions I should be able to give you an estimate and some options regarding length of treatment.
b. A second factor involves the depth of therapy you desire. If you want an outside opinion, support and specific strategies to reach a specific goal, therapy may be very quick. On the other hand, if you want to change long-standing ways of relating to life, yourself and other people, therapy will be longer.
c. A third factor impacting the length of therapy involves your characteristic way of dealing with feelings. If you are comfortable with emotions you may experience transformative changes quickly. If you’ve tended to ignore or deny feelings, particularly “bad” ones like anger, fear or sadness, you may need some time learning to identify and accept your emotions before you see therapeutic benefits. It may seem counter-intuitive but learning to accept rather than fight against emotions is the very act that makes transformation and growth possible.
5. How private is therapy?
Again, this depends. If you utilize insurance benefits, your insurance company is likely to request information about diagnoses and treatment goals. Specific details of what we discuss in sessions are not shared with insurance companies or anyone else except on very rare occasions and with your consent. If you opt to pay out-of-pocket, I will not be required to share diagnoses or treatment plans with anyone other than yourself.
6. What is a typical first session like?
You and I will meet for 60 minutes. I’ll ask what is bothering you in your life, how long it has been going on and how you would like your life to be different.
7. Do you offer a phone consultation prior to making an appointment?
Yes. Finding a therapist with whom you feel comfortable can be confusing and daunting. I encourage you to ask questions of prospective therapists. See how it feels to talk with them and get a sense for how they work. Exploring my website may give you a feel for how I work. I also offer a 15-minute phone consultation so that you can get a sense for whether you feel comfortable with me.
8. Do you work with families or children?
I typically work with adults in individual sessions. However, I sometimes invite partners, children and other extended family members into sessions to help foster interpersonal understanding, conflict resolution, and healing conversations. Additional people would only be invited to participate in sessions with your permission.
9. What if I need medication?
I do not prescribe medication. I will refer you to prescribing clinicians and/or communicate with your prescribing clinician to provide consistent care.
10. Do you accept my insurance?
I am credentialed with many insurance panels in the Columbia area including Blue Cross, Tricare and Medicare. Please contact me to ask about your specific insurance coverage.