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  • What's our first step to starting therapy?
    Just fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you via email within 24 hours. This email will include a therapist recommendation, her or his contact information and fee, and a link to background information. You can then reach out to the therapist directly or wait for the therapist to contact you. The next step is to schedule a complementary consult (see next FAQ) or schedule your first session. We would look forward to hearing from you!!
  • Once you recommend a therapist, can we talk to her/him before we commit to therapy?
    Yes, all of our therapists gladly offer a complimentary 15 to 20 minute Zoom or telephone consultation. A consultation is not a first appointment — it’s a short conversation to help you determine if a therapist is a good fit for ongoing care. No two therapists approach consultations exactly the same way, but you can expect it to feel like a brief, two-sided interview. They will want to learn a bit more about your concerns and background, and you’ll get the chance to ask questions about their experiences and approach to care. During this time, you can ask questions pertaining to the clinician's approach, experience, scheduling, get a feel of the clinician's personality, and address any other concerns. The consult is also a chance for your therapist to get a preliminary snapshot of your goals. Also, you do not have to commit at the end of the consult. We never want you to feel pressured to make this important decision. Just reach out to us when you are ready.
  • How will I know if a therapist is a good fit?
    Therapy is about exploring behaviors, emotions, and thought patterns to help you better understand your relationships and yourself. Then we help you make changes that will meet your needs and goals. Some therapists focus on a main approach (Emotionally Focused Therapy for example) while others combine approaches in an eclectic way. Based on how you’re most comfortable learning and communicating, one approach may be better suited to your needs than another. Consultations will help you determine what’s best.
  • Are you "in-network" or "out-of-network"?
    “In-network” health care providers have contracted with your insurance company to: provide therapy within a set of restrictions and have agreed to accept certain negotiated rates. “Out-of-network” providers have not agreed to restrictions and charge market rates. We are an "out-of-network" provider because we believe it allows us to: better protect your privacy as we are required to share less information with your insurance company (even if you use us as an out-of-network provider), offer longer sessions and more frequent sessions, offer therapy over a longer duration than compared with in-network insurance providers, and offer a wider range of therapeutic approaches and specialties. Using an out-of-network provider usually will result in the insurance company paying less toward the cost of therapy. See more details in the following questions.
  • How does out-of-network insurance work?
    OUT-OF-NETWORK As explained in the previous question, we have chosen to remain an “out-of-network” provider for all insurance companies. In our experience, this allows us to provide the highest quality of care, independent from insurance-based rules or decisions. ​ YOUR CHOICE TO FILE It is your choice whether you would like to apply for insurance reimbursement or not. Even for out-of-network, usually insurance companies will pay a portion of your spending, depending on your policy. SUPERBILL - OUR RESPONSIBILITY As such, if you decide to seek reimbursement, we provide a “Superbill” to you which includes the standard information (such as diagnosis and treatment codes) that insurance companies require. You then submit the Superbill to your insurance company for reimbursement. You can request a monthly Superbill as well, which can also be automatically generated on the 1st day of the month for the prior month's appointments. This will have all the appropriate insurance documentation. Some clients prefer to request the Superbill as needed or once per year. Also, some clients chose not to submit to the insurance company in which case a Superbill will NOT be created. EXTRA FORMS - YOUR RESPONSIBILITY Please note that we do NOT fill out any forms that may be required by your insurance company and do NOT correspond directly with them in any way. This is your responsibility but we will be glad to provide you with the necessary information. This situation is infrequent. PAYMENT Payment for therapy is due when the therapy takes place. Using our online system (called Simple Practice), your credit card will be charged automatically at midnight on the day of your session. INVOICES You will automatically receive a monthly "invoice for services" on the 1st day of the month for appointments during the prior month. This invoice will NOT have a diagnosis and other information necessary for submission to your insurance company. ACCESS TO FORMS You can log into the online portal and download your invoices and/or Superbills at your convenience. SERVICES OUTSIDE OF CALIFORNIA Our therapists are only licensed to practice psychotherapy in California. Outside of California, they only provide coaching services. Coaches can NOT provide a medical diagnosis while psychotherapists can do so. Since most insurance companies do NOT reimburse for services unless a medical diagnosis is provided by a psychotherapist, it is unlikely that coaching will be reimbursed for non-California residents. Thus, coaching services are paid "out-of-pocket" and cost between $150/session to $400/session depending on the coach. Sessions last 50 minutes. ​
  • Does insurance pay for couples therapy?
    Insurance companies require a diagnosis for you to be reimbursed. For couples therapy, most insurance companies will reimburse for therapy involving two people if one person has been given a diagnosis. Please have a discussion with your therapist to make sure the appropriate partner is provided with a diagnosis. Your therapist will be able to discuss this with you in advance of making an official diagnosis. See the next FAQ for more on this.
  • What questions should I ask my insurance company? What about Diagnosis Codes?
    QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER:​ To find out more about your coverage, call your provider, get the name of the person you are speaking to, and ask the following 7 questions: 1. Does my policy cover out-of-network outpatient psychotherapy? 2. CPT CODES FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY: If yes, what is the reimbursement for out-of-network psychotherapy services for the following CPT codes? (See our separate FAQ on CPT codes that you can expect.) 3. Is there a maximum number of psychotherapy sessions for which they will provide reimbursement? 4. DIAGNOSIS CODES: Will the insurance company reimburse for the diagnoses which you have discussed with your therapist? Please know a diagnosis code is different than a CPT code. A diagnosis code describes what the client (one partner in the couple) is struggling with. If you do not have a diagnosis code yet, the most common diagnosis for a partner in couples therapy is "Adjustment Disorder - DSM-5 309.9 (F43. 20)" which is an emotional or behavioral reaction to a stressful event or change in a person's life that typically lasts 3 months or less. Usually the "stressful event" is your relationship struggle. This is generally considered a mild diagnosis that is not intrinsic to the individual and will pass. Usually the couple will have a discussion as to which partner "wants" the diagnosis as Adjustment Disorder typically is appropriate for both of them; however, only one will be placed on the insurance form. If a different diagnosis is appropriate, your therapist will discuss this with you. 4. % REIMBURSED: If your insurance company reimburses a percentage of the cost, what is that percentage, and what is the maximum cost per session they are allowing? For instance, they may reimburse 70% of a psychotherapy session (CPT code 90837), but assume that the maximum rate of the psychotherapy session is only $120 (instead of the actual rate). This would mean the client would be reimbursed $84 per session. Another insurance company, however, may only reimburse 50%, but allow a $300 hourly rate, meaning that the client would be reimbursed $150 per session. Thus, it is important to understand both the reimbursement percentage and the maximum per-session rate allowed. 5. Is a doctor’s referral required and/or is pre-authorization required? What is the name and number of the person to be contacted for pre-authorization? 6. DEDUCTIBLE: Is there a deductible and how much is it? Is it a yearly deductible? How much of the deductible do I have left over to meet? 7. ADMINISTRATIVE: How do I file on-line? What is the address of the office where I should send my claims? To whose attention is the claim to be sent?
