FAQ'S

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FAQ's

< Therapy

Do you provide extended therapy, retreats or intensives?


Yes. Sometimes couples need more than one session per week, specially if they are in crisis. You can learn more about my Private Couple Retreat at this link.




What if I struggle with DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY?


If you are in a significant relationship, one of the best ways to deal with the depression is through Couples Therapy for Depression. I work closely with both partners to bring the depression under control while working on improving how you and your partner interact.




Will talking about a problem just make things worse?


You're probably asking this question because that is exactly what has happened. I work really hard to help you constructively handle reactivity and negative emotions. You will learn a highly structured way to talk that will feel different and hopefully safe. Conversations should shift from a battleground to a safe and productive place to connect.




What if our problems have gone on so long there's no way to fix them?


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, there is hope.




Will you tell us whether we should stay together or break up?


I am a "marriage-friendly" therapist and thus focus on restoring your relationship to full health. My goal is to guide you toward healing as long as you are willing to work at it. Nonetheless, if your decision is to end the relationship, I will fully honor the decision and support you. Staying together or breaking apart is simply not my decision to make.




Will I be blamed for all the problems?


Unless there is a severe case of neglect or abuse, you will not be labeled as "the problem". We will focus on the underlying cycles of interaction instead. Each partner has to become aware of his or her role in maintaining a pattern in order to break it. Even in cases of an affair, long-standing unhealthy patterns must be examined as contrubuting factors (but not as an excuse).




What's the FIRST STEP to start therapy?


The first step is to fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page. That will start our communication, typically by me responding with an email or giving you a call. If you like, you start by calling me at any time at 408 823 2822. When we talk on the phone, we will briefly discuss your situation so I can understand your counseling and scheduling needs. If we are a good fit for each other, we will set up our first appointment. My online client portal will then generate a separate email to each you asking you to fill out intake forms so I will have some background on you when we first meet.




What if we just come an argue in front of you?


I will NOT let you get stuck fighting in my office. That's a complete waste of time. Couples typically come to a therapy session in the midst of one of these two states:

  • fighting (quietly or loudly) and
  • withdrawing (not talking about what mainly concerns them).
One approach that is effective is for me to move next to one of you and speak as if I were you talking to the other. If you are: fighting, I try to convert your angry and defensive comments into confiding ones. withdrawing—(not talking about your feelings)—I guess about what these feelings might be and ask if my guess is correct. The result is often that the fights or withdrawal turns into an intimate conversations. The very thing that was hurting your relationship shifts into a way to deepen it. WHY WE FALL INTO THE PATTERN: Fighting is a stuck pattern in which both of you feel:
  • too unheard to listen,
  • too misunderstood to be understanding, and
  • too hurt by what the other just said to do anything other than hurt back.
Withdrawing is a painful relationship position in which partners don’t talk about what most concerns them and may not talk much at all. Intimacy, the alternative to fighting and withdrawing, occurs when partners reach out to each other with what they need in a loving way that makes their partner their teammate, not the enemy. You strive to be closer rather than to hurt the other or to act angry, defensive, or distant. To achieve this level of intimacy, you have to learn how to have a "recovery conversation" in which you:
  • share feelings,
  • make acknowledgments of your mistakes,
  • reach out to the other with comfort, forgiveness and acceptance, and
  • look at things from the other’s point of view.
In these recovery conversations, you learn to first take care of the relationships, putting it at a higher plane (meta-level) than the fight of the moment. By being able to jump to this meta-level, you are able to recognize when you slip into a fight and return to what is most important. In summary, in my work with you, I will:
  • help you transform fights and withdrawals into recovery conversations
  • show them how to build a higher platform from which to hold connect and
  • enable you to transform problems into intimate connection.
FOOTNOTE: This approach is completely based on Emotional Focused Therapy. See Sue Johnson's book, "Hold Me Tight".




Will you make me cry?


I couldn't make you cry even if I wanted to! My aim is to create a comforting environment where you can share as much or little as you want to. Sometimes when you are able to share with your partner, you will feel a deep connection and tears will come. Many clients experience this as a welcome relief. Like you've held these emotions in for a long time and they finally get to be expressed. Nonetheless, if you ever feel uncomfortable, pleasle let me know and we will make changes to take care of you. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed or pushed to be vulnerable when you are not ready.





< Insurance & Cost

Is counseling worth the cost?


