I get asked questions all the time about many different things related to therapy and coaching. Whether the questions are from clients, random people in the grocery store, my Lyft driver, husband, mom, or even you.. I want to be able to answer them!
This page is a collection of the questions I get asked the most about therapy and coaching. If you have any questions about other stuff, don’t hesitate to ask.
FAQ: Why ONLY remote therapy and coaching?
- No travel time
- Appointments that fit into your day
- Online scheduling
- Flexible appointment times (mornings, evenings, weekends)
Its Super Effective & Well-Liked (by both therapists & clients!)
- A study done by the University of Zurich in 2013 showed that online therapy was perceived by clients to be more effective at treating their depression, as compared to in-person therapy
- A study done in Canada about the differences between online therapy and in-person therapy resulted in the same clinical outcomes and level of client satisfaction. (2007)
It Gives You More Choices
By selecting a therapist in your state, rather than in your neighborhood, you’re able to have more of a selection – to find the best fit possible. If I’m not the best fit for you, I will happily help refer you to another online psychotherapist, or someone local in your area.
Its Private & Comfortable
- You won’t run into anyone in the waiting room
- You don’t have to get on public transportation
- Rather than being in an office, you get to be in your space while we talk
- You don’t have to see anyone, if you don’t want to!
It Saves You Money
With no need to go to a therapist’s office, you save on:
- Travel expenses
If you have any questions about remote therapy or would like to know more about working together, shoot me an e-mail!
FAQ: Can I decide I want to see a different therapist?
Answer: Of course! You can always decide that a different therapist may be a better fit for you. No matter how many sessions you’ve had with your current therapist, its okay! I can’t speak for any other therapists, however, I am more than happy to discuss it with you if you don’t think we are a good fit. My job is not to keep you in my office, it’s to help you. If that means finding you someone else, then so be it!
FAQ: Do you have experience working with the LGBT community?
Answer: Yes! In fact, about half of my clients identify as lesbian, gay, bi, or queer. See this blog posting about who I work with.
FAQ: Can you help me bring intimacy and excitement back into my relationship?
Answer: Absolutely, but not without your efforts.
If you want more intimacy & excitement in your relationship – you’ve come to the right place. But, there’s a caveat.
Think of a personal trainer at a gym. If you hire a trainer and they give you exercises to get your dream abs, you’re still responsible for doing it. Ultimately, its up to you to do the exercises, even when the trainer isn’t there.
Therapy is similar to this in some ways; I can help you gain clarity and all the tools in the world, but without you applying them, it won’t work. So, yes, I can help you bring back intimacy and excitement to your relationship, but not without you as my partner!
FAQ: What about politics? Or religion?
Answer: I used to joke about how politics actually rarely entered into my therapy room. Well, that all changed on 11-8-16. Since that day, politics is all anyone can talk about in the therapy room. You are welcome to bring in anything related to politics or religion, always.
As you can probably tell by the nature of my work, I am very liberal.
I come from a Jewish family, and consider myself a cultural and spiritual person – but not religious. Still, one of the cornerstones of being a therapist is neutrality. I see clients that are Agnostic, Atheist, Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist – it doesn’t matter to me. I respect all people’s beliefs.
To sum up, you will not be judged. For anything. Not for what political party you belong to or for what religious beliefs you live by. And I can promise you that my own political and religious beliefs will not enter our work together. If this is something that you have any additional questions or concerns about, please let me know.
FAQ: What is your therapy style? Are you just gonna sit there and listen? Or are you going to talk the whole time?
Answer: A little bit of both. My therapy style is very directive, however, its also very supportive and caring. I want to have an environment of safety, security and a place where you can come word vomit, or dump out whatever you want to say. However, just sitting around talking about how we feel does not make change. It IS the first step to change, however. So, during the beginning and sometimes later on, you may dominate the session in talking. And then, there may be times where its more 50/50.. it mostly depends on you!
FAQ: Therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists – WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
There are A LOT of terms that get tossed around in the mental health field. Hopefully this list will help explain some of them.
Therapists or Psychotherapists
Typically have a MFT license (in CA and CO) and sometimes have a LCSW license. This is a Master’s Degree level career. Psychotherapists do talk therapy, which has been clinically shown to be as effective as medicine in some cases. In many cases, a therapist will work with a psychiatrist to help a client receive both psychotherapy and medication management.
