Frequently Asked Questions

People often have questions when they are making a decision about calling a counselor, a hypnotherapist, or a coach. Some of the more frequently asked questions are answered below. If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to call (636) 724 - 1731 . It's confidential. Be sure to leave the phone number you want used for contacting you.

How do I schedule an appointment? What about confidentiality?

I offer early morning, daytime, evening, and weekend appointments for your convenience. You may call (636) 724 - 1731 with any questions, to arrange a free consultation, or to schedule an appointment. As I may be working with someone else, please do leave a message on the confidential voice-mail. Be sure to give your name, and the number you would like me to use to call you back. I will return your call in a timely way. Cygnet Well-Being offices are conveniently located to serve Saint Charles, MO. and a large surrounding area.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, or are in danger of hurting yourself or others, it's important that you get help now. Do one or more of the following immediately:

Is my information kept confidential? The Confidentiality and Privacy Policy I adhere to:

Confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of a therapeutic relationship. As a counseling therapist, hypnotherapist, and coaching professional I am ethically obligated to maintain your personal and session information as confidential. Your information cannot be disclosed without your written permission. In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a counseling therapist. However, by law, licensed professional counselors (even when you are receiving coaching services) are mandated to breach confidentiality and report to the appropriate authorities immediately in the following situations:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. In these cases, the therapist I am required by law to immediately report this to the appropriate authorities
  • If an individual is threatening serious bodily harm to himself or herself, the I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If the individual does not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission in order to ensure their safety. These measures are provided by law to me, the therapist, in order to ensure a person’s safety.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person or persons, I will immediately notify the police and inform the intended victim(s).

There are also other situations in which confidentiality cannot be assured?

  • When the individual signs a release of records to others such as healthcare providers or third party payers such as an insurance company, confidentiality cannot be assured.
  • When there is a court-ordered subpoena of records, confidentiality cannot be assured.

Is there something wrong with me that I can't seem to take care of this myself?

Not at all. There are various reasons people choose to talk with a counselor, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, or coach. It may be the recognition that they want more out of their life--a desire to explore and grow. Maybe there is a lifestyle change that has proven to be difficult to make or maintain. Perhaps functioning in important areas of life has begun to diminish, or coping skills that have worked in the past are no longer adequate.

Sometimes a person has difficulty asking for help. They might associate it with weakness or failure; loss of self-sufficiency and independence; being self-indulgent; even lacking intelligence. These are myths. When your concerns, issues, problems, or life goals have emotional, psychological or cognitive aspects, its practical to work with a professional who is trained and experienced in these areas and can help you efficiently and effectively come to your best processes and strategies for moving forward in a beneficial way.

I encourage you to call if you have any questions  (636) 724 - 1731. I'll answer you phone inquiry promptly, and if you decide to come in, I can generally schedule a first appointment within several days of your call.

What does ‘LPC’ stand for?

A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has graduated from a state-approved professional counseling program, and has completed all licensing requirements by the state of Missouri including appropriate professional exams, extensive counseling experience (3,000 hours under supervision), and associated continuing education. Counselor training and experience can include a broad spectrum of emotional and psychological concerns, issues, and disorders, as well as certification in areas of interest and specialization.

How will I know whether I should work with you as a counselor, a hypnotherapist or a coach?

A phone call is the best way to start  (636) 724 - 1731. You’ll be able to talk about your concerns, and I may ask a few questions to clarify my understanding. I’ll certainly also answer any questions you have about these areas of service. I can then suggest the approach I believe will be the most helpful to you. When you wish, I will be glad to set up an appointment.

What should I expect in a counseling session? How many sessions will I need?

When we meet, you will have the opportunity to bring up issues that are of concern to you. Most people find one session a week with personal work between sessions to be a good way to make progress on their goals. While you don't have to do the 'between-session' work, it may help you accomplish your goals more quickly.