My fees are explained on my " fees and location" tab. The majority of couples are in therapy weekly for a month or two and then attend every other week for two more months. They usually end up spending from $1,000 to $4,000 on counseling. To help put the cost of marriage counseling in perspective, it is difficult to buy something for $4,000 that will give you the same quality of life that a healthy marriage provides. 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 more fulfilled in the end.




What about insurance?


I have tried to cover answers to all the insurance questions that I get from clients. If I missed something, please do not hesitate to ask. OUT-OF-NETWORK:
I have chosen to remain an “out-of-network” provider for all insurance companies. In my experience, this allows me to provide a higher quality of care, independent from insurance-based rules or decisions. Accordingly, full payment is due from you at the beginning of each therapy session. I accept payment by cash, check or credit card. SUPER-BILLS: It is your choice whether you would like to apply for insurance reimbursement or not. Although I do not accept direct payment from insurance companies, I provide a “super-bill” to you which includes the standard information (such as diagnosis and treatment codes) that most insurance companies require. You then submit the super-bill to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please note that I do NOT fill out any forms that are created by your insurance company and do NOT correspond directly with them in any way. Superbills are automatically generated in the client portal after the first day of the month following the appointment. You can log in and download the super-bill at your convenience. DIAGNOSIS IN COUPLES THERAPY: For couples therapy, most insurance companies will reimburse for therapy involving two people if one person has been given a diagnosis. We should have a discussion to make sure the appropriate partner is provided with a diagnosis. QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER:​
To find out more about your coverage, call your provider, get the name of the person you’re speaking to, and ask the following questions:

  1. Does my policy cover out-of-network outpatient psychotherapy?
  2. CPT CODES: If yes, what is the reimbursement for out-of-network psychotherapy services for the following CPT codes: 90834, 90837, 90847. What is the reimbursement rate for telehealth CPT codes, 90834-95, 90837-95, and 90847-95? Your insurance company should understand what a “CPT code” is, and whether they reimburse for these specific codes.
  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 following diagnoses (which are common for my clients to have): adjustment disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, autism, and agoraphobia with panic disorder?

    For couples therapy, the most common diagnosis by far is " adjustment disorder", which means you are experiencing stress (relationship difficulty) which is causing significant problems in your life.

    While some clients may have additional diagnoses, the ones listed above are the most common ones used in my practice, and it is helpful to know ahead of time if the insurance company will be willing to reimburse for the ICD-10 codes attached to these diagnoses.
  5. % 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 my actual rate). This would mean the client would be reimbursed $84 per session. Another insurance company, however, may only reimburse 50%, but allow a $250 hourly rate, meaning that the client would be reimbursed $125 per session. Thus, it is important to understand both the reimbursement percentage and the maximum per-session rate allowed.
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. ADMINISTRATIVE: What is the address of the office where I should send my claims? To whose attention is the claim to be sent?
​HSA AND FSA ACCOUNTS: Many clients have been successful in utilizing a Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for reimbursement of accrued therapy expenses. Please note that the superbill as discussed above can serve as documentation for your FSA or HSA. I understand that financial concerns may lead you to use an in-network provider. Please be aware that there are local non-profit agencies that provide low-cost counseling services.





< One Partner Sessions

What if 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.
My approach in "Couples Therapy for One" is different than in individual counseling where an individual counselor is solely focused on your happiness. I am 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 I make all efforts to support the emotional health of an individual client who is distressed in a marriage, I 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."




While in couples therapy, may I meet with you without my partner present?


My practice is to meet with both members of the couple together for the FIRST session. This has the benefit of establishing that the marriage or partnership is the client, and that the welfare of the relationship will be the top priority. With that said, after the first session, I will meet with one partner alone, but for short periods or for a discreet purpose. Also, the partner not attending the session must consent to the individual session in advance. This is important because we need to MAINTAIN TRUST for me to be an effective couples counselor for you. The typical reasons to meet individually are:

  1. Practical considerations such as 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.
  2. Valuable information can be gathered regarding each individual’s history and commitment to the relationship and treatment.
  3. 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. I will only do this for a limited amount of time, usually 2 to 5 sessions.
  4. There are things that may feel scary to say in front of a partner so it may be wise to get my help on how to express it more skillfully.
  5. 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. My first recommendation 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 me individually at their regular time of their couples sessions. This should be viewed as an interim step to returning to couples work.
  6. A partner may be thinking about whether to end the relationship and need to discuss it without the partner present. I will help you process your thoughts and carefully weigh your options. I will not tell you what to do. Also, please know that I am a pro-marriage therapist but totally respect your right to choose your own path in life.
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, you feel an imbalance in my time and/or support, please tell me. Such feelings could derail therapy, especially if they don’t get tended to. It may also be appropriate for me to meet with the other partner so the therapy remains balanced. To be clear, I 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, I would be glad to recommend several excellent individual therapists for you to consider. In this case, if the couple agrees to it, I would talk to that therapist to coordinate individual and couple treatment so they complement each other.




