GENERAL FAQS

You're Both Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFT). Do You Just Help Couples & Families?

Absolutely not. We love to work with individual clients (adults and teens). We are a great fit for clients who strictly want to do individual work because LMFTs focus on helping clients process and explore their past or present struggles in the context of a primary or significant relationship. Often in these relationships, people feel "stuck" in some way and need tools to get "un-stuck" to resolve their current challenges. LMFTs are trained to consider family relationships as we work. This means that if you, as an individual, seek therapy with us, we will ask you questions to assess your current or past relationships. Using this approach powerfully impacts people's lives because when individuals can sort through their struggles, they have a greater capacity to be the person, friend, and family member they truly want to be. 

Other mental health professionals, such as Clinical Social Workers or Mental Health Counselors, focus on the individual either being or the cause of a problem.  They tend to try and "fix" or "rid" the person of the problem. As LMFTs, Eric and Erica never view our clients as a problem. We focus and work on reframing the problem in the context of how it impacts an individual within their various relationships (family, romantic, friendships and marriages). 

Do I Really Need Therapy? I'm Usually Good At Handling My Problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

How Can Therapy Help Me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Eric and Erica, as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn.

Here are some examples of benefits you may obtain from therapy with Erica/Eric:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
  • Feeling better about yourself and more at peace
  • Reducing stress
  • Identifying goals for living the kind of life you would like to live
  • Learning new behaviors and/or responses which may help you achieve your goals
  • Understanding your own thoughts, feelings & responses better
  • Understanding your loved ones better
  • Feeling more connected with people in your life
  • Having a safe and friendly listener; someone who is non-judgmental & supportive
  • Talking in confidence about troubling or private concerns
  • Working towards greater fulfillment and mastery in your life

Are you offering online therapy (telehealth)?

Absolutely!  At Discovering Destinies with Erica & Eric, in addition to seeing clients in our private office in Boca Raton, we're pleased to offer online therapy (teletherapy) and counseling services. We work with individuals, teens and couples using our secure and HIPAA-compliant telehealth video system. If you are part of a couple or family unit, each of you will receive a link to the video session. You can either login using the same video screen (computer, tablet or smartphone) or separately from different locations.  We offer tremendous flexibility to meet the needs of all of our clients.

What are the benefits of online therapy (telehealth)?

It may surprise you that there are many clients who favor this approach. Some of the most significant benefits of online thereapy and counseling include:

  • Flexibility: schedule sessions around your work hours or your children’s naps, bedtimes or school-schedules
  • Accessibility: online therapy overcomes barriers that may preclude others from seeking therapy
  • No commuting!
  • Openness: it can be easier for some people to reveal private information when they are sharing online from the comfort of their own home, office or bedroom (especially teens).
  • Social stigma: as there can still exist some stigma around attending therapy, online counseling allows access to this service with even more privacy
  • Comfort: many of our clients tell us that they actually prefer the comfort of meeting from their own homes or business.

What Are The Benefits Of Working With A Private Pay Therapist And Not Insurance?

We have a whole page dedicated to this question. Eric and Erica do not accept any insurance for their therapy and counseling services. We understand that this decision may preclude some clients from being able to afford our services. However, for those that are able to afford our reasonably priced sessions, the benefits are enormous. For example:

  • the quanity and duration of your sessions will not be dictated by a bureaucrat at the insurance company.

Therapy Didn't Work For Me In The Past - Why Would Now Be Different?

There are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Do You Believe In Medications?

To be clear, as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, we do not prescribe or recommend medications or medication use.  That being said, psychiatric medications are sometimes used along with talk therapy, usually when people are diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

It is commonly recommended that talk therapy be incorporated into one's treatment whenever psychiatric medications are being used, as the combination of talk therapy and medications tends to work well together. An antidepressant may lift a person's mood, for example, allowing them to participate more fully in psychotherapy and therefore bring about more lasting change.

We might make a suggestion to a client that they consult with a medical provider (e.g., PCP, Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner) to discuss if medication would be an appropriate additional treatment to the talk therapy they are doing with us. 

Do You Believe In Diagnosing?