At the time of your first session there will be several pieces of paperwork to fill out, just like at other healthcare providers' offices. The first session will most likely be longer than subsequent sessions to accommodate this paperwork, to answer any questions you may have about the paperwork or counseling, and to provide time for you to talk about your reason for coming into counseling, and what you would like to get out of counseling work. The paperwork, and the way it will be handled will be compliant with HIPPA regulations and the ethical guidelines of the Professional Counseling profession. This paperwork will include:

  • Notice of Limits of Confidentiality. Counselors are ethically bound to maintain all of your information in confidentiality. However, by law counselors are mandated to breach confidentiality under the specific circumstances indicated in this document
  • Document of Disclosure and Informed Consent for Counseling and Psychotherapy Services (Clinical Hypnotherapy, Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, and Coaching services are handled in the same way). This document provides relative information about the counselor and indicates with your signature that you are agreeing to obtain treatment from this counselor and/or agency.
  • Notice of Privacy and Practice Rights. This paperwork describes your rights as a client.
  • Intake Form. This paperwork includes identifying information which you have provided, and an assessment with a brief basic history and the reason you have come to counseling (concerns; issues; problems; personal development; lifestyle change; etc.)
  • There may also be other paperwork as determined by the counseling professional

A regular session generally lasts 55-60 minutes. There are situations when longer session times may work better. Information related to the session length, frequency, and session fees will be discussed with you at the time of our first meeting.

The number of sessions that will work best for you depends on the complexity of your counseling concerns, your goals, and the pace at which you are able to make real changes in your life. When issues are uncomplicated a person may want to explore ways to resolve them in brief counseling. When someone is struggling with symptoms and concerns that diminish their ability to function effectively or enjoy an acceptable quality of life, a longer-term counseling approach may be most helpful. Ultimately, the length of time you are in counseling is always your decision. You will never be asked to sign a contract regarding the number of sessions you will attend. In the first session you will be offered the opportunity to decide if you want to continue in counseling. If you choose not to continue at the time of the first session, or at any time thereafter, I will be glad to facilitate you in finding another therapist if you wish. There must be a good fit between client and counselor in order for work to be effective and efficient. I will check in with you periodically to re-evaluate therapeutic goals and monitor progress.

What about medications?

For some people, taking medication can seem like an admission of failure or another reminder of loss of control over their life. We believe medications can sometimes play an important role in treatment. Working through the body's own system, medications can help a person regain and maintain a biochemical or neurochemical balance. From this renewed perspective, counseling therapy can become an effective resource for making changes that help a person move beyond unhealthy patterns and manage symptoms that are affecting them. As a professional counseling therapist, I do not prescribe medications. However, if I believe medication would benefit your functioning, or if counseling is not leading to significant relief of emotional or psychological impairment, I may recommend that you consider an evaluation for medication to support improved functioning. While I do take a complete medical and medication history, answering questions about medications or their side effects is not in my scope of practice. I do however work regularly with physicians, psychiatrists and pharmacists to help clients and patients understand how medications might impact their emotional, psychological and cognitive well-being.

For concerns about medications I encourage clients to talk with their physicians or pharmacists. Individuals are sometimes encouraged to seek an evaluation with a physician to rule out a medical cause for the way they are feeling, thinking or behaving. I may also suggest a consultation with a pharmacologist to evaluate possible medication interactions. I might suggest a client take advantage of the benefits of pharmacogenomics. This relatively new area comes out of the understanding that about 3/4ths of individuals have genetic variations that impact the way their bodies use and process prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and herbal and dietary supplements. As a result, two people may respond to the same medication in very different ways--effectiveness; side-effects; interactions. Pharmacogenetics offers an opportunity to easily test for this genetic variability such that the right medication, at the correct dosage, and at the appropriate time can result in the most effective and efficient treatment for them.

What approaches might you, or collaborating therapists draw from when working with clients?

