FAQs About
Therapy

What is therapy with Eve Sturges like?

Every person is different, and therefore every session in therapy is different; I am not following a formula. However, there are certain patterns that flow through sessions with all my clients. While we settle into a rhythm, I will be assessing your needs and getting to know about you; this means I ask a lot of questions. We’ll work together to create a therapy that addresses your goals.

Sometimes, therapy can feel worse before it feels better. It is not uncommon for clients to find themselves struggling with emotional realizations brought on by the therapeutic process. Before we reach that phase of therapy, we’ll be assessing your support system, developing coping skills, and assuring that you’re in a place to experience thoughts and feelings that might otherwise overwhelm you.

Therapy with me can look like all sorts of different things. This is not an exhaustive list of methods I’ve employed with clients, but a good idea of the directions I like to go: exploring symbolism, meditation, family systems theory, Cognitive-behavioral exercises, therapy homework, gratitude lists, Positive psychology theory, vision boards, sobriety, fairy tales, affirmations, coloring books, physical exercise, grounding exercises.

How long does therapy take?

Like all facets of this field, every client’s experience is different. Personal growth, and soul work, is a lifelong process.I ask all my clients to commit to a minimum of 12 weeks, although– of course- you may leave therapy with me at any time. Unless they come to MagpieLife Therapy with a time-specific goal, clients usually stay a while as their needs evolve, and as they learn to embrace the process.

The first 6 weeks are an assessment period; we are getting to know one another and make sure that our relationship is a good fit of philosophy and collaboration. If I determine that you may be better served elsewhere, I will give you referrals at this time. This can happen for myriad reasons. It isn’t always easy to find the right therapist, but it’s in your best interest to get the best care possible. This looks different for everyone based on their specific needs.

$150 per session is a lot; do you take insurance or offer sliding-scale pricing?

I always have a certain number of spots in my roster for sliding-scale pricing, however they are completely filled at this time. Contact me to be on my waitlist.

What is the difference between a life-coach and a therapist?

Life-coaching is growing in popularity, and this question comes up a lot. Some people aren’t sure which kind of guidance would be best, and need a clearer understanding of each practitioner’s role and expectations. Depending on what a person’s needs are, a life-coach or a therapist may be better suited.

A life-coach is a “wellness professional” who usually helps a client set clear goals and develop a strategy for reaching them. The planning can include visceral objectives and directives from the life coach like tasks and deadlines. A life coach does not, or should not, help people process their emotional experience of past or present events, especially trauma. Occasionally, a client comes to Eve Sturges with a tangible goal in mind, and the work they do together looks like life coaching.

A therapist is a trained, licensed professional who helps a client explore and understand the hows and whys of who they are, the decisions they make, and how events in their life may have shaped them. The goal of a therapist is to help a client to understand his/her/their problematic behavior, choices, and relationships. There are many modalities of therapy; methods vary across a broad spectrum of theories, but a therapist’s relationship to the client does not often include tangible objectives or specific directives. As a general rule, therapists don’t tell their clients “what to do.”

There can be cross-over between therapy and life-coaching with Eve Sturges. This cross-over, or blend, of modalities occurs when a client asks for directive guidance like deadlines, homework exercises, or action items. Therapy with Eve Sturges does not have to include any of these things, but it can be an option for clients looking for structured guidance.

Can I do therapy every-other week or just drop in when I need someone to listen after a bad day?

The therapeutic process depends on time to absorb and process important moments of emotion or insight. If a client comes for therapy every two weeks, it is more difficult for a therapist to address the idiosyncrasies of each client’s needs. Time is often spent doing “catch up;” it is not ideal. After 12 consecutive weekly sessions, I am willing to consider an every-other weekly schedule.

At this time, I am not taking “drop in” appointments; clients who have been a part of MagpieLife Therapy for a minimum of 3 years may exercise this “maintenance method” within certain parameters agreed upon by therapist and client.

Why won’t you tell me what is going on with my teenager?!

It can be so frustrating when you finally get your adolescent into a therapist, and then no one will tell you what’s going on in there. When you call the therapist, she’s vague and repetitive about confidentiality.