One of the fundamental differences between Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists - such as Eric & Erica - is that we do not assign mental health diagnosis to our clients. Most other mental health professionals, such a Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors, are trained from early-on to examine a patient and then assign an appropriate  DSM-V. That is why for those clinicians, you are often referred to as a patient. With Erica and Eric, you are always viewed as our client.

We believe that diagnosing clients does not resolve relational problems. In fact, it can often serve to further identify a partner or family member as the "Identified Patient" - meaning the person in the couple or family unit who IS THE PROBLEM.  Our focus is not on any single person or persons as being THE PROBLEM - but, rather, the issue that we help clients resolve is how are they and the relationship coping or adapting to the problem.

What Is Therapy Like?

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feeling
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

What Happens During The First Session?

The initial session is the time for you to start to share your story, to talk about your goals and what you would like to change. Another important aspect of the first session is deciding if we are a good fit. Do I seem like someone you can trust? We are establishing a relationship that will become the foundation for working together. You will begin to figure out some goals; I will begin to figure out how to help you get there.

The first session will also be a process of getting to know you and what you are hoping to get out of counseling. You may share as much as you feel comfortable, I will mostly likely ask you questions to help the process and gather information. Towards the end of the first session we can make a plan to address your goals. It is normal that you may feel a little apprehensive about your first session if you have not been in therapy before. However, most clients report that they feel a great deal of relief at the end of the session.

What Should I Talk About?

We’ll start with talking about what brings you to see us. Therapy is a relationship between you - as the client - and Eric/Erica - as the clinicians. The safer you feel in our sessions, the more comfortable you will be with opening up. If you’re uncomfortable disclosing specific details, we respect that.  As you get more comfortable and feel safer to be vulnerable, you will reach a point where you are ready to share more with us. Eric & Erica take a directive role in sessions. We will work with you to give you skills and strategies to solve the problems that bring you to counseling. So don’t feel like you have to talk for the entire session. We’ll do a lot of talking too!

Is Therapy Confidential?

Yes.  All client-therapist conversations are private and confidential.  No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. Only in certain situations (set forth in Florida Law) is the confidential nature of therapist-client relationship disclosed. Exceptions include, but are not limited to:

  • Suspected abuse or neglect of a child (reporting to the Florida Abuse Hotline);
  • Suspected abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult (reporting to the Florida Abuse Hotline);
  • Suspected elder abuse (reporting to the Florida Abuse Hotline); 
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person (reporting to 911).
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken (such as initiating a Baker Act or reporting to 911).

How Long Will I Need Therapy?

While just about everyone hopes that in a few short sessions they can resolve all of their issues and problems they face in life, the reality is that it often takes time.

Some people come to therapy because they have woken up and realized they are not happy and need a change; they know they did not get to this position overnight. Others come in a crisis situation. Either way, the honest answer is that therapy will take some time to produce the change you have set as a goal. Therapy is a journey that takes time to be effective. The length of that time is different for everyone.

Therapy can be a financial and time investment that also will require a lot of emotional energy in the process. No therapist can magically make issues and problems disappear into thin air never to be thought of again. It will likely take several months for effective and long-lasting change to happen - but along the way you will notice subtle but important sparkling moments of success upon which to build further successes.

Eric and Erica have a goal to help create create long-term and permanent change in their lives and relationships. To get there, we gently and sensitively may need to open-up some past and present wounds, clean them of emotional debris and bacteria, and then suture the wound backup to create a long-lasting healed and barely visible scar.

Remember, most people would not expect a quick recovery if they just got diagnosed with cancer; the same should be true for transforming yourself and your relationship.

COUPLE faqs

Can My Relationship Be Saved?

Research shows that couples often enter into marriage counseling about six years later than they needed help. While we cannot guarantee that working with a counselor, either individually or as a couple, can save your relationship (nor should anyone make that promise), we can say that a couple has not done everything they can for an ailing relationship if they have not yet sought professional help. We go to doctors when our bodies are ailing, to lawyers for legal help, and accountants for tax expertise. Couples counseling is where we turn if we find that we need expertise in creating and maintaining healthy relationships. 

Having said this, if our work together, either in individual counseling or with your partner, cannot save your relationship, we can work together to help you so that you can create a different type of relationship the next time around. Anyways that you learn and grow in therapy will benefit the relationship you are in for the rest of your life, whoever that relationship is with.

What Is Couple's Counseling Like?

