Resiliency Center of Santa BarbaraFrequently Asked Questions

Here I have presented 25 common questions that I regularly receive about our services.

These questions are broken down into the 5 following categories:

  1. General Questions about Psychotherapy, Consultation and Coaching
  2. Questions about Personal Psychotherapy
  3. Questions about Business and Personal Consultation
  4. Questions about Business Performance Coaching
  5. Questions about Collaboration with Professionals

Find the categories of questions you are interested in. Click on the questions you are interested in and then read the drop-down answer.

I tried to answer each question in an understandable and complete way. I hope my responses are helpful to you.

Revel Miller, Ph.D.

General Questions about Psychotherapy, Consultation and Coaching:

1. When should I seek help from a professional?

When you feel stuck or suffer too much business frustration or emotional pain, you should put in an effort to get assistance with your business or personal issues. When you see others suffering because of your inadequate business systems or personal problem and you sense that things will get worse if you don’t take action, look for outside help. If you have discussed your concerns with your business managers, trusted friends, family members, your doctor, minister or colleagues but you are still upset or troubled, get professional help. Don’t be shy or cover-up. Don’t procrastinate. Ask for help when you realize that you, your associates, friends and loved ones cannot solve the problems or help you attain your goals.

2. How do I find a professional?

Seeking out a professional is a common event and business associates or others you trust probably know somebody to call upon for help. Ask them for a suggested professional to consult with. They may have used one before or heard about some from their friends or family members. Most people are usually happy to help and make suggestions. They feel for you and want you to solve your problem. However, if that doesn’t work, ask your physician or minister for a referral. Finally, search internet directories online with lists of local professionals and review their profiles. You can easily check them out online, get a feel for what is available, and then contact some you are interested in.

3. Are therapy, consultation and coaching really helpful?

Yes! Millions of people in the USA are engaged with professional therapists, consultants and coaches. It is very common. Because serious business and personal problems arise periodically in most peoples’ lives that they cannot resolve on their own, professionals have developed effective methods to solve business and human problems. You need to find an experienced  professional who can match an effective method to impact your particular problem. Seasoned professionals should be trained in different types of methods and apply one that will work well for you. They should also recognize their limits and tell you if they cannot help. They always have the option to refer you to someone more skilled in the area you need.

From my perspective and experience, the four most important factors in assuring good results include: 1) the professional’s skill and expereince, 2) a positive and trusting relationship, 3) your taking risks by disclosing difficult or shameful experiences, and 4) your putting in effort to achieve your goals.

4. How can I assure a successful outcome?

Although many professionals are well trained and much research has been done to measure outcomes of different approaches, achieving your desired results cannot be guaranteed. There are just too many contributing and complex factors that determine a successful outcome. One of the most important characteristics that influence your results involves the determination and effort you put into the experience. You are the key to achieving your own results. You need to actively participate and strive to change your business systems or yourself or you must begin to accept things as they are. You must work at it in and outside of your sessions with a consultant, coach or therapist.

You also need to be courageous to trust and disclose to your professional how you are feeling, what you are thinking, how you are struggling, and what your barriers are. This means that you must take risks with your professional to reveal shameful and embarrassing experiences. You must allow yourself to become vulnerable. In addtiton, you must be willing to absorb and use direct feedback.

Moreover, you need to experiment with new ways of behaving, thinking and feeling to create something new or to overcome problems. To make improvements and to get better and stronger, you have to take action and practice new ways of thinking and behaving. If you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable, in order to change systems and to expand your boundaries and comfort zone, then little business or personal progress will be made. You need to either lead and stimulate internal assistance within your business and/or harness your own will power and put it to work for you.

Bottom line, you must earn your outcome through focused inner work and outer activity. Don’t expect your professional to change you. They don’t have that type of power. Change and progress will be gained through your own effort and that of your business teams and associates or friends and loved ones. You must make a serious commitment and actively engage.

5. How can working with you help me?

My style of therapy, consulting and coaching are designed to help clients with many different types of business or personal problems and concerns. My work involves assessing and confronting business challenges with managers, employees, teams, marketing, sales, finances, production, systems, changes and transitions. I also provide personal therapy, consulting and coaching to individuals, adolescents, couples and families with of separation, divorce, parenting and care giving challenges.

