i've never been in therapy. where do i start?
Start by contacting me for a free consultation.
When you are considering therapy, it is likely you are already overwhelmed. Then, you do a quick search, and are faced with tons of options who all seem to blend together. Plus, there are the horror stories of people who had their own bad experiences with therapy. How do you decide on someone to share your hopes and insecurities with? It can be tempting to just pick whoever is the closest, least expensive, or most convenient for your schedule.
But finding the right therapist can make all the difference. That's one of the reasons why I offer a free consultation. If I am not the right fit for you, I do my best to connect you with someone who might be. Let me help get you through the right door!
What are your hours and rates?
Please contact me to discuss rates for individual and couples sessions. All payments are due at the end of each session, and I accept cash, check, credit card, and electronic transfers. Sessions cancelled within 24 hours of the session time are subject to the full session fee. I offer a limited number of sessions at a reduced rate based on financial need.
I offer evening and weekend sessions. My clients have access to an online client portal, where you can see available session times and reschedule appointments at your convenience. I typically see my clients 1x per week, every week.
Do you take insurance?
I am not an in-network provider with any insurance companies.
But, many insurance plans provide out-of-network mental health coverage. That means you may be able to submit therapy receipts to your insurance company for partial reimbursement. Here is a guide to help you determine if your plan provides this coverage.
You also have the option to not use your insurance. I find clients and I enjoy the freedom to work on issues as they present and not have to meet the demands of managed care, diagnosis requirements, and limits on sessions. Additionally, I offer a limited number of sessions at a special rate that are typically reserved for current students.
CAN you help my friend/partner/coworker/child?
Therapy works best when the person is motivated. If they are not interested in picking up the phone, chances are, they won't get much out of therapy. I can always recommend a professional who works specifically in areas that I don't specialize in (working with children, eating disorders, or severe addiction, for example), but it is generally up to that person to make the call.
I need to see someone ASAP. What is the soonest available appointment you have?
I am unable to provide crisis/emergency response. If you feel you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255.
The quickest way to get in touch with me is by calling (562) 704-4736. I return calls within 24 hours and all voicemails are checked only by me.
Have you ever been in therapy?
Yes! I know firsthand what it feels like to sit in that chair. One of the reasons I believe so strongly in the process of therapy is because I know it works. I have been fortunate to have a great working relationship with my own therapist, and I also know that the wrong fit makes progress much harder. I value my clients and make sure that I truly am the best person to help them. Our ethical code as Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists states we are responsible for making sure we provide the best care possible. Part of that includes having our own personal therapy.
What do you mean by solution-focused therapy?
The short answer is that it means we focus on what you want out of life. We focus on your goals and what you can do, starting today, in order to meet them. Of course, some of your choices and experiences from the past play a big part in how you solve problems - it's not like we can't talk about them! But I find that clients are most successful when they learn what they can from their past and use it to move forward.
While it can be an uncomfortable process at times, you should be able to tell if therapy is working. What will signal to you that you're "getting better"? Enjoying better quality sleep? Going two weeks without snapping at your partner? Having the energy to make (and keep) plans with your friends? Mapping these goals early helps keep us both accountable, and ensures you are getting the most out of your sessions.
What is LGBTQ+ affirming therapy?
Affirming therapy means more than taking a positive approach to people's identities, respecting pronouns, or simply being "LGBT-friendly." Affirming therapy considers the effects of internalized and institutionalized phobias (homophobia, biphobia, transphobia) and heterosexism on a person's psychology and relationships. It means understanding that aggression toward LGBTQ+ people takes many forms, occurs every day, and can influence our mental wellbeing. As an affirming clinician, I understand and counteract the privileges I hold not only in session, but in everyday life, even while identifying as part of the queer community. I stay current through regular consultation, trainings, and being an active member of my community, to make sure that I provide the best possible care.
One way I continue to support my mission for access to inclusive and affirming services for all identities is my partnership with Building Allies, which provides training and consultation for corporations, agencies, mental health professionals, and other groups. Building Allies works to educate and empower cisgender individuals to become active allies for the trans and gender nonconforming communities.
can you tell me more about your Training and experience?
I am a licensed marriage & family therapist, which means I completed a master's degree, more than 3,000 supervised clinical hours over about 5 years, and passed two licensing exams. I also complete continuing education courses each year as part of maintaining my licensure status, to ensure I stay up to date with best practices.
Much of my clinical experience has been in LGBTQ centers in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and I have special training in treating couples and intimate partner abuse. I also spent seven years working in forensics, which taught me a lot about respecting people's own motivation. My clients have been adults, couples, families, and children in a variety of settings, including community centers, schools, jails, transitional housing, and crisis centers. Overall, my favorite clients have been the folks who have "tried everything else" and are skeptical about therapy. The light goes on for them just like anyone else.
I graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Los Angeles campus) with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology in 2012. I am licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the state of California. My license number is LMFT98421. I'm a Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and a Certified Cognitive Therapist. I have extensive training and fluency in solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, intimate partner violence counseling for both aggressors and survivors, and providing trauma-informed care.