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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you are seeing Joe for any of the services below, click on the link to obtain the client intake form and contract information.

Questions on Individual Therapy

How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?

The best way is to ask your questions during our phone conversation and then to come in for an initial evaluation. While I am evaluating you and your circumstances to see if I can help you, it is your opportunity to evaluate me and see if I am the right fit for you as well.

The best thing is to come in for a consultation.

If I come to your office for an initial consultation, what can I expect?

During an initial evaluation, I will ask you questions about your life including what the presenting issue is, how your relationships are doing including friendships, colleagues, family and romantic relationships. I will ask you about your childhood and how you were raised. I will inquire about past emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Questions will be presented about your sexual functioning, your mood, appetite and sleep patterns along with other mood related symptoms. A diagnosis will be established and if you are going to use insurance that will be necessary for your reimbursement.

How often and how long do I come to individual therapy?

This depends on you as a person. Most clients come weekly or every other week. I will not work with someone less than that as doing so is not therapy but more coaching (hyperlink to coaching). Research shows that by the 6th to 8th session, clients either stay in therapy or drop out. I find that clients know by the 6th session whether therapy will be of help to them or not.

My recommendation is to give therapy at least 6 months. You can go longer or shorter and it depends on your issues and how much work you want to put into yourself.

What is the cost and will my insurance cover you?

Individual therapy is private and confidential. I accept payment at the start of each session and give you a receipt that you can choose to submit to your insurance company or not. I do not handle insurances nor do I accept direct payment from any insurance company or outside source. In addition to cash and checks, I accept credit cards.

Click here for more information on cost and the contract involved in working with me.

Also, you should understand the HIPPA laws if you are using insurance. Click here for more information.

Questions on Group Therapy

What is group therapy?

The groups I facilitate consist of 8 people total. It is an opportunity for you to work out inter-personal and relational issues that you have with others in your life. Whatever someone’s doing out in the real world, for good or ill, they will bring it with them into group therapy.  Once they enter group therapy, I see how they relate to others, and how others relate to them—live, unplugged, uncensored.  I can intervene, interpret and give feedback on the spot, so that their future encounters may have a happier outcome.

Are there rules or guidelines in your groups?

*excerpted from 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives

In the groups that I facilitate, no group member is allowed to be sexual, date, or even socialize with any other member. There are strong reasons for this. First, the group is where all the work needs to be done. Problems can arise if outside sub-groups or friendships develop.  This is what makes group a therapeutic experience which is different from it being a social group.

Only the chemically-free may attend. If a participant is taking prescribed medications, fine. But if he’s had even one drink for dinner, I ask him to leave. The group is meant to trigger feelings and runs on emotions, so anyone suppressing them with non-prescribed drugs or alcohol is going against we’re trying to do. Therapy can’t work if someone’s mood- and mind-altered. 

Also, some members are in recovery, so it helps to make these substances off limits.

Can I do group without doing individual therapy?

It depends on the individual client. However, usually I do not bring anyone into group without doing individual therapy. The individual therapy does not have to be with me as the primary therapist. It can be with another therapist as long as I am able to have contact with that therapist and you sign a release of information.

After some time in group, members no longer need individual and want to stay in group. It is then that I allow for group attendance only. However, it is only after some time and issues that necessitate individual therapy are resolved.

What if I want to come for just one or two sessions?

This is not allowed in the group therapy that I do. The commitment is 6 months at least. Most clients stay for at least two years on average.

I have a demanding schedule for work that takes me out of town or forces me to work late so I will need to miss one a month at least.

Then group therapy is not for you. Group requires you come weekly for the maximum results. If a group member misses more than 4 in a year that is cause to re-evaluate their commitment and their schedule for staying in group.

What is the cost and payment for group?

Like individual, payment for group occurs at the start before group begins. I do not accept insurance directly. You will get a receipt that you can submit to your insurance yourself.

Click here for more information on cost and the contract involved in working with me in a group therapy setting.

Questions on Couples Therapy

The type of work I do with couples is primarily Imago Relationship Therapy. In essence, Imago Relationship Therapy is:

Imago Relationship Therapy puts a positive spin on what looks like a negative in relationships after the "honeymoon is over". It says that relationships help us finish the unfinished business in childhood. Our partners call on line the parts of ourselves that we had to hide, even from ourselves, otherwise known as buried treasures. It is based on the premise that we are drawn to partners who possess the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers in childhood. Partners also possess our denied or buried traits which were not allowed to be expressed in our childhood. However, we hire our partners as our teachers and go kicking and screaming into the classroom. To make the class easier there are some important tools. The communication process includes:

  • The positive intent of Imago is to show that we are drawn to incompatible partners and that is necessary for our own healing and growth. Conflict is growth trying to happen. We just need the tools to facilitate the growth.
  • The main focus of the couple’s work that I do is to teach communication exercises. Couples generally enter therapy because they do not feel safe any longer with each other and communication has broken down.

What if my partner or I want to see you individually?

When I see couples I do not see the partners individually ever unless there are special circumstances. Those circumstances would be discussed in the initial evaluation. The couple is the client. If one is late I do not start the appointment until the other arrives. If one cannot make the appointment it is considered a cancelled session. This ensures that the primary relationship I have with you is as a couple and keeps me neutral and available for the both of you.