  • What "CPT Code" should I expect?
    You should speak to your clinician about your CPT Code but here are typical ones that we typically give in our practice. Individual therapy codes: 90834, 90837 90832 - 16-37 minutes 90834 - 38-52 minutes 90837 - 53 or more minutes Couples or family therapy code: - This is our most common code used by far. 90847 - 26 minutes or more Telehealth individual and family codes codes are the same as shown above but with "-95" at the end. For example, your most code for a telehealth couples session would be 90847-95. Your insurance company should understand what a “CPT code” is, and should be able to tell you whether they reimburse for these specific codes. CPT CODES FOR COACHING: Some progressive insurance companies reimburse clients for healing and well-being coaching. You can ask your insurance companies if they reimburse for the following codes: • 0591T Health and Well-Being Coaching face-to-face; individual, initial assessment • 0592T individual, follow-up session, at least 30 minutes
  • Can I use my HSA or FSA account?
    HSA & FSA DEFINED: Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) are types of tax-advantaged savings accounts that allow you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for "qualified medical expenses". By using untaxed dollars in an HSA or FSA to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses, you may be able to lower your out-of-pocket health care costs. DETERMINE IF OUR SERVICES QUALIFY: Some clients have been successful in utilizing a Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for reimbursement of therapy expenses. Please know that we are not tax specialists so it is your responsibility to determine whether our services qualify as "qualified medical expenses." We recommend that you speak to your tax advisor if you are unsure about this determination. If you decide to use your HSA or FSA, please enter your HSA or FSA card into our payment system when prompted to do so. DOCUMENTATION: We will be glad to provide a Superbill that can serve as documentation for your HSA or FSA account. The Superbill will have important information that may impact whether the service qualifies. Please refer to the previous question to see the coding that is common in our practice. Also, note there are different codes for therapy (if you live in California) and for health and wellness coaching (if you live outside of California).
  • How much does therapy cost? Is it worth it?
    FEE RANGE: Depending on your therapist, our fees range from $150/session to $350/session. Sessions last 50 minutes. FINDING OUT YOUR FEE: After you complete the contact form, you will be assigned a therapist or coach who will inform you of her or his fee per session. TOTAL COST: The length of therapy varies a great deal based on your goals but a typical couple may be in therapy weekly for two months and then every other week for another two months. The majority usually end up spending from $1,000 to $5,000 on counseling depending on how much help is needed. PERSPECTIVE: To put the cost of couples counseling in perspective, it is difficult to buy something for $5,000 that will give you the same quality of life that a healthy relationship provides. Consider the emotional costs of your ongoing conflicts have been to each of you as well as your family and friends. What is the value of feeling and interacting more lovingly, effectively and respectfully now and in the long-term? This is probably your most significant relationship, which radically impacts your life and your wellbeing. Getting help to communicate with your partner in more effective and lasting ways may be one of the best investments you can make. If you and your partner feel loved, respected and meet each other's emotional needs, you may be able to do without many other material things and feel much more fulfilled.
  • Do you have low fee options?
    If our services are too expensive, we are glad to recommend lower fee services. In fact, there are places that are subsidized in various ways and can offer very low fees. Please review the sites below for yourself to assure the quality of the therapy and be sure to ask about their focus on couples. Open Path Shine A Light Counseling Center California Family Institute The Relational Center The Maple Center Better Help Talkspace Gronowski Center in Palo Alto, CA More affordable options:
  • What’s The Difference Between Coaching & Counseling
    While coaching and counseling both provide a helpful relationship to support your wellness and growth, coaches and counselors can have significant differences in their training, their methods, and their goals. PSYCHOTHERAPY: Psychotherapy helps a client (or clients in the case of couples therapy) address and resolve symptoms which, in aggregate, impair her or his ability to function well in daily life. This can include symptoms related to Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, Trauma, ADHD, Addictions and many other problems. It is assumed that unless and until these problems are resolved, it may be difficult for people to make significant improvements in their lives. Once they are feeling stronger and more confident, they can start taking action to change their circumstances. To practice psychotherapy, the clinician is required to complete: graduate level education much of which is focused on relationships (including couples, marriage...) licensure by the government (usually the state the client resides in), and thousands of hours of supervised training. COACHING: Coaching is focused on helping people "improve" their lives. Couples coaching typically works on relationship skills. It assumes that neither partner is currently experiencing a diagnosable disorder or if a disorder exists, the individual is receiving separate care for this condition. For many couples, coaching can be an extremely effective way to improve their relationship. With coaching, the couples coach will help them set and achieve their relationship goals. The coaching work focuses on creating and maintaining motivation for change, exploring obstacles, and formulating a clear plan for an improved future. Improving communication, learning a more effective parenting approach, addressing financial conflict, and restoring a couple's sex life are all examples of topics that get addressed in couples coaching. Coaching is unregulated by governmental authorities; however, many certification programs are available. These programs are run by private companies or not-for-profit organizations. With or without a certificate, anyone can legally call themselves a "coach". Putting the difference into practice: Psychotherapists can provide coaching but coaches can not provide psychotherapy without going through the regulatory steps for licensure. All our professionals are both psychotherapists and coaches. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? In reality, it is extremely helpful to have the psychological training to assess whether coaching is appropriate or not. It is unethical for a coach to diagnose or provide therapeutic services to anyone who is dealing with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, or other recognized mental health problems. When work begins with you, your therapist or coach will make an assessment, usually in the first session and confirmed in later sessions, to confirm that you will receive the appropriate level of care. All of our therapists operate under the laws in the state of California. If you live outside of California, you will be able to receive coaching but not psychotherapy.
  • Do you provide psychotherapy or coaching outside of California? And is coaching reimbursed by insurance companies?
