What is a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and can they help single people?
An MFT can see individuals, couples, and Families. It is an unfortunate title for a job that allows us to provide services to anyone and everyone. We work to help clients understand the relationship between their actions, situations, and other people. There are many different theory models of psychology. Each therapist will have their own way of working with a particular theory.
How are therapists trained?
MFT's obtain Master-level and Doctoral-level Degrees. While in school, the student must provide 750 hours of direct counseling services under the supervision of a professor who is also a licensed clinician in order to graduate. Once graduated, the student must register with the State California and conduct and additional 2, 250 hours of direct counseling service under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Once the person has provided 3000 hours of counseling services, they must pass two (2) grueling 4-hour exams to become licensed.
How long do sessions last and how often should I come?
Sessions occur in various settings and last about 45 minutes. Initially, it is helpful to attend weekly until your therapist is able to gather historical facts; generate a treatment plan that is reasonable and agreed upon; and help you stabilize your situation. Once your situation has stabilized, and you feel you feel you are advancing toward the goals of your treatment plan, sessions can occur bi-monthly or monthly. For example, a couple or family in crisis (discussing divorce or separation) will be well-served to attend weekly sessions until all parties feel that the conflict has settled down and emotions have leveled off consistently. Once this occurs, clients can begin to repair their relationship and ultimately transition to weekly homework and insightful self-care.
How long will I be in counseling?
The length of time a client is in counseling depends on the nature of the problem and the goals of the client. Some clients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a set course of counseling. For others, counseling is an on-going learning process and they choose to receive counseling for a longer period.
What if I want couples counseling, but my partner won't come?
Unfortunately, sometimes one partner is not as willing as the other to come in for counseling. However, we often find that it is possible to improve the relationship with just one person involved in counseling.
Do I need to take medications?
As counselors and therapists, we are not legally allowed to prescribe medications. However, based on a joint assessment of problems you are facing, we may advise you to consult with a psychiatrist or primary care Physician to determine whether medication is warranted. Typically, clients see someone under their health insurance coverage or we can refer you to a psychiatrist. We will then consult with your provider to help you achieve appropriate therapeutic goals.
Who benefits from therapy?
People seek therapy for a variety of reasons: to get closer to their spouse, to parent their children more effectively, or to deal with on-going issues. Some people have a life-long history of depression and anxiety. Research shows that specific action can reduce or alleviate symptoms related to stress, anxiety, depression, and other issues; most clients can improve connectedness to others and find new meaning to the unique challenges in their life. Children are encouraged to express themselves through in therapy; teens like to be heard; couples can be shown new ways of relating. Individuals are taught different ways of thinking and perceiving life's events.
Will insurance cover my visits?
Most major insurance carriers cover Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy visits under their Mental Health Services. Our practice accepts Blue Shield of California, Cigna Behavioral Health, Optum, United Behavioral Health, UMR, SutterSelect. Please call your insurance plan to see if we are listed on your plan.
Our practice takes a limited number of insurance clients. Once that quota is filled, clients have the option of paying for services out of their own pocket and using our forms to seek reimbursement from their insurance company. In these cases, ACA will not bill the insurance company.
My situation is unique. Are there solutions to my problems?
Yes! Each individual experience is precious and dramatic in its own way; no two people ever experience exactly the same thoughts and feelings. Your therapist can support your desire to seek out new patterns of relating to others, and extinguish negative and detrimental habits. Some people may need encouragement to make the right choices, while others may desire a more intense review of one's life choices, early childhood, or the re-experiencing of a particularly traumatic event. Each life is unique and each client is unique.
I have tried therapy before. Can it really help this time?
Timing is everything. If your earlier experience with therapy was humdrum or worse, share your disappointment with your new therapist. It is important to express what did, or did not, work in an earlier counseling endeavor. Please remember however, it is also possible that you are now more motivated to change or better able to face some harsh truths about your life.
Is our therapeutic discussion confidential?
Yes! Confidentiality is a mandate under this provider's license through her governing Board of Behavioral Sciences, with a caveat that confidentiality is forfeited under very specific circumstances, including but not limited to: 1) If the client is deemed to be a danger to self or others; 2) Is a minor, elder, or dependent person and the counselor has a reasonable suspicion of abuse. Ethics and laws surrounding confidentiality are discussed on your first visit.
How can I best find a therapist with concrete solutions for my concerns?