When it comes to therapy with a teenager, the most important factor between client and therapist is the relationship. A teenager needs to feel safe on their own terms, or else there is little hope for trust and confidence. The confidentiality agreement is a crucial variable in this dynamic, and it gives the adolescent client the opportunity to express themselves in ways they may otherwise not. It’s important for the teen client to know and believe that the therapist isn’t going to turn around and expose every thought and secret to their parents. It is important for the therapist to communicate and stand by this policy. I recognize the level of faith this requires of the concerned parent, and I appreciate patience in the therapeutic process.

I, of course, will appropriately break confidentiality for any client that suggests they are a danger to themselves or others. I am always a mandated reporter for child sexual or physical abuse, elder abuse, and dependent-adult abuse.

What does it mean if my therapist says I need a “higher level of care?”

I truly believe that every client deserves the best care and the perfect therapist for them; this looks differently from person to person. It is my ethical duty as a therapist to be honest with my clients, and with myself, about what I am able to do or not do when faced with each individual that comes into my office. “A higher level of care” does NOT mean that you are “crazy,” or that I “don’t like you;” this is about making sure that your needs are met appropriately. It is not unlike your primary care provider giving you a referral to a specialist like an orthopedist or ENT. It would serve no one to deny my limitations or keep you from the help and growth you want and deserve.

What’s your cancellation policy?

I require 24-hours to cancel an appointment without paying the full fee. Extreme emergencies notwithstanding, this is a strict NO EXCEPTIONS policy. The age of internet and smart phones makes it possible to have a session from almost anywhere. It is also an opportunity to value the time and money you invest in yourself. If you can reschedule for another appointment within the same calendar week, but there is NO GUARANTEE of an open session in my books.

Now that my sessions are online so often, and I’m at home anyway, Can I drink a glass of wine or be a little high for my therapy session?

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 introduced many new ways of life for most, if not all, people. Online therapy, or “teletherapy,” has become much more of a common practice. While I understand that therapy from home presents it’s own set of challenges, I ask that clients do what they can to maintain our therapeutic alliance. Therapy is most useful when both the client and therapist are fully present for the experience. While I recognize that alcohol isn’t illegal, and cannabis use is growing in popularity, both products affect the way your brain processes any given experience. The same policy that applied to in-person therapy, also applies to teletherapy, phone therapy, and video therapy:please be sober. I reserve the right to end our session if I feel you are under the influence of any substance, legal or otherwise, and you will still be billed my FULL SESSION FEE OF $150.

Can you please write me an Emotional Support Animal letter?

I take my role as a therapist, and the role of Emotional Support Animals in our society, very seriously. I respect the benefits that an Emotional Support Animal can provide an individual, and want to encourage a variety of holistic treatmentIs for the mental health and neurodiverse communities. However, I have also witnessed the effects of people taking advantage of ESA policies; this makes it harder for people with mental health and disability challenges to be taken seriously.

I ask clients, and the animal in question, to attend a minimum of three sessions with me. I ask that Emotional Support Animals demonstrate basic social training.

ESA-qualification sessions do not qualify for sliding-scale fees; my full fee is $150 per session.

Can I follow my therapist on social media?

The dawn of social media has complicated the dynamic between clients and therapists! Many therapists prefer to stay a mystery. Some clients, however, like to see that their therapist is a “real person.” Some therapists use social media as a marketing tool, limiting content to wellness-related issues only. If a therapist has their social media settings set to “private,” it’s likely that they’d rather keep a firm boundary between who they are as a therapist and who they are in their private life. Eve Sturges currently has her instagram settings open to the public, though she reserves the right to change this at any time.

What is the difference between an Associate Clinical Counselor, or Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

It can be confusing to navigate all the different titles on websites like Psychology Today when you just want to find a therapist. The Board of Behavioral sciences recently made some changes, which makes it more confusing; hopefully I can help clear these terms up. The different terms come down to small differences between training and experience.

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist has completed their master’s degree, 3000 hours of work as a therapist under supervision, and passed an extensive exam. To maintain licensure, a LMFT must submit a certain number of Continuing Education Units each year. (note: 3000 hours is the requirement in the state of California; this requirement varies from state to state.)

An Associate Clinical Counselor has completed their master’s degree and is still completing their 3000 supervised hours before they can take the licensing exam. They must be supervised by a Licensed therapist. Before 2019, the title for this position was Internship. A supervisor is present as a support system for the Associate, but does not watch their therapy sessions with clients or otherwise become involved unless there is a therapeutic emergency.

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