What if I tell you a secret during an individual session?


After we meet individually, I do NOT share secrets that you tell me in an individual session in a later couple session. It is healthy for you to communicate directly with your partner (not through me). In very special circumstances, secrets have to get dealt with by the couple and may cause me to stop couple therapy. I will still NOT tell the partner. Again that is your responsibility. The three criteria that I use to evaluate whether a secret shared individually will cause me to suspend couples therapy are: 1) Is the secret information currently adversely affecting the relationship in a meaningful way? Examples of this would include an ongoing affair, current domestic violence or current substance dependence. 2) Would the partner disclosing the information have a therapeutic benefit? For example, disclosing an affair that occurred 10 years ago without recurrence may only hurt the betrayed partner but not furthering the current relationship goals. 3) Does disclosing the information put one of the partners at risk for physical harm? If the answers to these questions indicate that disclosure would have a net therapeutic benefit, I urge the partner (again, not me) to disclose the information and support him or her in doing so. If the partner refuses, I may suspend treatment until the couple is ready to deal with the critical issue that is being held secret.




I betrayed my partner and need to do a Full Therapeutic Disclosure. Can I do that with you or do I need to find an individual therapist?


My 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 actingout 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 actingout 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 actingout 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.




After couples therapy ends, can I see you as my individual therapist?


I do not recommend being your individual counselor after couples therapy because of the following reasons:

  • As we build a deeper therapeutic relationship during individual therapy, it would be difficult for me to return as your couples counselor in a balanced way. I realize that you may feel like you have to start over with another counselor. Yes, that is definitely a downside, but I believe that it is outweighed by keeping the couples therapy option open in case you and your partner wish someday to return as a couple.
  • It puts me in a difficult position of choosing if both partners want to continue individually with me.
  • My focus is on helping couples and other therapists who focus on individuals may serve you better.
Nonetheless, I will gladly recommend other therapists with whom I work very closely. That way I can, with your permission, thoroughly brief them so that we minimize the "start-over" experience.





< Policies

What about DATA SECURITY?


I take the data security of your personal information extremely seriously. I use 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 practices here. If you send an email directly to me, the data is only as secure as your email provider so please use extra caution. See separate FAQ about emails.




When will you share our PERSONAL MEDICAL INFORMATION (PMI)?


