My Approach to Helping
My goal is for you to leave our therapy sessions feeling strong, empowered and more confident than you came in. I've seen far too many clients walk through their lives feeling aimless and uncertain about their lives and where they are going. I'm here to help you fix that.
My style is hands-on and solution focused. I believe counseling is a service and that service is meant to help you find ways to change your life for the better. I want you to leave our sessions together knowing that you have control over your life even though you've come to believe that you do not.
However, none of that can happen without a strong and meaningful therapeutic relationship. I've worked with such an array of different clients over the years and I've always found a way to connect with all of them. I want to make counseling for you an enjoyable yet productive experience where you walk away knowing it was the right decision to take that leap into therapy.
It doesn't matter what is bringing you to therapy because the most important aspect is your desire to help yourself get better. Even if you're coming in because of someone putting pressure on you; the fact that you value that relationship to make a change speaks volumes about your character and willingness.
My clinical expertise is addiction treatment (both user and impacted family), and my other expertise is in relationship counseling. I work with several couples and also those who are unsure about their relationship.
There isn't a wrong time to enter counseling. So whatever your crisis may be at this time in your life, let's sit down together and talk about it. I guarantee you'll feel better about it and have a sense of direction as to what changes you need and are willing to make so you can change your life.
I look forward to meeting you.
More Info About My Practice
I work at 2 office locations:
Main office (4 days per week - Mon, Wed, Thurs & Friday) is inside of the Cross Valley Chiropractic Center. To prevent getting lost, I suggest typing in "Plains Animal Hospital" your mapsGPS search, we are in the same parking lot as the hospital and behind Curly Creme Ice Creme. Exit 3 off of 309.
Nanticoke Office (35 E. Green St, Nanticoke PA 18634) - I am here Tuesdays and Saturdays. Saturday hours are 10AM-4PM.
Evening hours available at both locations; the last appointment is 7 PM.
What I Usually Need to Know to Help
When you are attempting to schedule an appointment with me, there are few things to expect (when using your health insurance).
First, I will need to verify your benefits to see if you have active coverage from your insurance plan. This is standard procedure in healthcare and I must check your insurance info first before you come in for your in-person session with me.
Here's the info that I will be asking from you:
1. Information about your health care plan: Many times, clients are using their own personal insurance that they either pay for out of pocket or they have through their employer. Also, clients are often covered under another person's insurance, such as a family member (parents, spouse or husband or significant other). In order to check the benefits I will need to know the primary holder's full name. This may be your full name, or it would be the full name of the person who you covered under (again, your parents, spouse or husband or significant other).
2. The second piece of information I need is the Primary Holder's Date of Birth (DOB). Again, this would be your personal DOB if you are the client that is the primary holder of the insurance, or it would be the DOB of the person whose plan you are covered under.
3. The last piece of information I need is on the physical card, or is online through the health insurance's website if you do not have the card yet. On the card I need the Identification number and many times I also need the Group number. The ID number is usually several numbers long, and with some insurances there will be letters too. The group number often contains both numbers and letters.
The easiest and most time-efficient way of getting this information is to take a picture of the front and back of your card and send it to me via text or email once we are in communication with each other. Please do not just send me your insurance information if we have not yet established communication about your interest in starting therapy, I won't know why you are sending it.
Those are the 3 things that I will need from you first before I meet with you in person. Again, this is standard practice in healthcare among all providers. I cannot move forward in scheduling an appointment for you until we first gather that insurance information and determine your out of pocket costs. Thank you for your understanding.
Had a Negative Therapy Experience?
Unfortunately, I hear all the time from my clients that they themselves have had a negative experience in therapy before or they know someone who has. It's unfortunate because when that occurs the person is less likely to come back and give therapy a second chance. I've lived by the belief that I'd much rather see a client discontinue therapy services with me because there just wasn't something working in the relationship versus the client give up on therapy.
My number one goal in this area is to make sure that you have a positive counseling experience with me. I often see many first-timers in therapy and it is very satisfying and reassuring that they come back the second session and say, 'Mike, that wasn't bad at all, I'm glad I came'. It's so important that a client has a positive counseling experience because that means they can come back to therapy at any point in their lives and try it again.
I've found that a lot of clients who have expressed they had a negative counseling experience did so when they were much younger, usually in a school-based setting or because of an event that happened in childhood. The mental health field is one that probably needs to be better at this, but the problem is when a client receives therapy services at that young of an age, the client's parents are usually heavily involved, which can be a real barrier in the child or adolescent getting better. Confidentiality at that age (under 18), is not as valued or as important as it is when a client is 18 and older, which is unfortunate and puts a wall up for that child or adolescent.
In counseling, as an adult, you can expect that you have full control over your confidentiality - assuming it was broken before in a previous counseling experience when you were younger. If you are a client who has had their guard up because of a negative counseling experience either when you were younger or when you were an adult, I encourage you wholeheartedly to give counseling another shot. Many times it's just about finding the right person who you can sync with and feel connected to and most importantly, not judged. That's what I'm here for and that's what I pride myself on, making therapy a real option for you again.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Oh boy.....this is a doozy for a lot of clients who are reluctant to come in for therapy! Personally, I've found that most of the very reluctant potential clients who feel that coming to therapy means they are "weak" or "not strong enough" are only feeling that way because of the people in their lives who would negatively judge them. One of my former co-workers who helped me grow professionally would always say to clients in group therapy "if you had a broken arm, you would go to the hospital to fix it, you would see a doctor and follow their directions on how to heal it. But if you had some kind of emotional problem or addiction issue, you wouldn't go and see a therapist because doing so would make you weak?"
We wouldn't call a kid "weak" for allowing their parents to help them ride a bike. In fact, we would say that the parents should be showing their kid how to ride that bike, because you want to teach the child about safety and the mechanics of how the bike works. The problem our society has is that we somehow cannot transfer that mentality over to mental health treatment and the importance behind teaching people to live more emotionally stable, safer and healthier lives.
Coming to therapy doesn't mean you are weak. In fact, I believe it means you are proactive. Simply put, most mental and emotional problems that are left untreated and not addressed will eventually come out to negatively impact the person's health and well-being at a later time in their lives. Research has proven time and again the very clear connection between emotional stress and physical symptoms. It all makes perfect sense when you look at the science of it. Emotional problems are a literal drain on the body. Anxiety will make you lose countless hours of sleep and is responsible for potential cardiac problems. Depression will prevent you from coming into work on time and may force you to take time off from work - making you fear job loss. Depression is also responsible for premature death in the form of suicide. Addiction will completely deteriorate your body, family and mind....the list goes on!
The bottom line is that coming to therapy will in fact be one of the best preventative approaches you will ever make in your lifetime, I guarantee it. If you don't believe me, then come in for 1 session with me and see how it goes.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
In terms of actual session length, you can expect that I will meet with you for 50-55 minutes at a time. This is what is known as a therapeutic hour in the field.
New clients can expect that we will have weekly therapy sessions to start. Unless you are a client who was just coming from another therapist or who is still seeing another therapist, then I will likely recommend we meet once per week. I do this because meeting weekly helps us get to know each other quicker and it helps me give you better direction right away. It also creates momentum for change, which is crucial in a therapeutic relationship.
As clients improve their lives I will suggest we then meet on a less frequent basis, such as every other week or every third week and finally once per month.
Generally speaking, if a client is doing well and their symptoms are maintained, I will schedule them as needed, which they can then make the determination as to when they need an appointment.