Q: Do marriage and family therapists see individuals? 

A: Yes! Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) see individuals, couples, families, teens, and children. We are trained to view our clients and the issues that bring them into therapy as part of a larger system, in the context of their relationships of family, romantic partners, friends, community, and society.

Q: Do I really need therapy?

A: There are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you need therapy and whether it is worth the investment.

  • Is my life the way I want it? Have I been able to do it on my own?
  • Do I need extra support because of a stressful season of life or situation?
  • Would I benefit from a neutral and experienced person to help me through a relationship conflict with a partner or family member?
  • Is there an area I want to grow in emotionally, relationally, or spiritually and could benefit guidance in?
  • How much is it worth to overcome my [insert problem here]?

Your answers to some of these questions will determine whether you could benefit from therapy. Some reasons that people don’t go to therapy is that they feel they can or should handle issues on their own or that seeking therapy feels weak. It also may feel intimidating to reveal your life to a stranger or perhaps it is difficult for you to justify the cost. I believe that sometimes people are able to overcome their issues without therapy or counseling, just like you might be able to get in shape without a trainer or learn a language without a teacher. However, it is often very helpful to have someone experienced and supportive who can guide you through difficult times. Like a coach, a therapist can help point out things that you are missing, teach you new skills, act as a mediator to your relationships, and encourage you when you don’t want to keep going. Some people seek therapy for personal growth or for extra support when going through a stressful situation. Families and couples in conflict find therapists helpful because they provide a neutral and safe space to work out their conflict. People may seek a therapist because they are looking for a mentor. A therapist can often provide tools, resources, and knowledge for your situation.

Q: How are you conducting consultations during the Covid-19 pandemic?

A: This has been a difficult season for so many people and safety is important to me. I will be offering both in-person and telehealth sessions. All persons who are sick will be asked to stay home or have therapy via telehealth. In-person sessions will be conducted sitting 6-feet or more distance apart. Depending on your issue and comfort level, we can meet outside in the courtyard. Though I cannot ensure confidentiality, it is fairly quiet with minimal traffic. When meeting indoors, masks are recommended but we can discuss whether it will get in the way of our work together. My colleagues and I sanitize all door handles and high-touch surfaces every time we enter and leave the office. I also ask that all clients use the hand sanitizer provided when they enter the office.

Q: How long will therapy last?

A: I wish I had a number, but as always, I have to say “it depends”! My philosophy in therapy is to “teach you to fish”, so you will get to a place where you won’t need me regularly anymore and have long-term support in your family, friends, church, or community. The length of therapy depends on your goals, how ingrained your issues and patterns are, the work you put into therapy, how effective we are in working together, and whether your issues are short or long-term. Short-term therapy usually lasts 3 to 6 months, though many of my clients stay with me for 1 to 3 years. Some people come due to short-term stressors (such as having a baby, stressful new job, etc). Once it has resolved, they are able to end therapy. Some people have long-standing patterns and habits that take time to change as they learn new skills, behaviors, and ways of thinking. In the beginning of our sessions, I will assess your issues and we will come up with goals and a treatment plan together. We will regularly evaluate your progress towards your therapy goals, which will help us determine whether we need to continue or work towards ending therapy. 

Q: What should I expect in the process?

A: In your first few sessions, I will be asking many questions about your problem, history, and relationships so I can fully understand you and come up with recommendations and a treatment plan tailored to you. This is also your chance to get to know me, and we will lay the groundwork on how we will work together. In the middle part of therapy, we work towards the goals you set. I will be guiding you with tools, interventions, and homework that will help you move toward your goals. Therapy is often tough because you’ll be working with painful emotions and situations, but I can promise to be there walking with you and guiding you. Through our treatment, we will consistently assess and track your progress so that we will know whether therapy is effective. Our work will be a partnership where we are working together help you move towards a life worth living.

Q: What if I can’t afford your fees?

A: Effective therapy is a worthy investment AND it can be expensive. If you cannot afford my fees and think we may be a good fit, please reach out to me to discuss your concerns during our consultation. Often you can find pre-licensed therapists who offer lower rates or sliding scales in low-cost clinics or school counseling programs. These therapists can still provide excellent therapy, especially if they are receiving strong supervision and training. Please see the resource section on low-cost resources in Orange County.

Q: How do you integrate faith in therapy or conduct Christian counseling?

A: Whether I am counseling Christians or non-Christians, I desire to live by the greatest commandment, which is to love God and love others. If you are not a Christian nor interested in integrating faith into therapy, I will pursue this by providing excellent therapy to help you reach your goals to alleviate suffering and find joy in your life. I respect people of all faiths, beliefs, cultures, race, and ethnicities, and hold the highest ethics of respecting my clients’ freedom to choose.

If you are interested in Christian counseling, we’ll discuss your faith, how it impacts the current situation that is bringing you to therapy, and ways we can integrate it into our time together. As a Christian therapist, my desire is to help you draw closer to God and know him more deeply as revealed through the Bible. Sessions may involve prayer, reading the Bible, and different spiritual disciplines that the Holy Spirit can use to bring comfort, healing, and help you become more like Jesus. I’ll also be using my training and knowledge from psychology that God can use to help people towards recovery and healing, since I believe in “common grace”, which are benefits that God provides to all people no matter their faith.

Q: Do you provide therapy to people out-of-state or in other countries?

A: As a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California, I can provide therapy to people residing in California, states and countries where I meet their psychotherapy licensure requirements, and places that do not have regulations for psychotherapists. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many states and countries have relaxed their regulations for therapists providing services to their residents.