Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy
What's your approach?
You are the expert in your life. This understanding is the foundation for everything in our work with one another and any education or tool I may have for you rests upon that. Although I draw upon a number of theoretical orientations depending on the client and the challenge, my primary approaches are Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). MI is a particular way of talking about change that draws upon your values and strengthens your commitment to your decisions. You may read more about MI here. ACT is values-based and as the acronym implies is a very active approach. ACT calls on us to practice acceptance that pain is a part of life and there is not an answer for everything. ACT also calls on us to take committed action no matter what life hands us. ACT focuses on developing what is called "psychological flexibility." I am a very active therapist in session and I will ask you to try new skills that may bring you outside of your comfort zone. I will also try to place your challenges in a larger context (social, political, familial, etc) and we will explore them through multiple lenses. You may read more about ACT here.
But, don't let any fancy-sounding words throw you off! Your life will remain the central focus. In addition to my clinical approach, I value time-honored components of wellness and healing including healthy relationships, physical activity, good sleep, and a balanced diet. Perhaps most importantly, I understand that it is often the world that needs changing, not you.
Some of the values I hold in my work (and life) are:
autonomy: you are an independent person with your own unique values and goals. I won't tell you what to do or how to live your life. I do hope to be a guide who supports you in living your values. But at the end of the day, you're in the driver's seat.
body autonomy: your body is your own, and only you get to make decisions about it. This is a core principle for me in being trauma-sensitive.
safety: EVERYONE is welcome and safe in my practice. This includes LGBTQIA folks, Black, Indigenous and People of Color, religious, atheist, conservative, liberal, independent, those with different abilities, those in larger bodies...everyone.
radical respect: no matter your beliefs, struggles, actions, or history, you are deserving of being treated like a full human and with deep respect.
cultural humility: I only know my experience but I am curious about yours and the identities you hold. I will work to share and shift power both in the relationship and systemically.
knowledge and research: I am open to nearly all forms of healing but/and it is an ethical necessity for me to lean on the knowledge base that researchers have established regarding mental health, neuroscience, therapy, treatment, and related research. I work hard to bring the best research into the therapy room.
How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?
Only you can decide if we will be a good fit. I welcome questions about my education, experience, approach, how I've helped others like yourself, and anything else that comes to mind. My greatest hope is that you will feel welcomed and safe with me. I will work hard for you and with you. Some general goals that I have for every client are: that you have purpose and meaning, you are living your values, you at least a few healthy relationships, you treat your body with respect, you are able to practice acceptance of life's difficulties while still working toward your goals.
What kind of clients do you work with? What are your areas of expertise?
I provide therapy for adults. My specialties are substance use and trauma...although no one's experience can be categorized so easily. I have a passion for working with recovering professionals and I'm pleased to work collaboratively with several professionals' programs in recovery such as the Indiana State Medical Association Physician Assistance Program (ISMA-PHP), Indiana State Nursing Assistance Program (ISNAP) and the Indiana Judges & Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP). We as caregivers are often wonderful at supporting others but it can be at a great cost to ourselves. It is a joy to work with folks who know how to help others and solve their challenges but are discovering what it means to care for themselves, too. I also have extensive experience working with postpartum mothers, overwhelmed parents, body image work, and antiracist work.
I’m nervous about starting therapy. Is that normal?
It's completely normal to be apprehensive about therapy. It can be difficult to have faith that it will bring you relief. But the fact that you are reading this right now indicates to me that you are already showing bravery by considering therapy. Therapy is a space where you can be yourself and be free from judgment.
What if I don't want to talk about something?
It’s normal if you don’t feel ready to share everything. During our sessions, it will always be up to you if and when you're ready to talk about anything. It’s my job to give you space to slowly start to work through the tough stuff. I like to say "When you're ready to talk, I'm ready to listen." You can also share with me that you are a bit nervous to open up about something and we can talk about that too. Whatever your experience, whatever you are going through, bring that to session and we can explore it together.
I’m scared that if I open up, you will think I’m a bad person or unworthy.
Whenever anyone goes to therapy, I think it is courageous. There is nothing you can share that will change my view of you as a person worthy of care and love. Through my own life journey and working with clients, I know how normal your experience is. We all have our struggles. Whatever it is you're going through, I provide a safe space where you can feel heard and supported without judgement.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
I have a deep reverence for each client's experience and I want to you know that I will always protect your story and your privacy. Everything you share is confidential and the only exception to this is if I thought you might be a harm to yourself or someone else. Safety is always an ongoing conversation though and it should never be a surprise if we must reach out to your loved ones for extra support.
How long does therapy take? How often should I come?
Good therapy takes time, but one of my goals is that after you leave our first session you feel hopeful and like healing is possible. The total duration of therapy varies from client to client. Some of my clients find 6 or so weeks to be enough to resolve immediate challenges while other clients feel more supported by longer term therapy (a year or more), however the latter is much more common. Although I have do have some clients who return year after year for buffer sessions, ultimately my goal and ethical obligation is to foster independence so you can continue to heal yourself and carry safety and resilience within you.
What can I expect during the first session?
I’ll invite you to share more about yourself and I will also ask about past experiences with therapy so we can incorporate what's been helpful and avoid what hasn't. Some questions I like to ask during a first session include:
How can I be of the best help to you?
What gave you the courage to reach out?
What are some things that are going well for you?
How did our session go for you?
You can ask me questions as well. You might be curious about about my training or what sessions will be like. My hope is that you will feel welcomed, accepted, and safe with me.
Why the name "Orion?"
This is an homage to my late grandmother. She was an artist and owned a small design studio many years ago called Orion Designs and I wished to carry on the name. It is her original artwork that you see on this website.
How can I get started?
Please email me at email@example.com to check availability and to share with me a bit about what you're struggling with. If your challenges are not areas in which I feel competent to address, I will refer you to another trusted professional.