    All of our professionals are licensed to practice psychotherapy in California. However, outside of California, they are fully equipped to provide "couples coaching". Therefore, our services are available as follows: California: Psychotherapy or Coaching (dependent on your needs) Outside California: Only Coaching As explained in the previous "FAQ", there are several differences between psychotherapy and coaching but one of them is that couples coaches can NOT provide a medical diagnosis while psychotherapists can do so. Since most insurance companies do NOT reimburse for services unless a medical diagnosis is provided by a psychotherapist. Nonetheless, some progressive insurance companies reimburse clients for "health and well-being coaching". You can ask your insurance companies if they honor the following CPT codes: • 0591T - Health and Well-Being Coaching face-to-face; individual, initial assessment • 0592T - Individual, follow-up session, at least 30 minutes Coaching services cost between $140/session to $350/session depending on the coach. Sessions last 50 minutes.
  • Does REMOTE / VIDEO therapy work for couples?
    Since Covid began, the majority of couples sessions conducted by our group have been on-line. Even though it is hard to believe, the surprising discovery has been that it works GREAT for couples because: Even though the therapist is remote, the couple is NOT remote from each other. This allows the partners to experience the subtleties of body language and physical presence to rebuild the couple's bond. Because the therapist is slightly removed (on the screen), the couple can receive guidance and direction from the therapist but the therapist's presence is less intrusive and less likely to interfere with the growing connection between the partners, which is the ultimate goal. It allows access to specialized therapists and coaches that you otherwise would not have access to. These professionals will be able to understand your dynamic and help you reach your goals more effectively than the average therapist or coach. Also, it's worth noting that remote therapy saves you from the hassles of fighting traffic and getting a sitter if you have kids. If you are hesitant, we encourage you to try an on-line consult and experience it first hand. Most couples are pleasantly surprised. Here’s what works best for video therapy: SEATING GUIDANCE: For our video session, if possible, arrange the computer so that you can sit in two separate chairs and both be seen by the camera. During therapy, you will sometimes have the chairs pointed to your therapist and sometimes to each other. Using chairs works better than sitting on a couch. AUDIO GUIDANCE: Please make sure the microphone can pick up your audio clearly when you are talking to each other in the chairs. If that is a problem, you can call into Zoom with your cell phone AND still use Zoom for video. SECURITY: Please be aware that using video introduces security risk. You should make sure that your computer has the latest security software. By engaging in video therapy, you are agreeing to accept these risks.
  • What do couples talk about in Couples Therapy?
    Communication: The most common place couples start with in therapy is communication. Sometimes the hardest thing about talking is making a safe space for it. If you’re both feeling tense about a subject or it’s sparked painful fights in the past, the couple will avoid tough topics like the plague. We help couples start from a position of acknowledging each other’s needs. This allows for a calmer and more respectful discussion. You will practice active listening, which many couples are well aware of, but is so often overlooked. Active listening means really taking on board what the other person is saying, without getting distracted or caught up in your own train of thoughts. Once basic communication skills are being practiced, couples talk about some of the issues that have been bothering them, sometimes for years. Applying the new skills to tough issues will give the couple confidence that they can resolve tough issues and still feel close. Loss of Intimacy: After years and sometimes decades, many couples drift apart and begin feeling like roommates. The emotional connection fades and the sexual fires go out. Although they still care for each other and have built a history together, they don’t know how to restart the fire. A CRC couples therapist can guide them in rediscovery of the way back to emotional and physical intimacy. Trust: Trust may be the most important pillar of a healthy relationship. It’s the thing that allows two people to open up to one another, feeling confident that they can share their most authentic selves without fear of judgment or shame. Sometimes it is threatened or destroyed when one person does something that feels to the other like a betrayal—a lie, an affair, or hiding something crucial from the other person. If you struggle with trust in your relationship, you probably know that it can take a real toll on your happiness. But if you’re willing to enter into a process of understanding, accepting responsibility, forgiveness and reconciliation, you can save a relationship with trust issues and begin to move forward together. Premarital Counseling: Congratulations! You’ve found someone you want to accompany you through life. You’re on your way to happily-ever-after; however, you are wise enough to take the journey into premarital counseling to ensure your marriage is starting off on a solid foundation. The therapy is customized to each couple but the usual topics include: Establishing a safe and open space to talk about your expectations for your future together Learn good communication skills Explore your relationship patterns and how they can work for or against you Understand each other's family and how that influences how they will show up in a marriage Discuss the stages of marriage and be prepared to thrive in each one of them Get alignment around important life values Other Common Issues: No matter who you are with, there will be some areas of life that are difficult for you. If you were with a different partner, you would probably fight about different topics. In couples therapy, you learn how to resolve these differences in ways that feel bonding, not separating. These areas might include: parenting styles, spending habits, sexual preferences and connection, in-laws and extended family, lifestyle choices, faith and spirituality, core values, and vision for the future
  • Can we really solve our problems?
    Research shows that on average couples endure six years of marital distress before seeking counseling. Nonetheless, therapy is very effective in dealing with long-standing problems by helping you try something different (as opposed to just trying harder). No matter how long you have been struggling, if you are willing to try and receive solid guidance, you can overcome your struggles and feel good about the compromises and trade-offs that you make for your relationship.
  • Will talking make things better or worse?
    You're probably asking this question because you've struggled to have productive conversations with each other. Our therapists work really hard to help you constructively handle reactivity, defensiveness and negative emotions. You will learn a highly structured way to talk that will feel completely different and emotionally safe. We will help your conversations shift from a battleground to a comfortable and productive place to connect.
  • I’ve tried couples therapy before and all we did is argue in front of our therapist. Should I try again?
    Yes. A well-trained therapist will help you have a new communication experience, one where you feel fully heard by your partner. Your therapist should not allow you to get stuck in the painful patterns of circular arguments. Our couples therapists have the training and skills to accomplish this goal.
  • I think we need some outside help, but I fear that my partner will not be open to the idea of therapy.
    Often people are reluctant to try couples therapy because of a concern that they will be blamed for all the struggles in the relationship. Our therapists do not allow the blame game happen. Instead, our goal for couples’ work is actually the opposite. In therapy, you’ll learn that there is something that is not functioning within the “system” of your relationship and not exclusively with either of you as individuals. With our help, you and your partner will learn how to identify what’s keeping you from communicating with respect and compassion. You will also learn concrete skills to shift the patterns that are keeping you feeling stuck and isolated. If your partner still refuses to attend, individual therapy with a focus on the relationship can be effective – though probably not as much. Understanding your own issues and learning some tools to help improve communication can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling relationship. And, your commitment to healing through therapy may inspire your partner to be curious. You may invite him to attend a session to try meet the therapist and give it a try.
