What can I expect in therapy?

Therapy is about building a place where you feel safe and respected.  This takes time and is different for every person, but for most people it involves simple conversation.  “Tell me more” is a phrase commonly associated with therapy, and for good reason: therapy is about bringing someone to understand who you are fully.

As you probably have guessed, I like to talk about sleep and sleep loss, but I find that it is often more valuable to talk about daily life: relationships, family, friendships, work, school, money, ambitions, and fears.  We know ourselves best when we’re awake, after all.  

A big part of the answer to this question is your own expectations from therapy - your goals.  What you seek to work on is what we will work on, and will be what I will focus on helping you with.


How long does therapy usually last?

Since therapy is so personal, there's no "usually" - it just depends on the person. Oftentimes therapy will lead to discoveries of subconscious obstacles and challenges, making it difficult to predict the scope.  What you wish to get out of therapy - your goals - is always the most important consideration.  The minimum length of time to build a helpful connection together in my experience is about 20 sessions.  This is very short compared to many therapeutic relationships, but it’s good to be aware of what to expect in terms of time commitment versus seeing change.  


Do you see people for non-sleep issues?

Absolutely.  As my focus is in depression and anxiety that are caused by sleep issues, I treat depression and anxiety generally as well.  I see any person who feels that I would be a good fit for them as a therapist - therapy is extremely personal, and much of its power comes from the connection that forms between the client and therapist.  


Are you a sleep doctor?

I am not a doctor and I cannot offer medical advice or treatment for sleep issues.  As a mental health clinician, I treat issues such as anxiety and depression that occur along with sleep disorders.

If you have not already seen a sleep physician for treatment, I strongly encourage it.  A sleep study can give you critical information about why you have sleep loss, and you may have a condition such as obstructive sleep apnea that can be completely resolved through treatment.  There are many excellent sleep clinics in the Seattle area, please see my Resources page for details.


Do you talk about dreams?

Certainly, if you share them.  Dreams can be handy in therapy since they bypass our intellectual side.  That said, I believe that their meaning often comes from what we make of them, like seeing shapes in clouds.  If I think a dream illustrates something in real life that has preoccupied you, I will say so; however, my attention is most interested in what is going on in the present moment.