Your first visit to a psychotherapist should feel like a good fit ~ trust your instincts. Ask for something specific to alleviate your discomfort at the first meeting, e.g. "How can I handle my anxiety.
What kind of concerns do people bring to your office?
Human beings naturally like to feel good and want to be happy. Verbal discussion, emotional release, insight, and developing a treatment plan that addresses clients' goals can bring relief and confidence in a new way of thinking and feeling.
I am living with my intimate partner but we are not married. Can we seek couple's counseling?
Yes! Couples counseling is a terrific idea for any couple. Many couples seek out premarital counseling even when things are going great to learn new and healthy ways of communicating, discuss long-term goals and how each partner envisions the future. Discussing and anticipating some of the more common issues that couples inevitably face is a great way to avoid obstacles further down the road.
Once therapy has ended, should I return for an occasional visit?
Sure! Many clients return to their therapist for the occasional tune-up, a sort of "checking in" that brings joy to both parties.
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LOL! I too also came to therapy at the bidding of my wife ( ok nagging!). I came to the first two appointments not really committed. I continued to come because I ... well found my wife wasn't the "most wrong she's ever been". Thank you Andie for helping me realize I can become a better me.
Finding a therapist can be a long difficult process. I was very comfortable with Andie write away; she has the right mix of really listening and understanding my everyday issues. I'm able to handle life challenges through her helpful insights and I'm able to make better decisions and deal with issue that come up. Thank you so much for all your help and see you soon.
I needed place and person to be able to talk, express my feelings and problems and not be judged. I have been in therapy before and finding a therapist that will listen and has good insight and understanding has been hard. Andie is very understanding and really cares about my well being. I highly recommend her.
Compassionate, Effective and Professional
I was in a crisis when I reached out for a new therapist and found Andie. She was quick to respond to me with compassion recognizing my immediate need. After offering to also let me meet the other therapist in her practice so that I could find the right fit, I knew just by our initial phone conversations that she could help guide me through my storm. Andie is very caring and truly wants what is best for her clients. I always felt so relaxed with her which allowed me to truly open up and be honest. She has a great sense of humor that helps put things in perspective but also can be direct telling me what I need to hear with loving kindness. Her office and meeting rooms are very comfortable and relaxing, with healing energy that offer a safe environment to just be yourself. Thanks to Andie's guidance, I know have the tools and awareness to meet life's challenges without being overcome with fear and doubt. With all her years of experience helping people, and her professionalism, she is one of the most effective therapists I have ever worked with. I trust Andie very much and highly recommend her to anyone seeking help like I did.
Helpful, insightful, friendly and funny.
I was very hesitant to attend therapy but my partner insistence. Going to therapy was hard but Andie was understanding and not judgmental. Not everything is my life is perfect but with her help I am able to understand and work through my feeling.
Professional and very understanding.
Many family issues but Andie was understanding and helpful. Andie helped us understanding our issues and the process of working through them. I would highly recommend her.
I am an educational therapist in Alameda. It is a pleasure to know a therapist who is as caring, thoughtful and professional as Andie. I recommend her highly.
I've worked with Andie as a co-clinician, trainee, and colleague over the course of several years. She's thoughtful and down to earth. I love her clinical style - she's all about giving folks the skills they need to manage their symptoms and get on with their lives. She surrounds herself with good people and supports them in their professional development, which has given her a cohort of interns who can serve a broad range of clients at affordable fees.
Very good experience
I saw Andie for about 1.5 years. She is an excellent therapist. Compassionate, intuitive and knowledgeable.
I liked it
I liked it but need more after work slots
Really good experience
Had a really great experience with Andie. She was kind, funny, and insightful. She helped me see how things in my life were connected and helped me understand about how I was contributing to some of my difficulties. The only reason I gave a 4 instead of a five is because due to her carpool she would sometimes be late, but only 5-10 minutes, but she did call and let me know.
I went to therapy on my wife's opinion, I stayed because it helped. Worried about having a woman because wouldn't understand a man's perspective. Really happy to be wrong.
A Caring and Experienced Professional!
Finding a therapist you are comfortable with can be daunting. Andie responded to my inquiry quickly, and was respectful of my needs, my time, and my budget. She provided guidance in a caring and professional manner. She was very helpful to me. I would go back again recommend her highly.
- SUTTER HEALTH
- AETNA, as Out-of-Network provider
- UNITED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
- Psychology Today
- EMDR International Association
- Board of Behavior Science
- East Bay Division-California Associates of Marriage and Family Therapists
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 46716