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If you're looking for sliding scale counseling, or need to use Partnership/Beacon (NOT Kaiser/Beacon) for counseling, please visit our non-profit:
The Center for Focused Change

Have questions before you request an appointment?

  • How do I know if I need counseling?
    This is truly a personal decision. I would recommend using our online depression, anxiety, and stress calculator (see link above "Clear Answers" section) to get a generalized sense of where your symptoms fall on the spectrum. However, the real litmus test is whether your symptoms are causing you distress or disrupting your ability to function in major life domains (relationships, family, work, etc). Still not sure? Contact us today. If we don't think we can help, we'll let you know.
  • What happens in a counseling session?
    This varies, but universally starts with a session request form to get basic information about you and the nature of your reasons for contacting us. From there we will either place you or let you know an estimate of how long you woud have to wait to start. At the first session we complete a more thorough questionnaire, we orient you to counseling and advise you of all the laws and rights that you have as a recipient of professional counseling. Lastly, we begin the conversation of what brought you to counseling in the first place and ask questions about things that may be relevant to the therapists ability to assist you. During the first or second session goals are set, and our Clarity session structure is used to keep things organized and focused on your goals. We use various tools to measure whether what we are doing is working, and teach you skills that you need to reach your goals. When the goals have been reached, either new goals are established or counseling is discontinued at that time - though it can absolutely resume again in the future!
  • What happens in group counseling?
    Group counseling starts similarly to individual counseling. You complete a session request form on our website so we can get some basic history and information. We then meet with you individually for 30-60 minutes to make sure you would benefit from group. Then you would be assigned to a day and time for group. In group, typically each sessions starts with a brief check-in about how each participant is doing, as well as a brief review of their goals and progress. Then group either continues to work on the goals of an individual, or there will be a structured activity to build skills within the group. Though group is often anxiety provoking to think about for most people, it is extremely powerful to go through difficult life experiences with people who are also going through similar experiences. We are (by nature) pack animals and we benefit from connecting with others.
  • What is a licensed therapist?
    A licensed therapist has to have a masters or a doctorate degree. While the exact number varies by license type, all licensed therapists have completed thousands of hours of counseling while meeting weekly with a licensed therapist who helps them learn their craft and master proper legal and ethical practices. During this time, a therapist must work for a licensed therapist or a company and cannot work independently (operate their own business). Once they've completed the requisite number of hours, they submit documentation of their experience. Once approved, they have to pass both a laws and ethics test, and a clinical skills test. Once those have both been passed, therapists can apply for a license and begin working working independently (or continue working for a company or non-profit). Therapists licenses can always be looked up via: Click license search, and you can view if they have ever had any complaints against them, or make a complaint to the licensing board about them.
  • What is an Associate/Intern therapist?
    There are 2 categories of unlicensed therapists: INTERN: The therapist has not yet completed their education, but has completed the required core classes to begin being able to see clients. Interns are not registered with the state (yet), and their schools are responsible for supervising their practice (as well as the organization they are gaining experience with). This is called a field placement. They cannot work independently, and the ratio of hours doing counseling to hours meeting with a clinical supervisor is smaller. ASSOCIATE: The therapist has received their masters or doctorate, and are now registered with the state of California. They are not allowed to practice independently, and must work for a licensed therapist or company/non-profit. They are allowed a higher ratio of hours doing counseling to time with a clinical supervisor. They must complete a bi-annual law and ethics exam to remain current, and accumulate thousands of hours of expeirence before they are allowed to apply for the clinical exam and (therefore) licensure. Associate registrations can always be looked up via: Click license search, and you can view if they have ever had any complaints against them, or make a complaint to the licensing board about them.
  • What are psychometrics and/or what is DASS-21?
    Psychometrics means tools that measure states of mind and/or emotions. Some can even be used to formally diagnose mental health conditions, but those are typically administered by a psychologist (psychological testing). Clarity selects various tools depending on the goals and nature of your symptoms, but the purpose is to get a general sense of whether your symptoms are getting worse, staying the same, or improving. They are a starting point for conversation and just one way that progress can be evaluated. One tool that Clarity likes to use is DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale). It is the 21 question version (there is a 42 question version). This is a well researched tool to evaluate depression, anxiety, and stress levels reliably. Every appointment reminder you receive will have a link to this scale, but it can also be completed at the start of session (usually 3 min or less). We can then track progress over time to see how we're doing.
  • Can you help with issues that aren't depression or anxiety?
    Yes! We also have experience with substance use, relationship issues, and many other challenges. However, our strongest experience and training is in depression and anxiety-related issues. Contact us today. Remember, one of our promises is to never treat someone we don't believe we can help!

STILL HAVE Questions? Ask away!

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