Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a collection of questions prospective patients would be wise to ask before entering into psychotherapy with me.

Are you a Christian psychologist?

I am a Christian; I am a psychologist. While some make distinctions between a Christian psychologist, a Christian who is a psychologist, and a psychologist who is a Christian, I think these distinctions can be misleading. �As a believer, I strive to integrate my faith into my "being," regardless of what I am "doing." To this end, I strive to model Christ in all I am and do not spend time separating my Christian walk into different roles (e.g., father, husband, friend, or psychologist).

What kind of psychotherapy to you practice?

I provide both psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy from a relational perspective. Furthermore, depending on the needs and desires of my patients, I amalgamate other traditions into our work together.

What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a long-term therapy seeking an in-depth understanding of oneself and resolution of fundamental conflicts within the patient's personality. This contrasts with the relatively shorter psychodynamic psychotherapy (see below) which effects more specific changes, such as addressing a relationship issue.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy assumes that we each experience unconscious desires and feelings which are socially unacceptable or too painful to deal with consciously. Our protective response is to keep these feelings in our unconscious mind where we do not have to be aware of them. To maintain this position, we develop defense mechanisms (see below).

Psychological distress and symptoms result from unresolved conflicts experienced during childhood which have become buried in the unconscious mind to protect the individual. Where defense mechanisms become maladaptive, psychoanalytic therapy assists the patient to bring these conflicts into consciousness, to experience the feelings from that time and begin to resolve those conflicts in relationship with the therapist.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can typically involve meeting 2 to 3 per week requiring a considerable time and financial commitment from the patient.

My "brand" of psychodynamic psychotherapy is heavily influenced by the writings of Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, and W.R.D Fairbairn.

What is psychodynamic psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is based on similar concepts to psychoanalytic psychotherapy, but it is a relatively shorter in duration with a more specific focus, such as addressing a relationship issue compared with seeking fundamental changes in personality. Psychodynamic psychotherapy assumes we each experience unconscious desires and feelings which are socially unacceptable or too painful to deal with consciously. Our protective response is to keep these feelings in our unconscious mind where we do not have to be aware of them. To maintain this position, we develop defense mechanisms (see below).

Where defense mechanisms become maladaptive, psychodynamic psychotherapy seeks to help the patient bring these conflicts into consciousness, to experience the feelings from that time and begin to resolve those conflicts in relationship with the therapist.

Does psychodynamic psychotherapy work?

Yes. Moreover, we now have research results to support the "yes." There is strong research supporting the efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Moreover, this research indicates psychodynamic psychotherapy is at least equal in effectiveness compared with other forms of therapy for certain disorders. Finally, there is strong evidence to suggest patients treated in psychodynamic psychotherapy continue to improve even after the treatment ends, while those treated in other models either plateaued or regressed.

What other traditions do you utilize?

When therapeutically beneficial I almagamate two other therapy traditions into the psychotherapy I practice. These include Existential Psychotherapy and Gestalt Psychotherapy.

Existential therapy seeks a deeper understanding of human existence defined by four dimensions � physical, social, personal and spiritual. Internal conflicts often occur in these dimensions when the patient struggles to face the four existential 'givens' or undeniable truths about life. These are meaninglessness, isolation, freedom, and death. Existential therapy focuses on confronting these truths and eventually accepting these truths as part of life.

Gestalt therapy seeks to understand the individual self as a 'whole', acknowledging mind, body and spirit. The way a person relates to another, in the present, is key to understanding how they relate to others and is influenced by previous experiences and their environment. Therapists use the present moment to develop a patient's awareness of how they relate, use language, and non-verbal expression and experiment with new ways of relating, speaking, and behaving. By doing this, the therapist helps the client become more authentic (or genuine) in how they relate to others. Where an patient's previous experiences have formed a poor sense of self, the therapist seeks to provide a positive experience in the present, as a vehicle for change and personal growth.

What are your fees?

I strive to be upfront and clear about how much I charge for my services. The initial consultation is free. I see no reason you should pay to decide if I am the right therapist for you. Furthermore, I have compared my rates to other professionals in the local area and believe I provide a valuable service at a fair market price.


Initial Consultation

Free

Diagnostic Interview

$220.00

Individual Psychotherapy - 45 min

$160.00

Psychological Assessment - per hour

$170.00


For many, the costs involved in psychotherapy only appear exorbitant. When you add up the endless expense for hospitals and medical treatments and compare the increase in efficiency and earning-power brought about by a successful course of psychotherapy, the patient often strikes an excellent "bargain."

Do you offer a sliding scale?

