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  • Caleb Birkhoff

FAQs About Therapy in San Francisco

Great job finding a therapist in San Francisco, making that initial consultation appointment, and scheduling a first therapy session. If you’re new to therapy, or even if you’ve got some experience under your belt, you might have forgotten to get all of your questions answered during your consultation. There’s also a pretty good chance you didn’t know what questions to ask until the consultation was over. There are lots of ways to get therapy in San Francisco, lots of therapists to see, here are some questions that are great to ask, that they should have answers for, and would helpful for you to know as you getting rolling in therapy. Below are some essential FAQs about therapy that are important to ask. It’s important to understand the process, learn the norms, and made informed decisions.


FAQS to ask a Counselor in San Francisco


-Can therapy services in San Francisco be done online or in-person?


Excellent question that needs an answer, otherwise how would you best plan to participate? The short answer is yes. Therapy in San Francisco, therapy in the Bay Area, and Therapy in California is being conducted online (often referred to as virtual care), and in-person. Some good news that is often overlooked, is as a California resident, you can see any therapist in California that has availability to see you. Some therapist are completely in person, others completely online, and still others doing a bit of both. Just to add another wrinkle, some therapist even offer telephonic sessions. It’s important to ask, and to know your preference, when scheduling with a therapist. There are good reasons to consider both, pick what’s best for you.


What are the benefits of Couples Therapy? Or Therapy? Why do people seek Counseling in San Francisco?


Couples counseling can help couples who are experiencing repetitive conflicts and unresolved issues. Couples counseling can also improve overall relationship satisfaction and intimacy. Often there is a focus learning effective communication skills, deepening emotional connection and increasing understanding of each other's needs and perspectives, couples can build a more fulfilling and supportive relationship. It is also worth noting that couples counseling has been shown to have long-lasting positive effects. According to a study by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, couples who participated in counseling reported significant improvements in their relationship and emotional health.

Therapy in general can help you can gain better/more satisfying relationships, coping strategies, learn new communication skills, or even a better understanding of you.


-How often do you see clients and how does scheduling work?


Now we’re getting to some essential questions. The answer may vary a little, but most therapists like to see new clients weekly, especially those new to therapy. Research indicates that the best way to make progress, or improvement, in therapy is to attend weekly. Some therapists might see you bi-weekly, but that is certainly a conversation worth having with your new therapist.


-How do I pay for services?


The easiest answer is it depends on the therapist in San Francisco that you’re working with; some take insurance and others do not, being a cash based practice. There is a possibility of Out of Network Benefits, which is a question for you to pursue with your insurance provider. If you’re looking to use your insurance, you can contact your provider and see what therapists in San Francisco are paneled with them. Or, you could search a therapist directory like Psychology Today and search by your insurance coverage provider. I, and many other therapists in California, provide super bills to clients who wish to seek reimbursement with their insurance.


-What if my first therapy session was hard/uncomfortable and I’m having second thoughts about the next session?


Reaching out for help is an enormous first step, one which many people never make, so you’re already ahead of the game. Therapy can feel like a strange relationship, so it’s not that uncommon to have your first session, or any other session feel hard or uncomfortable. The good news is that we grow and change the most when we’re uncomfortable, and that the things we don’t want to talk about are often the things we talk most about in therapy (which is why it can be hard). As long as uncomfortable doesn’t turn into feeling unsafe or untenable. This is also a great thing to present to your therapist, let them know how it went, what worked and what didn’t, but remember to lean into the process.


-What are the late cancellation and no-show policies?


Therapists in San Francisco have a wide variety of late cancellation and no-show policies, it’s important to know what your therapist’s is! Some therapists, like myself, have a 24 hour cancellation policy, others 48, I’ve even seen a 7 day cancellation policy out there. To keep you on your toes, other’s have policy that covers late cancellations, and a number of sessions per calendar year you can miss. Ask what the policy is and seek any clarity you need to really understand it. For example, I have a 24 hour late cancellation policy. If you cancel within 24 hours you are responsible for the full fee of the session, unless we can reschedule within the week.



I hope that these FAQs help you feel more confident that you’ve found the right therapist for you in San Francisco. If after reading all of that, you’re still feeling stuck or overwhelmed feel free to call me at 415-990-1452 for a free 15-minute phone consultation, and to get some questions answered. I would be happy to hear what is happening for you, what you’re looking for and provide some direction to finding the right therapist for you.

If you are seeking help with couples therapy, drugs and alcohol, a life transition, discovering yourself, or therapy for men, you can read more about how I can help by clicking here!





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