  • If faith is important to us, can that be part of couples therapy?
    Whether you have a faith background or not, our goal is to match you with a counselor who can serve you as a trustworthy resource for professional, loving, non-judgmental care. If spirituality is important to you, several of our therapists are well equipped to integrate that into your therapy but would not do so without your explicit request. If this is of interest to you, please discuss this with your therapist before you get started.
  • Will Couples Therapy work if my partner is abusive?
    We discourage anyone in an abusive relationship to seek couples counseling because abuse is not a relationship problem. Couples counseling is designed to help partners communicate with each other, resolve problems, and see issues from their partner's perspective. It does NOT change an unequal power structure that is typical of an abusive relationship. Our fear is that an abuser may react to what is said in therapy and later harm his or her partner. Therapy often causes a person to feel vulnerable. If the abuser is embarrassed or upset about something mentioned in therapy, he or she may punish his or her partner to restore a sense of control. Our goal is for therapy to be a “safe space” for a couple so the couple can be honest with each other about their problems; however, your therapist can not assure that safety outside of session times and does not want this vulnerability to backfire. Also, you may not know if your relationship is abusive. Often the abused partner cannot tell whether a relationship is abusive because the abuse has distorted her or his sense of what is healthy behavior. And if the therapist does not know about the abuse, therapy will not work and the abuse may get worse. In fact, the abuser may distort reality placing the blame for the couple's problems firmly on the abused partner. If you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship, set up an individual session with one of our therapists to discuss your situation. If you then decide your relationship is clearly not abusive or the abuse is "situational abuse" that can be safely worked through, couples therapy may begin. If you decide your relationship is or may be abusive, your therapist can help you build a personal safety plan, discuss how to set up healthy boundaries, and give you additional resources for yourself and your partner. If your partner is proactive in seeking help and is in full recovery, then couples counseling may begin. To learn more about this topic, go to: RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) Love is Respect National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • What does being an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist mean?
    Associate Marriage and Family Therapists are therapists who: have completed all of their graduate school education, are building expertise in a special domain such as couples therapy and/or neurodiversity, and are gaining more experience as working professionals. In California, psychotherapists must gain thousands of hours under the supervision of a more experienced therapist before they can become "fully licensed". You can think of this supervision process like meeting with your boss once a week to check in on what's going well and what needs work. This long professional development process is for your protection. We have complete confidence in all of the Associates on our team and encourage you to meet them to see what you think. Associate Therapists are Well Educated An associate therapist has completed their Masters degree from an accredited program. Marriage and Family Therapy masters programs are rigorous and graduates must demonstrate proficiency in research, therapeutic orientations, approaches, and interventions. They must also have personal qualities of a good therapist including empathy, warm acceptance, and the ability to create a non-judgmental, comforting space. Associate Therapists Hands On Experience Obtaining a Master’s degree isn’t all theoretical book work. Associate therapists have worked directly with clients during their Master's program and with our group. They use these interactions to hone in on the specific methodologies they want to focus on learning and applying, all while receiving rigorous hands-on supervision and training. Your associate therapist has used her skills to help other clients and they’ve seen results. Associate Therapists have Relevant Experience Prior to College Many associate therapists have been interested in human development and working closely with people before they went to school to be a therapist. These experiences all benefit you as your associate therapist has many years of building skills in listening and relating, and as well as consciously developing into empathetic and attuned individuals. Many of our associate therapists have decades of personal and professional experience: getting married and raising a family; working in teaching, human resources, tutoring; certified in coaching, yoga and mindfulness meditation; and have extensive multi-cultural experiences and experience working with diverse groups. These dynamics have helped shape them into excellent therapists. Associate Therapists have Passed the California Law and Ethics Exam Here in California, Associate therapists must pass this exam in order to be registered as an AMFT. You can rest assured that your associate therapist will abide by privacy practices, legal requirements, and the code of ethics that is required of all therapists. Associate Therapists are Carefully Selected To work at the Couples Recovery Center or the Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center, your therapist was chosen because they bring quality education and experience that will be valuable to the clients the practice serves. We only hire associate therapists who are aligned with our group's mission and able to provide the same high level of care that our group aspires to. Associate Therapists Work Under Supervision As mentioned above, Associate therapists must work under the supervision of a licensed therapist. This means that as the client, you receive the benefit of the experience and knowledge of two therapists, your Associate and her or his supervisor. Every week, a supervisor reviews the associate therapists’ cases and offers feedback, answers questions, and provides ongoing training for the associate therapist. You can feel confident that your associate therapist will use this time to make sure they have the knowledge they need to best help you. We hope that has answered your questions and cleared up any misconceptions about Associate Therapists. If you’d like to know more, do not hesitate to ask your therapist.
  • Renewal & Reconnection Therapy
    The first step with couples is to gently get the problems out in the open without everyone feeling attacked. We usually pinpoint the obvious problems in the first session and other ones surface during our work together. The second step is to identify the main themes behind the conflict and understand the deeper issues that keep the conflict from being resolved. Couples mostly can describe the themes but struggle to make the connection to the deeper issues. The third step is to help you learn tools for intimacy, communication, managing anger, and expressing compassion in order to heal the deep wounds that have been inflicted. This last step is the toughest but most rewarding. ​ WHAT WE DO: • We work hard to be caring and compassionate to BOTH of you. • We help you improve the way you respond to your partner in a way that doesn't offend and also doesn't violate your values or convictions. • We actively try to help your marriage and the provide resources that you need to solve your marital problems. This goes beyond just clarifying your problems. • We am active in structuring our sessions together. • We offer reasonable and helpful perspectives to help you understand the sources of your problems. • We challenge each of you about your contributions to the problems and about your capacity to make individual changes to resolve the problems. • We offer specific strategies for changing your relationship and coach you on how to use them. • We am alert to individual matters such as depression, alcoholism, and medical illness that might be influencing your marital problems. WHAT WE DO NOT DO:​ • We do not take sides. • We do not permit you and your spouse to interrupt each other, talk over each other, or speak for the other person. • We do not let you and your spouse engage in repeated angry exchanges during the session. • Although we may explore how your family-of-origin backgrounds influence your problems, the focus is on how to deal with your current marital problems rather than just on insight into how you developed these problems. WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU:​ • We need you to spend time focused on each other. This can be difficult with work and family demands; however, you only improve when you take time to practice your new skills together. • We need you to focus more on "self-confrontation" than "other-confrontation". More change happens when you work on yourself than your partner. If BOTH of you work on your part of the equation, change in the relationship takes off. • We need you to learn to listen even when you disagree with your partner. This will help you (and me) understand the deeper issue and respond in a better way. SPECIFIC TOOLS ​Some of the specific tools which we offer to couples include: • Communication (sending/speaking and receiving/listening) • Anger management • Relaxation skills • Using "I" statements • Ventilation sessions • Fair fighting techniques • Family-of-origin mapping • Love languages • Love lists • Caring days • Sensate exercises • Parenting guidance • Strengths inventory • Affirmation skill building • Building a shared relationship vision STRUCTURE BUT NOT A COOKIE CUTTER There is no simple formula to making a marriage succeed. Each marriage is an once-in-a-lifetime experiment in learning to be flexible and committing to respect another human being's needs as well as speaking up for your own. we will work hard to understand your unique situation and find solutions that fit you.