Couples counseling is conducted very similarly to individual therapy, so if you have ever done individual therapy, then couples work will be familiar. In the sessions, we explore and work through the factors that are causing or contributing to the couple's distress:  communication skills, emotional closeness, creating an emotionally safe environment, feelings validation, stating underlying needs, personal family-of-origin contributors, etc. Some focus is on each individual to understand how they are contributing to the challenges, but much of the aim of couples therapy is on the dynamics that occur between the two partners.

We have a discussion, we maybe read something brief that helps explain what the couple is experiencing, we do practical skill-building, and often add communication exercises that the couple does in session. Couples therapy is a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental place to learn and explore the places a couple gets stuck, typically leaving the office with practical tools to implement at home to immediately enact positive change.

What Is Unique About Working With Eric & Erica In Co-Therapy?

Eric and Erica provide a unique service to couples as a Husband and Wife team who are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. 

Normally, couples work with only one clinician - either male or female. Right in the beginning of the process, couples will often bicker and argue about this preliminary topic. We often hear from couples that choose to work with us that they feel so relieved not being put in a position of choosing between a male or female therapist. 

By working with Eric & Erica, you - as a couple - eliminates the worry that one therapist will inherently side with a member of the couple of the same gender. You also eliminate the worry that one therapist will see the couple dynamic from a singular perspective that will impact how the lens by which the therapist interacts and provides therapy to the couple unit.

Erica and Eric provide multiple viewpoints, multiple perspectives, multiple techniques, and multiple therapeutic modalities. 

In the end, why work with one therapist when your relationship can benefit from working with a Husband and Wife team?

How Can I Make Couple's Therapy Successful?

Here are some steps to ensure that you are getting the most of or your therapy sessions:

  1. Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy sessions.
  2. The most important work of therapy takes place outside of the therapy sessions you have with us. We often provide "homework" or assignments outside of session. Some couples are committed to doing the work we provide to them - while others are more lax about it. The more work you both put in to the process - the more you will both get out of it.
  3. Be as honest with Erica and Eric as you are willing and comfortable. In general, the more you both share and are open about, the more we can help you. 
  4. Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

If I Work With You Individually Can You Also Work Individually With My Partner?

Clients in individual counseling will sometimes bring their partner in for one or two sessions to discuss issues as a couple, and we strongly encourage this when appropriate. Sometimes when a client begins working with us on an individual basis, couple's issues may come up during sessions. While we certainly can have your partner attend some individual sessions as a "visitor" to lend perspective or thoughts, we cannot and do not ethically work with you as an individual client and also simultaneously with you and your partner as a couple unit.

If you are working with either Erica or Eric on an individual-client basis, and your partner also would like individual counseling sessions, please understand that one therapist cannot see both members of a couple individually at the same time. In such scenarios, you can either work with Erica or Eric (the therapist who isn't working with the original client) or we can refer the other partner to another therapy practice.

Can I Start As An Individual Client And Then Convert To A Couple Unit?

This is a common question. As Marriage and Family Therapists, we firmly believe that all problems are relational in nature. That is why we always prefer to begin our work on couple-related issues with both partners together. We recognize that sometimes one partner is not ready to begin therapy at the same time as the other partner.

In such cases where your partner won't start right now, you have an opportunity to change this by taking the time to focus on your own challenges and begin making your own changes first. We welcome the opportunity to begin working with one partner and, when the other partner is ready to join, we will stop individual sessions with the client and begin couple sessions with both clients. We do this to ensure that we are always working on couple-related issues and that there is no actual or perceived conflict between individual goals and couple goals.

What Can I Expect From Pre-Marital Counseling?

A common question we’re asked is if our premarital therapy is a set program that lasts a certain amount of sessions. Though we all do premarital therapy a little differently, as would most therapists, we don't require that you are on any kind of program. From the moment you arrive at your first session, we work to help you to understand the components of your relationship that need your attention, and then how to skillfully and effectively improve those areas. How long that takes can certainly vary, but we find that most premarital couples stay with us for at least 10 sessions.

We love to work with premarital couples! It’s just so nice to be able to help couples to avoid the common pitfalls of long-term relationships that would creep up if the couple didn’t take these preventative steps. All relationship skills can be learned, and really you can never start too soon in gaining some knowledge and establishing healthy couple habits that will allow for a stable and rewarding lifelong union.