What if my partner or I need individual therapy or are in individual therapy with someone else?

After the initial consultation, if you are not in individual therapy and need it, I will refer you to someone. If you are already in individual therapy I will support that and ask that you allow for contact between myself and the therapist for continuity of treatment.

Are you going to tell my partner and me how we should be a couple?

I will not to tell you what type of relationship you should have. Instead to help you be the type of couple you both want to be. I am there to guide you and teach you what works and what doesn’t based on my clinical experiences and the research and data that is out there. In the end, however, it is you who makes the final decision.

How often do you see a couple and for how long?

I will see a couple either every week or every other week depending on the situation. I ask the couple to commit to 12 sessions along with a couples workshop. That ensures a full commitment to the Imago work and to each other.

Do we have to do a workshop?

No. You can choose not to accept the whole package. However, couples report it is worth about 6 months of couple’s therapy and couples have stated it made the work they did in the 12 sessions more helpful.

Is it better to do the workshop in the beginning or the end of the 12 sessions?

It really depends on the couple. If the couple needs help to do the communication exercises then going to the workshop before or early during the 12 session commitment can be helpful.  Some couples benefit from doing it last to reinforce what they learned in the couples therapy.

What if we want to go less than 12 sessions or more?

I will usually be able to tell in the first appointments whether going less is likely. However, I tell couples the benefit of committing to at least the 12 sessions. As we get near the 12th session we review together whether more than the 12 sessions is necessary. I might have a recommendation and in the end it is the couple who decides.

Questions on Workshops

Is the workshop group therapy?

No. While there is some group sharing at the beginning in terms of sharing first names, the majority of the workshop is private. Often couples will come through the workshop and never say anything publicly about the inner workings of their relationship. There is no pressure or requirement for group sharing. The confidentiality and privacy of your relationship is assured unless you decide to disclose yourself at the workshop.

What actually happens at the workshop?

Couples will receive a workshop manual and communication handouts and learn the Intentional Dialogue along with several other ways of communicating. The communication exercises are done privately with you and your partner and not in front of the group as a whole.

What if I need to leave early or during part of the workshop?

This is not allowed. If you register for the workshop you must attend the entire workshop. Some exceptions are made however they are rare.

How many others will attend?

I usually accept 10–15 couples.

Where can I find out about your workshop dates?

Click here for workshop dates.

Do you do counseling for couples or individuals in addition to the workshop?

Yes. Ideally couples come to see me for 12 sessions plus a couples workshop. This short-term therapy model helps couples get the most in a short amount of time and cost rather than other models involving longer and more costly sessions.

Are heterosexual couples mixed with Lesbian & Gay couples at the workshops?

The couple’s workshops are separate for gay/lesbian couples and heterosexual couples.

Sometimes I will mix them but if that were to occur you would know about that ahead of time in case this was uncomfortable for you and only wish to be with other couples of your romantic orientation.

Is there group sharing?

There is very little time to have group sharing between the couples. There are some built in times for couples to share if they wish however long sharings are discouraged so that the workshop stays on track.

There is no pressure for any couple to share anything about the inner workings of their relationships.

What if my partner and I want privacy at the workshop?

It is totally up to you how private or open you want to be as a couple at the workshop. There is no unwanted sharing. There will be myself and those assisting me in doing the weekend who will be available to you to assist you in doing the communication exercises. However if you are uncomfortable having anyone help you than you can remain on your own.

Is there help if we get stuck in an exercise?

Yes I will be available as well as those assisting me at the workshop trained in helping couples get through the exercises.

Are the Lesbian and Gay weekends separate or mixed?

Separate. There are some workshops that I choose to do with gay and straight couples however you would know in advance if this is uncomfortable for you and do not wish to attend.

Where are the workshops held?

In my Royal Oak, MI office space. Click here for a map.

Where do we stay overnight?

Click here for a list of nearby hotels.

Do we have to be married to attend?

No. Any couple can attend.

What if we are a new couple?

This is all the better. You will get a set of tools for your tool box to use when things get difficult in the relationship. You will be prepared.

If my partner will not attend can I come alone or bring a friend?

Yes even long time friends have attended these workshops to work through issues between them.

Our problems are not real big, we just want to enhance our relationship. Can we still attend?

Yes. This workshop works for couples in very difficult places in their relationships with long-standing conflicts as well as those in a good place that either want to stay in a good place and/or make it even better.

Would the workshop help us if we are breaking up?

Yes. I have had many couples attend who were going through a break up. They either wanted to save the friendship between them and/or did not want to take the unresolved material between them into the next relationship.

Should we read the book Getting The Love You Want before we attend?

While this is not required it is not a bad idea. The workshop is really the book coming to life and doing the work live. However, you are not going to be handicapped if you do not read the book.

Should we come to the workshop first or do some couple’s sessions with you before the workshop?

Either way it does not matter. It really depends on you as a couple. The ideal package is 12 sessions and a couple’s workshop. It does not necessarily matter what order you do it in.

Is the workshop enough or do we also need couples therapy?

See answer to last question.

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