Why do I have to pay?
Therapy or counseling by a licensed social worker, psychologist, or counselor is a skilled service like those offered by other professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and dentists. When you become my client, I make a commitment to you backed not only by my training and experience, but also by my professional ethics. The fee is your part of the bargain. My part includes accepting responsibility for our work together, maintaining confidentiality, behaving professionally toward you at all times, and giving priority to your emotional needs.
Why a professional?
Many visitors who contact me through this site start out by saying they “just need advice” or are “looking for someone to talk to.” So why choose a professional? Real counseling or therapy offers a lot more than just an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. A professional is more likely to help you get unstuck and make some real changes, in both your life and how you feel. Maybe you are afraid that there is “something wrong with you.” A helping professional in a recognized discipline like social work or psychology is trained to know the difference and help effectively whether your trouble is mild or severe, either through “talk therapy” (online or face to face) or by referring you to a qualified professional whose skills will match your issue. Finally, do you really want a stranger who doesn’t know you and whose qualifications are unknown to make the major decisions in your life? If you click on a site where someone will tell you instantly whether to leave your spouse, quit your job, or skip the operation, who will have to live with the consequences if it doesn’t turn out the way you hope? Not that stranger in cyberspace, but you. Counseling or therapy is a process in which, over time, the therapist gets to know you, helps you make the most of your strengths, and empowers you to make the choices that only you can make.
What about confidentiality?
As your therapist, I am bound by professional ethics to consider the confidentiality of our work a sacred trust, just as I would in office practice. While nothing on the Internet is hacker proof, the secure and private chat rooms on this site should protect us from intrusion in all reasonable circumstances. If we meet in the LivePerson chat room, no more than two people (you and I) can enter the room at any time. The chat room is set up so that everything we say when we're in it is deleted when you leave the site. Records are kept only in secure archives. If you choose to keep your own record of a session, you may do so by printing or copying and pasting the text immediately after the session. The group room, which is protected by individual passwords and an access log, is used primarily for groups and trainings, but you may request an individual session there. No one else will be allowed to enter the room while we are having our individual session. If you choose, you may log your session by cutting and pasting or printing the text when it ends. No transcript is stored on any server or computer. The confidentiality of electronic and printed records created and maintained by you is your sole responsibility.
If you decide to have one or more sessions with me, you will be asked to read and agree to a statement on Informed Consent.
How long does online therapy last?
Like face to face therapy, how long online counseling or therapy lasts depends on your issues and your willingness to work on them. I do not offer "advice" or a quick solution to your problem. My job is to empower you to make life decisions that are right for you and to give you some tools for doing so. What often happens is that we meet a few times so that you can see whether you feel comfortable working online and how you like working with me. If it seems like a good fit, we'll set some goals and objectives. How long we work together will depend to a great extent on what those goals are and what other issues appear in the course of treatment.