We begin by assessing your relationship in many areas, including communications and levels of vulnerability to understand those areas of your relationship that need attention and some work. Erica and Eric teach you skills, provide helpful information, and support you in having necessary conversations that will pave the way for the two of you to work as a team to help your relationship adapt to the ever-changing needs and demands of marriage. 

Premarital counseling provides you and your partner a chance to discuss some of the “big ticket” topics in a safe, private environment before beginning your marriage. Common areas of discussion will include:

  • Goals for your marriage
  • Perceptions of how politics, religion, and belief systems will impact your relationship
  • Finances, debt, and career aspirations 
  • Attitudes toward sex, intimacy, and affection
  • Your individual families and your hopes for your new family
  • Feelings about gender roles and sharing household chores and responsibilities 

Premarital counseling sessions help you learn healthier communication and anger management skills and practice resolving conflicts in a way that benefits both partners. We know how to help couples strengthen their bonds early on and prevent problems from escalating once those couples enter into a marriage. Partners who participate in premarital counseling typically have a better understanding of what the other person wants and expects from them going into their commitment than partners who don’t.

How Are Secrets Handled?

We believe that effective couple's work requires honesty, transparency and vulnerability. That is why we have a "No Secrets" policy when working with couples or families.

In addition to the normal confidentiality rules described in the General FAQ above, Erica and Eric have a blanket "No-Secrets" policy with regard to couple's sessions. That means that when we may spend some alone time with either partner, anything said in those individual sessions will not be kept by us as a secret from their partner. When we rejoin for a joint session, anything said to us in a one-on-one session may come up in the joint session.

Can Therapy Be Done If One Partner Has Anger Management Problems or Suffers From Depression or Anxiety?

Yes, We work with many couples, where one or both of the partners are suffering with any of these issues.  While some of these issues may get treated as a part of the couples therapy, it is also possible that we will refer out the individual for individual therapy with a different therapist, while we continue to work with the couple. 

My Parter Says He/She Will Never Change. Is There Any Hope?

This is what some people say.  We never found it to be true. Everyone can change.  They just need the right motivation, the right support, and the right information. Making a change is sometimes called personal growth. It’s one of the ways we become better people and better partners.  Personal growth is usually a positive experience…people feel good about getting even better. We don't focus on changing people at their core; we all are who we are. However, while we can't guarantee change in the therapeutic process, by focusing on changing behaviors as part of meeting and accommodating the needs of the relationship or marriage, we create an environment where both parties are motivated for change to happen.

Is It Too Late (Or Too Early) To Come For Couples Counseling?

It’s never too early for couples or marriage counseling.  In fact, most often people come to counseling later than they should. Creating and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships and marriages is hard work.  It needs constant attention in order to remain healthy.  We love working with couples to help strengthen their relationships and marriages.  Perhaps you need better communication skills or help working through some unresolved issues.  Financial stress is another common contributor to relationship problems that we can help you and your partner overcome.  We love working with couples who are “ok” and helping them become “great!”

More frequently people come to marriage counseling just prior to divorce.  We can help you work through your problems if both parties are willing to put in the hard work to make changes.  Marriage counseling for those on the brink of a divorce takes more time.  It likely took you months or even years to get to this point in your marriage.  Often there are deep-rooted problems that need to be resolved.  We can help you work through those problems and teach you skills to make sure those problems don’t become the monsters in your relationship that they are now.

Do Eric & Erica Take Sides?

No.  Relationship and Marriage counseling is not about taking sides.  Who is right or wrong rarely matters in the big picture of your marriage.  Eric and Erica focus on helping you build better communication skills and better conflict-resolution skills so that the two of you can navigate future problems in a more healthy way.

Couples almost always come to their first session with fingers pointed at their partner as the sole cause of the problems or issues. We focus on the needs of the "relationship" and how the couple is or isn't meeting the "relationships" needs and wants and requirements. This process helps turn the "pointed fingers" away from each partner and, instead, to how they can "wrap their arms" around the relationship and protect it.

My Partner Is Controlling And Can Be Dominating In Conversation; I’m Concerned That You Won’t Get To Hear My Side Of Things. How Can I Be Sure You’ll Hear My Side?

