frequently asked questions
Why did you choose to specialize in LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy?
I support the personal growth and total-life satisfaction of all people, but I am driven to serve and make a difference where it is most needed. I chose private practice so that I can serve the needs of LGBTQ+ people who truly need a compassionate space in our local area. I am a life-long resident of Polk County, so I get that it is a unique experience to be LGBTQ+ here (and in the rural South in general). During my time in the mental health community, I have heard too many stories from LGBTQ+ clients who have had unsupportive experiences when they have come out to previous therapists. Therapists are imperfect humans, too, and sometimes they are programmed with the heterosexist and cisnormative perspectives that are prevalent in our culture. Sometimes heterosexual and cisgender therapists just haven't had exposure to LGBTQ+ Affirmative concepts during their education, training, or experience in the field. And that's where I feel passionate about filling a needed gap. It's my sincerely-held belief that everyone deserves to be supported, understood, and respected during their therapy experience, and I aim to provide this for the LGBTQ+ population, who has historically had very few resources available to them locally.
How do you identify?/Are you LGBTQ+?
How nice of you to ask! I identify as Ace and Pan. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I talk more about my identity in this blog post.
What identities do you work with?
If you haven't felt like traditional therapy has been the right fit for your identity, chances are you'll fit in perfectly at my practice! I have worked with pretty much every identity within the LGBTQ+ rainbow. If you consider yourself to be part of the "plus" in LGBTQ+, and I definitely work with you, too. I am polyamory/CNM and kink friendly, as well as Intersex/Differences of Sexual Development aware, and I welcome these clients. I think it's very exciting that new LGBTQ+ identities are emerging on a regular basis, so I'm open to learning about and celebrating your unique identity, too!
What name and pronouns should I use in therapy?
I would like to use the name and pronouns that you feel comfortable with me using, even if they aren't legal yet, from the very first time you call for an appointment. I am even happy to use your affirmed name and pronouns in your records at my practice. I feel that this is important for a few reasons: 1) I want to always support your identity. And I mean always. 2) If you decide you want to pursue medical treatments for transition, my records using your affirmed name and pronouns can help establish your history of gender identity/gender dysphoria. 3) Appointment reminders are sent electronically by text and email and contain your name -- I strongly believe these should feel affirming for you, not triggering. Lastly 4) You have a right to review your treatment records, if you ever want or need to -- Again, I strongly feel this should be an affirming experience, not triggering. If you have any concerns at all about what name and pronouns I use to address you, or maybe you aren't sure what you prefer, we will make sure we discuss this in our first meeting. Please be aware that I do have two limitations: If you are using insurance to pay for your sessions, I will need to collect and use some insurance information that will include your legal name and assigned gender. Also, some hormone doctors and surgeons might require that I include your legal name in referral letters.
Do you work with kids?
Yes, I work with LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 and up.
Do you work with couples(+), relationships, or do marital therapy?
Depending on your particular relationship issue, I may be able to help. If I can't, I can likely recommend another affirming therapist who would be a good fit for your needs. Feel free to call so we can discuss your relationship needs during your phone screening.
I am friendly toward people in alternative and consensually non-monogamous relationships -- polyamorous, open, swinger, BDSM, and kink identities.
Do you work with families or family members?
I do work with parents, family, and partners/significant others/spouses of LGBTQ+ individuals. If you have a loved one going through a coming-out process or gender transition, I can provide support and education to help you understand your loved one's experience and become an ally and advocate. Please be aware that if your loved one is already my therapy client, I will obtain their consent before involving you in their therapeutic process.
With minors, it is at times the best practice to meet jointly with the adolescent client and parent(s), so I offer this when the need arises. If you are looking for support for broader family problems within your family unit, I am happy to recommend other affirming therapists who might be a good fit for your family therapy needs. Please call or email.
What are your hours?
My hours vary depending on the day, but in general, I have appointments available Monday - Friday with some limited after-work/evening hours. I am not in the office on weekends.
How much does a session cost?
My rate is $110 per session.
Your session fee is due at the time we meet and is payable by cash, major credit card, Health Savings Account card.
Checks are not accepted.
Do you ever offer a discount?
A certain number of caseload slots are available at a discounted rate, depending on your financial circumstances. Discounts are typically 10-20% off my session rate. If my fees do not make therapy accessible for you, please ask about reduced rates when we talk for your phone screening. But also be aware that sometimes my discounted rate caseload slots are full.
Do you accept insurance?
I accept Aetna, BayCare, Cigna, and some EAP plans.
I am considered an "out-of-network" provider for these insurances...
