This is a question I’m often asked which is almost impossible to answer because there are so many variables involved. The answer depends upon the nature and depth of issues being explored, client goals, the strengths and limitations of clients and how much work is done outside of session. For example, if a client is wanting to address long standing patterns dating years back and their goals are a to undergo significant personal change and they have a lot of fear and insecurity and don’t put much energy into change, then counseling could feasibly take a very long time. If, on the other hand, someone has the same situation but works very hard towards change, they would be in therapy for a much shorter time. Different yet, if a person is addressing a specific relational issue (say an interpersonal issue with a co-worker) that doesn’t involve ingrained and patterned ways of responding and thinking and they put a lot of effort into resolving the issue, they could feasibly be in counseling for a very, very short period of time!
There is often a difference in duration between individual counseling and couples counseling. The course of counseling is usually shorter for couples as compared to individuals. This is because the goals of couples are usually very specific, whereas the goals of many individuals are often broader. Whether seeking individual counseling or couples counseling, my clients are usually the best judge and know when to keep going and when to stop. It’s most always apparent to both of us! I encourage my clients to trust their intuition… they know when they have made significant inroads towards desired change. And, I will see that change echoed throughout session in various ways.
Presenting problems are often alike, but no two people are, nor are the ways people approach their difficulties. With that said, I have experience with a wide range of client issues, but I approach solutions with the individual in mind. I am happy that I am able to effectively work with almost all issues via online counseling as I could by way of in-office counseling.
I don’t tackle someone’s problem with a one-size-fits-all approach, but get to know my clients as unique people. I attempt to obtain a complete picture including strengths, limitations, background, fears, insecurities and experiences that will help me tailor a solution to the problem. Using these methods has helped me provide better therapy for all of my clients. Below are a list of issues I’m comfortable and experienced working with.
Telehealth, also called online counseling, internet counseling or telemedicine, is quickly becoming a popular medium for individual therapy and couples counseling. This is due to improved technology, client convenience and reduced cost. I am happy to announce that I’m now able to offer online counseling to both former and new clients for individual therapy, couples counseling and premarital counseling.
What is Online Counseling and How Does it Work?
Online counseling is the same counseling you would get in my office, except it is done over video or telephone. The client chooses whether they want video or phone and they are free to alternate platforms from session to session depending on their desire. Video counseling is conducted online and doesn’t require the client to download any computer programs or sign up on any websites.
Video counseling is extremely simple to initiate and is HIPAA secure and compliant, guarding the client’s confidentiality. All is needed is high speed internet and a computer. I’ve even had clients use the video function over their smart phone because their computer battery died! Telephone counseling can be done via your cell phone or landline and gives clients a little more flexibility as far as location since they are not dependent upon internet. I prefer video for new clients and for couples because it allows me to form a better relationship with them and I can see visual cues.
What are the Benefits and Limitations of Telehealth Counseling?
Telehealth counseling offers several benefits. One is reduced cost as compared to in-office counseling. I’m able to offer the same quality counseling for a reduced rate. Another benefit is increased convenience of setting up an appointment since clients no longer have a commute and aren’t tied to traditional office hours. Another benefit is the convenience of having session take place in the comfort of my clients’ own home.
The limitations of telehealth counseling center around possible interruptions caused by technological failures and reduced ability for me to see non-verbal cues from clients such as body language. I have found that after a relatively short period of time, the inability to observe some non-verbal cues is inconsequential because of the relationship formed between me and my client. Regarding interruptions caused by technological failure, this is very rare and has not been an issue.
What Does it Cost?
The fee for online counseling is lower than in-office therapy due to decreased expenses on my end. Individual therapy, couples counseling and premarital counseling are $95 per session. I try and keep my rates lower to help more people access therapy who couldn't otherwise afford it.
How Do I get Started?
First off, if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to call or email me and I’d be happy to spend some time answering any questions. If you want to make an appointment, you can do so through my online scheduler or call me and I can tell you my availability and make it for you. For more detailed information about how the process, please visit my Therapy Guide page.
