Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy or "therapy" is an opportunity to come and experience healing, restoration and growth through the process of talking with a compassionate and clinically competent professional. People often reach out for therapy during a crisis, such as a divorce, loss, death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, or when dealing with an ongoing challenge or struggle that just doesn't seem to be getting better on its own. Many times our way of coping with life stressors and situations is related to our early life relationships and experiences. Developmental needs may have gone unmet which leave us with vulnerabilities in how we experience ourselves, others, our situations, our thoughts, and even our emotions. Left unchecked, these struggles may lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, addictions, difficulties in relationships, and other emotional challenges.

As your therapist, I will provide a confidential, nonjudgmental and empathic setting for you to share about your current situation, to explore early life experiences, and to gain helpful understanding on why it is you think and act in certain, problematic patterns. Through this insight, you will gain a clearer and more confident perspective of yourself and can in turn relate more freely, genuinely & effectively in your current relationships with others (partners, children, family, coworkers and others). In addition, I may also use specific therapy approaches to help you develop any lacking emotional and relationship skills. During the course of your therapy, you will likely experience healing from the painful emotions and challenges that prompted you to seek professional help. Even more profound benefits from therapy can be your experiencing improved self-esteem, personal growth and greater fulfillment in your life.

Please read below to learn more about the Types of Therapy that you and I will utilize depending on your specific emotional or psychological challenges, any unmet developmental needs, or deficits in certain emotional or relationship life skills. In addition, I list the Therapy Logistics so you can understand what to expect during a therapy session, costs, and insurance panels for which I am in-network. Finally, I've provided you some pictures of my psychotherapy office, therapy room and play therapy materials for you to "Visit" my Psychotherapy Practice.

Types of Therapy

Relational Therapy

Relational psychotherapy is a powerful, effective therapy for working with individuals who suffer from emotional, psychological and/or relational distress. It's based on the following principles:

  1. Emotional well-being depends on having satisfying mutual relationships with others.
  2. Emotional distress is often rooted in patterns of relational experience, past and present, which have the power to demean and deaden the self.
  3. The relational therapist tries to understand the client's unique self-experience in its social/relational context and to respond with empathy and genuine presence.
  4. Together, client and therapist create a new in-depth relationship which is supportive, strengthening, and enlivening for the client.
  5. Within this secure relationship, the client can safely re-experience, and then find freedom from, the powerful effects of destructive relationships, past and present. 

Through Relational Therapy, people strengthen and transform their sense of self, which in turn enhances his or her confidence and well-being in the world. To learn more, Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy and International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

DBT is a treatment approach that blends cognitive behavioral strategies with the practice of mindfulness & acceptance to help people tolerate distress, to regulate their emotions and to relate more effecitvely with others. While it was originally developed for people with borderline personality disorder, it helps ease problems associated with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, and other psychological and relational challenges. I hope to start a DBT skills group in the near future. To read more, BehavioralTech.

Play Therapy

Play Therapy enables children to use play in much the same way as adults use words in counseling. Talking as an adult's natural way of communicating; play is a child's natural way of communicating. The play therapist provides a safe and understanding environment with a variety of special toys for the child to communicate what they cannot say in words. Children may use puppets, dolls, art, and other toys to express how they feel and what they think. When children are able to express their emotions and experiences, they are able to release the fear, anger, sadness or frustration that influences their behaviors. Through play therapy, children are helped to choose more mature and adaptive ways of handling external and internal stress, thereby developing more appropriate behavior and positive self-esteem. For more information, American Association for Play Therapy.

Trauma-Focused Therapies

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a type of trauma therapy that is especially helpful for people who have suffered single, discrete traumas like an accident, a violent crime, or a natural disaster and are manifesting symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It uses alternating bilateral stimulation to help clients move safely through emotional processing and on to more integrated, adaptive, and less distressing ways of thinking about their experience. To read more, EMDR Institute.

DNMS (Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy)

Like EMDR, this is a trauma therapy that uses alternating bilateral stimulation to facilitate the work. It focuses on building ego strengths before working through past traumas and their associated negative self-beliefs. It is especially helpful for individuals who have experienced more diffuse, or longer-term traumatic circumstances like abuse or neglect in childhood. To read more, DNMS.

