Frequently Asked Questions
You're a psychologist? What is the difference between a psychologist and other kinds of therapists?
The professional groups licensed to provide mental health treatment in Oregon are Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Clinical Social Workers, and Licensed Professional Counselors. Some persons refer to themselves as hypnotists or hypnotherapists. The title of hypnotist or hypnotherapist are not regulated by the state of Oregon, so anyone, with or without training or a professional license, can call themselves a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. In addition to state licenses, some therapists may have certifications by various organizations and associations. While these can provide some assurance that they have participated in some sort of training, certification is less meaningful than licensure and certification does not indicate much about the quality of services you are likely to receive. I recommend that you check the professional credentials of any provider you are wanting to see to make sure they are a licensed professional.
Psychologists - License as a psychologist requires a doctoral degree in psychology or in a closely related field, plus experience practicing psychology under the supervision of a licensed psychologist for at least two years, full time. Psychologists usually specialize in psychotherapy and psychological testing, as well as filling supervisory or administrative positions. No other field is specialized or trained in psychological testing.
Psychiatrists - Psychiatrist are licensed as physicians (MDs). After completing medical school, most psychiatrists complete a residency in psychiatry, involving three or more years of supervised training. Training for psychiatrists generally focuses on the biological aspects of mental health; most psychiatrists spend their time conducting assessments and providing medication. Psychiatrists tend to have limited training in psychotherapy.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers - Among social workers, only Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are permitted to engage in the independent practice of clinical social work in the state of Oregon. They must have a masters or doctoral degree in social work from an approved program plus complete two years of fulltime clinical social work under supervision. LCSWs usually provide psychotherapy, among other roles.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPCs) - This license requires a a graduate degree in counseling or an allied discipline. The license also requires passing a written examination and experience practicing counseling under supervision for at least 2400 direct client contact hours.
How do I know I even need therapy? How do I choose a therapist? How long will therapy take?
Choosing to enter psychotherapy is always a personal decision. If you feel that it might help to talk to someone who is caring and who may have an original perspective on your current problem, then engaging in psychotherapy may be a good idea. Also, if you are dealing with any of the problems that I list on my homepage, then psychotherapy may help.
Choosing a therapist can be an important decision. I'd encourage you to make sure you find a therapist that you like and feel comfortable with. If, during your first few meetings, you feel that the therapist with whom you are meeting is imposing their own agenda on you or may not have your best interests at heart, then find a different therapist.
The length of therapy is determined by many factors, including need, your insurance, and the helpfulness of the relationship. Some people find adequate help in just a handful of sessions, whereas others find that they are interested in or need more extended therapy. An adequate course of short term therapy is generally considered to be 12-20 sessions (about 3-5 months at one visit per week). Some people choose to be in therapy longer to work on ongoing issues or to do more growth oriented work.
How much does psychotherapy cost? Isn't it expensive? How much do you charge? Do you accept insurance?
The cost of psychotherapy varies by practitioner. In this community, therapists generally charge from $80-180 per session. When considering the cost of therapy, consider its cost compared to other common expenses, for example:
Barber/hairdresser - $30-130/hr depending upon the service
Personal trainer - $60/hour
Massage - $40-80/hour
When considering the potential benefits of psychotherapy in increasing your quality of life, is the cost of psychotherapy too expensive? Only you can decide that.
My charge for psychotherapy is the following:
$200 for the initial 50-minute evaluation
$160 for each subsequent session (generally 45 minutes)
While I generally don't work on a sliding scale, we do have other therapists at Portland Psychotherapy who do see clients who have less ability to pay or have no insurance.
I do accept insurance. I am currently a provider for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but not on any other panels. If your insurance allows you to go out of network for services, then work with me will likely be covered by your insurance. If you are unsure of whether your insurance would cover my services, you can always call me and I can assist in helping you to determining whether my services are covered.
How do I make an appointment?
You can make an appointment by calling Portland Psychotherapy at 503-281-4852 x13 and leaving a message. All voice messages in my inbox are confidential.
What kind of psychotherapy do you do?
My primary approach derives from a therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a new form of cognitive-behavioral therapy which uses processes such as mindfulness, acceptance, and values to help people with a variety of life problems. I attempt to create a context in psychotherapy which helps people develop a greater sense of freedom and let go of the struggle and tension in their lives. I help people to figure out what is most important in their lives, to remove excess clutter from their lives (both metaphorical and literal), and to focus their activities on what is most important to them. I work with clients to help them understand what can possibly be changed, to get to work on that, and to learn to accept that which cannot be changed.
My approach to psychotherapy is strongly informed by a science of human behavior. To the greatest extent possible, I use techniques that have been demonstrated by scientific research to be effective for various client problems. There is now developing a respectable data base of studies that are supportive of the effectiveness of ACT with many different client problems. If you want to see a review of the evidence, look here.
Do you provide couples or family therapy?
I do not provide couples or family therapy as the primary focus of work. However, I do welcome the involvement of families or partners in conjunction with an individual's work. I will schedule family or couples sessions if this will foster the growth of an individual client.
What types of problems do you work with?
I work with clients having any of the following difficulties (plus others not on this list):
- Relationship difficulties
- Anxiety, panic attacks, OCD
- Substance abuse, chemical dependency and other addictive-compulsive behaviors
- Chronic pain, chronic illness
- Life Crises
- Sexual Identity Concerns
- Female and Male sexual abuse/assault/rape survivors
- Sexual addiction
- Career counseling
- Domestic violence
- Affirmative gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender psychotherapy
- Anger management
- Sleep disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dysfunctional family issues
Do you do psychological assessments (testing)?
I sometimes do limited psychological testing to assist with determining what sort of treatment may be most appropriate for a given client. I do not do full neuropsychological or psychological assessment batteries. If you need a referral for someone who can provide you this service, I can help with that.
I do not live near Portland, OR, and I need help finding a therapist in another area of the country. What do I do?
If you have insurance, one resource would be to check with the list of providers that your insurance company provides you. If you do not have insurance or unsatisfied with the list you are given, a number of psychotherapy referral sources are available online (to see some click here).