Human Animal Solutions

Counseling

There are many reasons why someone might consider counseling – grief and loss, job stress, conflict in relationships. You have a right to know about the kind of counseling a therapist offers in order to choose a counselor you think you can work with effectively. You have a right to choose a counselor who best suits your needs and purposes. To help you make an informed decision, here is some information about my counseling services.

Grief and Loss Counseling

Testimonial

“How do you manage to always be so consistently kind and understanding? I am in awe of your huge caring heart and your deep understanding of/sympathy for human behavior. I always feel safe telling you anything, knowing that you’ll listen and interpret my words in the best possible light.”

People can feel grief not only over someone’s death, but over life transitions, separation, divorce, etc. Loss affects us all throughout our lives in many ways. We grieve many losses.

Working through grief is one of the hardest things we experience in our lives. There is a reason why it is called work – it is hard! But it is not impossible.

Grief counseling can help you understand what is normal and what is not. Grief counseling can help you survive the difficult moments and rejoice with each step of healing. Grief counseling can help you make it when you’re not sure you’re able.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Pet Loss Counseling

Testimonials

“You created a great atmosphere for me. Thank you for making a safe place where I can talk about this.”

“You have been most patient, professional, and helpful in your remarks.”

Our animal friends enrich our lives in countless ways, in ways we have no words to express. What then could be more natural than to grieve their death?

However, family and friends may not understand your feelings. They may say things that lead you to believe they think you should be “over it” or that it is unreasonable to feel so strongly about “just” an animal. They may tell you to go get another animal. No matter how well meaning they are, these comments can actually make your grief worse.

Healing from grief can be made easier if you know what to expect and can share your feelings with others who have gone through similar experiences. This is what happens in pet loss counseling. I will not discount your emotions about your animal companion.

I will not discredit you for feeling as you do. Instead, I will help you to work through your grief to a new place of healing.

The following quotes reflect feelings many people have after a cherished companion animal dies. Even though they talk about dogs, the same feelings apply to any animal we feel strongly about. Perhaps they will be meaningful to you:

“From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or, “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you will probably understand phases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. “Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man.” So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog.” just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”  —Anonymous

“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”  –Unknown

For more information and resources regarding pet loss and other losses, you may find these locations helpful:

Counseling Methods and Techniques Utilized

Testimonial

“You have a special warmth that makes one feel good about oneself. A true gift well used.”

To help clients deal effectively with life stresses, I use a style that encourages clients to both think about and experience their life challenges in a new way. Sessions are based on finding a solution that meets your needs. Most treatment plans are short-term rather than extended, but we base the length of time we meet together on your need and desire.

I sometimes work with a trained dog (animal-assisted therapy) to further the therapeutic process, and sometimes my dog is present in my office without being an active participant in the therapy session. Due to the nature of working with animals, it is impossible to accurately predict an animal’s response all the time. I do not anticipate injuries, and I take precautions to minimize the minimal risks that might exist with my dogs.  Yet since there is some risk that a client could get injured during a session with a dog present, I need to be sure you are aware of and accept this risk.

Counselor’s Education and Credentials

I received my Masters Degree in clinical social work (MSW in counseling) from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX, in 1987. I am licensed as an Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) with the State of Washington. I also have my national credential with the Academy of Clinical Social Workers (ACSW).

Fees & Billing

My fees for clients who use insurance to pay for their services are as follows:

Initial session (60 minutes): $145

Follow-up session of 45 minutes: $100

Follow-up session of 60 minutes: $135

Private-pay clients are expected to pay on the day of service. As a result, they are given a discounted rate of $80 per session.

Clients using Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) benefits are not required to pay at the time of service.

Clients who do not arrive for a scheduled appointment or do not give at least 24 hours’ advance notice by phone will be billed for the session.  This cannot be billed to insurance; it is the client’s responsibility to pay.  Clients utilizing EAP benefits who give less than 24 hours’ advance notice may forfeit that appointment.

Confidentiality

Your client record is confidential. I must have your signature releasing me to give information about you to someone else, including another healthcare provider. However, if you share information that leads me to believe that you might commit a crime or harm yourself or someone else, I am bound by law (RCW 18.19.180 1-6) to disclose that information to authorities. I may share information about your situation (not your identity) with other counselors during professional consultation sessions, and this is bound under confidentiality. Your contact information may be shared with a collection agency for non-payment of account.<div class=”photo right”>

Should you elect to use health insurance benefits to pay for psychotherapy, your diagnosis, symptoms, history, and substance abuse (if any) will become part of your permanent record. Your insurance company has the right to access and copy any and all of this information, as well as all clinical documentation of treatment. In some cases this information may be submitted to insurance databases and/or to employers when they are the purchaser of my medical/mental health benefits.

“Counselors practicing counseling for a fee must be registered or certified with the Washington State Department of Health for the protection of the public health and safety. Registration of an individual with the department does not include a recognition of any practice standards, nor necessarily implies the effectiveness of any treatment.” (WAC 246-810-031)

Forms & Contact Information

Before coming in for your first appointment, please download my Disclosure Form and History Form, and bring the completed forms with you to your appointment. If you plan to use insurance (including an Employee Assistance Plan) to pay for your counseling sessions, please print the Authorization for Insurance Payment, read it carefully, and bring the completed form with you to your appointment.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment