“Therapy is a process I do with a client, not to a client.”

Trained in traditional and family systems theory, Dr. Lartin uses a multi-generational, contextual perspective on peoples’ problems and issues. Her approach is problem oriented; she does not believe that people are inherently defective or deficient so much as struggling with the impact of various events, traumas and/or family dynamics.

Should I contact a therapist?

Most people find that when their usual resources and coping patterns are not enough, it can be helpful to consult with a professional who has training and experience in the area of their concerns.

A competent therapist offers additional perspectives and ideas on the situation and helps the client to see or develop options that may not be apparent.

Many people understandably become overwhelmed by things that they are trying to deal with-difficult relationships, depression, work or other stress, death or loss, family issues, chronic illnesses. anxiety, or childhood events that are still painful to deal with. Sometimes there is a crisis that would tax anyone’s ability to cope-for example, a rape, the death of a child, or a divorce.

Most therapists provide crisis intervention, short term therapy and long term therapy. Many clients who initially come in during a crisis decide to continue therapy. They continue in order to improve their overall ability to manage their lives in a more satisfying way. Because real change takes time, and people change slowly, I schedule appointments on a monthly or as needed basis.

Some people still think that consulting a therapist reflects poorly on them, that doing so means that they are lacking in some way or are “a psych case.” There is another way to look at this, however; If you are very stressed out, life is feeling overwhelming or terribly depressing, that one of the most important things a person can do to take care of him or herself is to get some help. It needn’t be 25 years of analysis or even very costly, relative to what is at stake.

How expensive is therapy? Do I have to go every week?

Most therapists, myself included, meet with clients for several weeks in a row in order to get a good sense of the situation and help calm things down as much as possible.

After things are calmer, and people can think more effectively, I tend to schedule appointments 2-3 weeks apart,  if the person is not doing neurofeedback training. This gives people time to think about what they are doing, try new ways of dealing with things, and to become as competent as possible to deal with the situation.

This approach keeps the cost down, stimulates independence, and gives people time to practice new skills. I am credentialed by most insurance companies. I do not work with managed care companies anymore because the restrictions are not workable for me. Most clients pay on a session by session basis. Monthly statements are available upon request for those who apply for reimbursement from their insurance company.

It can be hard for some to understand why it is that something they can’t see, hear or feel costs $135 an hour. Every therapist in private practice, in addition to the years spent in preparation and training, has a number of costs that are essentially invisible to the client. In addition to the costs of setting up and maintaining an office and all that that entails, from snow removal to air conditioning, professional therapists need to participate in ongoing training and credentialing to maintain their competence and professional good standing. Additionally there are any number of insurances that are necessary, from “slip and fall” to malpractice insurance.

Add to this the expense of various equipment such as computers, printers, fax machines, phones, answering services, providing claim forms and statements; throw in an additional 7.5% income tax for social security, retirement savings, (there is no one else to contribute to this but the practitioner) and you can see why so few risk the security of paid positions for private practice. There is no paid sick time, vacations or health, life or disability insurance.

Yet the private practice therapist can offer her clients direct access, virtually no bureaucracy, and treatment that is completely tailored to each individual. Working with an experienced and well-trained therapist may cost more per session but provide the client with benefits such as an accurate formulation of the problems and realistic, successful strategies to overcome them. In the long run, the client spends less time and money and is likely to have made substantial and lasting changes in his or her life.