FAQ

I provide evidence-based psychotherapy to individuals and couples based on my specialized training in cognitive behavior therapy for PTSD and addictions; personality disorders; and forensic evaluations. I work with my clients on a variety of issues, including mood and anxiety disorders, impulse-control and anger difficulties, and relationship problems. If you become my client our focus will be on helping you base life decisions on your long-term goals and values rather than on impulsive reactions or avoidance of painful emotions. In this way we will work toward you building your version of a life worth living.

  • How is therapy helpful?
    • Therapy helps people cope more effectively with life problems. A trained psychologist can help you:

      • Prevent life's stressors from threatening your physical health.
      • Build your confidence and resilience to meet challenges head-on.
      • Gain a mental edge to be your best at your job and with your family.
      • Cope with big life issues such as death, divorce, or when you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
      • When you're overwhelmed and can't handle the problem yourself.
  • Why should I see a psychologist?
    • Psychologists are trained to help people cope more effectively with life problems, using techniques based on best available research and their clinical skills and experience, and taking into account the person's unique values, goals, and circumstances. On average, psychologists spend seven years in education and training after they receive their undergraduate degree. They are experts in helping you to:

      • Identify your problems and figure out the best ways to cope with them.
      • Change contributing behaviors or habits.
      • Find constructive ways to deal with a situation that is beyond your control.
  • How long will therapy take?
    • People often start to feel better after a few sessions, and for many problems, short-term treatment (6–12 sessions) is effective. Often, however, people want to stay in therapy for more than a few months to tackle persistent problems and resolve long-standing issues. I try to provide efficient treatment that will help you get on with your life as quickly as possible.

  • How can I get better faster?
    • By putting more time and energy into your therapy.

      With most clients, I assign “homework” to keep you focused on therapy through the week. You can suggest your own weekly goals, as well. Other ways of speeding up therapy include keeping a journal, which my clients often say is helpful; coming to session prepared with what you want to accomplish; and reading relevant books or articles. I will happily provide you with suggestions for reading.

  • How often will I have sessions?
    • In most cases we will start with weekly, fifty-minute sessions. Some specific treatments require a limited period of longer or more frequent sessions. As you begin to meet your treatment goals, we may decide to meet less often.

  • What is your therapy orientation? What kind of therapy do you do?
    • I specialize in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which focuses on teaching specific skills. Treatment is goal-oriented to resolve present-day problems and therapy involves working step-by-step to achieve goals. My clients actively participate in their treatment both in and out of our sessions, and homework assignments are often included as part of the treatment. We develop goals for therapy together and track progress toward goals throughout the course of treatment.

      Cognitive and behavior therapies include a number of different approaches that have empirical support—meaning that scientific research has demonstrated they work. The specific type of treatment I use will depend on your needs. Possibilities include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, exposure therapy, traditional Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and supportive therapy.

      No matter what type of treatment I’m using, I’m always guided by an interpersonal process perspective. This means that our relationship becomes an integral part of our work, a way to help you feel better and reach your goals. The relationship between a client and therapist is healing because it is a place to practice trust, assertiveness, and the processing of painful emotions and events. It can also be a good place to work out problems you are encountering with others in your life. For example, if you have a hard time trusting others or committing to relationships, we can talk directly in session about how much you trust me or about your fears about committing to our therapeutic relationship.

      I also rely on feedback from clients to improve the therapy I’m doing. Therefore I value and encourage honest, direct feedback and frank questions. By building our own therapeutic relationship in an open and candid way, we both become better equipped to meet the challenges of the therapeutic process.

  • Should I go on meds instead of therapy, or in addition to therapy?
    • This depends on your specific circumstances. People with more severe symptoms may benefit from adding medications, particularly among disorders like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and psychotic disorders. For the less severe instances of these disorders, findings show that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is at least as effective as medication, and for some disorders it is even more effective. Research also suggests that psychiatric medications typically treat the symptoms but do not cure the disorders, whereas you can learn things in CBT that may reduce your risk of the disorder coming back. In some cases, taking prescription medications may produce harmful side effects, result in addiction, or even hinder the effects of the CBT treatment itself. Therefore, we will work together to analyze carefully whether psychiatric medications are appropriate for your needs.

  • Is therapy confidential?
    • Yes. There are some rare exceptions, described in my New Patient Packet, related to legal or dangerous situations or when you have specifically authorized me to release information. In all other cases, I keep the information you share in session absolutely private.

Location

121 Hickory Street, Suite 1
Missoula, MT 59801-1896
Tel 406.830.3069 | Fax 406.830.3105
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