These Frequently Asked Questions cover many of the questions clients ask me before starting counseling. If you have additional questions that are not covered here, please send me a message.
(You may also be interested in checking out this blog post on some common Myths & Misconceptions about Counseling & Psychotherapy.)
What is your approach to counseling/psychotherapy?
I view our work together as a collaboration. This means that I see us both as experts — you in your own experience, and myself in more general processes of therapeutic change and growth — working together toward the shared goals of relieving your distress, increasing your self-awareness, strengthening your relationships, or helping you discover greater meaning and authenticity in your life. I draw upon a number of different theories and techniques in my work, including interpersonal/relational, humanistic, psychodynamic, emotion-focused, and cognitive-behavioral theories. I believe that each theory has its strengths and weaknesses, but that together they offer a richer and more multi-dimensional picture of the human experience and the process of change. In addition to these more historically Western treatment modalities, I have found that many people also benefit from the integration of Eastern-influenced approaches, such as mindfulness and self-compassion practices. To learn more about my approach to counseling and therapy, please refer here.
Who do you work with?
I work with English-speaking adults (including couples) and adolescents. I specialize in working with expats, international students, intercultural couples, “third culture kids” (TCKs), and others living abroad. However, I do also work with French individuals who are fluent in English and who may prefer to work with an American-trained therapist or someone with an international perspective. For more information about the types of clients I work with, common presenting concerns, and my areas of expertise, please refer here.
How do I schedule an appointment?
You can schedule appointments using my secure online scheduling system. If you are a new client, please schedule an Initial Consultation before scheduling any other type of appointment.
What are your fees?
For information about my current fees, please refer here.
Do you offer a sliding scale or reduced rates?
I do not offer a sliding scale. Occasionally, I am able to offer a temporarily reduced fee to ongoing clients (people I have already been working with) who encounter financial difficulties during the course of our work together. Reduced rates are not available to new clients except under very unusual circumstances. If you have concerns about your ability to pay for therapy, please feel free to discuss this with me.
What methods of payment do you accept and when is payment due?
I accept payment by cash, check, credit card, or bank transfer. I ask that you save a credit card on file in my online system when you schedule in order to hold your appointment. This does not mean that you have to pay by credit card, but it does mean that if you no not show up for the appointment, or if you do not pay within a reasonable period of time by other means, I may charge your card directly. Payment is due at the end of the calendar month for any sessions within that month (although you are also welcome to pay at the time of each session). You can always consult my online system to see if you owe a balance and to pay online there.
Do you work with insurance?
I do not bill directly to insurance companies. However, services may be partially reimbursed by some private insurance companies (“mutuelles” or international health insurance companies), and I am happy to provide you with a receipt that you may submit to your insurance company if you wish to do so. For more information about insurance, please refer here.
What days/times do you see clients?
To view my current availability, you are welcome to visit my online calendar.
Where do sessions take place?
Sessions take place either in my office, which is located in Lyon’s 6eme arrondissement (see here for more information), or online. For more information about distance (online) counseling, see here.
In what languages do you provide counseling?
I provide counseling in English. While I do speak French reasonably well, I do not feel competent providing counseling in French. That being said, I do regularly work with intercultural couples where one partner is French and I also occasionally see French individuals who prefer to see an English-speaking therapist. In such cases, it’s perfectly fine to use French words or phrases here and there if you’re having difficulty expressing yourself fully in English. However, if you are looking for a truly bilingual counselor, I’m probably not the best fit. In that case, I recommend that you check out either the Pages Jaune or the website, Counselling in France.
How many sessions will I need?
This will really differ from one person to the next and will depend on the types of challenges you’re facing as well as your own goals. Some people may be able to benefit from just a handful of sessions to develop greater awareness of factors or patterns that are contributing to their distress and to kick-start changes that they can continue to work on individually. Many other people will benefit from more ongoing support and guidance as they work to make such changes. We will discuss your individual needs, goals, and expectations about how long we might work together in our first meeting. My ultimate goal is to help you become your own therapist so you do not need to keep coming to see me indefinitely.
How frequently will we meet?
