Offices in Castro Valley & Pleasanton, CA

FAQs

When should I seek counseling?
When you’re overwhelmed by a crisis, or have too much stress. If you’d like a neutral and objective perspective. When you’re seeking a new approach to dealing with old problems. If you’re confused about what to do, or worried you’ll make matters worse. When your health, well-being, job, or relationship is in jeopardy. Or if you’d simply like to become a calmer, happier person.

How can counseling help??
I offer a safe and confidential place to talk about what’s bothering you, where you can look at your situation more objectively, explore your feelings, and perhaps gain a new perspective. While I won’t tell you what to do, I will offer my expert advice and guidance, based on specialized education and training and decades of experience. I can help you to better understand your own and others’ behavior, change old or dysfunctional patterns of thinking and reacting, as well as learn new and more effective ways to deal with people and situations in your life.

What’s the difference between counseling and psychotherapy?
People often use these terms interchangeably, and they’re really more similar than different, but the basic difference as I see it is that counseling usually means a fairly brief intervention that is focused on a particular problem or situation, whereas psychotherapy typically refers to a longer term and more in-depth exploration of underlying beliefs and patterns of thinking and behaving.

How do I choose the right therapist for me?
If you are considering therapy for the first time, or if you’ve been dissatisfied with previous therapy experiences, you may be wondering how to find the “right” therapist for you. Because I regard this decision as an important one, I encourage you to call me to discuss your concerns. I’ll tell you if I think I can help with your particular situation. You can decide whether to schedule a face-to-face session, and if you feel comfortable with me, we’ll continue; if not, I will offer names of other therapists who may be a better fit for you.

How much will it cost?
My fees for individual or couples therapy range from $80 to $160 per session. This includes 45-50 minutes of meeting together, and time for my notes and record-keeping afterward. I offer a reduced fee for students, seniors, and others with low income. Payment is due at the beginning of each session. I accept credit, debit, and HSA cards via Square, or you may pay using the PayPal button on the “Contact Me” page by clicking here.

Do you accept insurance?
I am a provider on a few EAP and health insurance panels, but accept a limited number of these referrals due to the low reimbursement rates. If you have a plan with out-of-network benefits, I can provide a statement for you to submit for reimbursement,. You are responsible for verifying your benefits, deductibles, and copays.

Do you offer phone or online sessions?
I typically do not offer advice or conduct therapy via email, Internet or over the phone. Phone sessions may be arranged on occasion if you are an established client with a valid reason, but may not be covered or reimbursed by health insurance.

What is an LCSW?
Clients often ask me this question. An LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) is a mental health professional who has had at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical training after receiving a master’s degree from an accredited school of social work. LCSWs don’t do psychological testing, nor can we prescribe medication. We tend to have more training in community mental health and medical settings than marriage and family therapists. I passed both written and oral exams to become licensed, and must attend 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain my license (plus additional coursework for my BCD credential).

What is your training and experience?
I have a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. I’ve been licensed since 1987, and in private practice as a psychotherapist since 1992, concurrently with holding a variety of positions in the Employee Assistance Program field (counselor, trainer, account manager, clinical supervisor, program director, and external consultant). I have worked in small companies, large corporations, hospitals, universities, and community mental health centers. My business experience includes being laid off, fired, and as a manager, having to terminate others’ employment. I taught continuing education for attorneys on stress and substance abuse for fifteen years. I’ve been studying and teaching mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions since 2009.

What is your philosophy and therapy style?
My clinical style is individualized, holistic, and present-focused, incorporating psychodynamic theory, cognitive-behavioral techniques, mindfulness practices, and neuroscience research. Clients generally find me to be kind, gentle, thoughtful, and non-judgmental. I have a sense of humor and believe in the healing power of laughter (as well as tears). I take an active role in the counseling process, asking lots of questions to make sure that I understand correctly and giving feedback about what I see and hear. I respect my clients’ personal values, religious beliefs, and lifestyles, and have worked well with adults of all ages and from all walks of life. The average length of treatment for my clients is about six months, though it can vary from weeks to years.