  • Affair Recovery
    Roughly 40% of couples begin therapy with the Couples Recovery Center as a result of an affair which has brought devastation to their marriage and has thrown their lives into a crisis. Some couples feel completely hopeless and are certain that the relationship is over. Others are willing to try to move forward but have no idea how to do so while dealing with inflamed emotions. In most cases, clients describe the experience as a shockingly loud wake-up call. Although painful, they ultimately realize that it has the potential to lead to healing in their lives. Our role in your recovery is to provide a safe structured process to help you move forward. This structure is customized for each couple but usually consists of the following stages: First Stage: CRISIS MANAGEMENT 1. MANAGING THE EXTREME FEELINGS: This often includes normalizing the extreme feelings that are being expressed, and learning to contain the anger. 2. SUPPORT SYSTEM: You will need a few trustworthy people who you can turn to for support. We will agree up front who should be told about what has happened. 3. BOUNDARIES FOR FEELING SAFE: We help you negotiate safe boundaries for physical space, sleeping arrangements, child care, touch, communication, money, and coordination of responsibilities during the recovery period. Second Stage: RECOMMITMENT 1. ADDRESS AMBIVALENCE: In the midst of swirling emotions, it is extremely difficult to make a thoughtful decision about your marriage. Choosing your path forward is often based on careful consideration of your beliefs, values, needs and circumstances. As the crisis subsides, if needed, we will work with either partner to help you decide whether to attempt recovery. Often clients are unsure but will try affair-recovery therapy believing it will either heal their marriage or allow them to really learn how to be a better partner for future relationships and behave better in co-parenting. 2. ENDING THE AFFAIR: If the decision is made to recommit to the relationship, recovery must begin by the offending party severing all ties to the affair partner. If the affair continues in any form, the wounding and betrayal only get worse. 3. TRANSPARENCY: Transparency is an essential step in recommitment and in rebuilding trust. If the offending partner is able to offer complete access to cell phone records, emails, and computer accounts, restoration of trust can begin. In any information is hidden, even if innocent, it will slow down the healing process. The pain caused by dishonesty is often worse than the sexual or emotional betrayal. Third Stage: REINVENTING YOUR MARRIAGE 1. RESTORING COMMUNICATION: After an affair, couples often lose the ability to have a simple conversation. Defensiveness and shame take over and destroy one's ability to listen and respond with compassion. When the betrayed partner expresses feelings with a partner who is unwilling or unable to listen, it heightens the already emotionally-charged feelings. We offer highly structured communication training to help the offending partner avoid the traps of shifting blame, denial of what happened, or withdrawal. Also, the betrayed partner will receive training from me on how to ask questions in a non-accusatory way. This partner will often have a burning desire to understand how and why the infidelity occurred. These questions can only be answered by the offending partner; however, we work hard to keep the questions from degrading into counter-productive punishment of the betrayed partner. 2. UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED: An accounting of the affair needs to be discussed before the betrayed partner can believe that trust can be restored. Careful judgment needs to be exercised so that important details are brought to light while avoiding needlessly negative images of the affair which could unnecessarily magnify the trauma. 3. WHY IT HAPPENED / DECIPHERING THE MEANING OF THE AFFAIR: Most couples first assume that an affair was about the sex. It usually isn't. In my experience, there is usually a deeper reason. In therapy, the couple will begin a shared journey of soul-searching in order to develop a full picture of why the affair happened. A step-by-step review of the affair and your marriage will provide a pathway to clues for understanding. We will consider: - how you may have been wounded by experiences during your childhood and how that is showing up in your current relationship; - how you may be affected by previous damage (sexual, financial, parenting, or otherwise) by your partner; - how your partner's qualities that drive you crazy may be ones that you long to have for yourself; - how stressful events in your lives that occurred prior to the affair may have pushed you off-kilter and contributed to the struggles in the relationship. To be clear, these problems are not justifications for an affair. Nonetheless, understanding them helps the couple to prevent recurrence. For example, if the offending partner suffers from low self-esteem that was lifted up by the affair partner, then we will work on healthy ways to build confidence. If there was an anger issue in the relationship that created distance in the marriage, then anger management will be a major focus. If the betrayed partner was emotionally unavailable to the betrayed spouse, we will identify the roots of the unavailability and work toward vulnerability and openness. In each case, we help you explore these deeper issues in a healing fashion. 4. FEELING THE IMPACT / RELEASING THE EMOTIONAL PAIN: The hurt partner will learn to talk in ways that allow your spouse to hear you and have compassion for your pain. The unfaithful partner will learn to listen in a way that encourages your partner to be vulnerable and open. 5. OWNING THE DECISION: The unfaithful partner will learn how to fully own the decision to have the affair without minimizing it. 6. TRUST-BUILDING EVIDENCE: You will rebuild: a) Trust that your partner will be faithful. In doing so, you will both learn to recognize and manage your differences so that you can stay committed even at times when you do not feel loved or wanted in the relationship. We will identify specific steps that you will take in these circumstances and thus provide "Trust Building Evidence" (T.B.E) that the betrayal will not happen again. b) Trust that your partner will address your struggles with the relationship and not cause you to regret your decision to recommit. 7. SEXUAL INTIMACY: Restoration of sexual intimacy is a critical part of the healing process. I support couples as they seek to acknowledge sexual fears and regain trust in the bedroom. 8. FORGIVENESS: Only after all the steps above take place, the gift of forgiveness can be given and a new marriage can begin. HEALING We believe that good people can become lost in a marriage and make costly mistakes. While an affair is a devastating event, there is a path to healing if both partners are willing to be honest and re-commit to the relationship. The goal is never to return to the marriage that was, but to create a RADICALLY NEW marriage that is much more capable of meeting each other's needs - a new marriage that is based on commitment, deep friendship, and passion. Books: Not Just Friends, After the Affair / Getting Past the Affair / Torn Asunder (Christian) , You, Him and the Other Woman. These books can help but they will probably not be enough. Personalized support by an experienced therapist is usually key to survive the crisis and rebuild the relationship.