Psychologists are PhDs or PsyDs – which are both on a doctorate level. They are NOT medical doctors, but doctors of either philosophy or psychology, respectfully. Psychologists do both psychotherapy and psychological testing.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD). They have been to medical school, just like your primary care doctor, but did a focus on the brain and mental health. They are specialists in treating mental health diagnoses with medication and other treatments that are medically approved.
Social Workers have a LCSW acronym and are found in many different venues. Typically, social workers work in agencies, helping with social services, grief counseling, and in schools. However, there are many social workers who are trained in psychotherapy and have private practices. If you’re curious about someone’s experience, never hesitate to ask.
Like I mentioned in a previous post about couples therapy vs couples counseling, the term counselor is not necessarily regulated – it just depends on the state. There are school counselors, marriage counselors, health counselors, college counselors – they all have different education levels, licenses, and credentials. Again, if you have questions, ask.
Have any questions? Did I miss one? Comment below and I can answer your questions!
FAQ: Do you work with non-monogamous relationships?
Answer: Yes! I do work with men and women have non-monogamous relationships, or live a non-monogamous lifestyle.
To summarize, I see couples of all shapes and sizes. I work with clients in non-monogamous relationships, monogamous relationships, open relationships, polyamorous relationships, marriages, domestic partnerships – you name it, its welcome in my office.
FAQ: What is your location? What are the differences?
Answer: I currently have four different location options where we can see each other:
- Remotely via phone or Skype
- Lafayette Office – 953 Mountain View Drive Rm. 1, Lafayette, CA 94549
- San Francisco Office – 870 Market Street Suite 758, San Francisco, CA 94102
- Walnut Creek Office/Impulse Treatment Center – 2940 Camino Diablo #110, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
For more information about these, you can drop me a line!
What is the difference?
Answer: Location, location, location!
There is no difference in your investment – its all about what works for you and your schedule!
Research shows us that tele-therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. So, I’m comfortable with phone sessions, sessions over Skype (audio or video), and in-person sessions.
FAQ: How do I schedule my appointments?
Current or past client? Click here!
New client? Meeting via phone is required before meeting in person – I want to make sure we are a good fit to work together, and if not, be able to provide you with some other referrals.
You can click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation.
FAQ: Can I still follow you on social media even if I come to see you?
FAQ: Are you available in-between sessions?
Answer: This is one of those questions that every therapist will answer very differently and in fact, my answer could change over time as well. However, I do not think the only magic that can happen is during our time in the office/on Skype/on the phone. There are times when things happen during the week that are important and my philosophy is: you can always share, you just may not get a response right away.
I tell all of my clients.. you can always shoot me a text or an e-mail that says, “Hey! I know we are meeting on Thursday, but please remind me to bring up how my partner did not do the laundry today, it really hurt my feelings.” You can ask questions (that are of a non-urgent matter), you can write me about scheduling, and you can fill me in on something that happened.
DO NOT rely on in-between session communication for emergencies or if you need an answer RIGHT AWAY.
There are days where I see many clients and do not get to check my e-mail. So, as a general rule of thumb… if it can wait a day to get a response, go ahead and send it!
I’m here for you.
FAQ: How will I know therapy is working?
Answer: This is a tough question to answer, because just like your ___ is unique to you, so is how you’ll know. When I thought more about this and brought it up to my husband to get a non-therapist’s perspective, we agreed on this.
You know therapy is working when the issues that you saught therapy out for in the first place are being resolved on your own, within your own control. This may be with or without your therapist pointing certain things out to you.
Clients report feeling the following feelings when they say they “knew therapy was working”:
[this list is from real clients, who will remain anonymous]
- “freaked the fuck out”
You can see from the above list, that everyone’s responses are incredibly different. However, they all involve movement.
FAQ: Will you prescribe medication?
Answer: No, I do not prescribe medication. Marriage & Family Therapists (MFTs) cannot prescribe medication in the state of California. If medication is something that you want or think you might need, we can find a psychiatrist that will be able to work with both of us, to assess and see if medication is the right route for you. Medication can be a great tool, but it is not a replacement for talk therapy.
FAQ: Will my insurance pay for our sessions?
Answer: After so many conversations about insurance – I put together this blog article! I hope that this answers your questions!
4 Reasons Why I Don’t Accept Insurance for Therapeutic Services (And Why I Never Will)
I get asked many questions, but questions about insurance are definitely the most frequent. While the benefits of using insurance for therapy have been made clear, the risks and downsides are not as blatant. Part of my job as your therapist is to help you make informed decisions, and that includes billing insurance.
