Common Questions

Are you doctors, therapists, counselors…?
We are Personal and Relationship Coaches. Our role is that of teacher, consultant, or coach, rather than psychotherapist or mental health counselor. David has an MSW Degree from the University of Illinois, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Sherry has an M.S.Ed Degree from Northern Illinois University, and has been certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia as a Family Mediator. We are both certified by the National Council on Family Relations as Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE).

How are you different from other counselors?
Our approach differs from that of many practitioners in several significant ways. We are coaches, not therapists. We do not diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders; we teach skills that are based on a model of health rather than sickness. We believe that we can take a more positive and effective approach by focusing on solutions, and by encouraging the conscious application of practical skills.

Will my insurance pay for your services?
Our services are not covered by insurance.  The mental health coverage with most medical insurance plans typically covers a portion of the cost of what they consider to be medically necessary treatment for a diagnosed psychiatric disorder.  Providers of these services must give your insurance company or its managed care agency a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment plan justifying the medical necessity of therapy. We do not diagnose and treat mental illness. We teach Relationship Skills, and we coach individuals, couples and families as they learn and master these skills.

How long does this work take?
We begin by scheduling one session only.  If you choose to do the work with us, we generally expect to meet 6 to 8 times over a 2 to 3 month period.  This is enough time to make some significant changes.  At that time, we take stock, we talk about what we have accomplished, and about where to go from there.  Sometimes, our work is done in this time.  Other times, we decide to continue.  More than anything, this depends on what you do between sessions.  Familiar, well-established patterns of behavior become automatic, virtually unconscious.  When we begin to learn new, more effective behaviors, we must practice them.  These new behaviors are not automatic, and must be repeated if they are to replace the old ones.  Your job is to do your homework,  to repeat these new, conscious actions, until they become familiar.

Why are relationships important?
The quality of our personal relationships is a key factor in achieving happiness and success in life. When our relationships at home or at work are strained, our self-esteem suffers, our joy of life is reduced, and even our physical health can be compromised.  The best gift we can give ourselves is the skill to tend to these relationships.  Successful, productive relationships do not occur automatically – they are the result of conscious attention and deliberate action.  In short, a relationship isn’t something I have…it’s something I do!