Most counseling therapists have a theoretical approach they prefer to utilize as their primary framework into which they then might integrate components of other approaches and/or complementary modalities. The approach will most certainly depend on the situation, the goals, and whether short-term or longer-term work may be most beneficial. Sometimes, I may collaborate with another provider who has expertise in a specific area, to develop a highly personalized plan that is uniquely attuned to the needs of each person. Some of the therapeutic approaches, conceptualizations, frameworks and strategies that inform my work include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT] (one of the best researched and broadly applied therapeutic approaches; explores thoughts and feelings that influence behavior)
  • Behavior Therapy (reinforcing desired behavior for long-term change)
  • Person-Centered Therapy (focuses on providing a caring, kind, and non-judgmental environment in which clients are encouraged to open up to their own internal source of growth, healing and wisdom
  • Positive Psychology (emphasizing strengths and purpose)
  • Existential Humanistic Psychology (emphasizing the importance of intentions, values and meaning)
  • Holistic Psychotherapy (encourages contemplation, reflection and opening to a deeper wisdom that includes an exploration of connection to one's life journey)
  • Mindfulness-based/Contemplative Approaches (focus attention on the present experience with non-judgment and open awareness)
  • Reality Therapy (focuses on problem-solving and making better choices in order to achieve)
  • Gestalt Therapy (working with here and now awareness of experiencing to effect positive change)
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy (short term therapy that focuses on solutions rather than problems)
  • Reminiscence Therapy (utilizing meaningful memories as a means to maintian the inner self and optimize interpersonal skills)
  • Transpersonal Psychology (working from a whole person perspective, recognizing the reciprocity between our actions and our world)
  • Experiential and Expressive work (infusing counseling therapy with creative expression through collage, working with clay, movement, creative writing, and music, drawing and painting, etc.)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy (uncovering the roots of psychological conflict)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Accepting one’s thoughts and feelings; Choosing a direction to take; Actively moving toward what one values)
  • Horticulture Therapy (engages a person in gardening and plant-based activities, facilitated by a therapist to achieve specific therapeutic goals.)
  • Dignity Therapy (focuses on helping patients with terminal illnesses talk about, and sometimes document, the things that are important to them)
  • Inner-Child work (examining how emotional wounds from childhood influence present choices)
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (improving mood by understanding and working with biological and social rhythms)
  • Narrative Therapy (telling our stories; examining our experiences, interpretations and meaning-making; creating new stories)
  • Systems Theory (exploring the interrelatedness of complex systems; used in family therapy)
  • Choice Theory (honoring the individual’s right and responsibility for choices about their needs)
  • Hypnotherapy (utilizes the power of positive suggestion to help a person make the changes they want in behaviors, thoughts, and feelings)
  • Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist, a client, a horse, and a horse professional to address therapeutic goals)
  • Walk and Talk Therapy (drawing on the known values of connecting with nature and physical movement in order to bring therapeutic benefit to the counseling process)

What Complementary Modalities and Methods might be integrated into a plan?

When a person chooses, complementary modalities can be integrated with conventional counseling, coaching and hypnotherapy approaches. There is always a rationale for this integration, and this is discussed when thinking about the blending of a complementary modality. All of the modalities I engage are well-recognized, (though not always fully understood from a scientific standpoint), and are utilized in major medical centers across the United States. Through collaboration with an experienced professional community, I provide an integrative therapeutic plan that is tailored to facilitate meaningful change, and advance a sense of overall well-being for each person.

  • Guided Imagery & Visualization (utilizes the imagination and engages the senses to impact creativity, performance and healing from emotional and physical pain)
  • Creative Expression (uses the creative process to gain deeper insight)
  • Somatic Work (working with beliefs, emotions and experiences held in the body)
  • Qi Gong (using breathing techniques, gentle physical movement, and mental focus to promote relaxation, healing, and bringing the mind, body and spirit into balance)
  • Mindfulness Meditation (the practice of being fully and attentively present in the moment; often using the breath as the object of awareness)
  • Acupuncture/Acupressure (viewed in traditional Chinese medicine as a technique for balancing energy flow through energy pathways in the body called 'meridians'; often viewed by western medicine practitioners as stimulation of nerves, muscles and connective tissue.)
  • Yoga (based on a harmonizing system that improves the functioning of the body and brings about mental clarity and emotional stability)
  • Therapeutic Massage (manipulating tissues of the body to release tension, increase blood and lymph circulation, promote relaxation and diminish anxiety)
  • Energy Psychology (focused on the relationships of energy systems to emotions, behavior, feelings, and health)
  • Thought Field Therapy (TFT) (coming out of Behavioral Kineseology and the newer Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), are based on the Chinese meridian (energy) system, and use tapping on, or massaging the body's key meridian points to unblock the mind-body continuum and reduce physical pain and emotional distress)
  • Bio-feedback (using thoughts to control the body to achieve relaxation, reduce pain and more)
  • EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing] (impact of traumatic memories is reduced or eliminated using the effect of rapid eye movements (that also occurs in dreams) or other forms of bilateral stimulation. Also effective with grief and anxiety)
  • EMI [Eye Movement Integration] (is similar to EMDR, and based on idea that traumatic experience has become 'locked' in the limbic system; through the natural workings of the brain EMI facilitates processing to bring relief in trauma, and re-occurring experiencing of fear and stress)
  • Brain Spotting (a focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, dissociation, and trauma.
  • Reflexology (application of pressure to specific areas of innervation of feet, hands, and ears promoting relaxation, pain relief, and emotional & psychological release)
  • Aromatherapy (use of essential oils and aromatic plant compounds to promote improved mood and well-being)

"How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change." ~Elizabeth Lesser