What is a session with me like?
Sessions with me tend to be pretty relaxed. We talk, like friends would, about the things that have been going on in your life—especially areas of stress or struggle. I will fill in the conversation with skill ideas, education, examples from my own life, validation, and cheesy jokes. My clients tell me they find my approach warm and empathetic, and describe me as “gently straightforward.” At the end of each session, I will give you one or two things to think about or focus on for the upcoming week.
I believe that while traditional therapy in an office can be really helpful for some people, it’s not for everyone. I combine evidence-based approaches like Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy with experiential practices like animal assisted therapy, adventure therapy, and nature-based therapy. What does that end up looking like? Well, we might hike up a mountain to practice deep breathing while tolerating distress. Or we might meet at a climbing gym to practice mindfulness and social skills. Or we might hang out under a tree with my therapy dog, Cascade, and talk about coping with burnout. I work with adolescents and their families, with people who are navigating being neurodivergent, with adults, and with people who are postpartum. My goal is to help people develop skills to deal with what’s going on in their lives.
How do I schedule a consult? Do I have to talk on the phone?
I understand lots of my potential clients may loathe talking on the phone—I get it! If you are curious about what I do, feel free to call me, text me, or send me an email. Before our first session, I will want to do a brief phone call to talk to you, hear about what you are looking for in therapy, and make sure I am the right fit for you. I will ask you general questions about what you have been struggling with and what you are looking for in therapy. I will tell you about my approach, and answer any questions you might have for me. We will also discuss the cost of therapy during this call.
If for some reason I am not the right fit for you, I will make a referral for you to someone who could be a better fit than me. You’ve come this far, I promise I won’t send you back to Google and make you start all over!
I am not a cisgender white man. Are you safe and affirming?
YES!!! 🌈 Who you are is welcome here without exception. 🌈
Are you a religious therapist?
Not if you don’t want me to be. I only talk about religion if you bring it up first, and I will only ever incorporate it if you ask me to, in ways that you ask me to incorporate it. It would never be appropriate for a therapist to force (or even share) their beliefs with a client. To reiterate, I believe that all people are worthy of love and acceptance all the time, without exception.
What should I say when I reach out to you?
This is such a common concern, I went ahead and made a template. Feel free to modify it, or just copy and paste it into an email to me.
Hello! My name is [YOUR NAME HERE]. I am looking for therapy for help with [DESCRIBE WHAT YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH IN ONE OR TWO SENTENCES]. Is that something you could help me with? I heard about you from [WHERE DID YOU HEAR ABOUT ME].
I would love a response via [CALL/TEXT/EMAIL]. You can reach me at [CONTACT INFO]. A good time to contact me would be [DAY AND TIME] or [DAY AND TIME]. I look forward to hearing from you!
What will happen during the first session?
During the first session, I will ask you questions about what brings you to therapy and what your goals are. I will ask you lots of questions about your background, family history, medical history etc to get a foundation of who you are and where you come from. We will set some goals and talk about next steps. It will all be pretty conversational and not very intense!
Will I have to take medication?
Nope, but you can if you want to! Many clients find medication extremely helpful, but my approach offers skills that can work with or without the addition of medication. I will talk to you about medication and your experience with it, and can help you connect with a provider if you are interested in taking medication.
Do you diagnose or do assessments?
Not formally. I can help you look at your symptoms with an expert eye and say “Yep, that sure sounds like autism/ADHD/anxiety” but I am not qualified to give a formal medical diagnosis. We will work together, discuss your symptoms, and come up with a working diagnosis. But if you are seeking formal diagnosis for workplace accommodations, IEP etc, I will refer you to a psychologist who does this work.
Do you write ESA letters?
Yes! I am happy to write an ESA letter for current clients who would benefit from the incorporation of a pet into their treatment. We will talk more about what this means and what an ESA is and is not. I do not write ESA letters for people who are not current clients.
How much do you charge? Can I use insurance?
A 50 minute session is $150, and I do not take insurance. I do have some sliding scale slots available, and am happy to offer a superbill so you can work with your insurance to get reimbursed.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer for this as everyone’s situation is different. But generally, I work with my clients for 6 months to a year. I like to see folks every week, then transition to every other week as you become more independent at applying your therapeutic skills on your own. My goal is to work myself out of a job—I am working towards the day you can say to me “Mandy, I don’t need therapy anymore, I’m ready to do this on my own!” For many clients, that takes 6-12 months.