Confidentiality refers to protection of information shared with a therapist (me) from being shared with third parties without express consent. Privacy, on the other hand, refers to the legal protection of personal medical information from being shared on a public platform. I am talking about privacy of "personal medical information" below. California law protects the privacy of our relationship such that information cannot be disclosed without your written permission. There are however some exceptions. I have included my privacy practices disclosure form which you will be asked to agree to during the intake form process. If you have any questions about any of this, please ask me. THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY. I. MY PLEDGE REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION:
I understand that health information about you and your health care is personal. I am committed to protecting health information about you. I create a record of the care and services you receive from me. I need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by this mental health care practice. This notice will tell you about the ways in which I may use and disclose health information about you. I also describe your rights to the health information I keep about you, and describe certain obligations I have regarding the use and disclosure of your health information. I am required by law to: Make sure that protected health information (“PHI”) that identifies you is kept private. Give you this notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information. Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect. I can change the terms of this Notice, and such changes will apply to all information I have about you. The new Notice will be available upon request, in my office, and on my website. II. HOW I MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU:
The following categories describe different ways that I use and disclose health information. For each category of uses or disclosures I will explain what I mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways I am permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories. For Treatment Payment, or Health Care Operations: Federal privacy rules (regulations) allow health care providers who have direct treatment relationship with the patient/client to use or disclose the patient/client’s personal health information without the patient’s written authorization, to carry out the health care provider’s own treatment, payment or health care operations. I may also disclose your protected health information for the treatment activities of any health care provider. This too can be done without your written authorization. For example, if a clinician were to consult with another licensed health care provider about your condition, we would be permitted to use and disclose your person health information, which is otherwise confidential, in order to assist the clinician in diagnosis and treatment of your mental health condition. Disclosures for treatment purposes are not limited to the minimum necessary standard. Because therapists and other health care providers need access to the full record and/or full and complete information in order to provide quality care. The word “treatment” includes, among other things, the coordination and management of health care providers with a third party, consultations between health care providers and referrals of a patient for health care from one health care provider to another. Lawsuits and Disputes: If you are involved in a lawsuit, I may disclose health information in response to a court or administrative order. I may also disclose health information about your child in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested. III. CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES REQUIRE YOUR AUTHORIZATION: Psychotherapy Notes. I do keep “psychotherapy notes” as that term is defined in 45 CFR § 164.501, and any use or disclosure of such notes requires your Authorization unless the use or disclosure is: a. For my use in treating you.
b. For my use in training or supervising mental health practitioners to help them improve their skills in group, joint, family, or individual counseling or therapy.
c. For my use in defending myself in legal proceedings instituted by you.
d. For use by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate my compliance with HIPAA.
e. Required by law and the use or disclosure is limited to the requirements of such law.
f. Required by law for certain health oversight activities pertaining to the originator of the psychotherapy notes.
g. Required by a coroner who is performing duties authorized by law.
h. Required to help avert a serious threat to the health and safety of others. Marketing Purposes. As a psychotherapist, I will not use or disclose your PHI for marketing purposes. Sale of PHI. As a psychotherapist, I will not sell your PHI in the regular course of my business. IV. CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES DO NOT REQUIRE YOUR AUTHORIZATION. Subject to certain limitations in the law, I can use and disclose your PHI without your Authorization for the following reasons: When disclosure is required by state or federal law, and the use or disclosure complies with and is limited to the relevant requirements of such law. For public health activities, including reporting suspected child, elder, or dependent adult abuse, or preventing or reducing a serious threat to anyone’s health or safety. For health oversight activities, including audits and investigations. For judicial and administrative proceedings, including responding to a court or administrative order, although my preference is to obtain an Authorization from you before doing so. For law enforcement purposes, including reporting crimes occurring on my premises. To coroners or medical examiners, when such individuals are performing duties authorized by law. For research purposes, including studying and comparing the mental health of patients who received one form of therapy versus those who received another form of therapy for the same condition. Specialized government functions, including, ensuring the proper execution of military missions; protecting the President of the United States; conducting intelligence or counter-intelligence operations; or, helping to ensure the safety of those working within or housed in correctional institutions. For workers’ compensation purposes. Although my preference is to obtain an Authorization from you, I may provide your PHI in order to comply with workers’ compensation laws. Appointment reminders and health related benefits or services. I may use and disclose your PHI to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment with me. I may also use and disclose your PHI to tell you about treatment alternatives, or other health care services or benefits that I offer. V. CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES REQUIRE YOU TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT. Disclosures to family, friends, or others. I may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations. VI. YOU HAVE THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR PHI: The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask me not to use or disclose certain PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. I am not required to agree to your request, and I may say “no” if I believe it would affect your health care. The Right to Request Restrictions for Out-of-Pocket Expenses Paid for In Full. You have the right to request restrictions on disclosures of your PHI to health plans for payment or health care operations purposes if the PHI pertains solely to a health care item or a health care service that you have paid for out-of-pocket in full. The Right to Choose How I Send PHI to You. You have the right to ask me to contact you in a specific way (for example, home or office phone) or to send mail to a different address, and I will agree to all reasonable requests. The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. Other than “psychotherapy notes,” you have the right to get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record and other information that I have about you. I will provide you with a copy of your record, or a summary of it, if you agree to receive a summary, within 30 days of receiving your written request, and I may charge a reasonable, cost based fee for doing so. The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures I Have Made.You have the right to request a list of instances in which I have disclosed your PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations, or for which you provided me with an Authorization. I will respond to your request for an accounting of disclosures within 60 days of receiving your request. The list I will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. I will provide the list to you at no charge, but if you make more than one request in the same year, I will charge you a reasonable cost based fee for each additional request. The Right to Correct or Update Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI, or that a piece of important information is missing from your PHI, you have the right to request that I correct the existing information or add the missing information. I may say “no” to your request, but I will tell you why in writing within 60 days of receiving your request. The Right to Get a Paper or Electronic Copy of this Notice. You have the right get a paper copy of this Notice, and you have the right to get a copy of this notice by e-mail. And, even if you have agreed to receive this Notice via e-mail, you also have the right to request a paper copy of it. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE This notice went into effect on 8/5/2019 Acknowledgement of Receipt of Privacy Notice Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), you have certain rights regarding the use and disclosure of your protected health information. By checking the box below, you are acknowledging that you have received a copy of HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices.




