A psychologist has earned a doctoral degree, either a Ph.D (doctor of philosophy in psychology) or a Psy.D (doctor of psychology). This is an advanced degree that takes on average 4-5 years (Psy.D) or six years (Ph.D) after undergraduate to complete. A Ph.D typically emphasizes both research and clinical experience, whereas a Psy.D typically has a clinical and practice management focus. Most doctoral level therapists receive over 5,000 hours of training with clients before getting licensed to serve the public.
Psychologists receive broader training than master’s level therapists in assessment, research, and treatment of a wide range of problems. Psychologists are more likely to work with serious mental illness, although many like myself enjoy working with a wide range of issues.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) have master’s degrees, which is a two year advanced degree in counseling psychology (MA), marriage and family therapy (MFT), or in social work (LCSW or MSW). Moreover, helpful therapy depends more on the competency of the therapist and the connection you have with them in the therapeutic relationship than on someone’s education level.
Also, a psychologist is different from a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (degrees are either an M.D. or D.O.) who complete medical school and then receive additional training to treat mental health disorders using primarily medication. Some psychiatrists offer psychotherapy, but this is less common with the advent of managed care. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) have a master’s degree and also prescribe medicine and some psychotherapy.
Mindfulness is a skill that is effective at treating many mental health symptoms and serves as a foundation for greater life fulfillment. Here is a brief introduction to the core ideas.
Have you ever started driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you don’t remember much about your journey? Have you ever started a meal and looked down to realize that it is nearly gone, and you don’t even remember eating most of it? Most people have! These are common examples of “mindlessness,” or “going on automatic pilot.” In our modern and busy lives we are constantly multi-tasking. It’s easy to lose awareness of the present moment as we struggle to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.
As humans we are often “not present” in our own lives. We often fail to notice the good things about our lives, fail to hear what our bodies are telling us, or poison ourselves with toxic self-criticism.
Our minds are wired to wander, habitually examining past events and making attempts to anticipate the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations in the moment may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do; however, learning to do this in a way that suspends judgment and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives. The phrase “be here now” may come to mind. Mindfulness will not eliminate life’s pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head, and body. It helps us recognize and step away from habitual reactions and judgments – reactions that are emotional artifacts from our culture and our family of origin. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life. So much so, that in controlled studies mindfulness practice has been clinically proven to reduce depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, chronic pain, substance abuse, and symptoms of borderline personality disorder. In sum, mindfulness teaches us to be less reactive and more responsive in life.
Mindfulness consists of two major ideas:
- “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Having an attitude of openness, curiosity, and acceptance to your present experience.
For more information, mindfulness educator and practitioner Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn gives a brief explanation of mindfulness here.
The following video provides a more extensive overview of mindfulness and includes mindfulness exercises.
Psychotherapy is the general name for treatments designed to heal psychological problems by talking, practicing new behaviors, and activities. There are many schools of thought and various approaches to psychotherapy including CBT, Psychodynamic, Gestalt, Family Systems, DBT, ACT, and many others.
Psychotherapy usually involves the client and therapist meeting for regularly scheduled sessions, during which they explore the client’s issues, the emotions and beliefs surrounding them, the origins of those beliefs, and the ways they are manifesting themselves in day-to-day life and current relationships; alternative views and options are often identified and tried out.
In most cases my approach is mindfulness-based, but I use many techniques from different treatment modalities depending on the need of my client.
This is an important question, as research shows that the fit between the client and the therapist is a very important predictor for a successful therapy. You are encouraged to take your time in choosing your therapist, and many people meet with different therapists before selecting the one that feels right.
You can use a free 30 minute in-person consultation or our initial intake interview to ask the questions important to you, and to get a sense of what it feels like to work with me. My style is empathic, intuitive, and interactive. I tune into the client’s strengths, talents, and potential, and I am direct about the path I feel will be most beneficial to you.
A common mistaken belief that many people make when selecting a therapist is that the therapist needs to be similar to you in order to be a good fit. For instance, some people believe they need someone who is the same age, gender, and with a similar life background in order to be a good match. That makes intuitive sense, right?
As research in psychotherapy and personal experience has shown, the most important factors that make a therapist effective is their ability to be genuine, hold unconditional positive regard, and to be accurate in their understanding of their client’s experience.
Truth is, we all share the same feelings: joy, sadness, disgust, fear, shame, guilt, happiness, etc. A therapist who is able to connect with you authentically, who is able to understand your experience, and creates a safe place where you can trust the therapy process is arguably the most important reason you should select a therapist.
In the first session I will initially explain confidentiality, fees, and other “housekeeping” issues, as well as any questions you may have about the structure of therapy.
