Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect at my first session?
The focus of our initial session will be on establishing a trusting, therapeutic relationship, and exploring reasons why you’ve sought psychotherapy. Some people find it beneficial to write a few areas of concern, areas that cause them emotional distress, to begin reviewing during their first session. We will work together to identify specific goals and areas of focus to be addressed throughout your future sessions. Additionally, I will aid you in beginning to identify your personal strengths and abilities to be used throughout your therapeutic journey. I will offer to empowering feedback and encouragement for further personal development. Your decision to improve your mental health and wellbeing is honorable and will be treated as such.
How long is a typical treatment?
The person seeking help may determine treatment duration and frequency. I will offer professional recommendations on these details, and will accommodate the needs of my clients. Together, we can identify specific goals to focus on and continue to evaluate progression. Often, this process helps people determine their duration of psychotherapy involvement and experience fulfillment in personal development.
Do you accept insurance?
I do not participate in-network with any insurance providers. All services are paid for out-of-pocket. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and as such, you may seek out-of-network reimbursement directly from your insurance provider. Upon request, I can provide you with a detailed invoice listing the proper diagnostic and procedure codes needed for your insurance company to process your claim.
If you are interested in reimbursement from your insurance provider, please ask them the following questions:
Do I have mental health benefits?
Do I have out-of-network coverage for counseling?
Do I have a deductible and has it been met?
Am I limited to a certain number of sessions?
Are there any other resources that can help me pay for counseling?
Are my therapy sessions confidential?
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I honor your personal information with professionalism and respect. No client information will be disclosed without written authorization of the client, except for three circumstances that which by law information MUST be disclosed:
If there is suspected or disclosed situation of child abuse or elder abuse (a report is required to be made to the authorities);
If a client is threatening serious harm to him or herself (authorities may have to be notified if the client does not cooperate with safety measures);
Or if the client is threatening serious harm to another person (authorities may have to be notified if the client does not cooperate with safety measures).
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a powerful psychotherapy approach that has helped over an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress. EMDR combines different elements of many effective therapies to maximize treatment effects. EMDR uses a procedure that reduces the intensity of the traumatic images, reduces the emotional response to the disturbing memories, and aids in the development of healthy coping and positive self-concept.
How was EMDR developed?
In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from many different treatment approaches.
How does EMDR work?
EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person perceive disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.
What kind of problems can EMDR treat?
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for the treatment of post-traumatic stress. However, clinicians also have reported successes using EMDR in the treatment of the following conditions:
Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Abuse
Does EMDR really work?
Many clients who have engaged in EMDR treatment have reported rapid results with lasting symptom reduction. Evidenced-based studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreases/eliminates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress for the majority of clients. Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress. EMDR was also found effective by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health and many other international health agencies. The national registry (NREPP) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), cites EMDR as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms.
Unsure if you suffer from post-traumatic stress?
Those who develop PTSD do so after being exposed to a traumatic event. What is considered “traumatic” by one individual may not be so to another. Individual responses and coping strategies vary. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress tend to fit into 3 main categories:
Re-experiencing the traumatic event: This may occur through nightmares, flashbacks, reliving the event or having a great deal of distress when in a situation similar to the trauma.
Avoidance: This may occur by avoiding having particular thoughts or feelings. The person with PTSD may avoid activities or having conversations related to the trauma. He or she may feel withdrawn, disinterested or numb to emotions.
Arousal: This may come in the form of feeling “on edge”, having difficulty concentrating or sleep problems.
Please make an initial appointment for an evaluation of your symptoms and treatment. Information provided is not intended for diagnostic purposes.
they ask no questions;
they pass no criticisms."
- George Eliot
Animal Assisted Therapy
Many of us seek social support to help us adapt to difficult situations. However, when faced with traumatic situations, it can be challenging to foster trust within a relationship. This can leave us feeling isolated, afraid and unsure of where to turn for help.
Introducing a trained, nurturing animal into therapy can be a helpful first step. Through this unique connection, we learn to develop trust and find comfort in addressing the burdens that led us to seek therapy initially.
Here are some of the benefits you can experience through Animal-Assisted Therapy:
Experience of loving companionship
Stimulation of healthy physical interactions with another living being
Increased mind/body connection that is anchored by our animals
Unconditional emotional comfort
Increased oxytocin (peptide hormone that creates sensation of a loving bond)
Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
Asset to developing therapeutic rapport with Therapist
Our healing process is often complex and truly impacts one’s whole self. As author James Lynch describes in The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness, the health of the human heart depends not only on… genetics, diet and exercise, but also … the social and emotional health of the individual.” Animal-Assisted Therapy is a great way to tend to our social and emotional health throughout our journey to healing.
Sunny is a kind-hearted, Golden Retriever/Labrador mix who understands the miracle of second chances at a new life. At one year old, Sunny’s life was spared when she was transferred from a kill shelter to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Florida. Katie Chiasson, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, recognized Sunny’s potential to offer emotional support and comfort through therapeutic service and adopted her with a bigger purpose in mind for her life.
Sunny spends her days offering companionship to Katie and therapeutic support in Katie’s Psychotherapy Private Practice in Boca Raton FL. In this capacity, Sunny is able to demonstrate to clients what it means to be in a trusting, non-abusive relationship. Her presence in the office aids in the reduction of anxiety levels and assists in grounding clients who experience hyper-vigilance, dissociation and related PTSD symptoms.
Recently, a client reflected that her interactions with Sunny have been her first experience of positive trust. She disclosed that due to a history of extensive abuse, she was unable to maintain relationships without anticipating attacks from others. Katie was able to utilize Sunny to show the client that although she has been hurt in the past, recovery through trust in positive relationships is possible.
Sunny has worked hard since her adoption to become a skilled and attentive contributor to the therapeutic work that Katie facilitates. Sunny has completed her training in becoming a Canine Good Citizen, an Emotional Support Animal and is a registered Therapy Dog with Therapist Dogs International.
Notification of at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled session for cancellation or rescheduling is expected. Failure to comply with notification policy will result in the requirement of full payment for the session.