Here are 4 reasons why I don’t accept insurance in my practice:
1. Insurance companies require a mental health disorder diagnosis to pay for any session.
Yes, insurance companies require a mental health disorder diagnosis to pay for sessions. First, not everyone who comes to therapy has a mental health diagnosis. Second, you may not know if you have a mental health diagnosis. If we decide that figuring out a diagnosis is appropriate, we can absolutely do that. However, I personally don’t like the idea of being required to diagnose you in order for us to be able to meet. Additionally, one of the best times to come in and start therapy is when nothing is ‘wrong.’ To be able to come in and build a relationship when there is no crisis provides an incredible foundation for when something does come up that is more challenging.
2. Once the diagnosis is submitted, the insurance company then has the right to access to all of your therapy notes.
Therapy notes, or progress notes, are the record of our sessions. If you’d like to know more about progress notes, you can check out this blog that I wrote about them. Theoretically, this means that anyone who is employed and has access to patient information, then has access to any notes that the company has requested. It would be great to think that this doesn’t happen and privacy is respected. But, the reality is that I respect my clients’ personal information and do not want to share it with a giant corporation out to make money as their main purpose.
3. I work holistically and insurance doesn’t like that.
I want to take into account more than just your thoughts and your behaviors. While those have a huge part to play and always are discussed, there is more to it than that. Holistic psychology concentrates on the relationship that someone has with the world; physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. On the contrary, insurance wants a step-by-step list of how we are going to solve “problem A, B, & C.” On the contrary, our work together is looking at you as a whole person. You are not just your thoughts, feelings, & behaviors – you have a whole life, a whole experience! Not everything can be “fixed” in 10 sessions.
4. Handling the paperwork for insurance companies takes away my time of working with YOU.
Insurance companies require loads and loads of paperwork for each session. That means that if I accepted insurance, it would take up the majority of my time outside of session. Why does that affect you? Well, I am always reading new articles on new therapeutic treatments and keeping up my blog, business, and education so that I can be the best therapist possible. If I am spending 50% of my time doing paperwork, I cannot be there for you in the way that you deserve. In any case, I am happy to provide a Superbill. While this still requires a diagnosis, it doesn’t require any progress notes or detailed information about what we’re discussing or doing in our work. Superbills can be submitted to your insurance company for what is called out-of-network reimbursement.
I believe that part of my job as your partner in wellness is operating my business authentically. For me, this means not doing business with insurance companies. I just value our holistic work & your confidentiality more than that. This is not a judgement of therapists who accept insurance, it is just explaining why I do not! If you have any questions about this, please leave a comment or contact me, I’d love to discuss any questions about this topic!
FAQ: How does payment work? Where? When? How?
Answer: Payment is due at the time of session.
However, if you would rather make a payment monthly, or bi-weekly, we can discuss your specific needs. Please do not hesitate to ask me about options! It is important that you feel 100% comfortable with whatever payment arrangement we make. I am currently accepting payment via PayPal & Venmo. You will receive an invoice either before or shortly after our session.
FAQ: Do you offer a sliding scale?
Answer: First of all, what is a sliding scale?
A sliding scale is a way of saying that a therapist can ‘slide’ their fee from their full fee down to a certain amount.
I am able to offer a few sliding scale spots for specific types of financial need. My spots are open to:
- MFT Interns
- College Students
- Individuals who work in the arts (writers, actors, singers, dancers, etc.) that do not have a full-time job.
I do not ever want to turn anyone away from therapy because of financial problems. If we’re not a good match financially, I am happy to gain a sense of what type of therapist you are looking for. I have a wonderful network of therapists and am happy to refer you to someone who can fit your financial needs. If you would like to see if I have any slots available or have any questions about the investment in yourself, contact me today.
FAQ: What is your cancellation policy? Can I re-schedule?
Answer: You can now cancel and re-schedule using the scheduling tool, up until 48 hours before the appointment. Yay!
My cancellation policy is a 2-way street. I’m not going to hold you to a firm line that I can’t hold myself.
With that being said, here is my cancellation policy:
If you wish you cancel your appointment, please try to do it prior to 48 hours before hand. I will also try to do this. Now, with that being said, shit comes up – sickness, family emergency, work crisis, etc. When we can reschedule it within that same week, there will be no charge. If we can’t reschedule it that same week, and you must cancel, you will be responsible for the full session fee. However, if I ever have to cancel on you within 48 hours of an appointment, you will get an additional freebie cancel, allowing you to cancel an appointment within the 48 hour period without penalty.
