Answered by Lauren Presutti

What is your degree and license?

Master of Social Work. I am an active member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). I hold licensure (LLMSW) through the state of Michigan. License Number: 6801106894.

Are you licensed to work with me?

If you live in the state of Michigan, I am licensed to work with you as a clinical social worker.

What is your title?

Mental health professionals can have a lot of interchangeable titles and I know it can be confusing.

What I am:

  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Psychotherapist / Therapist / Counselor
  • Mental Health Clinician / Practitioner

What I am not:

  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Doctor

What is the difference between “counseling” and “therapy”?

Like many people, I use these words interchangeably. You can use whichever you feel most comfortable with. Some people differentiate the terms by viewing mental health counseling as a short-term, goal-directed process, focusing on specific concerns and skills to help a person address a particular problem. Psychotherapy is sometimes viewed as a longer-term, explorative process, focusing on a broad range of a person’s experiences, history, development, and life behaviors. These definitions are not solidified. Feel free to use either term in our work together, or let me know which you prefer.

What is the difference between “client” and “patient”?

You may hear these words used interchangeably. Sometimes I use the word patient because I am a mental health professional and I am committed to addressing your mental health, similarly to a health professional addressing your physical health. I believe mental health is just as important as physical health and I am working against stigmas that place mental health below physical health. I also appreciate the elements of care, compassion, treatment, healing, and responsibility implicit in the term "patient." To me, the term “client” is similar to “customer” and feels a bit too similar to the clients of a hairdresser or financial advisor. However, I appreciate varying perspectives on both terms, and you can use whichever term you feel most comfortable with. I will be happy to address you in any way you like. My work is about helping you feel the most safe and comfortable – that is all that matters.

Will anyone know that I see you? Or what we talk about?

By law, your confidentiality is protected and taken seriously. Without your written consent, I am legally not able to tell anyone the contents of our sessions – and – I cannot confirm nor deny that I recognize your name in any context. To further protect your confidentiality, therapists generally do not acknowledge that they know their patients if they see them in public, unless the patient approaches the therapist to make contact first. There are very rare exceptions to confidentiality. The law requires me to break confidentiality in certain circumstances, including if there is immediate danger to yourself or others, if there is reported abuse or neglect of a minor, elder, or other person who cannot protect themselves. Further, confidential information may be required if a court of law subpoenas information. Please also note that sometimes insurance companies require me to disclose diagnosis information to obtain payment for services.

Do you accept insurance?

Yes! Please contact me and I will be happy to discuss insurance information with you.

What are the fees?

Please contact me I will be happy to discuss this information with you.

How do I get started?

Getting started is fast and easy. Just contact me and we’ll set something up.

What should I expect?

The first session will be a little different from the following sessions. In the first session, we will meet each other, go over some forms and processes, and you can tell me about yourself. I always look forward to meeting people in the first session because it should be casual, relaxed, warm, and welcoming. Together, we can decide your goals for treatment and talk about what you would like to work on. The first session is also an opportunity for me to ask you a general series of questions that will help me better understand your needs and how I can best support you.

In the following sessions, we will go at your pace. Generally, you decide how much you want to reveal, how deep you want to go, and how quickly. It is my job to help and support you as we work through the concerns that you bring into therapy. Through the process, your active participation and willingness to engage fully in our work together will be paramount to your progress.

How long is each appointment?

About 45-50 minutes.

What is your therapeutic style / approach?

I approach psychotherapy with the understanding that no single theory or technique can explain our complicated histories, identities, or abilities. My work tends to be very person-centered, as I closely hold the values of empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard for others. I consider effective therapy to be possible when the relationship between patient and therapist is team-oriented. Recognizing individuals as the experts on their own lives, I desire strong therapeutic alliances with people and view therapy as a partnership in which we work together to determine the direction and content of the therapeutic process.

In my work, I listen to and organize the narratives and presenting problems of my patients. This allows me to attend to particular themes and issues, which in turn lead me to identify particular etiological pathways and consider potential treatment goals and desired outcomes that frame the work we engage in. I value the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques and trust in the importance of challenging and changing unhelpful thinking patterns, improving maladaptive behaviors, and developing effective coping strategies. I also draw from dialectical behavioral therapy, specifically mindfulness and skills for emotional regulation. By incorporating different therapeutic techniques, my goal is to collaboratively create tailored treatment plans that can be successfully integrated into the daily lives of my patients.

One of my values as a therapist is my innate ability to “sit with the pain” – and allow for raw emotion in session. Clinical trainings rely heavily on teaching specific interventions to achieve tangible results. While these are certainly important, I fear this field is becoming dominated by short-term, solution-focused therapy that doesn’t necessarily prove useful for deeper psychological suffering, such as trauma, grief, acceptance work, and more. I work to honor your deepest emotional experiences and guide your healing process on a safe, intimate level.

I welcome further questions about my practice.

How long does treatment last?

It depends on the individual. There’s no single answer for how long treatment should last. Some people enter therapy with a specific problem they would like to have solved in the immediate future. They may be looking for brief counseling to learn new coping skills during a stressful time or they may seek counseling for a few months of support after a difficult experience, such as a relationship break up or the death of a pet. Other people may enter therapy with more complicated concerns, such as childhood trauma or chronic depression. They may be looking for longer-term support to explore deeper patterns and discover insight behind their feelings and struggles. One person might be in therapy for a few weeks, while another might continue with treatment for several years. Further, some patients may feel they have resolved their initial concerns, but continue to return on an as-needed-basis when new struggles surface. Together, we will determine what might work best for you.

Will you prescribe medication?

Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. In our work together, if we decide that medication may be needed for treatment, we can explore that option together and locate a psychiatrist or other physician to evaluate your medication needs. As a therapist, I cannot prescribe medication, but I can work with your psychiatrist / physician to coordinate care and ensure that your treatment plan is comprehensive.

Will you work with my psychiatrist and other care providers?

Absolutely. With your written consent, you can allow me and your other care providers to work together. This will be helpful to coordinate your treatment and make it easier for you to receive the best possible care. Care coordination can also make it easier to address all your questions and concerns across your treatment team. It helps to keep everyone on the same page, so you can focus on living your best life.

What if I do therapy “wrong” with you?

It is impossible to do therapy “wrong.” There is no right or wrong way to engage in this work. This is not something you will be judged or scored on. I encourage you to express whatever is on your mind in whatever way you choose – the good, bad, and ugly. Let yourself be honest and open in this process. I will accept you for who and how you are – always.

What if I want to change therapists?

Your happiness and growth is my top priority. Therapy can only be productive and successful if you are able to connect deeply and form a strong alliance with your therapist. If you decide at any point – for any reason – that you would prefer a different therapist, please let me know. You will not hurt my feelings. I want you to speak up because I do not want to waste your time. If needed, I would be happy to help refer you to another therapist who may be a better fit for you.

What if I have an emergency?

Call 911 in any case of emergency. My email and phone number is not a confidential form of communication. Therefore, I cannot provide any counseling or emergency support through email or phone. I also cannot ensure that emails or phone calls will be responded to as quickly as one might need. In the case of any emergency, please always call 911.

Can I ask more questions?

Of course. I am happy to answer questions at any time. Contact me.