Frequently Asked Questions
What’s Your Training?
I am a: Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), licensed to work with residents of North Carolina and California; Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®; Registered Hatha Yoga Teacher and Employee Assistance Clinical Specialist. I received my education from The California Institute of Integral Studies (MA, Integral Counseling Psychology), Moravian College (MBA) and The Pennsylvania State University (BS).
Other experiences that refine my grief and bereavement work include: internships with Hospice by the Bay, The Center for Attitudinal Healing and Holos Institute, as well as trainings in: Attachment Focused EMDR, The Grief Recovery Institute®, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), The Hakomi Method, The Rosen Method, Collaborative Couples Therapy, Clinical Applications of the Enneagram, Skills for Change Bodywork, Restorative Practices and Positive Psychology.
American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Who Are You?
I am a seasoned therapist with a passion for grief work. Professionally, I’ve supported many people in a variety of settings including hospice, palliative care, rehabilitation and private practice. As well, my personal journeys with loss and grief have been wonderful teachers revealing what is (and isn’t) most helpful and healing. I’m happy to share more about my journeys when we meet.
I nourish my mind, body and spirit with regular doses of hiking, yoga, writing, meditation, spending time with my beloved family, sweet rescue pup and dear friends gathered from living in many states and countries.
Honor the space between no longer and not yet.~ Nancy Levin
Am I Grieving?
Loss is any event brought about by change that adversely disrupts our life balance. It is an inevitable part of being human. Did you know that there are over 45 kinds of losses? And grief is a normal and natural internal response to loss that includes feelings, sensations and thoughts. Yet because it’s an internal response, your grief is often invisible to others and may cause you to feel isolated, misunderstood, lost or overwhelmed. Some responses and symptoms of grief include physical (aches, pains, insomnia, nausea, fatigue, changes in appetite, shortness of breath); emotional (sadness, anger, panic, anxiety, numbness, mood swings, guilt, relief, fear, hopelessness, longing); behavioral (crying, distracted, confused, forgetful, searching, visual or auditory hallucinations, aimless); social (withdrawn, hyperactive, underactive, low self-esteem, unusually sensitive, lacking initiative, loss of enthusiasm) and spiritual (doubting belief system, questioning spiritual values, loss of faith, feeling betrayed, preoccupied with own mortality, sensing presence of deceased).
In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.~ Albert Camus
How Can You Help Me?
The author William Bridges notes, “All transitions begin with an ending and end with a beginning.”
Our work together is a partnership and as a licensed and trained Psychotherapist, I see my role as a grief guide, companion, transition coach, supporter and witness to your healing process. I employ a multi-sensory approach in our work, engaging all the different ways you uniquely receive, perceive and express information because some of us tend to be more mind-centered while others more heart-centered and yet others more body-centered – all important ways of knowing. What’s “good” about grief counseling is that as you learn to be with the difficult emotions and experiences, you will likely develop greater capacity to be with all of your experiences and feelings. “It’s as if my life were a black and white movie that now includes a full color spectrum again!”
So let’s begin together at the ending….
What Can I Expect?
“Tell me what happened.”
This may be the first opportunity you have to share your story of loss with a caring, attentive but neutral person. You’ll likely experience some initial relief in so doing because you may have felt hesitant to worry, burden or express your thoughts and feelings with family or friends. Your story will better help me understand what you are experiencing to guide and inform our work together.
Please know that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it looks different for everyone and every loss. Grief is not a linear process that moves through distinct stages but rather looks and feels more like a meandering trail of switchbacks, loops, peaks and valleys. Grief work is work and you are likely to experience different kinds of emotional, physical and spiritual “weather” through our journey. I ask that you treat yourself with kindness and patience during our work by putting aside self-judgments and comparisons about your personal process. My contribution is providing warmth, presence, empathy, humor, education and an ongoing trust and confidence in your innate ability to learn, grow and heal. Your tears are welcome here…
Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.~ Max Ehrmann
Will I feel better?
One of the common myths about grief is that “time heals all wounds.” In my experience, while the passing of time may provide distance from the loss, it does not ensure healing. Grieving a loss is a multi-layered process impacted by many different factors. What I have noticed through grief work is that people who are willing to seek and receive support develop a better relationship with their grief. They develop a greater capacity to be with a full range of emotions, create meaning from loss and experience resilience to cope with challenges.
Some indicators that healing is happening post loss include: resuming familiar activities, good self-care practices, feeling like yourself again, develop meaning regarding your loss, ability to discuss loss with friends or in a support group, reinvesting energy in new projects, being able to extend support and compassion to others in need and deeper insight and integration of loss and grief as part of your life’s unique fabric.
She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.~ George Eliot
Please visit my resources page for more info.
What’s my investment? What about insurance?
Your investment in our work together is $150 for 50-minute sessions and $200 for 75-minute sessions. I am currently an in-network provider for some plans through BCBS of NC, United Healthcare and Cigna and will check your coverage, benefits and file claims on your behalf. You may also contact your employer about your EAP benefits. If I am out-of-network with your insurance or plan, I will provide you with a Superbill which you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement. Please note that sometimes, insurance plans will not cover care deemed not medically necessary (if your symptoms do not meet criteria for a medical diagnosis) and/or you may prefer to maintain your right to privacy with regard to our sessions.
I also participate in The Open Path Collective and maintain a limited number of reduced fee weekly appointments for financially qualifying uninsured or underinsured individuals and couples.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Please call me at 828-348-7022. Currently, office appointments can be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Telementalhealth (video) appointments for residents of North Carolina or California can be scheduled on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Is Online Therapy an option for me?
For many clients, online/video therapy (telementalhealth) is a convenient, secure and beneficial option to in office sessions. Like many others, you may appreciate the ongoing support and powerful healing work that can occur without having to leave your home and travel to my office. I am licensed to practice with residents of North Carolina and California. You may inquire about reimbursement for telementalhealth services with your insurance provider. There are certain circumstances in which this may not be an appropriate option and I’m happy to discuss this with you further in our phone call.