Basically, let’s both try to stick with our schedules – baring any unforeseen issues – and we will both be happy. BUT, as usual – my motto is, “IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK.” So, if you want to shoot me a text and say “Hey, instead of today, can we do Friday @ 2?” – that’s fine! And I also reserve the right to do the same. If you have any concerns or questions about this cancellation policy, please don’t hesitate to ask. Its important to me that we are on the same page with this and truly understand the agreement.
FAQ: Is the first session free?
Answer: No, our first session together isn’t free. However, we’ll have a phone consultation to talk before you schedule your first appointment.
Most of the time, the phone consultation will help us gain clarity into if we’re a good fit for a first session.
Again, I wouldn’t invite you to book if we both didn’t think it was a good fit.
If you’re ready to schedule a phone consult or appointment, you can book it here.
FAQ: How can I tell if a therapist is a good match for me?
Answer: This is a complicated answer because so much goes into a decision that someone is the right therapist for you.
Here are some indicators you are with the RIGHT therapist:
- You feel like you can say anything to them
- If you have a question about the therapeutic process, you feel comfortable asking them about it
- While therapy may not always be enjoyable, you still want to go, even just a little bit
- The session goes by quickly when you are there
- You may even look forward to sessions
- Your gut says yes
Here are some indicators that you are with the WRONG therapist:
- You are uncomfortable talking about things with them
- You do not feel a connection with the therapist
- You dread going, in fact, its the worst thing you have to do this week
- The session feels like it drags on forever and you leave feeling worse than before
- Your gut says no
While nothing is black and white about what makes a good therapist/client relationship, in my own experience, its something you just know. I recommend that everyone contact at least 3 therapists when looking for one and then meet with two of those in person for a first session and see how the vibe is. What is their office like? Are they the same in person as they were on the phone? These are all important things. I have a very small referral network that I would love to share with you if we aren’t the best fit!
FAQ: Does gender matter when finding a therapist?
Answer: Obviously, there is no skill difference between a female gender and a male gender therapist. However, skill is not the only qualification you’re looking for when looking for a therapist.
To get a better idea of what is right for you, you can ask yourself these questions:
- What is my instinct?
- Why am I having this instinct?
- What are my perceived beliefs about male therapists? Female therapists?
- Is there any trauma in my past that would prevent me from working well with a specific gender?
- Am I staying in my comfort zone out of protection or fear?
If you’re unsure about this topic, its something that I discuss with clients during the free phone consultation. Let’s talk!
FAQ: What is therapy like?
Answer: When you walk into a therapy session with me, I am here to meet you where you are. Regardless if you’re coming in to cry, yell, get sex advice, or just vent… its okay.
People come to therapy for various reasons; some want on going support – to come in weekly for however long they/we decide. There are some that come in with a specific problem, we figure it out and they move on. Some people come in with a specific problem, we realize that there is a lot more going on and they end up staying for a while. And, some people come in regularly for a while, and then come in 1x/month for “maintenance.”
Therapy is what you want it to be.
Basically, our work together is whatever we make it. Sometimes we will just sit and talk, sometimes we will role play, sometimes we go for a walk, sometimes we’ll sit and meditate, sometimes we will laugh for the whole session, sometimes we will cry for the whole session and sometimes I’ll end up teaching you about male prostate stimulation (This actually happened)!
For those of you looking for what “theoretical orientation” I use – I make use of many different theoretical orientations, such as: Cognitive-Behavioral, Gottman Couples, Rational Emotive Behavioral, Solution Focused & Emotion-Focused Therapy. This helps me create a highly personalized therapeutic experience for you (and your partner).
I invite you to ask any further questions that you have about how this all works, or any specific questions that you have. Please shoot me an e-mail, or fill out this contact form. What do you think would be different if you made this investment in yourself? Oh, if you’re ready to schedule a complimentary phone consultation, you can do that by clicking this link!
FAQ: Is there any way that you can break my confidentiality?
Answer: Only for your own safety.
Its important to remember that confidentiality is not only a law, but an ethical guideline. It is one of the things that makes therapy so special. If you are meeting with a therapist, everything that you tell them is held in confidence.
However, there are four exceptions to this rule, and I’ll explain them.
