Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a session?

A session is typically 50 minutes long, but an initial comprehensive session can be scheduled for 90 minutes, depending on the needs of the clients.  At the time of the first session clients are typically asked to come 15 to 20 minutes early so that Mari can review intake forms (that should be completed before attending the first session*) and also to review office policies.

Can children/teens go to therapy without their parents?

Children and teens often benefit from individual and/or from play therapy sessions and enjoy getting the special attention that they get from having time alone with a therapist. They also have the ethical right to confidentiality.  Parents, however, need to give Mari feedback as to how the child is progressing, or having difficulties. Mari, likewise, will develop common goals with parents about how to help their child, for example,  face discomforts, be positively motivated and encouraged, live with appropriate and consistent structure, develop and maintain empathy with others, handle their impulses, overcome their challenges and insecurities, or fears and how to help their child balance responsibility and fun. 

What is Mari’s theoretical orientation or description of how she works?

Mari is eclectic in her orientation. She predominately draws from Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral, and Solution Focused modalities. Therapy typically involves the expression of feelings, the assessment of personal needs and the development of tools that can help clients meet their needs. Mari allows her clients to have the opportunity to explore their feelings in a safe and accepting environment. At times, therapy may also involve role-playing, journaling, homework tasks, guided imagery, dream work, and relaxation training. For families, it may involve treatment that focuses on helping to improve the process and effectiveness of communication. Overall, Mari considers therapy as "client-centered" and the techniques that she uses depends on what methods are most comfortable and helpful to each unique child or family.

Does Mari work with developmental challenges such as Autism? 

Although Mari works with children and families to help them cope with such challenges, It is best to seek an initial evaluation for possible developmental challenges through your local "Regional Center".  They are the experts and can also provide you with appropriate referrals for ongoing healthcare, benefits, placements and/or specialists.

What are the distinctions between psychotherapy licenses?

If you are seeking a medication evaluation, or believe that you have a chemical imbalance, or illness related problem, effecting your body and sense of well-being, a Psychiatrist or primary care doctor can help you. They alone are MD's and can prescribe medication.
Psychologists are also doctors but they practice with a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. and cannot prescribe medication. They focus on personality adjustment and psychological disorders and typically have three to four years additional education beyond a Master's Degree and beyond the education of a Marriage and Family Therapist. Depending on their experiential training and/ or research expertise, they may specialize in working with specific types of problems, or with specific age groups. They may also provide their clients with psychological testing evaluations.
Marriage and Family Therapists have Master's Degrees, (usually two years beyond a Bachelor's Degree). They focus on interpersonal interactions, communication and personality adjustment.  Some have education and experience in working with children and adolescents and/or couples and families. I am licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
When in doubt ask a potential therapist about their background, license and experience.