What about the CONFIDENTIALITY of what we talk about in session?


Please understand that confidentiality refers to protection of information shared with a therapist (me) from being shared with third parties without express consent. Privacy, on the other hand, refers to the legal protection of personal medical information from being shared on a public platform. I am talking about "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 I 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. If we see each other accidentally outside of the therapy office, I will not acknowledge you first. Your right to privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance to me, and I do not wish to jeopardize your privacy. However, if you acknowledge me first, I will be more than happy to speak briefly with you, but feel it appropriate not to engage in any lengthy discussions in public or outside of the therapy office.




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. Dr. Motro‘s role in co-parenting counseling does NOT include an evaluation of parenting abilities of either parent. If he or one of the co-parents determine at any time that we are unable to work together to meet the establish goals of our sessions, Dr. Motro will report this to all parties involved. Dr. Motro understands that 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 Dr. Motro 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 Dr. Motro. If you need a custody evaluation, I usually recommend Dr. John Orlando, PSYD, MFT (408-295-5050).




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 to me with questions that they want to ask or thoughts that they just want to share. Because of this, I have set the following guidelines for emails and texts between sessions.

GUIDELINES:

ADMINISTRATIVE EMAILS: It is fine use email and texts for administrative items such as changing appointments. You can also use the secure messaging in the client portal.

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. I am not always available and can't be counted on to support you 24 hours a day. The best approach is to call 911.

CLINICAL MATTERS: Even though I deeply care about you and your situation, I kindly request that you 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 I 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 text information, and

  • avoid getting caught in the middle.

BRING THOUGHTS INTO SESSION: I 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 me 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 so volatile that the couple needs significantly more support. In such cases, I will respond to emails between sessions; however, both partners must consent to this and I must approve this "special email counseling" in advance. I will 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 for me to turn away from your heartfelt communications because I really do care. Please know that my policy is aimed at healthy boundaries and setting up a safe place where you can both feel fully heard. After serving many couples, my experience has taught me that this approach ultimately leads to better healing for you. Please accept my apologies if my policy hurts your feelings in any way!




WIll you connect with me on SOCIAL MEDIA?


I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, 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.




How do you handle PHONE CALLS between sessions?


VOICEMAILS: If you need to contact me between sessions, please call 408 823 2822 and leave a message on my voice mail. I am often not immediately available; however, I 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 me know. PHONE SESSIONS: Please note that face-to-face sessions (in-person or Zoom) are generally preferable to phone sessions; however, some clients prefer phone sessions to Zoom or In-person sessions. Phone sessions are perfectly acceptable, especially for an individual sessions. Phone sessions are often challenging for couples but can be helpful in limited circumstances. EMERGENCIES: If an emergency situation arises, do not call my voicemail. Please immediately call 911 or any local emergency room. I do not offer crisis counseling or emergency services.




Can we do therapy using REMOTE VIDEO?


Generally, clients prefer therapy when we’re in the same room; however, when we can’t meet face-to-face, therapy using remote video can be an effective alternative. Here’s what I have found works best:

  • SEATING: 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 me and sometimes to each other. This approach tends to work better than sitting on a couch. Please make sure the microphone can pick up your audio when you’re talking to each other in the chairs.
  • PAYMENT: Payment is due prior to the session. Please register on my client portal and enter your credit card information if you have not already done so.
  • SECURITY: Please be aware that using video introduces security risk. By engaging in video therapy with me, you are agreeing to accept these risks.




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. I do make exceptions if the couples session is focused on how to interact with the child; however, this should be discussed well in advance.





< About Dr. Motro

How are you different from other therapists?


My practice is completely focused on working with couples. This allows me to offer an extensive set of tools to help you improve your most important relationship. I also have received advanced training on marriage counseling at the Master's and Doctoral level. Many counselors prefer to be generalists and approach marriage counseling by relying on psychotherapy methods centered on the individual instead of on the marriage relationship. A lot of people who primarily work with individuals feel overwhelmed by the number of variables they have to deal with when they work with couples. As a couples counselor, I have to be very active in structuring a couples session to keep our work safe and under control.




Are you a "religious" counselor?


