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You’ve thought about calling a therapist, but you’re getting by okay. Shouldn’t you be able to figure this everyday life stuff out for yourself? Don’t you need to have serious problems to call a therapist?

Let me just say that I have some strong opinions about this. Our always-strong-and-feeling-good culture generally promotes a medical view of therapy that implies that human suffering or confusion is a disease or an illness that needs to be diagnosed, treated, and cured. This “disease” way of looking at suffering and change often stigmatizes people who seek help, and leaves many believing that therapy is for “sick” or “weak” or “mentally ill” people. But you know what? That’s just small-minded. As human beings, we  have the capacity to stand back and have a broader view of humanity than that! I’d like to help us all expand our horizons about this issue:

While therapy does indeed help with organic mental illnesses that cause much suffering—diseases such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, etc.—therapy isn’t only for people who are dealing with such organic illnesses. Cutting-edge neuroscience is proving out what intuition has known for a long time: human brains are hardwired to heal, grow, change, and manage emotions in relationship. It’s the way brains (and hearts) naturally work.

The natural state of possessing a social human brain means that seeking help from a therapist is actually a resourceful, healthy way to make it through difficult times, deal with big emotions, or navigate a life transition. American culture over-values independence, youth, strength, and positive thinking, so people often mistakenly believe that struggling, suffering, feeling sad, aging, or needing help figuring things out is a sign of weakness, negativity, or sickness.

However, the opposite is true. One definition of mental health is being able to manage your own emotions until they get too big to manage on your own, and then having the strength and ability to ask for help when things get overwhelming. Because things will get overwhelming for all of us at some point. That’s a given.

There are some therapists who do work from and promote this outmoded “medical model” perspective, and you will notice it right away if you feel judged, pigeon-holed, labeled, etc. But I do not view your need for help as a sign of weakness or illness. I see you as a normal, resourceful fellow human who has the courage and strength to seek help so that you can be fully alive, and you will sense the respect I have for you as soon as you walk into my office.

What kinds of issues does therapy help with, then?

Talking to a therapist can help with anything that you’re hurting, confused, overwhelmed, or uncertain about. I’d be honored to help you with:

Can you pay with a credit card?

You bet. You can pay with cash, check, e-check, Mastercard, VISA, Discover, or American Express.

So let’s say you decide to go ahead and try therapy. What kinds of changes can you expect?

I’m not going to lie to you. Therapy can be hard work. We’re talking about making our way together through the unknown, learning to deal with big emotions, and changing long-standing patterns that are keeping you stuck. Therapy does take time and courage.

But choosing therapy is choosing to really live, to find out who you are and who you can be. And therapy is about not being alone with the big stuff. It’s about being reflected and understood and helped in the midst of real life in all its pain and glory.

So even though the going can be tough along the way, you’ll find relief and consolation in being understood and in being treated with respect while we’re finding the way together. And there are lots of rewards for digging deeply like this. The way I work almost always leads to long-term change and deep relief.

Some of the changes you might see are:

Do I accept your insurance?

I do not take insurance, but at your request I will provide monthly insurance-ready receipts that you can file for out-of-network coverage.

A couple of notes about my decision not to take insurance:

Therapy is indeed expensive, so I completely understand and support the desire to use insurance to pay for therapy. But as your therapist, my top priorities are providing quality, life-changing therapy and preserving your privacy. I find these priorities to sometimes be thwarted by insurance.

I am not on insurance panels first and foremost because I believe that the therapy relationship is sacredly confidential. I don’t like giving insurance companies ANY information about what you are working on in therapy; I dislike formulating soul-level work into medical progress-speak; and I don’t agree with having an office-worker telling me how long I can see you for therapy and how we should work together. I believe that you and I together know best how long you need to be in therapy, what you need to work on, and how.

I also believe your privacy is crucial, and I am required to give you a diagnosis in order for you to file for insurance coverage for your therapy. Once you receive a mental health diagnosis, it remains on your health record forever. I do not give you a diagnosis UNLESS you file with insurance, in which case you MUST have a diagnosis to file.

Who took the amazing photographs that appear on this and the DEEP Center websites?

I wanted everything about this website to be warm, inviting, and reflective of the depth and care I bring to my work, so I sought out photographers who know and understand me, my style, and the meaning behind the work I do. The two photographers I chose are wholehearted people who bring thoughtful vitality to all of their work, and who really see me. They are:

Matthew Magruder – Portrait/Headshot Photographer (who also happens to be a therapist)

Zach Ossefort – Location/Setting/Object Photographer (who also writes and makes movies)

I mention all the reading I do and all the research that shows that therapy is effective and that humans need relationships to grow. What is all this reading anyway? How can you believe that what I say is true?

I’m not kidding when I say I’m a geek about this therapy stuff. I have read and continue to read all kinds of texts—from scientific papers to textbooks to memoirs to spiritual writings to poetry, and more. I lead study groups for therapists and I teach and participate in intensive classes for therapists. I scribble in the margins of all my books. And I write papers and blog posts about the links I see between what I’m reading and my own life experiences, and the experiences of my clients. The longer I live and the more I study, the more linkages I see. If you’re interested, you can click here to see a long list of references for just some of the readings that influence my work. That way you’ll know that I’m for real.

Who created the flower illustrations that are highlighted on this and the DEEP Center websites?

I was looking for artistic elements that would convey the essence of my work: the twin themes of growth (potential for the future) and rootedness (acknowledgment of our deep ties to the past), as they shine through in the wonder of the present moment with all of my clients and my students. As I searched and searched, I discovered the beautiful art created by the botanical illustrators of the 1700’s and 1800’s. The intricate, colorful, vivid illustrations of this genre reveal a very particular beauty that can only emerge from attentive and close observation of the intricacies of the very essence of the living plants that are then presented in their truest form. I marvel at how the illustrations are not only gorgeous in their wholeness, but are even more breathtaking when they are zoomed in on. This revelation of inherent, pure, and wondrous beauty when living things are simply witnessed as the essence of what they are—a beauty that grows upon close inspection—fits perfectly with how I see the people I work with.

Specifically,  I fell in love with the work of Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840). Three of his most brilliant illustrations grace my websites:

Candyce CounselingRedutea heterophylla (Buttercup)

DEEP Center CounselingIpomaea Quamoclit (Morning Glory)

DEEP Center TrainingTropoeolum majus (Nasturtium)

This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.   — Mary Oliver