Frequently asked questions
What are your values as a therapist?
Some of the values that I hold personally that influence my work include honesty, integrity, and informed consent. I am nonjudgmental and accepting of every religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and belief system, with the exception of those that call for harm to others. While my values help me create a container of safety in which to do our work, I aim to help you get in touch with your own values, and allow them to illuminate the way forward.
I feel very strongly about destigmatizing therapy. I see the therapy process as entirely positive. It is a way to know yourself better, improve relationships, find ways to achieve essential goals, and simply feel better. I know that therapy has earned a negative reputation from unethical or incompetent therapists, uncertainty about the mechanisms by which it works, and hack approaches that don't work at all.
Yet, I personally know several brilliant and empathetic therapists who are dedicated to providing the best treatment available, and I know how important it is to get help in changing problems that don't go away on their own—that in fact often get passed down through generations.
Although therapy can at times be uncomfortable, it should never be re-traumatizing or too painful to endure. I work at a pace that is comfortable yet productive for each individual. If ever the process does become painful, scary, or awkward, I am completely open to receiving that feedback and making adjustments.
Will you tell me what to do, or just listen and make me figure it out for myself?
There’s a saying in the field: the therapist is the expert on therapy, and the client is the expert on the client. I’ll always honor your autonomy. I’ll provide any information I’m aware of that may help you make a decision—research findings, theoretical principles, options you may not have considered. I may at times personally disagree with your choices, and I may voice a concern if harmful consequences seem likely, but the therapist’s role is to help you make decisions, not to make them for you.
I won't sit back and enigmatically rebuff your questions (“How do you think I would answer that question?”). I’ll create space for you to lay out all the options and notice what’s most essential. I'll help you get in touch with your own inner wisdom to make the best decision for you.
When is the right time to come to therapy?
In my experience, the best time to start is when you’re stuck in some way. Lots of people seek help to keep a good thing going, or to pick up the pieces after a major breakdown. Both of those are also good reasons to be in therapy; however, I’ve found a particular sweet spot with people coming in to work on things that aren’t too bad yet, but clearly in need of some attention. Then we can do focused, productive work, clearly see improvements, and usually avoid the bigger problems lurking on the horizon.
The most frequent regret I hear from my clients is that they did not pursue therapy earlier. With unfortunate frequency, people wait until things are at their worst before seeking help. I’ve had clients come in following suicide attempts, separations, and other major calamities, and helped them learn the skills and make the changes that could have prevented them.
Therapy doesn't have to be a last resort; in fact, it usually works more quickly when started before things get too bad.
How long will it take before I feel better?
Every person comes to therapy at a different place in their journey, so it depends. However, a lot of it has to do with how ready you are to start feeling better! I've seen clients turn things around surprisingly quickly when they are ready to work, know what they want to improve, and are committed to the process. I use whatever approach is called for at that specific time—whether deep, experiential work, cognitive approaches like homework and practice exercises, teaching skills, or open-ended exploration to clarify problems and goals.
Therapy can range from several weeks for focused issues like phobias and OCD, to months or years for complex attachment problems or personality issues. I'm happy to consult with you and give you a sense of timing for your particular goals. Often, however, clients recognize that it doesn't really matter how long it will take as long as they're making progress and feeling better.
Do you take insurance?
I am not currently in network with any insurance panels, but if your provider reimburses for out of network services, I am happy to provide documentation of services that you can submit for reimbursement.
How can I afford therapy? Why is it so expensive?
Therapy is an investment in yourself. Successful therapy often leads to greater peace of mind and contentment, and greater ease in facing the challenges and pains of life. Many clients choose to prioritize this over other comforts in life, having found that without these inner resources they cannot fully enjoy the good things in their lives. I have a limited number of sliding scale spots for those who lack financial resources but are eager to engage in the process.
There are several reasons why psychotherapy is so expensive. Becoming a licensed provider is a lengthy, expensive process—about as much time and money as becoming a lawyer, plus 3,000 hours of supervised practice before qualifying for the licensing exam.
Additionally, most therapists in private practice must support all of the associated costs of running a small business: office rent and expenses, health and malpractice insurance, costs of maintaining licensure, and of course the high cost of living in the Bay Area.
Most therapists limit their caseloads in order to avoid burnout or compassion fatigue and to provide the best possible care to their clients as well.
What kinds of services do you offer?
I offer individual psychotherapy services to teens and adults, relationship counseling for couples as well as alternative structures, and parts work using Internal Family Systems therapy. To learn more about each service offered, visit the Services page.
At DBT Center of Silicon Valley, I am part of a team offering fully adherent, comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a treatment originally developed for chronically suicidal women with Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT is well-researched and highly effective for a number of chronic mental health conditions. For more information, please visit DBT Center of Silicon Valley.
How can I get started?
Call (408) 412-3958 for a free services consultation or to make an in-person appointment. Office hours are weekdays, 10am–8pm. I look forward to hearing from you, and if we're a good fit, beginning our work together.