It’s not uncommon for one partner to be more verbal or “dominating” in a session.  Eric and Erica are experienced therapists who will not allow one partner to "hijack" the session. We understand the importance of getting both your perspectives. We will manage the sessions in such a way that you both will have time to speak and share your thoughts and feelings about the relationship. Sometimes, we will have a separate session with the partner who feels "unheard" to further process their needs to be heard and to work on skills to create an environment in the relationship for them to be heard.

What If We Fight Or Cry In A Session?

Couples fight in front of us. Couple cry in front of us. People deal with their emotions in a variety of ways. All emotions experienced by couples and individuals is expected and welcome.

Likewise, people deal with conflict differently. For example, some yell and some become silent. Eric and Erica will often sit-back and watch how couples interact to better understand their relational patters and interactional cycles. We want to learn about each of you as individuals and then how those individuals functions as a couple unit.

Rest assured that we will create a safe place in session for each of you and the relationship where the conflict will not be allowed to be destructive.

How Long Will We Need Therapy?

While just about every couple hopes that in a few short sessions they can resolve all of their issues and problems they face in their relationship or create the marriage of their dreams, the reality is that it often takes time. 

Some couples come to therapy because they have woken up and realized they are not happy and need a change; they know they did not get to this position overnight. Others come in to deal with a sudden crisis situation, like infidelity. Either way, the honest answer is that therapy will take some time to produce the change you both have as relationship goals. Therapy is a journey that takes time to be effective. The length of that time is different for each couple. Not taking the time now to transform your relationship or marriage will end up costing much more in the future.

Therapy can be a financial and time investment that also will require a lot of emotional energy in the process. No therapist can magically make issues and problems disappear into thin air never to be thought of again. It will likely take several months for effective and long-lasting change to happen - but along the way you will notice subtle but important sparkling moments of success upon which to build further successes.

Eric and Erica have a goal to help couples create long-term and permanent change in their lives and relationships. To get there, we gently and sensitively may need to open-up some past and present wounds, clean them of emotional debris and bacteria, and then suture the wound backup to create a long-lasting healed and barely visible scar.

Remember, most people would not expect a quick recovery if they just got diagnosed with cancer; the same should be true for transforming yourself and your relationship.

Therapy Can Be Expensive. Maybe I Should Just Wait?

We all have to decide how to spend our available money, and we all make different choices. It's the same for couples as for individuals.

We can't tell you how to spend your hard-earned money or if couple's counseling is worth it. That's a subjective choice. What we can say for certain is that for married couples, a divorce is MUCH more expensive (financially and emotionally) than the cost of investing in quality therapy. Our personal opinion is that it makes more sense to spend money now that directly benefits you and your relationship then spend tens of thousands of dollars down-the-road on lawyers.

Erica and Eric charge a reasonable and appropriate fee to represent our level of personal and professional training in the art and science of couples and marriage therapy. Our sessions are not about us sitting back and listening to a couple bicker for 80-minutes. Rather, we actively challenge our clients in their patterns of behaviors, thoughts, interactions, etc.  We work with our couples to actively produce measurable and achievable goals.

In the end, we don't ask clients to sign a contract or commit to any particular number of sessions. We go session by session. We only ask for a commitment in your desire for change and growth in your relationship or marriage.

TEEN faqs

As A Teen, What Can I Expect From Therapy?

When you see a therapist, they will talk with you about your feelings, thoughts, relationships, and important values. At the beginning, therapy sessions are focused on discussing what you'd like to work on and setting goals. Some of the goals people in therapy may set include things like improving self-esteem and confidence, figuring out how to make more friends, feeling less depressed or less anxious, improving grades at school, learning to manage anger and frustration, making healthier choices (for example, about relationships or eating) and ending self-defeating or self-harming behaviors.

It might take a few sessions with a therapist before you will feel like you can share personal stuff. It is natural to feel that way. Trust is a very important part of therapy as it involves being open and honest about sensitive topics like feelings, ideas, relationships, problems, disappointments and hopes. Our therapists understand that teens sometimes take a while to feel comfortable sharing personal details like this and we will be patient with you.

Does Going To Therapy Mean i'm Crazy? Will My Friends Find Out?