  • Can you explain your 48-hour CANCELLATION POLICY?
    Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you. When you must cancel, please give your therapist at least 48-hour notice. She or he is rarely able to fill a cancelled session unless notified at least 48-hour in advance. If you are unable to provide at least 48 hour notice, you will be charged the full fee for your session. Our heartfelt goal is to help you and we really dislike charging for late cancellations, so we hope you understand the need to do so. EMERGENCY EXCEPTION: The only exception to this cancellation policy is a "true emergency". Some examples of true emergencies are car accidents, a death in the family, or both partners are sick. Although frustrating and painful, work issues and cancelled babysitters, do not constitute "true emergencies" in the context of this policy. OPTIONS TO KEEP THE SESSION: If one person is sick, a child is sick, a babysitter becomes unavailable, or one partner is out-of-town, we can offer: a video session to meet individually with one person of the couple to help that person work on his/her issues in a way that may benefit the couple. INSURANCE: Please note that late cancellations fee cannot be included for submission to your insurance provider. An active credit card must be kept on file during the course of therapy to ensure that payment for a missed session can be collected. The credit card on file will be charged following a missed or late-cancelled appointment. BETTER RESULTS: Over years of practice, we have found that a clear and firm cancellation policy has allowed us to build healthy relationships with our clients and ultimately lead to better results for you in therapy.
  • What if I am LATE?
    We understand that the Bay Area is often a traffic nightmare and that other factors (jobs, childcare...) may make it challenging to get to therapy on time. Since you make the effort to get to the session on time, we want to respect that effort and the value of your time; thus, we work hard to begin each session promptly at the appointed time so you don't have to wait. In order to make this system work, if you arrive late, your session will also end at the scheduled time. On rare occasions, there are unavoidable emergencies on my end. If your therapist begins a session late for such a situation, your session will be extended to provide the full 50-minute session. Please accept our apologies in advance for such situations. Neither you or your therapist are expected to wait longer than 15 minutes past the scheduled time for the start of the session unless there has been previous notice. If you know you're going to be late, please send your therapist a text to let her or him know.
  • How FREQUENT are sessions?
    STARTING OUT: Most of our therapists will schedule an initial double session. Subsequent sessions will be at a regular time, typically weekly or every other week. Depending on your situation, we recommend starting with weekly to build an understanding of the patterns in your relationship and to get to know you and then, when you are ready, moving to every other week. Having sessions every other week gives you more time between sessions to do the homework and practice what they have learned. If your relationship is in crisis, we strongly suggest at least weekly. If you wish to supplement your recurring appointments, you can always add a one-time appointment. COMMITMENT: We realize that weekly appointments can be a challenge for busy couples, especially if child care is required. This will take real commitment on your part but, hopefully, will help you transform your most important relationship. WINDING DOWN: When you feel you have made significant progress and are focused on applying the tools that you have learned, sessions typically shift to an "as-needed" basis.​
  • What level of COMMITMENT is required for a RECURRING APPOINTMENT?
    Therapy works best when there is commitment and consistency in your work in therapy. Your therapist understands that work, illness, travel and other commitments can be obstacles. If you miss 50% of our scheduled appointments in a 2-month period, your therapist will have a conversation to discuss your care to understand whether the issue is related to your timeslot, high external demands on your lives, an issue with therapy, or due to extremely unusual circumstances. If it is an issue with the progress with therapy, your therapist would love to know so she or he can help address the issue. If you are unable to keep the regular appointments, it is best to shift to "as needed". For most of our therapists, you simply go to the on-line portal and book any upcoming opening. There usually are a few of these available due to cancellations by other couples.
  • Once we've made progress, can I see my therapist once in a while? What does WINDING DOWN therapy look like?"
    When you feel you have made significant progress and are focused on consistently applying the tools that you have learned, talk to your therapist. Usually, you will agree to shift sessions to an "as-needed" basis.​ Most of our therapists do not schedule once-a-month sessions because it makes scheduling weekly and every-other-week sessions logistically difficult. If you are ready to see your therapist less frequently, such as on a monthly basis, then: 1) Tell your therapist that you are ready to go to "as needed" schedule. You may feel some anxiety about this but it is usually a time to celebrate your hard earned progress. 2) Your therapist will probably take you off of the recurring schedule. 3) For most therapists, you can book a session on the client portal whenever you want to do so. One-time openings are often available when clients on a recurring schedule cancel a session. Please note that you can only book an appointment two weeks beyond the current date. Thank you in advance for working with your therapist on scheduling matters.
  • How do you handle PHONE CALLS between sessions?
    VOICEMAILS: If you need to contact your therapist between sessions, please call her or his phone number and leave a voicemail message. Your therapist is often not immediately available; however, she or he will attempt to return your call within 24 hours. Please do not include clinical and/or personal content in voicemails. It is preferable for you to journal your thoughts and bring them to your next session. If you need a session sooner than the one scheduled, please let your therapist know. EMERGENCIES: If an emergency situation arises, please do not leave a voicemail. Please immediately call 911 or any local emergency room. Our therapists do not offer crisis counseling or emergency services.
  • Can we send EMAILS and TEXTS to you between sessions?
