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FAQs

I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak or severely mentally ill?

Speaking from my sociology background, I have noticed that older generations have this stigma about therapy. I think this is because they were raised with more whole foods and more time outside than we are now, so mental illness was less common when they were growing up (statistics support this hypothesis). Only the extreme cases went to therapy, so I can see why they would have this negative association.

In a modern context, therapy can actually be beneficial for anyone. Whether you need help choosing a college major, navigating a career change, you're stressed out, or you actually have a mental illness (most of us do), therapy can help!

What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?

The main difference is training and experience. Your friends and family are great emotional resources, so make sure you are still connecting with them. But a therapist has specialized training and has helped hundreds or thousands of people. In my case, I have nutritional therapy and other training that even most therapists don't have. 

Professional counseling is completely confidential which isn’t always the case for talking with loved ones.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

It's an old belief that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances and that drugs correct them. Yes, a mentally ill person has imbalanced chemistry, but rather than artificially correcting it, it’s more important to consider why there’s an imbalance in the first place. It’s not just a stroke of bad luck, but often unintentional effects of lifestyle choices. Brain chemicals are dynamically changing and influenced by more than just medications. Diet, sleep, lifestyle, and environment change brain chemistry, too! On a more conventional level, even changing your thoughts (like with mindfulness) can change your brain.

Food should be your medicine first, followed by lifestyle and environment. This is because a healthy diet, lifestyle, and environment have almost no negative side effects and can improve many facets of health at the same time. This approach is both a treatment and a prevention.

On the other hand, medications usually trade one problem for another (such as improving mood but causing hormone imbalances). Medication tends to be much stronger than nature intended (and in isolated or even synthetic states). This creates a balance in one place, but causes an imbalance elsewhere. It’s also unnecessarily expensive.

Sometimes, it's necessary to take prescribed drugs, so if you are on medication, I won't judge, and I will work with you to potentially need a lower dosage or not need it at all anymore, if that's what you want. Keep in mind that I'm not a prescriber, so you'd have to talk with your doctor to get your medications adjusted as we work together.

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?

Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. What we do in sessions depends on the type of therapy we are engaging in. How much you choose to open up is entirely up to you, but most people who hold back tend to not progress in therapy as much. At the other extreme, those who come to therapy just to "vent" also tend to waste a lot of time and money. Find your "happy medium" that feels right to you.

How long will it take?

Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.

Whats the difference between counseling and therapy?

Honestly, there is a slight difference that's really only acknowledged on clinical licensure exams for therapists. Most of us, however, use these terms interchangeably. I am a "counselor" based on what my license says, but a "therapist" or "psychotherapist" is anyone who practices psychotherapy or counseling. Besides counselors, other therapists are psychologists, master's level social workers, and marriage and family therapists. We all have different degrees and licenses, but we do the same kind of work, so it ultimately doesn't matter which license your therapist has and whether they are doing "counseling" or "therapy." What matters more is how much you are connecting with them and how much they are helping you.

I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success. Those who are willing to learn and do the homework tend to progress the most quickly. Those who spend the whole session complaining or venting, or not talking much, are the ones who don't seem to get anywhere. My approach does require homework because lifestyle changes are key to improvement.

Do I need Nutritional Therapy?

The word "diet" comes from the ancient Greek and literally just means "a manner of living." This implies that diet is not only about food, although our culture has, unfortunately, skewed it so much to hyper-focus on weight-loss and other superficial goals. 

Nutritional therapy is about epigenetics. This is a scientific term referring to the culmination of how nutrition, environment, and lifestyle affect our health. Food is far more than the sum of its calories. Food is not merely fuel, but it is nourishment. I purposely diverge from the conventional perspective of a dietitian because I recognize the importance of quality over quantity. Higher-quality, nutrient-dense food means better health. It's that simple. Dietitians, while I commend them for their degree of training, seem to typically focus on calories and macronutrients (especially a low-fat, high-carb diet) with little regard to bioindividuality and bioavailability.

