Frequently Asked Questions about
Counseling with Sharon Martin, LCSW
Q: How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?
A: The only way to know for sure is to come in for a session. Most people have a good sense of whether I am the right professional to help them within the first two sessions. However, I have tried to provide you with information on this website, my blog Happily Imperfect on PsychCentral, and Facebook. Reading my entries over several days will give you a sense of who I am and how I work.
Q: Do you provide in-person or online counseling?
A: All counseling sessions are conducted via a secure and easy-to-use telehealth platform (similar to Zoom or Skype). Established clients can also hold some sessions by telephone, if needed. I am not providing any in-person counseling.
Q: Is online counseling right for me?
A: Although there are many advantages of online counseling (it’s convenient, effective, keeps us safe from infectious diseases such as COVID-19), it’s not right for everyone. Online counseling (teletherapy) works best for those with mild to moderate symptoms (not people who are suicidal or in crisis), are comfortable using technology, and have a quiet, private place to have their sessions.
Q: Who do you work with?
A: I provide counseling for adults who reside in California. My expertise is in anxiety and stress, codependency and people-pleasing, adult children of alcoholics, self-worth, life transitions, perfectionism, and infertility. I don’t provide counseling for children or couples.
Q: What can I expect from therapy?
A: Once you have made a decision to see a therapist, you still might be apprehensive about the process. Many people feel nervous before their first appointment. Therapy is a shared journey; a shared process. And, although you and I will travel together, it is ultimately your journey and you will make your own decisions. I do not have answers to all your concerns, but I do have the ability to listen carefully and will ask thoughtful questions. Your answers to these questions will help shape the direction of our work. You can expect to be respected. You can expect that I will offer opinions and suggestions from time to time but I will not tell you what to do.
Q: What happens during the first session?
A: The initial session is the time for you to start to share your story, talk about your goals and what you would like to change. Another important aspect of the first session is deciding if we are a good fit. Do I seem like someone you can trust? We are establishing a relationship that will become the foundation for working together. You will begin to figure out some goals; I will begin to figure out how to help you get there.
Q: How long do appointments last?
A: Appointments are 50 minutes. This is the standard length of a counseling session. If you are interested in a longer session (75 minutes) please contact me regarding availability and pricing.
Q: How often will we meet?
A: To begin, we will meet once a week. I find it’s important to gain some momentum in the beginning by meeting weekly or progress can stall out. Once some or all of your goals are met, meeting less often will make sense.
Q: How much do you charge?
A: I charge $190 per 50-minute session. Payment will be collected at the time of service.
Q: Do you accept insurance?
A: No, I do not accept any insurance. I will collect payment in full from you at the time of service. If you have a PPO type plan and want to submit a claim for out-of-network reimbursement, I can give you a receipt or submit a claim on your behalf to help facilitate any reimbursement you may be entitled to. Please note that submitting an insurance claim means I will need to give you a mental health diagnosis.
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
A: I require 24 hours notice of cancellation or you will need to pay for the appointment. An occasional exception may be made in the case of an emergency. It’s important that we meet consistently in order to make progress.
Q: What theoretical approach do you use?
A: I pull from a variety of theories and techniques. I find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Positive Psychology, Motivational Interviewing, Client-Centered Therapy, and Mindfulness techniques are often helpful for my clients.
Q: Do you prescribe medication?
A: No, I am not a medical doctor. Many of my patients find medication is helpful, but many of them also progress well in therapy without medication. If you want to be evaluated for psychiatric medication, either contact your primary care physician or a psychiatrist. If you are already taking medication, I can coordinate care with your doctor.
Q: Are there any issues or types of clients that you DON’T work with?
A: I only work with adults aged 18+ (not children or couples). I do not conduct child custody evaluations nor do I provide custody recommendations. I also don’t provide treatment for eating disorders, psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, etc), or personality disorders. Due to state licensing laws, I can only provide therapy and counseling to individuals residing in California.