First, please know that all you need to be in therapy with me is the desire to improve your lifelong patterns and the willingness to show up and have an open conversation. Some clients prefer for faith to be a central part of their therapy process; others prefer to leave spirituality at the door. Please know that you will never be forced to discuss spiritual matters. Whatever arrangement that works best for you is what I'd like to honor. My most basic goal is to serve individuals of all walks of life and all faiths. For Christians who specifically seek professional Christian counseling, please let me know of your desire to integrate your faith in our work together. You will be able to receive therapy based on a scientifically sound psychological approach which is consistent with and rooted in biblical truth and ethics. My approach is non-denominational and my goal is to be loving and non-judgemental. The main way that my own faith will show up for everyone is in my commitment to see you as a wonderfully unique, imperfect but valuable, struggling but resilient human being worthy of love and belonging. Wherever you may be in your life and relationship journey, there is space for you here.




Are we a good fit?


That is a question that only you can answer! I work really well for most couples but certainly not for all. As a therapist who helps couples heal together, getting the two of you to interact together in a positive way is really important to me. It’s critical for you to feel safe enough in therapy to explore painful areas of your life; it's my job to create such a space for you. Your interactions with each other when you are with me deserve the utmost of care. When considering fit, please trust your intuition (gut), and ask a lot of questions. This starts with a free consult call with me. I promise that I'll give you an honest answer to any question you ask. If it's too personal for me to share, I will kindly let you know. Once we get started, I'll check in after the first few sessions to make sure we're heading in the right direction and confirm that you're feeling comfortable. If you are struggling with me for any reason, PLEASE let me know and we'll most likely be able to fix it. If, after a few sessions, we're not connecting (for whatever reason) and can't seem to fix it, that's alright - I won't take it personally! Please let me know, and I will gladly point you towards someone who may better serve you.





< Referrals

Can you refer us to a MEDIATOR OR DIVORCE ATTORNEY?


Although I love to help your fight for your marriage, if you decide to end the relationship, I will help you part amicably, keeping mutual respect as part of the process and remembering the needs of any children involved. Given this goal, I strongly recommend seeking a divorce mediator. Divorce mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to meet with a specially-trained, neutral third-party to discuss and resolve common divorce-related issues. Mediation is typically much less stressful and less expensive than a divorce trial, and it usually proceeds much faster. I recommend the following mediators:

Adriana C. Moore
https://mloresolve.com/

https://www.costanzo-law.com/our-firm

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adriana-c-moore-23420434/
(408) 606-8493 or (650) 867-2432

Stan L. Bartelmie
http://www.mediate.com/sbartelmie/index.cfm
1011 West Taylor Street, San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: 408.298.1585 Fax: 408-286-4142

Dina Hiddad, Divorce mediation attorney,
www.ffmediation.com, Families First Mediation
560 S. Winchester Blvd., Suite 500, San Jose, 95128
(323) 786-3486

Rebecca Tran
http://www.tranwiselaw.com/Home/Mediation
The Garden Alameda
1570 The Alameda, Suite 212
San Jose, California 95126
(408) 975-9500

If you and your partner can not agree on mediation, I can recommend a divorce attorney who has been mentioned favorably by some of my clients:

Adam Diran,
https://www.dirangrey.com/adam-diran-1/
551 Stockton Avenue, Suite A
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 279-1118




Can you recommend a couples therapist with LOWER FEES?


Yes. You should consider Rosario Puga-Dempsey, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. She works for me and is under my clinical supervision. Her focus also is couples and uses the same tools and approach as me. Her work is excellent and I can highly recommend her. She can be reached at: https://www.rosariopuga.com crc.rosariopuga@gmail.com 408 768 5300.




Can you refer us to couple therapists who specialize in NEURODIVERSITY and/or ASPERGER'S?


I can recommend several therapists who have experience with neurodiverse couples and individual counseling for Asperger Syndrome:

Thomas Lucking (Los Gatos and Santa Cruz). In-person and video.

https://www.thomaslucking.com/

Patricia Robinson (Danville)

http://www.patriciarobinsonmft.com/couples-counseling.html

Dr. Kenneth Roberson (San Francisco)

http://www.kennethrobersonphd.com

Karen Levine (Oakland)

http://www.karenlevinetherapy.com/therapy-couples

Grace Myhill – Therapy by on-line video

https://www.gracemyhill.com/support-groups

Eva Mendes – Therapy by on-line video

http://www.evmendes.com/services/

Also, for individual Asperger counseling only (not couples), consider:

Alicia Danforth (Los Gatos)

https://www.aliciadanforth.com/

These therapists should be able to help you but you should have a thorough conversation to verify that their skills and temperament match you and your needs.