    It is tremendously helpful for you to work through your feelings and thoughts between sessions. That is an important part of healing. Often, as clients are processing these thoughts, they send emails or texts with questions that they want to ask or thoughts that they just want to share. Because of this, we have set the following guidelines for emails and texts between sessions. GUIDELINES: ADMINISTRATIVE EMAILS: It is fine to use regular email and texts for administrative items such as changing appointments. You can also use our secure messaging feature in the client portal. Please ask your therapist to enable that feature for you. COPY PARTNER: If you do send an email or text and are in couples counseling, please always copy your partner. This helps us maintain trust. EMERGENCIES: Please do NOT send an email or text for emergency situations. In those cases, you need help that can respond immediately. Your therapist is not always available and can NOT be counted on to support you 24 hours a day. The best approach is to call 911. CLINICAL MATTERS: Even though your therapist deeply cares about you and your situation, please do not send emails with thoughts about what happened in therapy, background on your personal lives, or other matters related to our clinical work together. This information is better processed by discussing it in session because your therapist can: fully experience your tone of voice and body language, ask questions to help clarify what may be unclear, explore your concern with your partner in real time, avoid giving you poor counsel based on limited written information, and avoid getting caught in the middle. BRING THOUGHTS INTO SESSION: We generally recommend that you journal or write an email to yourself and then, when in session, read it out loud in session. This is a great way to prepare your thoughts and then have a robust discussion. If you need to discuss or resolve an issue before our next scheduled session because it is time sensitive, it is best to schedule an extra appointment. ONE-PARTNER SESSIONS: If you need to communicate something that you do NOT want your partner to hear, please let us know this and we can schedule a special session. See the FAQ about one-partner sessions. SPECIAL EMAIL COUNSELING: For some couples, the situation is such that the couple needs or benefits from significantly more between-session support. In such cases, we will read and respond to emails between sessions; however, both partners must consent to this and your therapist must approve this "special email counseling" in advance. With some couples, one partner (who writes a lot) can flood the other partner (who does not feel comfortable with processing through text). In such cases, email counseling is not advised. When we agree to special email counseling, we bill the time spent separately. PRIVACY: Lastly, please know that electronic communications, even ones just sent for administrative purposes, can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure. If you send an email, please do so knowing that you are willing to accept the risk of a breach of confidentiality. FINAL WORDS: It is difficult to turn away from your heartfelt communications because we really do care. Please know that our policy is aimed at healthy boundaries and setting up a safe place where you can both feel fully heard. After serving many couples, our experience has taught us that this approach ultimately leads to better healing for you. Please accept our sincere apologies if this policy hurts your feelings in any way!
  • Will you connect with me on SOCIAL MEDIA?
    Our therapists do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instigram, etc). Adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites could compromise your confidentiality. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up in session so it can be discussed further.
  • Will CO-PARENTING counseling be used for the legal system to determine custody?
    No. Co-parenting counseling is designed so you do NOT have to rely solely on the legal system. The goal is for both parents to treat each other in a clear kind way so you create the best experience possible for your children. When the legal system is heavily involved, this usually means that one or both parents are struggling emotionally. Your therapist‘s role in co-parenting counseling does NOT include an evaluation of parenting abilities of either parent. If one of the co-parents determine at any time that we are unable to work together to meet the establish goals of our sessions, please discuss this so we can reset our goals or end therapy. Your therapist understands that she or he has been given no authority by the court. Therapeutic sessions are not intended to be used for litigation purposes. All parties agree not to call your therapist to serve as a witness in any litigation that currently is in process or in any future litigation unless prior written agreement is made with your therapist. If you need a custody evaluation, we usually recommend Dr. John Orlando, PSYD, MFT (408-295-5050).
  • May I bring my BABY into the therapy session and may I leave my CHILD in the waiting room?
    Waiting room - 12 and over: You may bring your child to the waiting room if your child is 12 years old or older and is capable of remaining in the waiting area, without disruption, for the parent's full session time. Please know that responsibility for all aspects of the child's behavior rests solely with the parent, as does responsibility for the safety of the child. There will not be any staff or supervision available to assist your child if he or she is in distress or to prevent him or her from harm. Waiting room - under 12: Due to the risk of injury and possibility of disruption to the care of other patients, all children under 12 years old in the waiting room must be under the direct supervision of an accompanying adult at all times. Infants in therapy room: Couples therapy is generally not a place for your baby or toddler. Rather, it's a place free of distractions where a couple can focus on each other and learn how to get their needs met. Over the long term, this will better equipped the couple to meet the needs of their child. Your therapist may make exceptions if the couples session is focused on how to interact with the child; however, this should be discussed well in advance.
  • What about the DATA SECURITY of your notes and information about us?
    SESSION NOTES AND BILLING RECORDS: We take the data security of your personal information seriously. Everyone in our practice uses an established software platform called Simple Practice for session notes, billing, your contact information and scheduling. Simple Practice follows industry best practices to ensure that your personal health information is kept secure. You can read more about their security process at: EMAIL / MESSAGING: If you send an email directly to one of our therapists, the data is only as secure as your email provider so please use extra caution. Use of regular email (such as gmail) is usually not HIPAA compliant. Simple Practice has a secure messaging system which has extra security. Feel free to request for your therapist to activate this messaging platform. VIDEO CONFERENCING: Different therapists use different video conferencing platforms. No system is risk free but our therapists use market leading solutions (Zoom, Doxy.Me...) that have incorporated security procedures.
  • What about the CONFIDENTIALITY of what is shared in sessions?
    Please understand that, in the world of psychology, confidentiality refers to protection of information shared with a therapist from being shared with third parties without the client's express consent. Privacy, on the other hand, refers to the legal protection of personal medical information from being shared on a public platform. I will discuss "confidentiality" below. The session content and all relevant materials to the client’s treatment will be held confidential unless the client requests in writing to have all or portions of such content released to a specifically named person/persons. Limitations of such client-held privilege of confidentiality exist and are itemized below: 1. If a client threatens or attempts to commit suicide or otherwise conducts him/her self in a manner in which there is a substantial risk of incurring serious bodily harm. 2. If a client threatens grave bodily harm or death to another person. 3. If the therapist has a reasonable suspicion that a client or other named victim is the perpetrator, observer of, or actual victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children under the age of 18 years. 4. Suspicions as stated above in the case of an elderly person who may be subjected to these abuses. 5. Suspected neglect of the parties named in items #3 and # 4. 6. If a court of law issues a legitimate subpoena for information stated on the subpoena. 7. If a client is in therapy or being treated by order of a court of law, or if information is obtained for the purpose of rendering an expert’s report to an attorney. Occasionally, your therapist may need to consult with other professionals in their areas of expertise in order to provide the best treatment for you. Information about you may be shared in this context without using your name. UNPLANNED MEETING WHILE IN PUBLIC: If you see your therapist accidentally outside of the therapy office, your therapist will not acknowledge you first as this may inadvertently inform others of the therapeutic relationship. Your right to privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us, and we do not wish to jeopardize your privacy. However, if you initiate contact with your therapist first, she or he will be more than happy to speak briefly with you. Nonetheless, your therapist will not engage in lengthy discussions in public or outside of the therapy office as the discussion may be overheard and put your privacy at risk. COACHING vs PSYCHOTHERAPY: The above confidentiality and privacy framework addresses psychotherapy. If you are receiving coaching, the rules differ slightly and are explained in the coaching intake form.
