My Approach to Helping
First responders, medical professionals such as therapists, doctors and nurses, and court professionals such as probation officers, parole officers, and corrections officers have a unique culture that the therapist should understand and respect. Too many of you aren't living life to the fullest either because you don't know how to access therapy or are afraid to be seen as weak or a failure. I strongly believe in your ability to maintain your calling, relationships, and lives. You will feel the effects of your work as it adds up day after day. You may notice behavioral and emotional changes in yourself or your family (especially your kids). I empower first responders, medical professionals and court professionals daily. Emotions are the enemy of safety, objectivity, and survival. Now emotions are your enemy as well. However, they don't have to be. You can learn to take back control of your daily experiences and emotions. You are normal. I am trained in several models of therapy and together, we will determine which is best suited for you.
Sometimes first responders, medical and court professionals want to delve into their past to understand themselves and work through their symptoms. Others want a quicker fix and to have techniques to handle their symptoms in the present without going into their past. Both are appropriate and we can use either.
Along with different modalities of therapy, I offer tele-mental health counseling and life coaching meaning I provide safe, HIPAA compliant mental health or life coaching sessions over a the web using video and audio to meet with my clients. Many of my clients love this option because it offers confidentiality (not being seen going in and out of a therapist's office), and convenience (no travel time to and from a doctor's office in your busy schedule). Tele-mental health is legal and ethical and many insurance panels pay for it.
More Info About My Practice
I charge $100-$130 depending on the length and type of session. I can provide you with a superbill that you may submit to your insurance for reimbursement of out of network benefits and receive reimbursement payment directly yo you. I strongly believe in your confidentiality. Insurance companies can ask for your file and by staying out of network or private pay gives you the peace of mind of not having your personal life shared with others or staying in your permanent health record. This is often very important to first responders who due to their position at work, don't want any mental health record in their permanent health record.
It is vital to think about what is most important to you when looking for a therapist. Cost (think about short term vs long term cost) or getting someone who can truly help you potentially in less time and with better long term effects. Don't make whether a therapist takes your insurance as proof they are the right therapist for you. You want to find a therapist who can give you the best treatment in the shortest time with the best outcome. This is your life and whether or not I am the right therapist for you, my goal is to give you what you need. If I am not the right fit, I will help you find someone who is.
I offer web-based counseling and life coaching through a HIPAA compliant web platform through my electronic health record. There are many benefits to web-based counseling including accessibility despite other challenges such as transportation or child-care, anonymity, and adaptability to a client's circumstances in life. It is a legal and ethical way to provide therapy. I am credentialed by the Center for Credentialing and Education as a Board Certified Distance Counselor meaning I have been through extensive training and meet the national guidelines for distance counseling also known as telemental health counseling.
Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With
Trauma Recovery, Panic, Depression, Anxiety, Stress Management. All of these issues can be treated with EMDR (which must be done in person, not via web cam) and is extensively researched and shown to be more effective with less time in therapy. These needs can also be met effectively and reliably through on-line sessions using techniques other than EMDR.
How Psychotherapy Can Help
There are no quick fixes. EMDR often has relatively quick results, getting you back to your duty and your life as quick as possible. Often if you tell a first responder they can't do their job anymore, you might as well be telling them they can't live. Psychotherapy is not a bandaid, unlike the adrenalin-pumping activities you have been engaging in recently. Psychotherapy decreases the hold your daily experiences have over you and gets you back to life.
What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist
When I was growing up I had a plan of what I wanted to be. That changed many times. When I went into college, I still had a plan for what I wanted to do, which did not include being a therapist. Once I graduated with my Masters in Social Work and started in the field I realized how special it is to be a therapist. I love being able to help people understand their symptoms (whether behavioral or emotional) and helping them overcome those symptoms to live the life they deserve and desire. To see the realization in people's faces when they realize that their symptoms are normal and why they are having them gives me such a sense of happiness. Once people understand something, it is easier to deal with. Unknowns are scary. So much of the brain is still unknown that having an answer to "why am I feeling or thinking this way" is so freeing.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
There are so many therapists with so many degrees (LCSW, LPC, LMFT, etc) and each one has their own style of therapy. I am not saying one style or degree is better than another, but we are relational beings and we do not get along with everyone. We do not share the same beliefs as everyone else. The most important aspect of therapy is the therapeutic relationship. People will come see me who have had negative experiences in the past. I strive to make the experience as healing as possible from the initial contact and if it does not seem I am a good fit for you, I will help you find another therapist; no questions asked.
What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process
Many first responders, medical and court professionals are afraid of being seen as weak or like they failed. Your reactions are normal, although causing distress. You are very good at what you do, and you are not weak; you have not failed because you need help dealing with the flood of emotions, images, sounds, smells you witness daily.
You will be involved in every step of the process. From the initial contact, I will let you know what to expect from our sessions and what to expect from each on-going session. You are never in the dark. I start each session with an explanation of what we will be doing that day and end each session doing our session note together and asking you to fill out a form with four questions to ensure I am giving you what you need. If the scores drop, I come back to you with what I believe I can do to improve the sessions and ask you to tell me what I can do to improve the sessions. If this is not enough, I will help you find another therapist.