In general, my type of interventions may help you to: make changes within your business; reach business goals; improve your moods and emotional states; quiet your negative and automatic thoughts; quell your fears and anxieties; decrease your relationship conflict; revitalize your partnership; improve your physical health; control unwanted behaviors; develop new perspective and skills; restore meaning and pride; achieve your life and business goals; renew your energy; and build your self-confidence and self-esteem. The overall goal is to build a growing business or to achieve a better sense of well-being and hope for the future so that you can experience a better quality of life.

6. What’s it like to work with you?

Working with me or another therapist, consultant or coach is a unique experience for each individual client. For most, it is usually a very personal or intimate and trusting relationship in which you share private thoughts, feelings, actions and goals. I listen and respond in ways to help you make changes that you desire. You set the goals and then together we strive to reach them to your satisfaction. At times I may be quiet and listen. At others I may be more directive and active. Sometimes you may be asked to take on assignments between sessions. Sometimes you will struggle emotionally and interpersonally, and experience some pain and discomfort. At other times, you may feel neutral, relieved or joyful. Over time, your feelings and beliefs about me will shift and change.

As you can see, the experience will vary. It is not predictable. Once you engage in a process, you will enter a journey or new phase in your life. I view it as an adventure.

7. Is what I talk about confidential?

Yes and no. It depends on certain factors and situations. I cannot always guarantee you full confidential protection. There are limits to confidentiality with me and any other consultant, coach or mental health provider. I am mandated by California state laws and professional ethics as a psychologist to hold confidential your name, progress notes and any information I have about you or your company. However, to protect you and others, there are limits to confidentiality. There are 9 situations in which I am compelled by law to break confidentiality.

Here are the 9 conditions under which I must suspend confidentiality:

  1. if there is a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect of a minor under 18 years of age
  2. if there is a reasonable suspicion of elder abuse or neglect
  3. if there is a reasonable suspicion that you are a danger to your self
  4. if there is a reasonable suspicion that you are a danger to others or destructive to a company
  5. if there is a reasonable suspicion that asignificant crime is being committed
  6. if you file a complaint or lawsuit against me
  7. if I am court ordered by a judge
  8. if you file a worker’s compensation or disability claim
  9. if a government agency requests information for health oversight activities pursuant to their legal authority

Moreover, in my attempt to always provide the best informed service to my patients and clients, I actively and regularly consult with other professionals who serve you. I will ask you to sign a “Release of Information” form so that I can consult with them to ensure best coordinated treatment for you. I always strive to keep my client’s information private. However, as you can see, there are some conditions when I may not be able to hold confidence due to state laws that I must follow.

8. How long are your sessions?

Therapy, consulting and coaching sessions with me usually last for about one hour. However, for various reasons we may elect to have 60 to 90 minute meetings. In business situations, we may meet for a number of hours. When providing treatment or consultation to couples, families and parents, we often need more time to work together. Occasionally, under emergency or to intensify the process, I will meet with clients up to 120 minutes or 2 hours. All of my group therapy sessions last for 90 minutes.

9. Is it OK to tell a professional that, “I’m shopping for the right one”?

Absolutely! You should “shop around” for the right professional before selecting someone to work with. This goes for mental health professionals as well as physicians, dentists, attorneys, optometrists, chiropractors, etc. Each professional is different and you need to insure that you select a “good match” for you. The professional and the potential client should both be assessing one another to ensure a “good fit” before proceeding onward. Clients select professionals and professionals are also choosing whether or not to work with clients.

10. What if we’re not a good match?

If you ask to meet with or are referred to a professional, be sure to take the time to assess for “good fit”. You may be able to decide this immediately or it may take a number of sessions to make a final determination. If you decide that it is not a positive “match”, then tell the professional directly and ask for a referral to somebody else who might be better able to work with you.

Don’t stay and be unhappy. Don’t be quiet about this issue. And, don’t just drop out, stop attending sessions or “disappear” without explaining yourself. And by all means, don’t quit your treatment just because you are uncomfortable with the person you originally selected. There are many other professionals to choose from and it is important to continue and follow through with your original plan to get professional services. So, be sure to ask for help with this dilemma. Let them know you want to try another person. Professionals understand and don’t expect to align with all potential clients that seek them out.

If you have spent some significant time revealing information and taking assessments with one professional and then want to make a change, let them know. Sign a release of information form so that they can pass on to another colleague that you choose to work with the valuable information they gathered. This approach will be very helpful and save you a lot of time and money with the new provider.

11. What should I ask myself at the beginning?

It is always a good idea to probe yourself and ask questions before beginning a new venture. Here are some samples to consider:

  • What are my goals?
  • Am I really committed to achieving the goals I set?
  • What am I willing to give up in order to reach my goals?
  • How will I know if I reach my goals?
  • Am I willing to disclose sensitive information about myself and face some shameful feelings, thoughts and actions?
  • Am I willing to take advice and to follow through with my agreements?
  • Can I tolerate more pain and discomfort to overcome this problem?
  • Do I trust this professional?
  • Do I have faith in their expertise and methods?
  • Do I feel safe with this professional?
  • Do I feel understood and “seen” by this professional?
  • Is there anything that disturbs me about this person or their style?
  • What barriers exist between us?
  • What days and times can I be available for sessions?

12. What should I ask a potential professional when I meet with them?

To assess your professional, there are a number of questions you might ask to help you in making a decision whether or not to go forward with them. Here are some questions that you may consider asking:

  • How long have you been in this work?
  • What type of license do you have?
  • What did it take to get that license?
  • Have you successfully worked with other clients who have my same or a similar problem?
  • How long do you estimate our work together to take?
  • Are you going to do any type of formal assessments with me?
  • Will you be recommending a plan to follow?
  • What barriers do you anticipate that I will encounter?
  • What type of assignments do you utilize between sessions for me to commit to?
  • Do I have a good chance of successfully achieving my goals and getting the results that I desire?
  • Are my sessions scheduled for a regular day and time each week?
  • What days and times do you have available to meet with me?

13. I tried it before. It didn’t work. Should I try again?

Yes. What happened previously should have little impact on whether it will work now. However, reveal your hesitations and doubts to the professional. Let them know about your past failed attempt, why you sought help and why you believe it failed. Be open and discuss your doubt early on.

14. What about telephone or internet based services?

I have a lot of experience providing psychotherapy, consultation and coaching services by telephone. If you prefer to work with me at a distance, then that is your choice. For various reasons, some clients prefer this method. For instance, your company may be located outside Santa Barbara. Or, maybe you don’t have transportation or you are too ill or disabled to travel to my office. Perhaps you might utilize this method when you are traveling and still want to have a session. Or, you may live far away or move out of town and want to continue your services. Telephone based services may be a good option for some businesses or people.

I provide online services sparingly. The internet does not protect your confidentiality or privacy. Therefore, I seldom provide services via Skype, email or text. Email is only sparingly used for administrative purposes or re-scheduling appointments. No confidential or sensitive information should be transmitted by email.

Telephone communication is effective, more confidential and private, and provides some time and money saving advantages. However, our relationship will not be quite as personal and we cannot visually see each others’ reactions or how we affect one another physically when limited to telephone contact. Other than detecting voice changes, we cannot view each others’ full body language. So, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach.

The price is the same whether we meet in-person or talk by phone. However, when using telephone services, you must send me a retainer in advance before we start a session. So, I need to receive payment in full for the amount agreed before I start the session. If you want to pay in advance for several sessions, that is acceptable.

I can easily provide consulting and coaching at a distance with individuals, partners and teams. Consulting and coaching is commonly facilitated by telephone nationwide and globally.

I use my judgment to determine who is appropriate for telephone services. It is not for everyone. At any time I may suspend or discontinue telephone service if I find it to be ineffective or potentially dangerous.

I do have some limitations with my distance psychotherapy services. Because I am only licensed in the state of California, I cannot provide psychotherapeutic treatment in any other states. I can only provide psychotherapy services if you are located in California. In addition, I do not provide couples or family therapy by telephone. Talking with more than one patient on the phone at a time for a treatment session is not very effective. Moreover, I will not work at a distance with any patients or clients who are: suicidal, seriously depressed, in crisis, psychotic, having homicidal thoughts, in a domestic abuse situation, having serious alcohol or drug issues, potentially violent, or unable to care for themselves in a healthy way.

As long as my limits and parameters are met, try the telephone method. Often, distance services can be very effective and convenient.

Questions about Psychotherapy:

15. I may not be able to afford psychotherapy. What are my options?

To answer this question, take the following steps: First, assess your cash flow, your budget and what you believe you can afford. Then, ask yourself the following questions: How valuable is it to me to successfully achieve my desired goals? What would it mean to me if I succeeded? How would that change my life? What would it feel like if I did not achieve my goals? How would that affect my life? What would it be worth to me if I succeeded? If I had enough cash, what would I pay to achieve my goals?

Now that you have wrestled with these questions, get some referrals or look online for professionals to consider meeting with. Get a feel for the going rates and range of fees for what you think you need. Be realistic and get your expectations in order.

If you want to use health insurance, call your carrier and ask what to expect from them if you engage in treatment. Roughly determine what you may be responsible for financially.

Now, call one or more professional candidates. Tell them your problem and ask if they work with people like you. If they do, then ask them for their fees, methods of payment, health insurance policy, and if they can provide a discount to meet your budget. Once you gather this information, then make your first appointment with a professional you like and believe you can afford.

If you cannot afford any therapists that you call, see your physician or minister and ask for assistance. Or, seek out a non-profit clinic or county facility that provides assistance and utilizes a sliding-scale feel you can afford.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Don’t assume that you can’t afford services. Keep searching until you find something workable. Remember, this is your life. You are in charge and responsible for your future. Take care of yourself. Be persistent and get what you need.

16. What are the risks of being in psychotherapy?

There are risks when participating in psychotherapy. For instance, you may select a therapist who is not competent in helping you with your problem. Or, perhaps you and the therapist are not a good match. Sometimes people are not ready to engage in treatment or they feel forced into participating in therapy. So, you may not achieve your expected goals and you might waste your time and money. However, these are not your biggest risks.

 Your biggest risk is not seeking help when you know you need it. You must be responsible for yourself and take advantage of the opportunity to get assistance. Don’t risk losing out on it because you are stubborn or afraid. What do you have to lose?

Also, you will definitely have to risk your pride. If you want to make progress and changes to improve your life, at times you will need to reveal shameful feelings, thoughts, impulses and experiences. You will also need to sacrifice your current comfort level. You will need to risk going into pain in order to gain new goals, advantages or capabilities. You have to allow yourself to get upset emotionally and confused mentally. You must also experiment behaviorally. You may need to disconnect or distance yourself from destructive and overly dependent relationships that hold you back and keep you stuck.

Treatment is risky business because there is a lot at stake and you must allow another person to “see” or know you accurately with all of your flaws. If you don’t risk giving up what doesn’t work for you, then you will not make progress. As is often said, “No pain, no gain”. You will need to risk giving up some of your old ways in order to take on new ways that you are not familiar with. There is no other way to grow and develop, strengthen and change yourself. Most clients fear taking these risks and chances and letting go. It is natural to be anxious and self-protective. But I encourage you to “go against the grain”. Learn to tolerate your anxiety and take on this challenge with courage, determination and anticipation for a better quality of life. Be bold. This type of challenge will make you stronger and better.

Always keep in mind that your biggest risk is to not seek and get the help you deserve and to continue to suffer needlessly. Procrastinating or refusing to follow through puts in jeopardy your future, your well-being, your lifestyle, your self-esteem and your own quality of life. Take control. Make your move. And like I said before, making changes in your life is risky business. But the benefits and rewards may be great.

17. What about medication and psychotherapy?

Today, there are many medications prescribed by physicians that are designed to improve moods and emotional experiences and to control negative thinking and out of control behavior. Many people go to their medical doctors looking for help with psychological and behavioral problems. And, they hope that a pill will solve their distress rapidly and effortlessly.

Many of these psychotropic medications are quite effective and helpful in decreasing your unwanted symptoms. However, in order to get the best outcome, you need to openly present all of your concerns and problems to your physician so that he/she can select a medicine for you. Then, you must return to meet with your doctor several times over the next 6 months or so to report if you have taken the medicine as prescribed as well as the positive and negative effects. Then the physician can adjust the medicine until you are getting the results you wanted. Expect it to take a couple of months until you reach the proper dosage level and achieve the effects that you desire.

Psychiatric medications will influence you but they usually can’t resolve your underlying problems.  Most psychiatric medications can effectively reduce uncomfortable and disturbing symptoms that you report. They all have side effects and most are safe if taken as prescribed. You must be patient and allow the medicine enough time to work in your body to bring about some desired results. You must also expect some initial discomfort or negative side effects that will decrease over time. And, you must take your medication regularly as prescribed to get the result you are expecting.

If you don’t want to take a medicine that is recommended by your physician, tell him/her your opinion. Don’t take a prescription knowing that you will not fill it. And don’t buy your medication without committing to take it as prescribed. Have faith and give it a good trial. If you want to try psychotherapy, ask for a referral. Most physicians work with therapists and can easily provide you with recommendations. Combining medication with psychotherapy is usually the most effective plan to get better, faster and longer lasting results.

18. What about taking medication in conjunction with psychotherapy?

Medications can be very helpful. For some patients, that is all they need or want. But for others, they need more than just a biochemical approach. Psychiatric medications will influence you but they usually can’t resolve your underlying problems. They can help you get through each day. It’s the same with psychotherapy. For some patients, psychological treatment without medication is enough to get the desired results. But for others, combining medication with psychotherapy brings about the best results and fastest relief. This combination may or may not be the best approach for you.

You need to stay open to recommendations. Watch out for your built-in biases that may prolong your suffering unnecessarily. When you have problems, you need to experiment with recovery options.

A well trained psychotherapist should respect medicine and also understand how psychotropic medications work and what to expect from them. Your therapist should be able to help you manage your medicine and consult with your prescribing physician about the need for and effectiveness of the medication.

Personally, I respect medications and support their use when I believe they can be helpful and the side effects are not to severe. I encourage my patients to meet with their prescribing doctors to report progress and effects, and to discuss when to discontinue. I want to assure that you are getting results and safe dosages.

I require my patients to permit me to collaborate with their physician about the effectiveness of the medication and the plan for using it. I also communicate with the physician about my patient’s progress in treatment. Together, we treat our patients as a supportive and coordinated treatment team to ensure that they are getting the best treatment possible.

19. What’s the difference between short-term and long-term psychotherapy?

There is no official definition for either of these terms. It is quite subjective what a patient or a therapist consider “short” or “long” term treatment. What is long-term to some is short-term to others. So, it is confusing. To simplify the matter, let me give you my personal perspective on this matter.

I perceive any treatment under one year of time to be short-term. Treatment over one year in length I recognize as long-term. Many others believe that short-term or brief treatment covers less than 10 or 20 sessions. Some therapists successfully treat some disorders in 6 to 12 sessions. Other types of problems take years to ameliorate. It is not uncommon for patients to remain in treatment for a number of years to achieve the changes they desire.

Obviously, some patient issues are easier and faster to solve. However, some problems are more challenging and well entrenched. Therefore, they require more time and sessions to reduce symptoms or make lasting changes.

20. Does being in psychotherapy mean that I’m “mentally ill”?

Maybe yes. Maybe no. You probably accept being physically ill. You may not like it, but you recognize when it happens. You seek medical treatment and talk to family and friends about it. But, we tend to judge ourselves harshly and keep secrets if we have emotional disturbances, thinking problems, behavioral issues, identity confusion, stress symptoms and relationship dilemmas. We consider these to be shameful or embarrassing. We often avoid them and hide them from others, hoping they will magically evaporate or naturally disappear.

Hope is not a good strategy for resolving psychological problems. It seldom works well with troubles in life. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to start treatment the worse the problem becomes, the longer it will take to solve, and the more energy and resources you will need to invest to reach a lasting solution.

There is a schism or division within us and our culture. Having a physical problem is acceptable. But having a psychological problem is unacceptable. Because of this bias or stigma, we unnecessarily suffer. Don’t do this. Don’t be afraid of being called “psycho”. Be courageous. Reach out. Reveal yourself and get help now. Try not to worry about what others think. You don’t need to tell others that you have sought therapy. You can keep your treatment private.

Whatever it takes, I encourage you to pull your life together. Strive for a better quality of life and be willing to pay the price to achieve it. Having troubles in life does not necessarily mean that you are “mentally ill”. You may be quite normal and experiencing a transitional or difficult challenge that is hard to manage on your own. Life delivers us a lot of unexpected blows and we can’t solve every problem on our own. Many of these issues can be managed and resolved. They do not need to dominate you for a lifetime.

21. How are psychologists different from other mental health professionals?

Let me explain some of the differences so that you know what I am and how I differ from my professional colleagues. This information may also be helpful to you in selecting your own therapist.

My profession and my abilities are often confused with licensed psychiatrists, therapists and social workers. We all three have different types and lengths of training and experience. We are also all licensed by three different Boards in the state of California. We all must pass educational and experiential requirements and successfully pass a state written examination to earn our different licenses.