Can you recommend other COUPLES THERAPISTS?


I can highly recommend the following therapists:

Rosario Puga-Dempsey, AMFT. Affair recovery, Young married.

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (117320)

Fee is $125/session

Speaks Spanish

https://www.rosariopuga.com/couples

Bassy Lee, AMFT

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Applicant

Fee $135/session

Speaks Cantonese

www.bassylee.com

Kate Meek, AMFT, Addiction in Relationships, Pre-marital

Fee $125/session

www.kmeektherapy.com

Alex Lerza, MFT, CSAT

Specializes in sexual addiction.

http://www.alexlerza.com/couples-counseling-marriage-counseling

James Lambert, MFT

https://jameslambertcounseling.com/

Tina Engel, MFT

http://cccsanjose.com/engel/

Judy Needham, MFT

http://cccsanjose.com/needham-penrose/

Claudio Silva, MFT

http://www.claudiotherapy.com/index.html

These therapists should be able to help you but you should have a thorough conversation to verify that their skills and temperament match you and your needs.




Can you recommend a PSYCHIATRIST?


Dr. Nely Coyukiat-fu MD 85 Saratoga Ave #206, Santa Clara, CA 95051 408-808-1652 William C. Klindt, M.D. 15215 National Ave. Ste. 101 Los Gatos, CA 95032 (408) 369-2270 https://www.williamcklindtmd.com/ These psychiatrists should be able to help you but you should have a thorough conversation to verify that their skills and temperament match you and your needs.




Can you recommend skilled therapists to support us INDIVDUALLY while doing couples therapy (especially if there has been an affair or other betrayal)?


The following therapists are experienced in supporting you emotionally, helping you process your options, and understanding the work you need to do on your own to heal. I often consult closely with them (with your written consent) to build an integrated treatment plan: MALE THERAPISTS FOR SEX ADDITION Alex Lerza, MFT, CSAT. http://www.alexlerza.com Jerry Fihn, MFT, CSAT https://www.jfihncounseling.com/ Invia Betjoseph, PsyD. CSAT https://sanjosecounseling.com/ Ed Gresick, MFT, CSAT http://www.counselingsanjoseca.com/ MALE THERAPISTS FOR ANGER MANAGEMENT Mark Clayton, MFT http://cccsanjose.com/clayton/ FEMALE THERAPISTS FOR PARTER OF SEX ADDICT Muna Haddad Farhat, MFT. (Highly trained in supporting betrayed spouses. Understands addiction. Can lead you through a clear recovery plan.). http://cccsanjose.com/haddad-farhat/ Susan Rowland, MFT. https://hopecounselingcenter.net/therapists/susan-rowland-mft/ Christine Lee, MFT. http://cccsanjose.com/c-lee/ FEMALE THERAPIST Mariana Shanks, MFT http://cccsanjose.com/nenadic-shanks/ Rosario Puga-Dempsey, AMFT. www.bassylee.com Bassy Lee, AMFT www.bassylee.com Kate Meek, AMFT www.kmeektherapy.com These therapists should be able to help you but you should have a thorough conversation to verify that their skills and temperament match you and your needs.





< Scheduling

Can you explain your 48-hour CANCELLATION POLICY?


Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you. When you must cancel, please give me at least 48-hour notice. I am rarely able to fill a cancelled session unless I know 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. My heartfelt goal is to help you as I really dislike charging for late cancellations, so I 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, I 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 my years of practice, I’ve found that a clear and firm cancellation policy has allowed me to build healthy relationships with my clients and ultimately lead to better results for you in therapy.




What if I am LATE?


I 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, I want to respect that effort and the value of your time; thus, I 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 end at the scheduled time. On rare occasions, there are unavoidable emergencies on my end. If I begin a session late for such a situation, your session will be extended to provide the full 50-minute session. Neither you or I 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 me a text to let me know.




What level of COMMITMENT is required for a RECURRING APPOINTMENT?


Therapy works best when there is commitment and consistency in our work together. I understand that work, illness, travel and other commitments can be obstacles. If you miss 50% of our scheduled appointments in a 2-month period, we 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, I would love to know so I can help address the issue. If you are unable to keep the regular appointments, it is best to shift to "as needed". 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 you once in a while? What does WINDING DOWN therapy look like?