No, going to therapy doesn't mean you're crazy! You'd probably be surprised to find that many people in your class have probably seen a therapist at some point. Getting help in dealing with emotions and stressful situations is as important to your overall health as getting help with a medical problem like asthma or diabetes. Some people find that discussing their progress in therapy with friends is helpful while others prefer not to tell anyone. Either way, it is a personal decision and you don't have to tell anyone if you don't want to.

There's nothing wrong with getting help with problems that are hard to solve alone. In fact, it's just the opposite. It takes a lot of courage and maturity to look for solutions to problems instead of ignoring or hiding them and allowing them to become worse. If you think that therapy could help you with a problem, ask an adult you trust — like a parent, teacher, school counselor, or doctor — to help you find a therapist.

Therapy is helpful to people of all ages and with problems that range from mild to much more serious. Some people still hold on to old beliefs about therapy, such as thinking that teens "will grow out of" their problems. If the adults in your family don't seem open to talking about therapy, mention your concerns to a school counselor, coach, or doctor.

Will I Have To Take Medication?

Medication for anxiety, depression and other disorders are considered and recommended on a case by case basis. Medication is not for everyone but it can be helpful for those who need some immediate relief while we work on a long term solution in therapy. If you aren't comfortable taking medication, therapy can still be incredibly effective.

How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?

If you're asking that question, most likely you have been thinking about the weight of some issues that have been bothering you. As a teen, I'm sure you are going through so many new issues and problems and feelings. It can definitely feel overwhelming. If there are issues that have arisen, and you are seeking guidance but don’t necessarily want it from your peers or family members, seeing a therapist may be the right approach. No one NEEDS therapy. The better question to ask yourself is DO I WANT THERAPY? If you call or text me, I would be more than happy to help you navigate this question so you can decide if therapy is right for you.

What Can We Talk About In Therapy?

We can talk about anything you want! It is not my agenda to ever be the person that dictates to you what we could or should talk about. I'm sure you may feel that way from teachers, parents or even your friends.  Rather, what we talk about in our session will be entirely up to you. Some common topics teens talk with me about are: friendship, school-related issues, self-esteem, anxiety, parent-conflict, relationships and how they can better cope with the ever-changing world around them. Always know that if my sessions with you, I will never judge you or try to change you.

TEEN PARENT faqs

Why Does My Teen Need Therapy?

Adolescence is the time for working on complex issues that teens may be facing as they are going through significant social and emotional change. A safe space to process issues that develop such as sadness, loneliness, anger, anxiety or shame is often the areas of support they typically are looking for from adults.

Whether your teen needs help sorting through the myriad of feelings and emotions they are experiencing, finding solutions to their daily problems, or just someone to listen objectively other than a friend or parent, Erica can provide your teen with a non-judgmental and safe space to process their feelings, emotions and thoughts.

How Do I Know My Teen Needs Therapy?

It’s hard enough knowing when you, as the parent, need to see a therapist and navigating the entire process from picking a professional to making the most of your time once you do. But doing this for your teen can seem outright overwhelming.

The time to take your teen to a therapist is when there is a noticeable change in either their affect, behavior, or both especially if these changes are sudden. Teens who need help will display signs of depression such as sadness, frequent crying, loss of interest in activities, changes in eating or sleeping habits, lack of enthusiasm or motivation, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, hostility and/or angry outbursts. They may also withdraw from friends and family, especially during a tough time, and shut down in discussions, refusing to discuss whatever it is that's bothering them. Another indicator that a teen may need therapy is a drop in grades or school performance. If they are struggling with depression, anxiety or grief for example, this can often impact their school performance just as it can impact an adults work performance.

Erica will be able to meet with your teen for a first session which is a formal evaluation of their goals, expectations, basic questions, and the getting to know each other process. Once we have our first session, we can determine together if we are a good “therapy” fit and if future sessions are needed or recommended.

How Can I Talk To My Teen About Therapy?

Teens can sometimes be resistant to starting therapy. They may feel embarrassed about seeing a therapist and worry that their friends will find out and think they are “crazy” or there is something “wrong” with them. Therefore, it is best to approach your child from a place of love and express your concern in an open and caring way.