It's important to recognize the tiny details, because they can make all the difference! Our diet impacts how we look, how we think, how we move, how we sleep, and how we function. If you feel like your health could be better in any way, then nutritional therapy could be for you!

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy is not technically "treatment" for specific diagnoses but a protocol for supporting overall health. Think of it as treatment for the person rather than for the symptom or diagnosis. This is actually the main difference between holistic health and conventional medicine (which focuses on the symptoms or diagnosis rather than the person). While not a guarantee, many nutritional therapy clients/patients report no longer having chronic diseases after several months of nutritional therapy. It is hard work, but it's worth it for better health!

Nutritional therapy is an evidence-based approach to supporting overall health through an individually tailored nutrition and lifestyle plan. It begins with an assessment, and then a tailored nutritional plan is prescribed. We will make adjustments as we move through our sessions to support your needs.

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a nutritional therapist?

I want to start by saying that I contemplated becoming a dietitian myself for many years. I took one university nutrition class, and I enjoyed it, but it just didn't feel right. The conventional university perspective of nutrition felt watered down and biased, to say the least. So I became a psychotherapist instead, later to realize that nutrition is my real passion. I just had to find the right training that felt more wholesome and with that rich perspective I desired.

So here's a rundown on the differences:

Registered Dietitians are healthcare providers who have undergone training in order to provide nutrition services to individuals who are looking for preventative nutrition counseling or medical nutrition therapy. They operate at the minimum of a bachelor’s level with regular continuing education.

"Nutritionist" is not a regulated term in most states and the certificate programs that provide these certifications are not subject to regulatory oversight. However, that may be a good thing because it means unaccredited schools can choose their own curriculum according to what they feel is best rather than having governing bodies dictate standardized curricula consisting of outdated, corporate biases.

Some will try to convince you that the licensure requirements for Registered Dietitians are more rigorous than certificate programs and enforce stricter standards. I don't disagree with that entirely. Compared to the cheapest and easiest nutrition trainings out there, I think this is certainly true. There are many bad ones! But that could be said for university degrees as well.

Let me point out that not all certification programs are created equal. Just because something isn't from an accredited university doesn't automatically mean it's lower-quality. This is becoming increasingly apparent as more alternative methods of learning emerge and people with university degrees aren't getting jobs as easily anymore, or aren't getting paid more than those without degrees. People are graduating with college degrees and don't seem to retain any information because the training was too much, too long, and impractical.

Nutritional therapy practitioners (NTPs) undergo a year-long training program with live classes, lectures, textbook readings, discussions, forums, and assignments. In my personal experience with the training, it felt like getting another master's degree in terms of rigor. The curriculum dove deeply into nutritional science, anthropology of nutrition (which is surprisingly very important), anatomy & physiology, supplements, sleep, and stress. I was honestly overwhelmed by how deep the science was. 

The last half of the program was devoted to a practicum. That meant working with real clients and getting feedback on our work. This was certainly not the same as some of the other certification programs out there, and I'm proud I chose this one over others. Many of my colleagues who have done expensive courses elsewhere have said the NTP program is top-notch in comparison.

And that’s not all! While there is no legal requirement for it,  most NTPs take it upon themselves to pursue continuing education. This is out of a personal passion for the work rather than an obligation imposed by the government.

What can I expect from my first visit?

Your first visit will begin with reviewing your completed medical forms, current food intake, health concerns, medical history, dietary supplement use, and talking about what your desired outcomes are.

We will work together to create a nutritional plan and follow-up appointments will track your progress from a physical and emotional perspective to ensure that the individually-tailored nutritional plan is working properly for you, and adjusting as needed.

Unfortunately, we can't bill insurance for nutritional therapy because it's not considered "medically necessary." However, you may be able to use an HSA card to pay for services.

Do you coordinate with other healthcare providers I am seeing?

Yes! Depending on your needs, I can have you sign a release of information form and collaborate with other providers.