frequently asked questions

Therapy is an unfamiliar process for many, so I thought I'd share some of the most common questions I hear when folks are interested in working with me.  I'm glad you asked!

How do I know if I need therapy?

I firmly believe that therapy is successful when you are ready to engage in the process and when you find a compatible therapist.   When considering working with me, I encourage you to ask:


1.  Do I want to begin therapy?  (Not, “Would so-and-so be pleased if I started?” or “I should start working on my issues.”), and

2.  Does Alair seem like the best fit for me?


While I can’t answer #1 for you, I can certainly help with #2.  I offer complimentary 30-minute consultation sessions so that you can meet me, get to know more about the work I do and see if I am a good fit for you.


How much do you charge?

My fee is $160 per 50-55 minute therapy session, and $240 per 80-85 minute therapy session.  The fee is the same regardless of who is in the therapy session (couple, family, etc.).


I know that the therapy process does include a financial investment, and at the same time, I wouldn’t want this process to add undue stress to your life.  Please let me know if the cost of therapy poses a hindrance for you to work with me.


Do you take insurance?

Since I am an out-of-network provider, I do not take any insurance.  However, there are some insurance providers and plans that do cover a portion of the cost for mental health services, including therapy.


I encourage you to check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover any portion of the cost of therapy with an out-of-network provider.  When you contact the provider, I suggest asking about the following:


·      Deductible for your policy (amount of bills you must pay before your insurance provides coverage)

·      Amount insurance will pay for each visit

·      Maximum visits allowed per calendar year

·      Maximum amount paid per calendar year for visits

·      Which diagnoses they cover (you will need to be given a diagnosis in order to receive reimbursement for therapy services)


How long does therapy last?

While every therapy process looks different, there are a few factors that can help us understand how long this process might last:

  • Your motivation and consistency.  The clients who see (and feel) progress the quickest are the ones who attend sessions regularly, are motivated to be open and transparent with me, and implement suggestions and recommendations in between the times we meet. 
  • The nature of your struggles.  There are a few factors that may slow down the therapy process, namely trauma, addiction and attachment injuries (wounds from relationships, such as affairs, abuse, etc.).  These factors require an extra amount of care and support, which may mean that our progress moves at a slower pace.
  • How safe you feel with me.  I’m guessing that, for most of us, we’re not going to be vulnerable and share with someone we don’t completely trust.  As we move along in this process, please feel free to share any feedback or concerns with me about what you need to feel safe and comfortable in therapy.

But you don't know my spouse/kid/background.

I may not be the first therapist you’ve reached out to for help.  You may feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options, energy and effort, and are struggling to believe that anything else could help.  While I don’t claim to have a “magic fix” for your situation, I can reassure you that I will consistently offer:

  • My presence.  I will be in this with you and will create a safe place for you.
  • My acceptance.  I won’t judge or condemn.  I will hold what you share with me with sensitivity, respect and grace.
  • My experience.  I am constantly learning and refining my skills so that I can serve you better.
  • My hope.  I will hold out a vision for what life can be like and will remind you of that vision along the way.

Does therapy mean I'm going crazy?

For a long time, the therapy office has been quite taboo and mysterious.  While some might think that seeking therapy support equals “weakness” or “being crazy,” I believe that therapy is one avenue that can bring new perspective, new tools and new hope for getting unstuck.  When we find ourselves immersed and overwhelmed by life’s struggles, I believe that we need others to help us out.  My role as a therapist is to walk alongside you as we find our way out of the chaos and build a new "home" for you and yours.


How do I know when I'm done?

From our very first session, we will be talking about our last session.  I don't believe therapy must last forever, nor do I believe that therapy is a quick-fix.  Throughout our time together, I will check in with you to see if we are addressing the reasons why you came to see me in the first place, and whether or not you are experiencing growth and change.


As time goes on, you'll need to meet with me less and less often.  There will come a point where you may be ready to take a break or stop therapy altogether, because you feel confident in the "new home" we've created.  Even then, you can always come back to work with me for any length of time - I'll still be there to walk alongside you.


Rooted & Grounded



New on the blog:

Authenticity | A Guide for Reflecting on 2019


 How can we look back

to helps us as we look ahead.

In the neighborhood...


Raising Emotionally Healthy Children | January 13th, 2020

Point Loma Presbyterian Church Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Group


I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend time with moms of young kids and explore different ways that we can help cultivate emotional health in our children.

Around town...

"Screen-based media associated with structural differences in brains of young children"

Science Daily 


"A new study documents structural differences in the brains of preschool-age children related to screen-based media use. The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, shows that children who have more screen time have lower structural integrity of white matter tracts in parts of the brain that support language and other emergent literacy skills. These skills include imagery and executive function — the process involving mental control and self-regulation. These children also have lower scores on language and literacy measures."


Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist



South Mission Valley | San Diego, CA  92108

858.634.0302 |