  • Is the fact that I'm receiving therapy from you confidential?
    Yes, if someone inquires, we do not acknowledge or deny that any individual is a client of ours. It is best if the person inquiring speak directly to their loved one. Only you, our client, can authorize us to speak to a third party (unless the therapist discloses information due to one of the rare exceptions as discussed in the previous question about confidentiality).
  • While in couples therapy, may I talk to you WITHOUT my partner present?
    Our practice is to meet with both members of the couple together for the FIRST session. This has the benefit of establishing the "relationship" as the client and the top priority. With that said, after the first session, your therapist may: have a session with one partner alone, but for short periods or for a discreet purpose, and/or talk on the phone with one partner. To do so, the partner not attending the session must consent to the individual session in advance. Usually, we accomplish this by giving verbal consent during a couples session or by having the non-attending partner consent by email. This allows us to MAINTAIN TRUST so your therapist can be an effective couples counselor for you. ​ The typical reasons to meet individually are: Practical considerations such as travel, childcare or sickness make it difficult or impossible for one partner to attend. In such cases, it may be helpful for the other partner to use the time to work on his or her issues with me. Sometimes progress is made when a partner feels free to talk openly. Valuable information can be gathered regarding each individual’s history and the individual's commitment to the relationship and to couples therapy. The individual may be able work on his or her own issues in a less triggering environment so he or she can be more open and less reactive when together. your therapist will only do this for a limited amount of time, usually 2 to 5 sessions. There are topics which may feel scary to discuss in front of a partner so it may be wise to get your therapist's help on how to express yourself more skillfully or with more tenderness. Both partners feel stuck in the couples work and decide they need to grow individually so that they can come back together in a healthier way. In such cases, the best course of action is for each partner to find their own individual counselors; however, be careful as some individual counselors, in an attempt to bond with you, may unintentionally demonize the other partner. Alternatively, some couples wish to alternate seeing your couples counselor individually at their regular time of their couples sessions. This will be limited in time (2 to 5 sessions) and should be viewed as an interim step to returning to couples work. A partner may be considering ending the relationship and need to discuss it without the partner present. Your therapist will help you process your thoughts and carefully weigh your options but will not tell you what to do. Also, your therapist will not share your thoughts on this matter with your partner. If your therapist become aware of domestic abuse or an active affair, he or she would suspend therapy. You should be aware that the partner who is not in the individual session may feel left out, anxious, or mad. If that happens, it is a good idea to share those feelings in your next couples session. If, at any time, either partner feels an imbalance in my time and/or support, please tell your therapist. Such feelings could derail therapy, especially if they do not get tended to. It may also be appropriate for your therapist to meet with the other partner so the therapy remains balanced. To be clear, your therapist can not be one partner’s individual therapist and your couple counselor at the same time. If you have significant areas of growth that you want to work on in yourself, your therapist would be glad to recommend several excellent individual therapists for you to consider. In this case, if the couple agrees to it, your therapist would consult with that therapist to coordinate individual and couple treatment so they complement each other.
  • What if I tell my therapist a SECRET during a one-on-one session?
    In general it is not a good idea for one partner to tell your therapist a secret that the other partner does not know. This can lead to feelings of mistrust. Therapists on our team have developed different ways of dealing with these sensitive situations. Please talk to your therapist about her/his policy and guidance about keeping secrets before you share.
  • What if I am married and my partner REFUSES TO COME?
    Even if your partner is not ready for change, you can work on yourself to stop the cycle of pain in your relationship. I often work with one partner in Couples Therapy for One. Our approach in "Couples Therapy for One" is different than in individual counseling where an individual counselor is solely focused on your happiness. Your therapist will be careful not to turn the non-present partner into a villain and will not to undermine a marriage by supporting a one-sided view of the marriage problems. Although your therapist will make her or his best efforts to support the emotional health of an individual client who is in distressed, he or she will hold a high regard for the welfare of the other spouse and the children—and for the lifelong commitment that the client once made to the marriage for "better and worse."
  • After couples therapy ends, can I see you as my INDIVIDUAL therapist?
    We do not recommend that your couples therapist become your individual counselor after couples therapy because of the following reasons: As a deeper therapeutic relationship is built during individual therapy, it would be difficult to return as your couples counselor in a balanced way. You may feel like you have to start over with another counselor. Yes, that is definitely a downside, but this is outweighed by keeping the couples therapy option open in case you and your partner wish someday to return as a couple. It puts your couples counselor in a difficult position of choosing clients if both partners want to continue individually after couples counseling. Our focus is on helping couples and other therapists who focus on individuals may serve you better. Nonetheless, we will gladly recommend other therapists with whom we work very closely. That way we can, with your written permission, thoroughly brief them so that we minimize the "start-over" experience.
  • I betrayed my partner and need to do a Full Therapeutic Disclosure (FTD). Can I do that with you or do I need to find an individual therapist?
    Our general recommendation is for the acting-out partner to select a qualified individual therapist to help you prepare the FTD and then present the FTD to the betrayed partner in the presence of a qualified couples therapist. The benefits of using a separate individual therapist for FTD preparation are: The acting-out partner can be completely honest with the individual therapist about everything, even details the betrayed partner need not know. The actingout party does not have to worry about the information leaking back to the betrayed partner through the couples therapist. The individual therapist can guide the partner on what is truly important to include in the disclosure. The acting-out partner can feel fully supported by the individual therapist whereas the couples therapist is often splitting support between both partners. For example, when the couples therapist validates the anger of the betrayed partner, the acting-out partner can feel like the betrayed partner and couples therapist are ganging up on him/her. Extra time must be spent with just the acting-out partner to develop the FTD. If this is done by the couples therapist, it can unbalance the couples work. If done by the individual therapist, the couples work remains balanced. When the FTD is presented to the betrayed partner, it is easier for the couples therapist to remain neutral as he/she has not been involved in the FTD development. The benefits of using your couples therapist to develop the FTD are: The couples therapist gets a deeper understanding of the background of the betrayed partner. This may help in the couples work. This approach can save money, at least in the short term, as there is one less person to get up to speed on the background. The couple should weigh the factors above and agree on which course is best for you.
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