frequently asked questions

You have questions, because starting therapy is a commitment to yourself.

You're gathering information

Getting started can be hard. You can want to and it’s possible to still feel stuck or reluctant.

You’ve been contemplating making a commitment to change. It shows you’re curious and starting to think about doing the work to bring about a desired change.

You’ve come to the right place.

You’re ready to find out.

You have questions

If you’ve never experienced therapy before, or even if you have, you might be wondering Why should I go to therapy now? What will I get out of it? What do I have to put into it? Is JoEllen a good fit for me? And more.

The possibilities of life and therapy come with no guarantees or certainties, but it can help to get some idea of what your experience with therapy might look like.

Read below to see if I address your questions or concerns.

Or, if you’d prefer to just ask me them,


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a process during which you share your concerns about any topic and your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that arise in your particular context.

Generally, it is believed to work best when you and your therapist are a “good fit.” You’re more likely to feel like your therapist “gets you”, to be engaged, and to do the work.

It’s confidential, with limited exceptions.

It’s a space where your therapist will help guide you to your desired destination of what will be new and different in your life.

Talk therapy can offer you a place to feel heard, give you tools to enhance your well-being, and offer relief from patterns of negative or unhelpful thinking about yourself or others.

Ultimately, I believe it helps you understand how your unique world experience contributes to and affects your well-being.

You show up curious about or committed to a desire to make a change. I show up curious about and committed to you. Together we design and work the plan that will move you from where you are now to where you’d like to be.

One part of my job that I take as seriously as any other part is to work myself out of a job with you. You show up willing to do the work and I show up ready to help you invite change into the space.

We move at your pace to meet your needs and assess and adjust as we go. In other words, some people move more slowly than others and some love homework challenges.

To be sure, because we only meet one hour or less per week, a lot of the work you’re doing is outside of session. How much work you do outside our time together will influence the time it takes to reach your goals.

You’ll be able to say you’re done when you’ve arrived at the change you wanted to see in your life and are experiencing life differently.

Starting with weekly sessions for a month or so is a great idea so that we can generate momentum and gain some traction for your desired change

Ultimately, we’ll schedule what makes sense for you and the changes you’d like to make.

I am not contracted as in-network with any insurance panels. I am considered an out-of-network provider.

Please see my Fees page for more information.

I get that there will be some things that you will feel uncomfortable talking about.

To be sure, this is your time for talking about whatever would be helpful for you to process — relationships, self-worth, social rules, sex & sexuality, life transitions, fantasies, death & dying, political climate, grief, gender roles, thoughts of harming self or other, celebrations, fears, aspirations — to name just a few.

So . . . there are NO can’t talk abouts in our space.

Yup, swearing is ok (I am good with using and hearing swear words; and if it’s not your thing, then we won’t).

We might also have tears and crying (and no apologies needed ever for tears and real feelings).

And to be sure, there will usually be laughter (at the very least, a “mini-workout” for the body and spirit).

Some people have heard from their friends and family that therapy is hard. If you’ve experienced this, props to you and your friends and family for having conversations about therapy!

Hard in the case of going to therapy usually means that uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or memories can surface. Or it can mean that you’ll leave our session with a lot on your mind.

I encourage you to keep in mind that change is made through challenge.

It’s great that you have a support system. (And keep talking with them!) However, sometimes we might feel that we’d disappoint or worry them.

And, sometimes our support system will automatically take sides. It sometimes helps to get a “neutral” perspective.

I’m human and have my own biases, but in becoming a psychotherapist, I was trained to see, listen to, and be present for people differently.

My presence in our therapeutic space is about my bringing hope to and supporting you in your desire for change and helping you learn more about yourself and your relationships as you move toward your goals.

Yes. Some people find that their partners aren’t yet ready to commit to therapy and others are interested in exploring themselves and gaining insight into their own habits and patterns first.

If your partner is on the fence and looking to you to make the first move, invite them with you to the session, letting them know that it would be helpful to hear both perspectives, and we’ll go from there.

Absolutely. I would be glad to do so. I am LGBTQ+ affirming and an ally.

Please do. Bring a list any time, and feel free to take notes in session as well.

We’ll get to what we can (in other words, we’re not going to try to cram it all in). It’s also the case that a list is not required.

This is a real and important consideration in your information-gathering phase.

If you haven’t looked already, find out more about me here.

And, if you’re ready for a conversation, but not quite ready to schedule your first appointment with me, click here to schedule your no-obligation 20-minute phone consultation with me and we’ll have a conversation.

All questions—just like all people—are welcome here. I know I can’t have covered everyone’s questions on this page, so if you’d like to have a conversation, click here to schedule your no-obligation 20-minute phone consultation.

Once you’ve decided you’d like to pursue services with me, I set you up in my secure client portal and email you a link. You use that link to log in using your unique information and then complete the forms online. (It’s pretty slick.)

It's ok if you're still on the fence. Let's talk.

If you’re feeling ready to start having things be different and feel better, click the button below to schedule your no-obligation 20-minute phone consultation.