Yes. I adjust my fee for a variety of reasons. For example, I offer discounts for full-time graduate students training in clinical psychology or an allied field, seminary students, and persons in full-time Christian ministry (including spouses). Further, I also provide fee adjustments for patients referred through certain agencies, churches, and organizations. I also offer a marked discount for increased session frequency. Specifically, when a patient pays for all sessions at the beginning of the week, I reduce the fee of each subsequent session in a week by fifty-percent from the previous session fee. Finally, patients are welcome to combine both discounts.

What insurance do you accept?

I do not accept payments directly from insurance companies.

Why don't you accept insurance?

I provide psychological services on a fee-for-service basis. This means you pay me directly for my therapy services. This provides you the freedom and opportunity to have direct input and control of your treatment without the interference of a managed-care or insurance company. Furthermore, this arrangement allows me to keep my fees as low as possible, because it cuts down on billing and bookkeeping costs. Moreover, your treatment (and any diagnosis) is your private business and need not be reported or disclosed to anyone you do not want to tell.
While I won't bill your insurance company for you, if you would like to submit a claim to your insurance company, I can provide you with a documentation detailing the services I provided so you can give the information to provider. Furthermore, many patients use their flexible spending accounts to pay for their therapy with pre-tax dollars. The forms I will contain all the information needed to be reimbursed from your insurer or your FSA account.

How long does therapy typically last?

Length of therapy is variable. As a general guideline, given the nature of the therapy I practice, most patients see me at least 9 months. Many see me for 12 months. A notable number continue beyond a year. Furthermore, many of my patients continue to see me, even when their symptoms no longer cause them problems, with no specific plans on ending. They report benefiting from such an open-ended approach the way many people value the discipline and growth from an ongoing workout program or training in a martial art.

Why should I consider long-term therapy?

Seeing patients for extended periods of time has fallen out of favor in America. Further, the advent of managed care has all but eliminated insurance coverage for more than a dozen or so sessions. Nevertheless, there is a "growing body of research that shows that for many psychological problems psychotherapy works better in the long term and is more cost-effective and long-lasting than medication" and "hundreds of studies have found that psychotherapy is an effective way to help people make positive changes in their lives." Finally, those treated with psychotherapy are less likely to relapse when treatment has ended than those who are treated with medication.

How many times a week should I come?

When possible, I prefer to see patients twice a week. At the very least, I want to see patients weekly. My experience is any less frequent and therapy is ineffective and a waste of your valuable time and money. While you do not need to see me twice a week, or more, for effective therapy, I shall let you know my opinion regarding session frequency given the intensity, frequency, and duration of your symptoms.

What problems do you treat?

I treat a wide range of problems and disorders. People seek treatment because they are in pain. While the variety of pain people experience is endless and I am not the best clinician to help with every problem, the problems I do treat include chronic anxiety, chronic depression, substance abuse, sexual problems, and compulsive behaviors.
Moreover, I specialize in treating personality disorders and help patients change other aspects of themselves of which are not directly identified as "symptoms" but "way-of-life issues" which include trouble making difficult decisions, low self-esteem, identity confusion, and relationship difficulties.
Finally, I also specialize in treating complicated and long-standing problems that have not responded well to other forms of treatment. Thus, a notable portion of my patients have had unsatisfying results in previous courses of therapy, counseling, or medical treatment and are seeking the unique qualities of the psychotherapy I provide.

What is a personality disorder?

Personality disorders are a collection of conditions characterized by an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the patient's culture. This pattern can result in the disruption of cognition (i.e., ways of thinking and interpreting one's self, other people, and events), affect (i.e., the range, intensity, stability, and appropriateness of emotional response), interpersonal functioning, and/or impulse control. Moreover, this enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a wide range of personal and social situations. This enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress and/or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Finally, the enduring pattern is stable and of long duration with an onset in late adolescence or early adulthood.
These disorders typically aren't diagnosed until an individual is a young adult, often not until their 20's or even 30's. Most patients with personality disorders lead pretty normal lives and often only seek treatment during times of increased stress or social demands. Personality disorders tend to be an integral part of a person, and therefore, are difficult to treat or "cure."

What personality disorders to you treat?

I have experience treating several different personality disorders. These include avoidant personality disorder (APD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), dependant personality disorder (DPD), histrionic personality disorder (HPD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), obsessive-compulsive personality disorder(OCPD), and paranoid personality disorder (PPD).

Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.

Dependant personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation.

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking behavior.

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (not to be confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD) is characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency.

Paranoid personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent.

What are defense mechanisms?

Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Defense mechanisms are often classified based on a developmental spectrum ranging from "primitive" to "mature." Primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective in the short-term; nevertheless, primitive defense mechanisms are typically less effective over the long-term. One major goal of therapy is to develop more mature defense mechanisms when a patient's primitive defense mechanisms are no longer working efectively.