Florida Blue (Blue Cross/Blue Shield)
Many insurance plans offer out-of-network benefits that will reimburse you for at least part of your cost for therapy with a non-network therapist. I am happy to assist you in filing with your insurance so that you can attempt reimbursement for sessions. I recommend that you call your insurance company prior to our phone screening to ask about your available out-of-network mental health benefits and what percentage you can expect to be reimbursed.
I do not accept any Medicaid or Medicare, their HMOs, or their private plans. Unfortunately, these do not offer out-of-network benefits. Please visit the Resources page for other therapy options if you have Medicaid or Medicare.
Do you know a therapist who takes my insurance?
No, insurance provider lists change very frequently, so it's impossible for me to keep up. You can visit the website for your insurance company and look for a "Provider Search" link. Or you can call the member services number printed on your insurance card and ask for a list of therapists in the area that take your insurance. Insurances often categorize their in-network therapists by specialty and cultural competency, so when you call, you can ask if they have anyone listed as an LGBTQ+ specialist.
How much time do I get in a session? How often will I go to therapy? And for how long?
A session is 45 to 50 minutes long.
To get the most benefit out of therapy, I generally recommend that clients attend therapy every week or every 2 weeks. When we meet for a new client appointment and thoroughly talk through your situation, I will make a recommendation on how often you should attend therapy to experience the most benefit, based on your individual circumstances.
My goal is to help you resolve your troubles in as short a timeframe as possible. The total time you'll need to get better depends on your unique situation, and we can talk more about that when we meet. I have helped some clients achieve their therapy goals in as little as two sessions and others needed as long as one year. We will talk about your goals at our very first meeting so that we can set our eye on the prize -- Your readiness to move forward independently in your life!
There is no set number of sessions required to receive a referral letter for HRT or surgery. Read more about this on the About page.
Do you prescribe any medication?
No, I am not a medical doctor, so I am not able to prescribe any medications for any reason. I recommend local doctors who prescribe hormones for transgender individuals, and they are listed on the Resources page. I can also recommend psychiatrists in our area if you need or wish to consider mental health medications.
What style(s) of therapy do you use?
I base the direction of therapy on you and the goals you want to achieve — this is known as a client-centered approach. We will have a collaborative conversation about what will be most helpful for you to work on in therapy -- but I won't push my own agenda. A client-centered approach means I will bring my Listening A-Game to every session, put myself in your shoes so that I understand and empathize, and respect you unconditionally. I use the core tenets of client-centered therapy in practicing LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapy, which is defined on the Home page.
Other approaches to psychotherapy that I use regularly with my client-centered focus are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Techniques. These counseling perspectives have been widely researched and shown to be effective methods for a number of life issues. I also work from a perspective of Trauma-Informed Care, and I am trained in EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which has been shown to help resolve trauma rapidly and effectively. I also think it's important for me to provide psychoeducation — helping you understand your condition, diagnosis, cultural and societal impacts, and psychological perspectives relevant to your situation -- because knowledge is power.
Lastly, I am a secular therapist. This means I don't bring any of my own religious or spiritual perspectives into therapy sessions; I rely on the scientifically-based approaches to therapy. However, I always support my clients' religious and spiritual beliefs and practices -- whether you have many, none at all, or something in between. I respect that religious or spiritual beliefs and practices help some people cope with life circumstances, but that they can be unhelpful for others. Any category you fit into is good with me. I have worked successfully with clients who identify as Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, Bahá'í, Rastafarian, Pantheist, Deist, Astrologer, Spiritual But Not Religious, Agnostic, and Atheist. And I love learning about other cultures, religions, and belief systems, so I'm open to learning about and supporting yours, too, if you fit into a different system than the ones I've mentioned here.
I wish my child/I didn't have LGBTQ+ thoughts or feelings. Can you help make them go away?
Conversion therapy or reparative therapy — the counseling approach that claims LGBTQ feelings can be removed through therapy — is damaging and unethical. I have not ever and will not ever practice this form of "therapy." It is not based on any reputable science. No therapist should ever practice conversion or reparative therapy for any reason, and the American Psychological Association has issued a resolution against these so-called forms of "treatment."
It is my belief that LGBTQ+ people are born this way and that our lives are most healthy and happy when we embrace our LGBTQ+ identities and take pride in being who we are. It is my ethical duty to help you/your child find a psychological space where you/they can be comfortable living the truest and most authentic life possible. Your/Your child's LGBTQ+ identity is perfect just the way it is, and I would be glad to work with you/your child on embracing and accepting this.