FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where is your office located?
Just type in 2522 Plantation Center Drive, Matthews, NC, 28105 into your favorite navigation system (Google Maps, Waze, Safari Maps, Mapquest, etc.) and you should arrive at my doorstep!
If you live in South Charlotte/Matthews area, then you are probably familiar with the Siskey YMCA. My office is across the street from there, in the office park next to the emergency veterinarian, about 1 minute from the Harris Teeter grocery store.
If you are coming from further away, you will likely take I-485 and then exit Providence Road, and take McKee Road to approach my office.
Directionally impaired? It happens to the best of us! Give me a call, and I can help you plan your route.
What are your office hours?
Typically, I am available to see clients on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 9 am – 6 pm. I do not offer later evening appointments nor Saturday appointments.
What does my first appointment include, and how do I set it up?
My experience tells me that by the time you call me, you have a lot on your mind.
I meet new clients for one hour. This gives my clients and I a chance to get to know each other. I can hear what is currently going on with you, what you have tried in the past to resolve the problems, and what may have led to the current concerns you have.
Do couples fight in front of you?
Yes, of course! Couples fight in front of me.
That is expected; yet, there are a variety of ways that couples deal with conflict. Some yell, but just as many use the silent treatment and avoidance. A key first step is facing conflict and knowing that a safe place will be created in the therapy office, where the conflict will not be allowed to be destructive.
Do people cry?
Crying is a part of experiencing difficult feelings. Sometimes people are very familiar with crying, while others may have not cried in years. Frequent crying and no crying are signs that there may be a bigger issue present. On the other hand, many people are surprised to discover laughter during the process of therapy.
Do I have to tell you everything?
You will not be forced to share anything that you don’t want to share. Over time, most clients discover that sharing long-held secrets becomes a relief. It may not be instantaneous, but once trust is built, clients are grateful to be released from the weight of painful secrets.
Do you take sides?
In marital conflict, it is common to start from the position of thinking that the other person is wrong, hoping that the therapist will see that they are right and their partner is wrong. I try to look through both partners’ perspectives and help each partner see the role they play in the conflict and the role their partner contributes.
How long does it take?
While just about every couple hopes that in a few short sessions they can have the marriage of their dreams, the reality is that it often takes time.
Some couples come to therapy because they have woken up and realized they are not happy and need a change; they know they did not get to this position overnight, and it will not change quickly.
Other couples come in due to a crisis in their relationship, hoping for a quick “heart transplant” and then to be back on the road.
Therapy is a journey that takes time to be effective. For some couples, they can get the help they need in six months. But many more may take several years to get to the change they need. This is a difficult reality to face, but one that must be said. Not taking the time now to transform your marriage will end up costing much more in the future.
Therapy can be a heavy up-front investment, costing a lot in emotional energy, time, and money. Most people would not expect quick recovery if they just got diagnosed with cancer; the same should be true for transforming your marriage.
When it comes to Financial Therapy, are you most like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Jim Cramer, or someone else?
Yes, I am like all of them, in the sense that I care about your financial health. No, I’m not like any of them, in the reality that I take the time to get to know each and every client. Any financial advice given by me is secondary to growing and developing emotionally healthy people and relationships.
From that foundation, I encourage people (when they have achieved relational and personal stability) to work with organizations such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Garret Financial Planning Network, and XY Planning Network to identify a financial planner that would be well suited to work with them. I find that the process of comprehensive fee-only financial planning makes a lot of sense. Each of these organizations helps organize financial planners who are dedicated to maintaining a fiduciary standard developed by the Department of Labor. (Fiduciary Standard is the fancy term for the highest legal and ethical standard.) When the totality of your financial picture is considered before any advice is given, your chances of getting appropriate advice increases significantly.
Do you take insurance?
Insurance is not taken. However, you may be able to file for out-of-network insurance reimbursement benefits. One common concern about filing insurance includes the mental health diagnosis becoming a part of your permanent medical record. In some circumstances, this information may be used against you in both employment and insurance decisions.
Who benefits from therapy?
Couples that benefit from therapy are the ones that see painful patterns repeating from their own families and don’t want them to happen to themselves and their children. The couples who benefit most from therapy are open to making the investment in emotional energy, time and money to grow their relationship. While many couples start from a place of resistance or denial for the potential of growth and change, in time they discover that there are new options.
How do you work with clients?
Those who have done their homework or who have had previous experiences with therapy know there are different therapy styles and approaches for effecting change.
Research consistently points to the client/therapist relationship being the greatest predictor of therapeutic change. With that being said, I start from a family systems perspective. This means that when I am listening to clients, I am often wondering about five family generations at one time. It is not just the couple sitting in front of me, but the legacy of their collective family stories. Life experiences often include: immigration/migration, military service, financial gains/losses, premature death and disability, addiction, physical and mental ailments, to name a few broad categories. These experiences play like music in the background for clients and indicate areas of growth and resiliency.
Why do you charge so much, especially when I am financially stressed?
Let me ask you, have you ever given a discount to someone only to discover that later they could have paid the whole fee? I have, and it is frustrating and painful.
I call this the Disney World effect. When clients ask for a reduced fee during therapy, but then go on to purchase a new car, or go on a trip to [you guessed it] Disney World, it creates a relationship of resentment.
We all have to decide how to spend our available money, and we all make different choices. But let’s face it: for married couples, a divorce is MUCH more expensive (financially and emotionally) than the cost of investing in quality therapy. Which would you choose?
I charge an appropriate fee to represent my level of personal and professional training in the art and science of therapy. I have spent years in professional training, and I have also spent considerable time in my own therapy. Both of these experiences allow me to work from a deep place of integrity and honesty with my therapy clients.