These requirements and exams are different from one another. Each profession has its own national, regional and local professional associations that provide support, continuing education, and ethical standards and enforcement. The three biggest differences among us are the educational curricula and emphases, the length of education, and the type and length of supervised experience. Once a professional earns a license, they may then enter into private practice and work independently from an agency or institution.

I am a state licensed psychologist with 5 yrs of graduate training and supervised internships. I hold both a Masters degree and a Doctoral degree. Psychologists may have earned one of three different doctorate degrees – a Ph.D., a Psy.D. or an Ed.D. Clinical psychologists, like me, have expertise in psychodiagnostic evaluations, psychotherapeutic treatment and professional consultation. Psychologists cannot prescribe medicine, only psychiatrists prescribe medicine.

Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors (MD) or osteopathic doctors (OD) who specialize in psychiatric assessment and medical treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Medical and osteopathic doctors attend medical school for about 4 years plus they complete about 4 or more years of internship and residency training. Psychiatrists mainly treat medical, psychological and behavioral problems with medicine. They generally take a psychopharmacological approach to disorders by using chemo-therapies. They have a wide array of psychotropic medications to choose from. These medicines can be quite effective in relieving symptoms. However, most of these medicines do not heal a problem. They are designed to control symptoms and when the medicine is withdrawn, some of the symptoms may re-surface again. Other types of physicians also prescribe these same drugs to patients. In fact, most psychiatric medicines are prescribed by primary care physicians.

Licensed therapists or counselors hold a Marriage and Family Therapist license (MFT). They attend graduate school in a counseling or psychology program for about 2 years and earn a Masters degree. They are not “doctors” nor do they prescribe medicine. They usually specialize in psychotherapy and may have an emphasis on treating couples, children and families.

A fourth type of therapist is a social worker who holds a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW). It usually takes about 3 years of post-graduate education and experience to earn this degree. Many social workers are licensed and practice psychotherapy. They cannot prescribe medicine.

Questions about Personal and Business Consultation:

22. How does consultation differ from psychotherapy and coaching?

When consulting with me, you present your problem and commitment level. I assess your personal or business situation and your abilities to overcome the problem. I also uncover and assess problems discovered. I accomplish this through interviews, observations and information collection. After my written assessment is completed, I present and discuss my recommendations and a plan to follow to the decision-maker(s). At that point, you need to decide to accept my suggested plan or negotiate to modify it. Once we both agree on a workable strategic plan, I become your guide, adviser and educator to assist you to implement needed changes. Consulting work can be intense and demanding as we strive for change in your life or business. Over time, our plan may change as we encounter unexpected or additional issues to deal with. Along the way, inevitable problems, resistances and obstacles will be confronted and dealt with. Coaching may become an aspect of the consulting services.

In business consultation and coaching, project team members, managers, direct reports and other employees frequently participate in order to ensure that changes are implemented and goals are achieved.

In business performance coaching, you present your business goals and together we develop a strategic plan to follow. Then step-by-step, we implement our plan. By the end of each session, we will devise assignments for you to work on between sessions. You will commit to the assignments and I will hold you accountable to your commitments. At the beginning of the next coaching session, I will ask you for a progress report on accomplishing your assignments. You must take full responsibility for achieving your own goals. You report your progress and I keep you focused on your business goals and assignments and our strategic plan. I also provide suggestions and education and I assist you to overcome inevitable obstacles that get in the way. We also brainstorm together to identify tactics to use in achieving your goals. I ask relevant questions and provide support to keep you focused on gradually reaching your personal business goals.

Personal consulting often involves the participation of others in your family, like partners, children and extended family members. Personal consultation may involve challenges with marital or relationship separation and divorce. Or clients may consult with me about parenting or family struggles. At times, caregivers for adults and children use my personal consulting services.

In consultation and coaching engagements with me, you are not my psychotherapy treatment “patient”. You are my consultation and coaching “client”. I do not diagnose you or provide personal psychotherapy. Neither consultation nor coaching services are eligible for health insurance coverage.

During both consulting and coaching sessions, we work with emotional content, thinking patterns and behaviors. However, there is less discussion about the historical origins of your personal problems. Although I always get as much historical background information as possible to understand your past and the context of the current issues, we don’t refer back to it very often. In business consultation and coaching, we don’t attempt to repair old injuries and painful experiences and memories. We focus more on the “here and now”, the future and current barriers to success as you learn and implement new strategies.

My business consulting and coaching services are more expensive than my personal consultation and psychotherapy services.