Let your teen know that you are there to support them and provide them with the help and support that they need in order to be happy and healthy. They may immediately jump at the idea of going to therapy or they may be quite resistant. Sometimes this resistance stems from the fact that therapy is someone else’s idea. That is when it is very helpful to emphasize that although going to therapy might not be their idea, it is their decision to choose who they see.

Giving them the freedom to decide which therapist they want to work with can help provide them with a greater sense of control and ownership over the therapy experience. If they continue to remain resistant you can ask your teen to attend at least one-two therapy sessions and after that point they can decide if they would like to continue or not.

Often times, if there is a good fit between the teen and the therapist and the teen feels heard and safe, they will naturally become connected to the process and want to continue voluntarily.

What If You Or Your Teen Doesn't Feel Comfortable Working With Erica After Several Sessions?

Erica's number one priority and focus in ensuring that you and your teen son or daughter feels safe and comfortable in our sessions. From the very beginning, I am open to speaking with parents and the teen him/herself to give them a sense of what therapy will be like, her approach and philosophy and the overall experience of therapy sessions.

Erica never personalizes you or your teen's choice when deciding if therapy is feeling comfortable and meeting your needs. 

If there are ever any concerns on your part or on the part of your son or daughter, I welcome them being brought to my attention so we can address them head-on. I want every client to feel chemistry with me and I vigorously work with my teens and their parents to create an atmosphere of transparency within the therapeutic relationship. 

Sometimes, unfortunately, therapy can be like any relationship, and there may not be a good fit between the therapist and the client. If we should come to the decision that the therapeutic relationship is not working for either client or therapist, we will discuss a plan for how to terminate sessions and to provide for the client's needs.  However, often when a concern is brought up, we can work through the issue now that its made known, and ensure that future sessions better meet you or your teen's needs.

What Is My Approach To Teen Therapy?

In my work as a therapist with adolescents, my aim is to create an environment in which they feel comfortable opening up about what is going on in their lives, without fear of judgment or ridicule. We work together to help them sort out their feelings, find solutions to their problems, and develop improved coping skills so that they can more effectively manage the emotional ups and downs of adolescence. Working successfully with adolescents also requires finding a balance between providing them a safe space that is truly theirs, while involving parents and other family members, as necessary, in the service of the teen’s growth and development.

How Long Will Therapy Last?

There is no specific time length that is required of the therapeutic process. I often tell parents that I strongly believe therapy is not a one-size-fits-all treatment model. For some teens, it can take up to three months to process certain issues, and for others it may be a longer process to figure out what feels right for them. We make that determination together so that the process is smooth and easy.

What Will The Treatment Process Be Like?

I believe that when working with teens the client-therapist relationship is one of the most important factors for effective therapeutic work to occur. Your teen must feel safe, comfortable, and connected with the therapist they end up working with. Therefore, my first priority when an adolescent comes to see me is to help them decide whether I am a good fit for them and their particular needs. My next step is to help them begin exploring those issues that they are struggling with. Because this may be the first time they are talking about these things, I make sure to go at a pace that feels comfortable to them. Together we start looking at what is getting in the way of their overall sense of happiness and well-being. By helping them understand what they are feeling and providing them with the tools they need in order to navigate the challenges of adolescence, therapy can help teens not only feel better, but actually thrive!

Will you Let Me Know What Is Going On In The Therapy Sessions?

From the beginning I make it clear to both you and your teen in our session together that whatever is discussed between us stays between us. However, there are a few exceptions to my policies regarding confidentiality which includes anything to be concerned about your child’s health, well-being, or safety. If for any reason there are blurry lines of communication or something occurs that’s out of sorts for your teen, I am more than happy to review what to expect moving forward and I can answer any specific questions that you may have.

Will You Be Prescribing Medication?

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I do not believe that prescribing medication is the long-term fix.  Of course, there are non mental health conditions in which medication - along with talk therapy - is recommended. If such a situation were to occur, we will discuss all options and the possible recommendation to refer your teen to a medical doctor to explore medication options. Please read the section above for more about medication and therapy.

How Often Will You Meet?

I typically meet with my adolescent clients on a weekly basis. I have found that meeting consistently every week contributes to a stronger therapeutic relationship and enables them to more effectively address the issues they are struggling with. There are times, however, when it is appropriate to meet more or less frequently based on a teen’s current needs or schedule. That is something that usually gets worked through during the course of therapy.

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