frequently asked questions

I thought I'd share some of the most common questions I hear before starting therapy together.  

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 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.  From my experience, 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 there's something wrong with me?

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.


Come in- how can I help?

Some different options about where we can start

Couple's Therapy


Understanding why we are disconnected and alone, and creating new ways of being with each other

Individual Therapy


Letting go of what needs to be released and discovering what needs to be found

Family Therapy


Learning new ways to care for kids and to share with parents

Play Therapy


Helping kids explore and put words to their own world

sit and stay a while

Some thoughts I share on the "Rooted + Grounded" blog



Uncertainty | Why + How to Grieve 


"There is no grief like the grief that does 

not speak."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

in the neighborhood

Some helpful resources in the nearby and virtual community


The Power of Parenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

National Child Traumatic Stress Network


"This handout provides caregivers guidance about how to address fears and feelings of prior losses that are coming up during COVID-19. This fact sheet offers information on loss and trauma reminders, coping with separation, and the mind body connection."


Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist



South Mission Valley | San Diego, CA  

858.634.0302 |