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.​ I do not schedule once-a-month sessions because it makes scheduling weekly and every-other-week sessions logistically difficult for me. If you would like to see me on a monthly basis, please let me know you would like to come off of the recurring schedule and then book a one-time opening on the client portal whenever you want to have a session.




How FREQUENT are sessions?


STARTING OUT: After our initial double session, subsequent sessions will be at a regular time, typically weekly or every other week. Depending on your situation, I 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, I strongly suggest at least weekly. If you wish to supplement your recurring appointments, you can always add a one-time appointment. COMMITMENT: I 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.​ I do not schedule once-a-month sessions because it makes scheduling weekly and every-other-week sessions logistically difficult for me. If you would like to see me on a monthly basis, please let me know you would like to come off of the recurring schedule and then book a one-time opening on the client portal whenever you want to have a session.




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. I do make exceptions if the couples session is focused on how to interact with the child; however, this should be discussed well in advance.





< Coaching

What’s The Difference Between Coaching & Counseling?


I get this question a lot. I started my career in the business world and developed skills as an executive coach. At the same time, as an outgrowth of my personal spiritual journey, I grew into the role of a life coach to help others who had similar questions about their life. After that, I felt the need for more training so I obtained a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, and then a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD). With this background, I now have the privilege of working with therapy clients both in my office in California, and with online coaching clients all over the world. By the laws of California, I am not permitted to provide psychotherapy outside of the state. Because of my background, and the fact that I provide both counseling and coaching, I understand the similarities and the differences. While coaching and counseling are the same in that they 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. The objective of therapy:
Helping people address and resolve problems that make them feel bad emotionally, or are impairing their ability to function well. This can include healing from Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, Trauma, issues with their family of origin, their relationships (Neurotypical and Neurodiverse), ADHD, Addictions and many other common problems.
It’s understood that unless and until these problems are resolved it will be difficult for people to make significant changes in their lives. Once they are feeling stronger and more confident, then they can start taking action to change their circumstances.
The objective of coaching:
Helping people achieve their goals. The basic presumption of coaching is that coaching clients are in a good place mentally and emotionally, and ready to receive guidance and instruction on how to make changes that will help them achieve their goals. The work focuses on creating and maintaining motivation for change, exploring obstacles to change, and creating plans for change. Putting the difference into practice: 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 attempt to help anyone who is dealing with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, or other recognized mental health problems. Prior to accepting coaching clients, I will make this assessment to assure that you will receive the appropriate level of care. Another consideration is that insurance companies usually do not reimburse for coaching but do pay for psychotherapy/counseling. If you have any questions on this matter, please don't hesitate to contact me.





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If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free, 24-hour hotline at 1.800.273.8255.  If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.  Dr. Motro does not offer crisis counseling or emergency services.

Dr. Harry Motro, Marriage Counselor, is an employee of Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C., (a Professional Corporation), which does business as the Couples Recovery CenterCouples Recovery Center provides specialized couples counseling and includes the following professionals:
 

 

If you are interested in joining our team, apply here.

 

Dr. Motro practices at 3880 South Bascom Drive, Suite 111, San Jose, CA,95124, is Licensed as a Marriage Family Therapist MFC 53452 and authorized to act as a Psychotherapist providing Psychotherapy. He specializes in Couples Counseling. In addition to dealing with couples and relationship issues, Dr. Motro is trained to treat anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, bi-polar, ADHD, Asperger's, sex difficulties, anger regulation issues, affair fallout, divorce recovery, self-esteem, addiction, co-dependency, trauma, abuse, eating disorders, and managing grief and loss. These issues often arise in couples counseling and will be dealt with as part of your therapy. If you search for counseling San Jose, marriage counselor San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, psychotherapy San Jose, psychotherapist San Jose, therapist San Jose, counselor San Jose, couples therapist San Jose, couples counselor San Jose, marriage therapy San Jose, life coach San Jose, career coach San Jose, executive coach San Jose, you can find Dr. Harry Motro's web site. In addition to serving San Jose, Harry serves clients in Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Milpitas, Mountain View, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Scotts Valley, Felton, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Los Altos, and Gilroy, California. Dr. Motro also provides  Mountain Bike Therapy. The recommendations on this website do not constitute professional advice, substitute for professional treatment, or establish a therapeutic relationship.

Harry Motro, Psy.D., Marriage and Family Therapist, P.C., www.harrymotro.com, harrymotro@gmail.com, 408 823 2822.

Dr. Harry Motro © 2009 - 2020. All rights reserved.