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Exceptional Relationship Therapy for VA Couples


Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions Dr. McDowell receives from new clients before beginning therapy.

These are answered directly by Dr. McDowell.  Should you have other questions about starting, please do not hesitate to contact her.

How do I know if I need therapy?

It can be hard to know if you need therapy, especially if you have never tried it before.

In short, if you’re having trouble sorting through your emotions, changing unwanted behaviors, or resolving relationship issues, then therapy may be a good option.

Therapy can also be very helpful when going through a major life transition or navigating through a crisis like death of a loved one, separation or divorce, birth of a child, or getting married.

Self help approaches are good as well but therapy can often help you reach your goals faster and with a more personalized feel than other options.

What is your fee?

The current (2024) rates for individual and couples sessions may be found here:

Appointments & Fees

Do you accept health insurance for therapy services?

I’m not an in-network provider with any health insurance companies.  However, many clients use their out-of-network mental health provider benefits to work with me.

Please click below to find out more about the insurance policy for Decision Point Therapy.


How long does treatment typically last?

There is no “typical” length of treatment or number of sessions for psychotherapy, as this varies depending on your particular needs and circumstances.

However, I encourage most clients to plan for at least 8-12 sessions of therapy, at which point we will assess your progress and determine if you’ve reached your goals and are ready to leave or if further treatment may be needed.

There are many factors that affect how long your treatment lasts, and ultimately the decision to end therapy is up to you although you will have my full support and guidance on this.

Commitment to the process of therapy, active involvement, and consistent attendance are some of the key factors in determining your treatment length and results.

How often are sessions?

Most clients attend sessions once per week.  However, some clients opt to attend sessions once every other week to best accommodate their schedule or financial needs.

It is highly recommended that you plan to attend sessions once per week in the beginning of your therapy treatment.

We will work together to find a session schedule that works best for you and your circumstances.

Is the first session free?

No, the first session is billed the same as all subsequent sessions.  However, you may contact me for a free phone consultation prior to the first session to help determine if therapy with me is a good fit.

Get a Free Consult

May I begin therapy right away?

Absolutely, if there is availability.  Some clients are very nervous about beginning therapy and find that starting right away helps with their worries. While other clients are just excited to begin therapy and want to hit the ground running!

If you’d like to get started right away, please mention this in your message to me.  I’ll do my best to contact you right away and offer a same day appointment if possible.

In all cases, you can expect to be contacted within 24 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) for your free therapy consultation.  You will be scheduled based on appointment availability.

How do I choose a therapist?

Obviously, it is important to choose a therapist that you feel comfortable with, as the therapy process is very personal and at times difficult.

Factors that contribute to feeling comfortable and connected to your therapist vary from person to person. Oftentimes you may not know how you feel with a particular therapist until you’ve met them in person.

I am fully supportive of clients “shopping” around and meeting with more than one therapist before making their final selection.

You may also want to consider a therapist’s worldview and philosophy about change, as some people find that this helps them more easily connect with their therapist.  (See below for info on my therapy approach.)

Beyond comfort and connection, however, it is also important to choose a therapist with appropriate credentials and a license to practice in your state.

My license number in Virginia is 0717001389.  You may use the following link for online therapist verification: VA Therapist Verification

What is your approach to therapy and belief about change?

My approach to psychotherapy is based on the idea that patterns of behavior and emotional expression in relationships influence the individual and therefore must be considered as a part of the treatment process.

Therefore, I consider you within the context of your environment (i.e. family, community) whether you are seeking individual, couples, or family therapy.

I believe that psychotherapy can be a powerful vehicle for getting you to your ideal life and relationships!  New insight is just as important as new skills in helping you reach your personal and relationship goals.

Furthermore, l believe that all clients come to therapy with numerous strengths, not just challenges.

However, change can only occur when clients take active stances in both their thoughts and behaviors.  A major part of this stance requires recognizing and accepting individual responsibility in your life and I’m here to support you in doing so.

I work hard to provide safety, validation, and respect throughout the treatment process.

What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Please use the below link for the answer to this question.

About MFTs

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