Maya Neal, MS, LMFT

Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples, and Children

Q. What types of therapy to you offer?

A. Individual Therapy, Couples Therapy, Child/Family Therapy, and Life&Wellness Coaching. If you aren't sure what kind of therapy would be best for you, not to worry, we will decide that together. 

Q. How soon can I be seen?

A. Usually within a few days of your phone call, so there's no need to wait for the help you need!

Q.What happens during the first visit?

A. I ask a lot of questions about you, your lifestyle, your history, and your concerns. This assessment takes just one visit to complete, and helps me get to know you as a unique individual. Together we will set specific goals for you, and talk about how we are going to get you there! I explain the therapy process to you, and of course you'll have a chance to ask questions. 

Q. How often should I have a session with you?

A. That's essentially up to you. Most clients choose to schedule once or even twice a week at first, which tends to make for fast progress. Are you on a tight budget? No problem, you are welcome to come in less often. I'm always happy to give plenty of optional 'homework' suggestions to do between sessions, to help you make forward progress even if you can't come in weekly.

Q. How much do you charge?

A. $150 per 50-minute session, no hidden costs. 

Q. What type of payment do you accept?

A. Cash, Debit/Credit card, Money Order, or advance payment by Pay Pal or Venmo. After your first session, you may also pay by Personal Check if you prefer.  

Q. Can I use my health insurance to help cover the cost of my sessions with you?

A. Yes you can, if your insurance company will reimburse you for "Out of Network" therapy expenses, and many do. Just call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask if they offer "out of network benefits" for mental health services. If the answer is yes, you'd pay me for your therapy sessions at time of service, and I'd provide you with a detailed receipt for your payments. The receipt contains all the info your insurance company needs in order to be able to reimburse you for their share of the cost. You would submit a claim form to your insurance company, along with your receipt, to receive your benefit amount. 

Q. Is there any reason to go 'out-of-network' for therapy, rather than choosing a therapist on my insurance panel?

A. Yes, many clients prefer to choose their own therapist, rather than be limited to the choices on a panel of providers. That freedom of choice is vitally important to some clients, and I can definitely see why! After all, choosing a therapist is one of the most personal and critical life decisions you'll ever make.

Q. Would there be any benefits to leaving my insurance company out of the mix entirely?  

A. Absolutely! Paying cash without seeking reimbursement from your insurance company means that YOU will be in charge of your own therapy experience, without any interference from your insurance company. Not involving an insurance company is also the most private way to go. 

Most insurance carriers will not reimburse for therapy unless a mental illness is diagnosed. Even then, they typically approve only a set number of sessions per year. That often results in over-diagnosis and rushed "drive by" therapy instead of the highest quality of care.

Another fact to consider is that many people complete their course of therapy before their insurance deductible is even met, so their therapy sessions wind up being uncovered by insurance. Even if you've met your yearly deductible, your insurance company may require to pay a co-pay out of your own pocket, if you wish to use your insurance for therapy. So before assuming that you would save a significant amount of money (or any at all) by using your insurance, be sure to contact your insurance company or read the fine print on your policy. After you get the facts, you may well end up deciding to keep it simple and completely private by going the cash pay way.

Q. Does therapy really work?

A. Yes! There is extensive research showing that therapy is effective. Whether or not therapy works for you will depend a lot upon the attitude you bring to it. Like anything else in life!

Q. How long will I be in therapy?

A. That depends a great deal on how willing and able you are to think and behave in new ways. Change is difficult for some people, relatively easy for others. And sometimes people are just not quite ready to "let a problem go" yet, for various reasons that can be explored in sessions. I prefer not to make specific predictions about how long someone will need to be in therapy, because I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. So let's harness that power right from the get-go by assuming that it will not be long before you see major improvement!

Q. What is your therapy approach?

A. I take a collaborative and 'person-centered' approach to therapy, meaning that therapy is something I do WITH my clients, not TO them. I don't believe in stuffing people into diagnostic boxes. I believe in helping my clients use their unique strengths to overcome their challenges. I center the therapy around your values and insights, not just my own. My goal is to help you get to YOUR goals. I see myself as your attentive listener and supportive guide, assisting you to an improved sense of well-being. Mostly, this is accomplished through focused talking, that's why therapy is often called the "talking cure." You being willing to do a little bit of homework between sessions helps the talking cure work even better. I also sometimes incorporate Expressive Writing Therapy and Dreamwork into my approach, with clients who are interested in those healing modalities. Aromatherapy coaching is available too.

Here is where many therapists would now rattle off a list of all of the different "treatment modalities" they know how to use, such as "Cognitive Behavior Therapy" or what have you. I could do the same, but I once saw a movie called "Today's Special," where the bold new chef removes the "Today's Special Is..." sign from the restaurant's window and replaces it with a sign that simply reads "Trust Me." I like that! I'm good at my job, and I ask that you trust me to know what approach and modalities to bring to you and your unique challenges. Because when all is said and done, therapy is just as much of an art as a science.

With many clients, I find it helpful to offer some coaching on adopting a healthier lifestyle too. That makes it so much easier to solve any type of problem you're bringing to therapy! Are you currently reaping the many benefits of optimal sleep, nutritional awareness, joyful exercise, sunlight, recreation, meditation, and creativity? If not, come discover how!

Before or after your therapy sessions, you may wish to pay a visit to my partner in work and life, Todd Neal. Todd is a licensed massage therapist with specialized training in myoskeletal alignment. We share the same office address so we can be your one-stop wellness shop! If life has literally become a pain in the neck (or back!), Todd can help. He's also certified as an advance practitioner of an intriguing type of energy healing called Reiki. Many of my clients have shared with me that Reiki healing helps them feel calmer and more centered.

Q. I'm tempted to just go to a doctor for a pill, instead of going to therapy. What do you think of that idea?

A. There's no shame in taking medication, and for some it can be very helpful. But medication does not work well for everyone. For some it can even make matters worse. Pills can cause unwanted side effects, too. Many experts also point out that medication can cause imbalances in the body that may lead to health problems down the road. And if you take medication without also learning how to modify your emotional distress, that distress may eventually "break through" even the most potent drug. Many find that therapy can be a great natural alternative to medication. That being said, if you decide to explore the option of medication, or are already doing so, you'll have my full support. Many clients find they are able to wean off their pills once therapy begins to have a positive effect.

Q. Do you provide phone therapy?

A. Yes, in most cases I am happy to hold your therapy sessions over the phone. Phone therapy can be a great option for busy people, or for those who travel frequently. The fee is the same as for in-office sessions. Feel free to contact me so we can determine if this convenient option would be a good fit for you.

Q. If I bring my child in for therapy, will I need to attend the sessions with my child?

A. I ask that you attend at least a few of your child's sessions, or meet with me separately from time to time. Parent involvement is key! That's how therapy works best, regardless of your child's age.

Q. We definitely need couples therapy, but my partner won't come. Can I come by myself?

A. Yes, and don't be surprised if your therapy-reluctant partner eventually decides to join you. Meanwhile, we can absolutely work on your relationship issues without your partner present. Lead by example!

Q. I've been dealing with the same problem for so long that I doubt it will ever get better. Should I still give therapy a try?

A. In my view, yes. The kind of hopelessness you feel is actually very common. And a big part of what therapy does is restore hope. So I encourage you to take the leap. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!