Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is a mental health professional who specializes in working with individuals, couples, and families to help them improve their relationships and mental health. MFTs are trained to understand the complex dynamics that exist within relationships and to provide therapy that helps themselves to understand how their internal system operates so that they can have more fulfillment in life in general, such as resolve conflicts, communicate more effectively, and build stronger relationships. To become a Marriage and Family Therapist, one typically needs to complete a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or a related field, and obtain a license in their state of practice.
Is Psychotherapy for crazy people?
This is a common stigma for psychotherapy. You will not doubt when you get sick physically and go to see a doctor. Our emotion wellbeing deserves the same level of care. Just like physically, there are severe diseases and the lighter ones, psychological issue or challenge is a spectrum. The more serious ones would be those experiencing major depression, suicidal ideation, psychosis, etc., which need a whole team of professionals to provide care. The lighter ones could be a life challenge, transition, relationship, etc. Also, some emotion disturbances get severe if you do not get treatment, but some disappear with the help from your emotional immune system (coping strategies), which does not mean that if you go to see a therapist that you are weak or you are not strong enough. Our mind and psyche are just complex as our physical body, if we give appropriate attention to take care of it, it usually become healthier.
When is the right time for me to see a therapist?
Most people come to see a therapist when they feel challenging in life, such as big or hard transitions happen in life and realize it is too hard to handle with the skills or resources they have right now. Some people come to see a therapist when they feel they want to have a better version of themselves or a more fulfilling life. There is no standard answer, as what I mentioned above, you can go to a body check annually to make sure you body is healthy, or when you get a cold, you will go to a pharmacy to get some vitamins or meds. I usually advocate for our mental health in the same way, unfortunately, most people come to learn how to take care of their emotion or spiritual beings when it gets bad enough.
I'm not sure how to do therapy.
Luckily, all you have to do is show up. From there we will work together to identify goals and collaborate our way towards a supportive and authentic relationship. Some people feel supported by planning ahead and coming in with specific topics or curiosities to explore. Some people feel supported by showing up without preparing, allowing whatever pops to mind be the topic of the day. I feel comfortable working with both approaches, and those that fall somewhere in between.
What can I expect from therapy?
I would like to say that therapy is a journey that you know more about yourself so that you can build a new relationship with the outside or/and internal world throughout the journey.
What is the first session like?
The first session is usually an "intake" session-- sometimes this extends into a second session. During these sessions I will ask questions about your background including relationships, mental health history, eating, sleeping, substance use, spirituality, family history. Clients are welcome to answer as many or as few questions as they want to. These sessions can give us both an idea of the rapport, and inform whether we want to continue on together. After these sessions, my therapeutic approach varies depending on the needs and interests of the client.
What is your fee? Are fees negotiable?
The average cost is $180 per 50-minute session for individuals and $220 per 50-minute session for couples. I have some sliding scale spots available based on client income and request.