The only three ways that a therapist can break confidentiality are:
1. You are a threat to yourself [suicide]
2. You are a threat to someone else [homicide]
2. You tell me about child abuse
3. You tell me about elder abuse
Above all, I pride myself on keeping your privacy the upmost priority. However, if confidentiality needs to be broken, we will always talk about it first.
FAQ: Will there be any written record of what I say? What are “progress notes”?
Answer: First and foremost, your privacy is the most important thing besides our work. Progress notes are meant to help, not hurt. Every client that I see at least one time has a file of information. These files are either held digitally or physically secure. What matters is that they are locked, secure and compliant to the law and ethical code. Every therapist has a different style of taking notes, however..
Progress notes typically have these 5 components:
1. Date/time/attendance of session
2. A diagnosis (if applicable)
3. Assessment of Current Mental State (to make sure there are no suicidal thoughts, etc.)
4. Any content or themes discussed that are relevant to treatment goals
5. Any homework assigned/our plan for the next session.
Basically, progress notes state that you came in, we talked, if there are any major concerns, and what we did and are going to do to continue to work towards your goals. Since I do not bill insurance companies, the notes are mostly for you and me. They are so that I can look back and measure our progress, as written after each session. The notes do not include judgements or opinions that are not clinically relevant.
FAQ: How long does therapy take?
Answer: There is no one answer for how long therapy takes.
However, I generally find that I have 3 types of clients.
1. The In’N’Out Client: The In-n-out client has a very specific problem or ailment that they want to go away, as quickly as possible. Once the problem is solved, the in-n-out client doesn’t come back to therapy – until there’s another problem, or ailment. My goal is to not only help you receive relief, or ‘solve the problem,’ but also figure out why it happened – to prevent it from happening again.
2. The “As Long as it Takes” Client: The ‘as long as it takes’ client knows that there is not going to be a quick fix for their problem or ailment. So, while they definitely don’t want to be in therapy forever, they are committed to staying as long as it takes to figure out the core of the problem, to avoid history repeating itself. If you feel like this may be you, you never know until we start talking. I invite you to let me know if you feel that this is you.
3. The “I Want Weekly Support Forever” Client: The ‘I want support forever’ client understands and values having an objective partner – trained in psychotherapy, who is supporting them unconditionally. Therapy can be incredibly helpful in maintaining a balanced life. A balanced life that doesn’t include self-sabotage, marital conflict, anxiety, depression. Its not about just solving a problem for this client, its about living mindfully & authentically.
There is not one type of client that is “better” than another.
I have clients whom I see every week and I have clients that I see 5x/year. There are clients who like to come in 2x/week and I have clients who come in 1x/month. In fact, I have some clients that tell me they are going to see me ‘forever’. On the opposite side, I have clients who come in and ask me when they will be able to leave. My goal is whatever your goal is. Not sure what your goals are? We can figure them out together. Just let me know when you’d like to talk.
FAQ: Will you think I’m crazy?
Answer: No, I am not going to think you’re crazy.
Of course, it’s normal to have fears about coming into a stranger’s office while you’re feeling vulnerable. There is nothing easy about that! In fact, its very understandable to worry about how you’ll be perceived. However, I need you to know something… my job is to help you. Ultimately, this process can only be successful if we have a positive working relationship. I can promise you, my office.. my world.. its a judgement-free zone. Unless you come in with that pot on your head. Just kidding, I’d wear one with you if that were the style today. No matter what, you will be accepted. Even with a pot on your head.
FAQ: Are you going to “take sides” in couples therapy?
Answer: Coming in for couples therapy is not an easy decision.
“How do you not take sides with one person?!”
“What if one partner had an affair?! How do you not blame him/her?!”
Its important to know that its not my job to blame your partner for what they have done or the mistakes they have made. However, it IS my job to help you and your partner acknowledge the pain, work through the pain, and eventually move on from the pain. I will call you out on your shit, but there is no blame in the office. I pride myself on being able to not take sides in couples therapy.
Here is a testimonial that a client said I could share…
“Rachel was able to make us both feel heard. I was really worried that because I was the one who f**ked up, that she would put me out to roast in front of my wife. But, she didn’t. She helped me figure out why I cheated, helped my wife forgive me and now we are working on what we need to move forward. Rachel will make sure that both of your voices are heard. I highly recommend her as a couples therapist and coach.”
– Client C.H.*
When a couple comes into therapy, my client is THE COUPLE.
*This testimonial was not solicited and was sent to me with permission to post to website.