Maya Neal, MS, LMFT
Q. How soon can my partner and I get help?
A. Usually within a few days of your phone call! If you're in a relationship crisis, I can sometimes accommodate a request for a same-day session. Before we can hold your first session, the two of you will need to print and sign the consent and policy forms I'll email to you, and scan them back to me.
Q.What happens during the first video session?
A. We'll get to know one another! We'll be chatting about the strengths and challenges in your relationship. I'll describe my therapy approach to you too, and you'll have a chance to give input and ask questions. For the second and third sessions, I'll be meeting with each of you individually. I'll have quite a few questions for you about a topic you know a whole lot about: yourself! After that we'll be returning to couple sessions for the remainder of your therapy experience unless we feel it would be helpful at times to meet one-on-one. Together we will set specific goals for your relationship. So start visualizing that new and improved relationship right now... trust me when I say that'll greatly help us along the journey!
Q. How often should we have a video session with you?
A. That's essentially up to you. Most clients choose to schedule once or even twice a week at first, so that some momentum can be established. Are you on a tight budget? No problem, you are welcome to schedule 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 schedule weekly. For reasons having to do with safe and ethical practice, I do require that my couples attend at least one session every calendar month if they wish to retain my therapy service.
Q. How much do you charge?
A. $150 per 50-minute session, no hidden costs. The fee is paid in advance of each session.
Q. What type of payment do you accept?
A. Pay Pal, Debit card, or Credit card.
Q. Do you accept any health insurances?
A. No, for many reasons I do not choose to partner with insurance companies. You may request a receipt for your payment though, if you plan to submit a claim to your insurance company for "Out of Network" mental health services.
Q. Does couple therapy really work?
A. Yes, there is extensive research showing that couple 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 we be in therapy?
A. That depends a great deal on how willing the two of you are to think and behave in new ways. Change is difficult for some couples, relatively easy for others. I prefer not to make specific predictions about how long you 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 Person Centered approach to therapy, meaning that therapy is something I do with my clients, not to them. It's a warm, accepting, and empowering approach. I mingle it with plenty of , insight building, teaching, skill development, guidance, and suggestions... all designed to get you to your relationship goals. I emphasize mindfulness, creative problem solving, and self care. I don't believe in stuffing people into diagnostic boxes. I believe in helping my couples use their unique strengths to overcome their challenges. I center the therapy around your values and insights, not just my own. And if you're willing to do a bit of homework between sessions, that will help you reach your therapy goals sooner.
A therapist's approach to couple therapy is (or should be!) an art. So can I share something with you about that? 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 would ask the same of the two of you! I have spent many years developing my craft. I can usually intuitively sense which aspects of my approach would best suit your personalities and your unique challenges.
Q. I'm tempted to ask my doctor for medication so I can feel in a better mood about my life and relationship, instead of asking my partner to join me for couple therapy. What do you think?
A. For some people, psycho-active medication does turn out to be very helpful. But medication does not work well for everyone. Pills can cause unwanted side effects, and in some instances may lead to unforeseen health problems down the road. If you take medication without learning how to modify your emotional distress, that distress may eventually "break through" even the most potent drug. Therapy can often be a great natural alternative to medication. If you do decide to explore the option of medication, or are already on it, you'll have my full support. Many people find they are able to wean off their prescription once therapy begins to have a positive effect.
Q. Do you provide phone therapy by request, instead of video therapy?
A. Yes, and the fee is the same as for video therapy. Setting up a 3-way call with me is the way to go if the two of you are in different geographical areas at the time of the session, and not able to share a screen for the video session. As a rule though, couple therapy works better over video.
Q. I want to sign up for individual therapy with you, not couple therapy. Is that possible?
A. Certainly, in that case join me on the Better Help online platform. Once you join, message member services and request to be matched with me. Then we'll take it from there!
Q. I've been dealing with the same relationship 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 with new solutions. So I encourage you to take the leap. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!