Trauma-Focused Play Therapy

This is a form of play therapy used with abused and traumatized children. The play therapist integrates directive and nondirective approaches, encourages the child's natural reparative or healing tendencies, and works within a family and environmental context. It is based on the following principles:

  1. Children have conflicting drives. One is to master or gain control over that which is painful and difficult. The other is to avoid or suppress that which is painful.
  2. Child abuse in all its forms has the potential to be traumatic; however, traumatized children are a subset of abused children. Gauging the level of traumatic impact is necessary to tailor play therapy to the child's needs.
  3. Play therapists must make repeated behavioral observations, rather than interpreting what the behavior means right away.
  4. Play therapy is valuable because the children can identify with an object or symbol, project his or her feelings onto that symbol, and then process (or work through) the traumatic experience in a safe (distanced) way.
  5. A child has the opportunity externalize his or her internal world and thus "shrink the problem" so that it is managaable and less fragmented. Play therapy is often children's way of gradually exposing themselves to those issues to be worked on.
  6. To read more, Eliana Gil, PhD

TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

The goal of TF-CBT is to help address the unique physical, psychological and social needs of children with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other problems related to traumatic life experiences, and their parents or primary caregivers. TF-CBT is a model of psychotherapy that combines trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral therapy. Children and parents are provided knowledge and skills related to processing the trauma; managing distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and enhancing safety, parenting skills, and family communication.

TF-CBT is a clinic-based, individual, short-term treatment that involves individualsessions with the child and parent as well as joint parent child sessions. TF-CBTshould be provided to those children (ages 4 to 18) who have significantbehavioral or emotional problems that are related to traumatic life events, even ifthey do not meet full diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Treatment results inimprovements in PTSD symptoms as well as in depression, anxiety, behaviorproblems, sexualized behaviors, trauma-related shame, interpersonal trust, andsocial competence. To read more, NCTSNET, or SAMSA.

Therapy Logistics

Session Length: This can vary depending on the type of psychotherapy we've determined will best promote your healing. Typically this is 53-60 minutes (CPT 90837).

Initial Evaluation (Intake): The first therapy session is called the clinical evaluation/ intake, where we begin discussing your situation in more depth. I conduct a biopsychosocial evaluation over the course of 1 to 3 sessions. By the end of the initial evaluation, I provide my clinical impression and together we explore potential goals for your psychotherapy.

Ongoing Sessions: These are therapy sessions in which we engage in the collaborative effort of assisting you to work through your emotional and relational challenges towards healing, restoration and personal growth.

Cost of Therapy:

My fees are based on standard rates for LCSW psychotherapists in our community. They are as follows:

$150 for a clinical evaluation (intake)

$125 for each subsequent session

* Under certain circumstances, I am able to provide a sliding scale on my therapy costs. This is time-limited and need-based.

If you have mental health insurance coverage and I am in-network, then you will be charged your co-pay (determined by your insurance company). If I am out-of-network for your partincular insurance coverage, then you will be asked to pay my standard therapy fee and then your insurance company will reimburse you a portion of those costs (if you have out-of-network benefits).

Insurance Panels (In-Network):

In an effort to provide you with quality and affordable psychotherapy services, I am a particpating provider (in-network) on the following insurance panels:

  • BCBS (most plans)
  • CIGNA
  • Cigna Behavioral Health (CBH)
  • Medicaid
  • NC Health Choice
  • Med Cost
  • Aetna
  • various EAPs (employee assistance programs)

* My particpation with these insurance plans, and potentially others, is subject to change depending on my assessment of the insurance company's conduct in providing you quality service in a professional and ethically sound manner.

"Visit" my Psychotherapy Practice

My psychotherapy practice is conveniently located in the Lawrence Building at 1135 Kildaire Farm Rd., Suite 200, in Cary, NC. It's a 3-story professional building, anchored by PNC Bank and City Garden Nail Salon. There is ample parking in a two-tier parking deck just behind the building which then leads to the rear-entrance to the building.

Upon entering the Lawrence Building, you'll see the elevator in the lobby. Please take this up to the 2nd floor, turn RIGHT, check in with one of the receptionists and make yourself comfortable in waiting area.

Pictures include:


*Street views along Kildaire Farm Rd. You'll see the 1135 number & the PNC bank.

*Waiting area where I'll greet you just before your therapy session.

*My psychotherapy office with warm blues & greens that promote healing.

*A few examples of artwork of the Eno River and a supported butterfly perched to fly.

*Some of try repertoire of play therapy materials suitable for child/tween clients.

Feel free to click on each picture for a closer look.