In this video, I discuss what you should look for in choosing a distance therapist.
At this time, I work exclusively by Skype video. Since many prospective clients are in time zones different from mine (Eastern Standard Time), I do my best to accommodate different schedules, though my evening hours are very limited. In my experience, the visual contact made possible by Skype video is necessary for work with new clients, at least for a time. It helps us to get a “feel” for one another.
If you’re considering online counseling with me, I suggest you watch the video above and then read all of the posts in the category entitled The Psychotherapy Relationship, in the menu to be found at the right of this page. They’ll give you a fairly clear idea about who I am and how I work. I’d also like to say a few additional words concerning the kind of work I DO NOT do and what I’m not good at, to avoid any misunderstanding.
Though you’re free to consult with me for as few or as many sessions as you like, I honestly believe that several weeks or even a few months is too little time for us to make any real difference in how you’re feeling and the ways you suffer. This is not to say that all short-term treatments are ineffective; practitioners of cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, can teach you their methods and techniques in a matter of weeks. I’m not a behaviorist, however; I’m a psychodynamic psychotherapist, and the kind of change I work for with my clients takes a long time.
For the most part, I don’t give advice. My own therapist once told me that, even if he were to give me his opinion about what I ought to do, I’d then have to decide for myself whether to follow that advice — i.e., I’d still have to think for myself. I also feel that giving a client advice only encourages the wrong kind of dependency. What I will do is listen carefully and try to tell you what I hear you saying that you might not have heard for yourself — the unconscious part of your communication. I was trained as a psychoanalyst: listening for and interpreting unconscious material lies at the heart of the work I do.
Although I sometimes talk about myself and my own issues on this website, I will not talk about myself during your sessions. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your time and your money: those 50-minutes should be all about you. For that reason, if you ask me personal questions, I’ll find a polite way not to answer and redirect the attention back to you. On the other hand, I will sometimes talk about what goes on between you and me as a kind of microcosm of your emotional issues. While I believe that the client-psychotherapist relationship is unique, unlike any other relationship you’ll ever have, I also know that people bring their characteristic modes of relating into that relationship; understanding the ways you interact and behave in therapy often provides insight into your “outside” relationships as well.
I don’t do marital counseling or work with couples. Earlier in my career, I used to see children, couples and families, but I soon realized my strength lies in long-term, in-depth work of a psychodynamic nature. I don’t treat particular symptoms, nor will I focus exclusively on one aspect of your issues. You’re a complex person, and we can’t isolate parts of you from that whole if we’re truly going to understand your pain. If I’m doing my job well, you’ll find that I often address something completely different from what you expected. This doesn’t mean I’m not listening! But if you’re looking for short-term, issues-oriented therapy that focuses on immediate results, I am not the therapist for you.
About My Fee
Read my post on problems with sliding scale payment and you’ll understand (even if you don’t agree with me) why I don’t adjust my fee based on individual need. I don’t accept health insurance, and in any event, most carriers won’t cover distance therapy.
My fee is $125 per session. As far as I can tell, this seems to be about the “going rate” for online counseling and therapy available on the Internet. Because my new clients will most likely be out of my jurisdiction and I will have no legal recourse for non-payment, all sessions must be paid for in advance via PayPal. I don’t work with anyone less frequently than once per week. If you see yourself as struggling with the kind of emotional volatility and unstable relationships that are a part of borderline personality disorder, or if you’re currently cutting yourself or engaged in other self-injuring behavior of a serious nature, I’d most likely need to see you more than once a week, at least until that behavior has stabilized. In my experience, working once a week when someone is suffering so deeply only sets the work up for failure.
I am offering my services to you as “psychoanalysis,” partly because I’m a graduate analyst but more because psychoanalysis is not a controlled profession in most states and we won’t have to deal with the gray area of licensing and jurisdiction.
For more information or to ask any further questions you may have, please feel free to write to me at: AfterPsy@gmail.com. Please do not look up my phone number and try to contact me that way. If you’re interested in scheduling a session, please complete the following two forms and send them to me at the preceding email address. Once I have received them, I’ll contact you about scheduling a session.