What to Expect in Therapy

I’ve made it as simple as possible to get started in therapy:

  1. Call, text or email me for a free 5 or 10 minute consultation, or schedule your first appointment online.
  2. E-sign the initial paperwork.
  3. Show up for your first appointment.
  4. Start working towards your goals with an experienced therapist in a comfortable setting.

First Appointment

The initial therapy appointment is also called an intake session. It is my first opportunity to meet you and hear whatever part of your story and struggle you are ready to share. I strive to make this appointment comfortable by attuning to your need to share a little or to share a lot and then I move at your comfort level. Generally, I’m trying to get a sense of what brought you to therapy, what you hope to achieve through therapy, as well as an overall snapshot of your growing up family, your current family structure, your interests, and current coping strategies.

Sharing Your Trauma Story

If you have a trauma history, I don’t need the details just yet, just a general idea of what happened to you and around what age. Before I ever ask for trauma details, I work with you towards resourcing and stabilization so you feel strong enough and ready to share your story, if it’s a story you can even tell at all. I also have strategies to help clients heal from trauma that do not involve recounting the details or constructing a trauma narrative. The secret to trauma work is you have to go slow to go fast.

If you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, use the options below to contact me.

Confidentiality

I am bound by law and a code of ethics to provide you a confidential experience in therapy. There are several exceptions of which you should be aware. If you share any plans to harm yourself or others (imminent threats of suicide or homicide), I must report to the appropriate authority to act of your behalf. If I become aware of any harm to a child (current or past, by you or by others) I am obligated to report this to the Department of Child Safety or the police. My job is not to investigate or probe for details. As a mandated reporter I am bound to report any reasonable suspicion of harm.

Lastly, because I am licensed at the associate level, I am still under clinical supervision and my supervisor must have access to your file and I must be permitted to discuss your treatment with him. He is bound by the same laws of confidentiality described above. Before beginning treatment, you will be asked to sign an informed consent document detailing the rights and limits to confidentiality and a notice of supervision providing you with my supervisor’s details and the nature of that relationship. I am happy to answer any questions regarding confidentiality with you at our first appointment.

The long and short of it is this – I’m won’t be talking about you or sharing your private details unless it with my clinical supervisor or because you give me reason to do by threatening or disclosing harm to yourself or others.

Length of Sessions and Treatment

Sessions are generally 55 minutes, however, you can expect sessions with me to range from 45-60 minutes. When using EMDR, it may be necessary to book 1.5-2 hour sessions to allow for full processing and session closure. The decision to extend is made in advance and this is your choice, not my expectation.

Length of treatment depends on the extent of your trauma, your identified treatment goals, how frequently you attend therapy (once a week, once a month, etc), and what you can financially afford. We will work together to find a comfortable rhythm and frequency of sessions. It is not uncommon to start our weekly and move to bi-weekly, then monthly, then bi-monthly and so on. Session frequency is something you can count on me to talk about at the onset of therapy and as therapy progresses.

To give you an idea of the continuum of care, to work through one traumatic event, which occurred in adulthood, could be accomplished in 3-5 sessions if well resourced and supported outside of therapy. Dissociative Identity Disorder, on the other hand, could take many years to fully reach a place of healing and integration. If you were wounded as a child by abuse and/or neglect, think about how many years those wounds have been festering – they cannot be treated in a few hours with a few new learned coping skills. Therapy is an investment in your overall well-being, your health, you future, and your children’s future.

Therapy Models and Interventions

You may or may not be familiar with the models of therapy I integrate into treatment, that’s okay – you do not need to know what type of therapy you need; it’s my job to tailor the therapy experience to your needs, personality, and your desired outcomes.

Sometimes clients come to therapy for a specific type of therapy because it has been recommended to them to treat their specific diagnoses or issues, like EMDR, CBT, or DBT. I am clear with clients from the onset that I do not provide therapy in a vacuum and while I may borrow ideas and interventions from that therapy model, I am not an out-of-the-box therapist who puts every client through the same course of treatment. If this is what you really desire, I can help you understand why that may not be the most beneficial to you or connect you with the theory-specific therapist.

Cancellation Policy

Life happens and so do cancellations. The policy at Joshua Tree Counseling is that cancellations be made at least 24 hours prior to your therapy appointment to avoid a $50 cancellation fee. This time frame gives me time to pull from my cancellation list and fill that spot. When you no-show or cancel last minute it means lost income and lost time I could have given to others. I ask that you be conscious of my time and cancel as soon as you know you cannot make your appointment. To email me and say you are just feeling emotionally strong enough to come to session is perfectly acceptable! I know there will be days that you just need “off.” The therapy portal makes it easy to cancel as well.

In Closing

In closing, what I want you to know is that therapy is both hard and rewarding. My promise to you is to climb in the muck and help you sort it out until you no longer need me. If you are ready to schedule an intake, email me, call or text me, schedule online, or use the contact form.

Horseback ridng in the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, AZ