Questions about Business Performance Coaching:

23. How does business performance coaching work?

Executive or business performance coaching is an effective approach for solving problems and achieving goals within a business context. Together we clarify and prioritize your business goals. Then we work out a strategic plan to attain these goals. I may suggest that you take on an assessment to learn more about yourself and your capabilities. Once a plan is agreed to, you implement your tactics to make progress toward goal achievement. We discuss barriers to achievement, measure progress, and create relevant assignments to work on between sessions. At times I provide some advice and education; and I give you straight feedback. But I don’t delve very deeply into your past personal history or personality make-up.

We may focus on a variety of common business issues such as: strategic planning, performance, decision-making, branding, marketing, sales, staffing, management, leadership, team building, image, presence, time management, productivity and health.

Because we focus on goal attainment, coaching is demanding and stimulates emotions and thoughts that get in the way of progress as you strive to learn new skills and attain your goals. Following through with commitments and assignments is a major part of coaching. This particular approach to solving problems and achieving goals is always action and results oriented.

At times, I work with project teams within a business to reach a goal. This involves coaching the team leader and the team members as a group. At times I also coach several executives, managers or direct reports within a company. Business coaching is similar to advising a professional musician, actor, dancer or athlete. When working with business teams, coaching is like conducting an orchestra, choreographing a play or dance troupe, or coaching an athletic team.

Business coaching is different than business consulting. In a coaching relationship, I will interview superiors to gather information and get direction and support. I then partner with my coaching client  to uncover problems and determine goals to work on. I hold my coaching client accountable to follow through with assignments and goal achievement. In business consulting, however, I am invited into a company as an outsider to assess an identified problem and to provide a written strategic plan to solve the recognized problem and any other contributing problems. To develop this plan, I complete onsite interviews, make observations and collect information. I am held accountable to direct and implement my plan with the support of the company employees and decision makers.

In our coaching relationship, you are not my psychotherapy “patient”. You are my coaching “client”. As in my consulting work, I use my understanding of individual and group psychology. However, I do not diagnose you, provide psychotherapy, or write treatment progress notes. Likewise, health insurance does not cover coaching services. My business coaching and consulting services are more expensive than my psychotherapy services.

Questions about Collaboration with Professionals:

24. What type of professionals do you collaborate with?

I collaborate with medical professionals, allied health professionals and divorce attorneys and mediators. Sometimes I collaborate with ministers, religious or spiritual leaders and natural healers.

I collaborate with professionals who are actively involved with my clients. I work as a multidisciplinary team player to improve the quality of life for my patients and clients. Each of my collaboration partners is usually trained and experienced in complementary fields to myself as a psychologist.

In the medical profession, I collaborate with medical doctors, osteopaths, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Amongst the allied healthcare professions, I consult with chiropractors, naturopaths, physical therapists, acupuncturists and other related health care professionals.

In the legal profession, I mainly work with divorce attorneys and divorce mediators. At times, I may work with estate planning attorneys and elder law attorneys.

25. What can your collaboration partners expect from you?

They can expect a lot from me. I bring my broad experience and training as well as my perspective as a psychologist. I recognize the body-mind connection and the biopsychosocial approach to treatment and change. In respect to medicine and physical treatment, I am a behavioral health psychologist. All serious or chronic illnesses bring stress and psychological symptoms that I can assist with. I also do preventive work by assessing patients for heath related risks. In addition, I support my partner’s staff and can assist with screening patients for issues that interfere with treatment, contribute to disease or cause lack of participation.

Over time, I meet in-person with my collaboration partners and strive to develop a personal and trusting work relationship. We make cross-referrals and provide support and consultation to one another. I communicate regularly by whatever means they prefer. With some I speak face-to-face. With others I use the phone, mail, fax or email messages. I report regularly on my psychodiagnostic assessment results, my treatment plans, treatment progress and ongoing concerns that arise. I also assist with medication adherence monitoring and family support issues.

I am a trained behavioral health practitioner and a divorce mediator. I join health care professions to provide the best treatment to their patients. With attorneys and mediators, I help their clients to successfully make it through the demanding, emotional and disorienting rigors of the divorce process. I assist our mutual clients to be cooperative, focused and able to compromise. I also help divorcing clients make tough decisions, control their emotions and communications with their spouse, anticipate problems, attend appropriately to their children, remain reality oriented and make tough decisions.

There is a better life ahead if you take the right steps.

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