Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is your office?
Q: How do I contact you or make an appointment?
You may contact me directly by phone or by sending the contact form located in the contact section of this website. Appointments are made by calling me directly at 301-844-1752 or sending an email to HopefulCounselingllc@gmail.com. Please leave a confidential message and I will call you back as soon as possible.
Q: Do you have a sliding scale?
A sliding scale, dependent upon your income, is offered from time to time, when slots are available. If you need a reduced rate, we can discuss the possibility during the initial consultation.
Q: What should I expect on my first visit?
The relationship between therapist and client is the most healing aspect of the treatment process. Your first visit is an opportunity for us to meet and sense whether we would work well together. It is primarily designed for you to discover if you are comfortable with me and the way in which I work. I will listen closely to you to develop an understanding of both the hopes and concerns that bring you to therapy and to answer any questions that you have about the therapeutic process.
Q: Is there homework? Are you going to test me in some way? How will I know that I’m progressing?
I generally tell people to try to become more aware of their feelings during the course of their days, but there are no tests and no homework (well, not always!). My only requirement is that you commit to showing up every week at the same time for at least one 50-minute session. Therapy works when you allow yourself to “freely associate” and to trust that whatever you need to explore will come up during the process. Your progress will hopefully be reflected in your everyday life by an increased sense of freedom, ownership of power and significantly improved mood and disposition.
Q: Will you give me advice and then get upset if I don’t follow it?
Therapy is not giving advice, so, no I will not. If simply telling you what I believe you should do, worked, then the advice given by friends, family or self-help books would suffice. Therapy works by trusting that, at the deepest level, you really do know what you need to bring joy and contentment to your own life if you would only take the time to listen. Therapy gives you the opportunity to slow down and to reflect upon feelings and behavior patterns that you didn’t know you had. Just this recognition alone is half the battle in the process of change. The therapist’s role is to make the space as safe as possible for you to do just that, to lift up patterns of behavior, feelings and inner conflicts that may be causing you pain and impeding your ability to function and enjoy life.
Q: What about confidentiality?
Your sessions and all information you disclose are confidential. Except for the instances stated below, which are required by law, I will not share information or respond to inquiries of any kind from any source without your written consent.
Legally required exceptions to this confidentiality policy include:
Threats of serious bodily harm to another person or persons, which must be reported to the police and the intended victim(s).
Suspected child abuse, dependent adult abuse, or elder abuse, which must be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities.
Intent to inflict self-harm, which will prompt efforts to engage the clients’ cooperation in securing their safety. In the absence of such cooperation, safety measures will be taken without client permission, as provided by law.
In some instances, the courts may subpoena my records or testimony. In most instances I am forced to honor these subpoenas.
In addition, if you choose to cover any portion of your therapy costs with insurance, then your insurance company will have access to the dates of your appointments and to your diagnosis.
Will you be upset or judgmental about who I date, to whom I’m married or with whom I associate, my religious practices or my political viewpoint?
I once had an African American male client who took months to explore issues (about which he was very concerned) regarding his relationship with his white girlfriend. He told me that he was afraid that I might be as angry as his mother had been when she learned that he was dating a white woman, so he didn’t bring those issues to therapy. I like to tell people up front that I won’t judge you for who you are or for who it is that you love, associate with, or what you choose to believe in. I work with people from all walks of life with many different concerns. I am honored to be on the journey with people from all ethnicities, faiths, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations.
Q: Will you think that I’m crazy or belittle me if I talk about my spiritual beliefs?
I actually specialize in internal conflicts with regard to spirituality. My work is not limited to any specific belief system or lifestyle, but is based upon the premise that a part of healing is to find meaning in life. I believe that spirituality is a way of making meaning by enabling one to feel whatever feelings are present without attempting escape. I understand spirituality is the anchor that empowers one to stay present in the midst of trauma and the stresses of daily living.
In addition, some have experienced disillusionment with their higher power and disappointment with the abuses of religious practitioners. These feelings can seriously interrupt personal faith and spiritual practice. Persons can experience anger and disappointment and then shame about their feelings. I provide a safe space to explore these emotions so that internal conflicts which block spiritual actualization and joy can be resolved. In a nonjudgmental and liberating environment, I work with clients as they learn to give themselves permission to discover and freely express their own personal understanding of spirit and the role of spirituality in their lives.
I also am honored to work with those for whom spirituality plays no significant role.
Q: How long does therapy last?
Therapy lasts for as long as you feel that it is benefiting you. It is a very unique and individual process. Ultimately, the decision is always yours. Ideally we would explore thoughts and feelings about ending together. Sometimes, clients feel impulses to stop when difficult themes or emotions arise. An experienced therapist can help you to explore the motivation to stop and work through the decision with the understanding that you can come back at any time. If you are ready to begin the journey, call me.