Marriage Counseling Frequently Asked Questions

Many people think that therapy is about sitting back and endlessly talking about problems and feelings. My philosophy is that when we start to discuss the feelings, improvement occurs. My work is guided by the belief that psychological distress is often a habitual way of perceiving and interacting in the world — ways that have protected and helped you in the past, but now get in the way of living an enjoyable, efficient life.

We focus on achieving results quickly, if possible. I keep up with the current research and choose to be a service to my clients and community. You can expect to be treated as a creative, unique and insightful collaborator.

Q: What are some of the benefits of counseling and/or therapy?
A: When therapy is working you can expect to experience some of these benefits:

  • More successful and fulfilling relationships
  • Improved self image and more positive core beliefs
  • Greater empathy for others and yourself
  • A greater connection to all of society
  • Enhanced family/couple harmony
  • More alertness and presence in the here-and-now
  • Improved solution-oriented problem solving skills
  • Improved communication skills
  • New skills to manage anger, sadness, depression and other emotional pressures
  • Heightened awareness of self, values and goals
  • Better and improved behavior
  • Plus more!

I've left the best for last: successful counseling and therapy leads to increased happiness and resilience. In a study led by researcher Chris Boyce, posted online on 11/18/09, Boyce's research team gathered and analyzed data on thousands of people and found that therapeutic support was as much as 32 times more effective in improving well-being than simply getting more money.

Study author Boyce concluded, "the benefits of good mental health are not fully appreciated and people do not realize the powerful effect psychotherapy can have on well being."

Q: How many years have you been in practice?
A: Over fifteen.

Q: What are your fees?
A: The first session is $50.00. Subsequently, the normal fee for a 50 minute session is $130.00. For a 90 minute session, the normal fee is $185. If you are challenged financially, I will provide consider a 30 minute session, and I have a few lower fee slots that as low as $80.00.

Q: What is the average number of sessions that a couples will need?
A: Each couple is unique, so there is no average number of sessions. However, my approach is structured and short-term, with the goal of creating positive change as quickly as is possible. Therapy begins with an assessment process where I complete an assessment of each partner and the couple. This assessment provides the "road map'
for therapy. Once the assessment is complete we decide the duration of sessions. The goal is not to make couples dependent on the therapist. Rather, I attempt to provide couples with skills and tools needed to deal competently with issues in their daily lives.

Q: How do you accept payment? Do you accept credit cards?
A: Payment is in cash, check or credit card. Payments by credit card go through a Paypal link on my web site and need to be purchased at least 48 hours in advance of an appointment. (Please give 24 hours notice of cancellation, to avoid being charged.)

Q: Do you accept insurance plans?
A: We accept out of network provider for PPO's. (Please ask about your health insurance coverage when you arrange your first visit.)

Q: Do you honor diversity in clients?
A: I am committed to honoring your story whatever it may be. I welcome your unique race, religion, sexual preference, class and political persuasion. Your unique story is the basis for the therapy experience. Let's work together.

Q: What are the rates for receiving therapy or counseling by phone?
A: The rates for face-to-face and phone sessions are the same.

Q: If I live in another state, can I do therapy with you over the phone?
We can do coaching and counseling over the phone with people at any location, but not therapy. Therapy by phone can be done with California residents only. The reason is that licensing for therapists differs from state-to-state, so doing therapy over the phone out of state may violate local statutes. Coaching does not require licensing, however, so I can provide that service to you over the phone regardless of your location.

Q: What's the difference between therapy and coaching?
A: There can be several, but one of the main differences is that with coaching, the goal is solution-based, focused on the here-and-now, and intended principally for individuals who have a minimum of psychological issues.

Q: What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

Coaching assumes you have no serious emotional disorders. It focuses on setting and reaching specific goals. Psychotherapy assumes you have emotional problems which are the focus of treatment. In my practice, coaching, like therapy, is a method to help people change; indeed, emotionally healthy people often seek therapy to achieve further personal growth.

To have insurance pay for your treatment, diagnosis of mental illness is required. But a diagnosis of mental illness is certainly not required to receive helpful counseling. All you need is the desire to improve some aspects of your inner life or relationships.

Please email me and let me know what your situation is. I may be able to help you decide if coaching over the phone is a good choice for you, and if not I may be able to help you find a qualified therapist.

Q: What are the divorce rates?
A: Divorce rates in America are 50% and rising. (For those in second and third marriages, the divorce rate is 67%!) The family is in crisis, and couples face deep relationship instability. Research by Dr John Gottman shows that the average couple waits six years from the first sign of problems before they seek help. I believe that with coaching and/or therapy, we can help people sooner, repair troubled families and help all couples and families to be strong and healthy.

Q: What if one of us has numerous personal issues that need addressing?
That individual may be better suited for couples therapy rather than coaching. Individual therapy may also be indicated for one or both individuals involved in couples therapy. If that is the case I will either help, or assist you in finding the best and most appropriate individual treatment in your area.

Q: Where are you located?
A: My primary marriage counseling office in Carlsbad is located in the village downtown.

I can be easily reached by anyone in the surrounding areas as well.