The short and easy answer is, “All sorts of people!” I have worked as a San Diego therapist with individuals and couples since 2001 for a multitude of reasons. Years ago, therapy had a stigma attached to it. It was believed you had to be either very disturbed or “weak” to seek it out. Fortunately, times have changed and now people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds go to counseling for a variety of reasons and it’s considered a normal and healthy resource.
Technology has also changed allowing more people to access counseling through online counseling. Just as you would seek out a personal trainer if you wanted to see better workout results, many people choose a therapist to see better results in areas relating to emotions, relationships, career, and their overall well-being. People seek counseling for a variety of issues. Some of the reasons include a desire for personal growth, managing stress, codependency, tackling substance abuse issues, improving relationships and communication skills, navigating temporary bouts or long periods of depression or anxiety more effectively and better understanding one’s past and how it impacts life, mood, and relationships in the present day. Whatever your reason for considering counseling, I’m sure it’s a good one. If you are in doubt or have any questions about coming in, please contact me with your concerns. Feel free to call (619) 318-1901 and I’d be happy to spend some time answering your questions.
Couples counseling is a tool for healing and maintenance and can be effective at any stage in a relationship. I have worked with many couples by way of video counseling and my clients and I have been very satisfied with the process. Many couples seek counseling when they have exhausted all other options, but it’s a great resource to use when problems are beginning to surface. If a couple can gather tools to navigate disagreement when conflict is low, larger problems are often prevented because they have the needed skills to use in the face of future challenges. Disagreement is inevitable, but conflict is optional.
As a therapist, I believe that individual counseling gives people the opportunity to reflect and examine how they react to others based upon beliefs, fears, insecurities, and patterns influenced by past and present experiences and beliefs. I believe counseling should be a collaborative process. We don’t live in a vacuum and in counseling, it’s helpful to self-reflect accompanied by a therapist mirroring back what you might be missing.
Usually, people come to individual counseling because they are struggling with personal issues that affect happiness, motivation, relationships, activities, and/or work. To begin individual therapy, I want to understand your present circumstances, attain a basic understanding of your past (or more detailed depending upon your needs and desires) and together create goals that are important to you. In individual therapy, we explore patterns in life that block freedom, energy, growth, and connection with self and others.
Build a strong foundation for the years to come! I offer premarital counseling and I am happy to say both myself and my clients have been very happy with it. It allows couples to meet with me via video in the comfort of their own home and the fees are substantially lower than in-office counseling.
Premarital Counseling highlights relationship strengths, exposes incompatibilities, and provides tools to build and maintain a better relationship. Premarital counseling offers a head start by addressing differences and enhancing strengths. Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to invest in what was meaningful to us, but a large percentage of couples still don’t invest in their relationship by participating in some form of premarital counseling. Studies indicate that overall, married couples who participate in premarital counseling have greater marital satisfaction, better communication skills and a lower divorce rate than married couples who don’t go through premarital counseling.
While I definitely have suggestions regarding how often I think someone should have counseling sessions, the decision is ultimately up to each client.
Ideally, I suggest an individual or couple come in weekly when they first begin therapy. If it is less than weekly, it’s common for people to feel they aren’t benefiting a great deal. This is because old habits die hard and too much time elapses in between sessions allowing for fresh insights to fade and old patterns of behavior to overtake efforts towards change. There are some people who make good headway coming in every other week when they first begin therapy, but these clients are very motivated and make daily attempts to keep their thinking and behavior aligned with new insights. They also do other “homework” such as reading, journaling, connecting socially to a good support system, and a number of other things depending upon what issues they are addressing. For most clients, I suggest weekly counseling at the onset and then suggest decreasing the frequency of sessions as they make steps toward their goals.
Ultimately, my clients are in charge of how often they want to come in. I have many clients attending weekly, some bi-weekly and also some coming sporadically on an “as-needed basis”. I give my suggestions, but don’t dictate the terms and trust that each person knows what is best for him or herself. But, I will definitely speak up and voice my suggestions for my client to consider if I see a strong need.