Do you miss feeling happy, and close to your partner?
Are you fighting – or simply drifting away from each other?
Do you want that connection back again? The joy of simply spending time together? The urge to create, and explore the world?
Every day, couples struggle to make their lives work. Each is unique, with their own circumstances – yet all face the same essential dilemma. How to take care of one’s self, yet fully engage with another person. It often appears that the two are at odds – and we all have our own favorite ways of reacting to make ourselves feel safe. Some of us withdraw, and leave relationship floundering. Others hold firm, even when it causes harm. Many don’t know what to do, and feel enmeshed in painful emotion.
And of course, there are moments of clarity, and choice. My job is to help you experience these moments, and come to a clearer sense of yourself, as a person and as a couple.
The mind often leads us in false directions, even as it tries to improve our lives. It can shrink down our sense of what’s possible in life, and bias our perception of ourselves and others. It can make us feel hopeless, telling stories that justify distance, and harm – lies that say you can’t be happy, that freedom and love are out of reach. My hope is to help you prove all that wrong.
Because the truth is, freedom of self is your birthright. And love is a natural expression of that. It’s only the mind’s understanding of love that confuses the issue. Love is straightforward – but being a couple is often a mess. A syncopated dance between whole different worlds. And a natural movement that can bring us great joy. To step into that dance is a risk, and takes courage. Love may inspire, but our path is a choice.
Our inherent freedom doesn’t waver. Our capacity to love is inborn and strong. However, our mind’s understanding is far less reliable, and fearful emotion can overwhelm. We fail to see choice, and feel under siege. We need some help calming, and seeing things clearly. And letting our fearful connection relax, so the heart can do what it’s made for. Heal.
Most of us find refuge in others who care. We find solace in being heard – assurance that how we feel makes sense, that it’s ok. This is truly therapeutic.
Equally important is the ability to efficiently take care of ourselves. Communication skills, self-soothing techniques, anger management skills, mindfulness… Such practices take the discoveries of therapy and bring them into daily life, which is where they must be for real change to occur. Otherwise, we might gain real insight… and go on suffering as before.
Chances are you’re ready to challenge your suffering, or you wouldn’t have read this far. You’re interested in counseling, and wondering who to choose. It’s certainly important what therapists do. I find that suggesting techniques with compassion and a challenging mind work best for me. But studies show that you’re twice as influenced by how your therapy relationship goes. It naturally helps when you share common language, and certain kinds of experience. However, it’s essential you feel that they “get” who you are, and that they truly have faith in your ability to grow. This sense of connection and rapport has real power, and can’t be simulated.
To this end, I’ve tried to present myself as authentically as possible – to give you some real sense of me. At this point, you may have some questions, or perhaps you’re ready to make an appointment. You may need some time to consider, or continue looking into other therapists. Whatever the case, I encourage you to act. Time is precious. Don’t wait to be happy.
Whether you’re ready to schedule an appointment, or simply have questions, I’m easiest to reach by email. I also take calls most days until 9 pm. Or, if you like, we could meet for a free, 20-min consultation. It’s basically an opportunity to meet face to face, to get a better sense of each other. (Some folks decide to stay, and make it their first full hour appointment.)
I do take insurance, including BCBS, Cigna, Great West, Humana, PHCS, Principal, and Value Options. (I can also process out-of-network.) It’s always best to verify benefits early. I can usually confirm copays within 24 hours. I just need the following information:
* Your name, date of birth, address
* Subscriber’s name, date of birth
* Insurance name, ID #, group #
* Phone # (“Behavioral Health”, “Provider”, etc.)
My private pay fee is $100 per session. If you have any questions about payment or finances, give me a call.
If you’ve already scheduled, you can download my *New Client Form* to save time when we meet. (One page per person, for couples.) There’s also a *Notice of Privacy Practices*, for your information only.
My office is located at 2306 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Tx 78703. I’m right between Magnolia Café and Thundercloud Subs. There’s parking in front and around back. Just come in the front door, and have a seat downstairs. I’ll be with you as soon as I’m free.
Meanwhile, I’ve included some questions below that people often ask at this point. You may find them useful. Either way, I look forward to meeting with you. Peace.
Questions about Counseling
How do I find the right therapist?
Ask questions. Be direct. Find out if they have experience with people in your situation, or with your particular concerns. Ask them to describe how they work with people, and what they expect from their clients in return. Ask any question that comes to you. Are you feeling heard and understood? Notice your experience. Are you feeling safe and supported? Encouraged to be yourself? Studies show that clients who feel cared for by their therapist have the best clinical outcomes.
Of course, you may catch a truly excellent therapist on a bad day. If in doubt, you could always call back. Whatever you do, trust your instincts. Be willing to move on if it doesn’t “feel” right.
How should I prepare for the first session?
It’s always fine to simply show up. Beyond that, the best question you could ask yourself is, “what is it that I truly want?” This will give focus and direction to all of therapy, even as your answer changes. In fact, it’s helpful to ask before every session, “what do I want to get from today?” It will inform your therapist, and help you test whether you’re getting what you came for.
You might also consider what you don’t want from counseling; what you find scary or challenging about counseling; any special concerns about confidentiality; what you need from your therapist; and what it would actually look like if you got what you wanted.
Or, you could just show up.
How often should I go, and for how long?
Most people do weekly sessions, especially at first. It’s a good way to get started and build momentum. And it helps in maintaining day-to-day progress. Once things stabilize in a new direction, some clients will start coming every 2-3 weeks. It all depends on how therapy is going. Overall, some clients only come in for 3-4 sessions. Others continue for months or even years. Everyone is different.
What makes counseling most effective?
The willingness to really explore your experience – the feelings you avoid, the strengths you didn’t know you had, the things you do that get in your way. Being honest about what it is that you truly want. Persistence. Telling the truth. And choosing to act in new ways, until it becomes natural.
How do I know if therapy’s working?
If the question comes up when you’re already in therapy, it often suggests that something’s not working. Talk to your therapist. Explore it together. The issues that bring us to therapy often get in the way once we’re there. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be that much clearer for having talked about it.
Meanwhile, always come back to the essential question, “what is it that I truly want?” The more clearly you can answer that, the more easily you can tell if you’re getting it. And after all, that’s what therapy’s all about.