Next, it is important to explore what’s most important to you. I wonder about what brings you to therapy at this time? How would you like to see your life differently?
I will facilitate by asking questions about your present and past. Because I approach treatment from a holistic perspective I am curious about many aspects of your life, such as factors that contribute to or erode psychological, physical, social, and spiritual health. Seeing the “forest through the trees,” or being able to gain a broad perspective will help me understand what may be most helpful in our work together.
You will notice I make observations throughout session and ask insightful questions. I may make predictions or interpretations. I will ask your thoughts and feelings about all sorts of things. Occasionally, I will ask your feedback about our work together so I can best meet your needs. I will teach skills and provide specific instructions as needed. I frequently make recommendations about things to do or ideas to consider between sessions.
You will find I am kind, calm, reliable, have healthy boundaries, and I am able to hold people in their pain as well as share in their delight. My goal is to help you meet your goals, and leave therapy when you feel ready.
Each psychotherapy is unique and the length of treatment depends on many factors, including the client’s goals and the scope of the issues to be addressed. Some people benefit from just one session, whereas others prefer long-term support.
Generally, the client senses that therapy has been successfully completed when specific goals have been met. They will notice that they have new energy, interest, and enthusiasm about other aspects of their life – as well as the confidence to tackle new challenges on their own.
Successful psychotherapy also depends on maintaining the momentum of the work. Thus, committing to attend regular sessions is important. Most clients find weekly sessions to be the most productive, but others need more or less support. It is important to share your preference for frequency of therapy, or if you feel you no longer are benefiting from therapy. I will be open and objective about what I feel will be most beneficial for you. I encourage patients to terminate therapy as soon as they feel ready, or if it feels therapy is no longer effective.
I earned a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in clinical psychology. I approach therapy from a holistic perspective, considering psychological, biological, social, and spiritual factors. My specific training is in evidenced-based treatments such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT), Dialectical Behavior therapy (DBT), and Psychodynamic Theory.
These treatment approaches give me a wide range of skills to effectively treat most mental health problems, and I have advanced training in conducting assessment and research. I regularly attend training seminars and consultation groups to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and clinical research.
I am licensed to practice in California PSY#25546 and Oregon PSY#2603.
Individual sessions are $150 per 50 minute session.
Couples sessions are $150 per 50 minutes session or $270 for 90 minutes.
The time allocated to you is reserved especially for you. Being on-time is greatly appreciated and I do my best to arrive promptly for every session. If you arrive late we will use the remaining scheduled time and you will be charged for a full session.
I have selected spots in my practice for clients who need a sliding scale based on limited income.
You are welcome to pay for your sessions with a credit card, check, or cash.
I’m an out-of-network provider for all insurance companies; however, many insurance companies will reimburse some percentage of your therapy directly to you. Working with me gives you the freedom to engage in therapy without the typical constraints of insurance-based care.
It’s a good idea to call your insurance company to find out if they reimburse psychotherapy. I will provide you with the specific type of bill or receipt that your insurance company requires. You submit that form and then the insurance company will reimburse you as covered.
On a case-by-case basis I offer therapy outside of the office for clients with whom I have an established relationship.
Please cancel scheduled appointments by calling 503-660-8549 or email email@example.com.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment please note the following cancellation conditions:
- 48 hours or more prior to an appointment – no fee charged.
- Within 48 hours to 24 hours – $30 will be charged (applicable to all including reduced fee clients).
- Cancelling on the day or Failure to show for an appointment – the full session fee will be charged.
Although extremely rare, in the event I have to cancel I will contact you as soon as possible.
Inclement Weather Policy: In the event that travel is hazardous due to weather conditions, Skype or telephone sessions are offered. If declined, an hourly fee is charged and a “makeup” session is offered. A makeup session can be a double session or scheduled on a different day, schedule allowing.
Upon completion of a thorough evaluation, we will make a decision together if medication will be helpful. I will be happy to refer you to a medication provider who can evaluate further.
I endeavor to return phone and email inquiries within 24 hours during the business week.
In case of an emergency beyond these hours or on weekends, please call Multnomah County Crisis Line 503-988-4888, or the numbers on the Resources page, or go the emergency room of the nearest hospital. During our initial session we will identify additional resources you can use in your specific circumstances.
My office is located near the Alameda neighborhood on the 2nd floor of the Fremont Commons building in Portland, Oregon. Stairs provide easy access to the 2nd floor, and if you have concerns about using elevators please let me know.
The address is:
4605 NE Fremont St. Suite 211A. Portland, OR 97213
There is free one hour street parking in front of the building, and free street parking on the surrounding cross streets.