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Marriage & Family Counseling
Am I a Good Fit for You?
If you are looking for someone who does not try to find what's wrong with you, but instead is non-judgmental, and addresses the most serious issues in marriages and families by helping you build on your resources, then we may be a good fit.
If you are looking for
- healing from old pain
- skill-building tools to help you get your needs met
- no longer being angry rather than "managing" anger
- undoing your programming so that you will respect and love yourself
- a way to treat your partner and family with the respect all human beings deserve
- setting boundaries assertively
- taking control of your life
- true intimacy, not the phoney stuff
then we really are a good fit!
Here's my pledge to you: I will work hard to help you with every item on this list.
What if there's been abuse?
With few exceptions emotional or verbal abuse is at the root of current marital and relationship conflicts and parenting dilemmas.
Why do I say that?
If you or your spouse grew up in a home of harsh words, yelling, blame, anger, neglect, addictions, affairs, or experienced even the subtlest emotional abuse, then the pain all that caused will affect your present relationships. Even people who have made a firm decision not to repeat that awful behavior need healing from the past -- and this, too, affects you in the present.
Types of abuse:
I offer a process specifically devoted to healing the abuse that either or both of you suffered before your marriage and in your marriage. It is this element of healing in combination with skill-building, change in perspective, new understanding for one another, and fostering true intimacy that sets apart this counseling process from that of other practitioners. That is why I say you can "start over with the same spouse" no matter what the pain you have been through.
The Counseling Process
I may meet with you alone, with you and your partner, or with the whole family, or all of the above. How do I decide? Ideally, we meet together and discuss the problem. But the pain in a marriage may be so great that two people can't sit together in a room without arguments, harsh words, clamming up, or fear of speaking out. In that case, we must work separately and focus not only on what's going on right now and how to handle it, but on healing from the pain and becoming stronger and empowered to get the most out of joint sessions. Don't be surprised if we seem to go off on a tangent of various healing-oriented sessions. The tangent won't last forever!
It could also be that we start together but I see right away that we need to work separately in order to be most productive in our joint sessions, so again, we "digress" into some healing work first.
Marriage counseling takes from six months to three years with the average being about 18 months to two years.
Family therapy is usually shorter; children from 3-20 respond beautifully to a balanced combination of love and discipline.
I don’t do email therapy in place of videoconferencing but there may be some emailing during the therapy process. Not only might you have questions, but I may have a thought I want to share with you. If the emails are relatively short, I don’t charge for my time in writing them. Otherwise, the charge is at my regular rate. In addition, there is a one-hour administrative fee for every 12 emails because I must add them into the record and back them up myself. Please be aware that emails remain on your service provider’s servers.
There is homework. Sometimes it is something to do; sometimes something to think about or just to notice.
I am not an insurance provider.
The process is very hands on. I give you new tools and help you with exercises right in the session. For these tools, I draw on cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and non-cognitive techniques such as guided imagery and hypnosis, stories and art. This means that sometimes therapy will affect your thoughts, sometimes your behaviors, and sometimes your feelings. You don't always have to understand something in order to feel better; that's where hypnosis and guided imagery come in. (Hypnosis can only be done in person.)
To Do Before Your First Session
Sorry to trouble you, but kindly take these steps once we have spoken and you are ready to get started:
- Have Microsoft Outlook on your computer so we can confirm appointments.
- Have a PayPal account or credit card and make payments at the time of appointment-setting. Just go to the payment page. The charge at this time is $300/hour. There will be a fee increase as my available time shrinks.
- Have an internet connection that operates at 20-25 mbps for videoconferencing.
- Purchase an inexpensive webcam if your computer doesn’t come with one. Mine is from Logitech.
- Download Logitech, Skype, Oovoo, or any videoconferencing software of your choice to your computer. They are all free. Oovoo is capable of free 3-way conferencing when you and your partner are not in the same location. For 3-way, Skype requests a nominal charge. Your smartphone may have videoconferening capacity as well.
- Please read through the contract carefully, print it out, and have each person sign every page of the contract.
- Each person should fill out the Why Do You Want Therapy? form.
- One person should fill out the name and address form.
- I also need a legible front and back of each driver’s license. Make a clear photocopy of the license before faxing or scanning.
- Fax all the papers back to me at 253-595-6248. If you scan, email it to me at email@example.com.
- Please sign up for my newsletter. I don't deluge people with information but you might find it helpful to clarify or reinforce what we do in our sessions.
If you live in the New York area, you may visit me for face-to-face sessions at 999 Central Avenue, suite 207, First Floor, Woodmere. (This is not the mailing address.) Kindly follow all the directions above except 3-5.
You owe it to yourself to have a fresh chance at happiness. Start by signing up for the newsletter and seeing if you think I am the person to help you.