"It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary." - Unknown
Is counseling for you?
schedule your FREE 15-Minute Consultation!
You have worked hard your whole life. In many ways you have accomplished a lot. You are not afraid of hard work and thrive on working towards goals, always seeking to grow and improve. You are driven and love the feeling of success.
But lately, you feel off. You aren’t sure if it is something within you or the situations going on in your life, like your career or relationships, that is causing this feeling of uneasiness. As much as you try to ignore it, hoping it will go away or resolve itself, it hasn’t and you have no clue how to fix it. Whether you are struggling with depression, stress, anxiety, panic or adjusting to a major change in your life, all you know is you want peace. You want to feel centered and to feel like your best self again.
You are not alone.
Over the many years I have worked in private practice I have had the pleasure and privilege of guiding many people who feel the way you do, to become the heroes of their life story and empower themselves to overcome their problems and enjoy the life they have worked so hard for. Many of my clients have been able to revise the way they see all aspects of their life story and have even been able to see the most painful events of their life as opportunities for growth and strength. They are no longer held prisoner to their emotions or past problematic patterns of thinking and behaving. Although they are unable to change the events of their past, they are able to narrate their life story so they are the hero instead of the victim and they can create that happily ever after ending they have been looking for.
The 4 Step Process
Phase 1 Assessment
During this phase I will be gathering information from you. Starting with your 15-minute phone consult, where I assess whether or not we are a good fit for your goals, to the detailed intake questionnaire, to the initial meeting where we discuss your goals and problems all the way to hearing about your significant life experiences and people in your life, I will be assessing to determine the best course of action for your treatment. In this phase I am learning about you, how you see yourself, others and the world. We are finding patterns in your thinking and behavior that have roots back to your earlier life experiences. We are starting to make connections about why you do what you do. We are learning about how your early life experiences have shaped you, your brain and your nervous system. We are determining what the core conflict is that is causing your current problems. During this phase, you will start to implement some behavioral strategies to assist you in feeling better and we will assess how well you implement them and what the obstacles are when you don’t implement them.
Phase 2 Skills Building
Unlike many therapists, I will do more than just sit and listen to you talk about your problems. In addition to listening in a way most people don’t, (without judgement or telling you what to do with your life) I will also teach you skills to manage some of your feelings and improve your relationships with others. While talking about your problems is healthy and there will be quite a bit of that in our work together, I believe it is unhealthy to stay there. My clients see the most transformation when they move from talking about the problems to revising how they think about their problems and changing their behaviors. I use a technique called cognitive behavioral therapy and knowledge of neuroscience, which is just a fancy way of saying I am going to teach you how to change your thought and behavior patterns that no longer serve you and keep you from reaching your goals to thoughts and behaviors that serve you. You will learn a variety of strategies proven by research to help you reach your goals such as how to calm yourself, communicate effectively, change your perspective, and more. This means you will have homework to do in between sessions.
Phase 3 Implementation/Monitoring
During this phase we are putting together everything that you have learned so far and applying it to your real life experiences. We are refining and clarifying how to implement the skills as well as problems solving when you get stuck.
Phase 4 Maintenance
The #1 goal I have with all of my clients is to learn how to manage their emotions without me. My goal is for you to be so self sufficient, you no longer need my services. At the same time, I will not abandon you. We want to make sure you are ready. During this phase we will likely decrease session frequency and see how you manage with less support. We will continue to monitor and make sure you are making and maintaining progress. Once you have reached all of your treatment goals and can maintain them for a significant amount of time with minimal support from me, we will decide to either terminate services or move you to visits with me on an as needed basis.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
As a courtesy, all potential clients will have a FREE - 15 minute phone consult with Michelle before they are able to book their first appointment. This process allows Michelle to see if you would be a good fit for the type of therapy that she provides. You will be asked a series of questions about your goals, problems and past experiences. If she finds that you will not be a good fit for the type of therapy she provides, she will refer you to someone that would be a better fit. You can schedule your consult at the bottom of this page.
After the phone consult, if you and Michelle decide that you would be a good fit and would like to work together, you will schedule your first appointment. She will gather information about you including your name, phone number and email. Then, you will be sent a link to the client portal. When you log into the client portal, you can read and electronically sign all of the intake paperwork and answer an extensive questionnaire from the comfort of your own home without feeling rushed. It should take about an hour to complete.
During the first session Michelle will ask you questions to clarify and understand the information that you provided in the intake paperwork. At this time, she will be assessing for a diagnosis and the core conflict that is causing your problems. Together, you and Michelle will create goals for your treatment and identify the problems you would like to work on during your sessions together.
The second session together will be to discuss the personalized treatment plan that Michelle develops based on what was discussed in the first session. At this time you will be presented with a treatment plan designed specifically with your goals and the assessment results in mind. The treatment plan will contain various research based interventions that are known to help people achieve the specific goals that you have chosen. If you are in agreement with the treatment plan, we will proceed with counseling sessions.
During sessions we will cover what is in your treatment plan. We may discuss ways to change your thinking or behaviors. We will discuss and practice various skills. We will not force you to do anything you do not want to do. You will likely have homework between sessions. This can be a time where you discuss things that are personal to you. You will never be forced to discuss anything you don’t feel comfortable discussing.
Outcome Evaluations: Every session you will be asked to rate your symptoms. This is to track patterns in mood and behavior. It is also a good way to see if the treatment interventions are working. In addition, about every 10 sessions we will evaluate your progress on your treatment plan. This will allow us to make sure your treatment is on track and you are mastering the objectives we set out in the beginning. It is important to be honest and open about what is working and what isn’t.
At the first session and all sessions after, we will assess if we can be of help to you. If at any time we determine your needs are beyond our scope of practice or you are not compliant, we will terminate treatment and refer you to someone that can better address your needs. As you make progress towards your goals and you start to feel better and more stable, your session frequency will decrease to less and less frequency until you eventually move to sessions as needed. The time needed for sessions, session frequency and amount of time it takes to terminate treatment is different for everyone and is decided on an individual basis together with your counselor. If you complete all of the objectives and goals on your treatment plan, we will have sessions only as needed. You may terminate treatment at any time.