What is counseling/therapy?
Most professionals use these words interchangeably. You can call our sessions whatever you wish. Therapy is an ongoing process where you (the patient) meet with me (the therapist) in an effort to improve your quality of life.
Why do people come to counseling/therapy?
Some people, simply put, just need someone to talk to. Having an unbiased set of eyes and ears can be very helpful with problem solving areas of your life. Many people have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and they come to therapy to help alleviate the symptoms. Some examples are: depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and anxiety. Whatever your reason is for seeking services, I am delighted to work with you to hopefully assist you in living a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life.
What happens in a therapy session?
I begin by gathering historical information about you that will help me get to know you better. If there are some topics or events that you do not feel comfortable discussing, that is absolutely fine. Just let me know and we will go at your pace. Over the course of a few sessions, hopefully you will feel ready to set a few goals with me for your therapeutic journey. Some examples may be, "I hope to improve the way I handle stress" or "I would like to improve my communication skills with my spouse." However, some people prefer to use therapy as an unstructured time to "get things off their chest," so to speak. I will tailor my approach to whatever it seems you need.
How does child and/or adolescent therapy work?
I have extensive experience treating children/adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems. This could include anxiety, depression, self injury, suicidal thoughts, aggression, and conflict with family. These issues can greatly impact not only how the child functions in all areas (school, social, family), but can also have implications for the family unit as a whole. I prefer to use an ecological perspective approach when I provide treatment to your child. This means that I do not attempt to understand him/her in isolation, but rather in context as a member of your family unit, a member of their current generation, a member of society, etc. I prefer to spend a balanced and proportionate amount of time with your child alone, with the parent/caregiver alone, and with the family together.
Will everyone find out I'm in therapy?
No. There are very few instances in which I would be required to talk to someone about you/your child without your permission. These circumstances would mostly involve if someone were being abused, or if someone were a danger to themselves or to society. Otherwise, I am required to gain your written permission to talk to anyone about what we discuss in therapy.
What kind of things will we do in therapy?
With children, I utilize an active, play therapy approach in order to help them feel comfortable and engaged and able to speak in their language (play). I am also pursuing official certification in SandPlay therapy, which is a nonverbal expressive therapy that can be utilized for both adults and children. SandPlay therapy can help treat trauma, depression, and anxiety. I have treated some adults/adolescents who request handouts and homework which I am happy to provide. These could be handouts about coping skills, anger management, or a specific therapy technique. Some others prefer to come and talk - this is okay, too! If there is something you'd like to try in therapy (SandPlay, art therapy, mindfulness, etc.) simply ask me and we can discuss if it would be beneficial to you in your therapeutic journey.
Is therapy expensive?
It can be. It often times depends on your insurance plan, your income, etc. I currently accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield as an insurance payer. If you do not have coverage, you may use my self-pay rates (which can be found here). Some insurance companies allow you (the patient) to submit medical bills you have paid for reimbursement. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to verify if your policy allows this. I will not provide any documentation for your insurance company for any reason unless I am legally bound to do so or unless it is for billing purposes. I will conduct all sessions in my office, located at 2020 W. War Memorial Dr. Suite 202C in Peoria, IL 61614. I do offer in home and/or community based therapy if this is an option that you wish to pursue. Sometimes, people feel more comfortable having therapy in their own home. Other times, it can be helpful for me to help with a parenting technique if we go into the community to practice. The charge for this service is higher to account for mileage, etc.