Especially when you’re first starting out, I usually recommend that we meet weekly (or sometimes biweekly) in order to establish consistency and build momentum in our work. However, in our first session, we will discuss your needs and goals and collaboratively come up with a plan for how often we will meet. This can also be adjusted over time as your needs shift. If you prefer to meet less frequently or your schedule or budget does not permit you to meet weekly or biweekly, that’s fine. There’s no one right way. We’ll work together to figure out what works best for you.
How long is a session?
Individual sessions are 50 minutes long. Couples sessions may be either 50 minutes or 80 minutes long, depending on your preferences and what we determine works best for you (we will discuss this in our initial meetings and can reevaluate your needs over time). Group sessions are 90 minutes long.
What is your cancellation policy?
Appointments must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance. Because last-minute cancellations mean that I cannot schedule other appointments during your session time, failure to cancel 24 hours in advance will result in a charge of the full session fee unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., a personal or family emergency, sudden illness). Appointments may be canceled by email or by phone or using the secure online scheduling system.
I know you from some other context. Can we still work together?
In general it is not recommended that you seek counseling from someone with whom you have what we call “a dual relationship” — meaning some other type of relationship at the same time (e.g. a friend, a colleague, your child’s teacher, etc.), because the non-therapeutic relationship can interfere with your ability to be as open as you would like in therapy and can sometimes create issues around confidentiality. However, I do understand that there are a limited number of English-speaking therapists available in Lyon, and I do not consider all dual relationships — especially more distant ones — to be prohibitive of our working together. I would encourage you to contact me to discuss the situation, and together we can consider whether or not it would be a good idea for us to work together. If we do decide to work together, we will discuss and plan for how we will handle situations in which we will need to interact in other contexts to ensure your privacy and confidentiality. On the other hand, if we determine that it is not in your best interest to work with me, I’m more than happy to try to help you connect with another therapist in the area or to provide you with resources that may be helpful to you, so there is no harm in asking.
What is the difference between a counselor, a psychologist, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, and a psychiatrist (and which one are you)?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D.) and can prescribe medications. Psychiatrists sometimes also do therapy, but they primarily prescribe medication. Their training is grounded in the medical model, although they may have some exposure to other models of treatment.
In the US, psychologists must have a doctorate degree (a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D.). In France, however, a psychologue (psychologist) has a masters degree (Masters 2). In both cases, psychologists provide psychotherapy or counseling. They may also conduct psychological or neuropsychological (diagnostic) assessments.
Both the terms “counselor” and “psychotherapist” are a bit more general. In the US, a counselor may be a psychologist or a masters-level counselor (e.g., MSW, LMFT, etc.). In France, the term “counselor” is not regulated. In both the US and in France, the term “psychotherapist” is more general and may refer to a psychologist, a psychiatrist (if he/she is providing psychotherapy), a psychoanalyst, or (in the US) a counselor.
A psychoanalyst is someone who has trained in a particular type of treatment called psychoanalysis. While other types of psychotherapists (e.g. psychologists, psychiatrists) may have training in psychoanalytic therapy, psychoanalysts have more specialized training in this approach. However, unless they have additional training (involving multiple degrees), psychoanalysts may not have been exposed to other models of treatment beyond psychoanalysis.
In the US, I am a psychologist (as well as a counselor and psychotherapist). I am currently licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. I have both a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Penn State University. Although the requirements for psychologists are greater in the US than they are in France (a doctorate, as opposed to a masters), I do not yet qualify as a psychologue in France, as I am still undergoing the process of having my degrees recognized by the French Ministre de Enseignement Supérieur. Therefore, I choose to use the title of counselor at present. I will update this information and inform my clients once my degrees have been recognized.
I am not a psychiatrist and cannot prescribe medications. However, I am happy to collaborate with a psychiatrist if it seems like you could benefit from both counseling/psychotherapy and medication.
What should I do in case of an emergency?
If you are experiencing a medical or life-threatening emergency (including suicidal thoughts or otherwise feeling unable to keep yourself safe), please call 15 (SAMU/Ambulance) or go to the nearest emergency room. If you are not experiencing a medical or life-threatening emergency but you need to speak with someone immediately, please see my resources page for more information on who to call. This page also contains helpful links to other emergency service information.