Frequently Asked Questions

Therapy encourages change by connecting the dots between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It emphasizes the exploration of your hopes and dreams versus your real world habits.

Blocks in your life could be longstanding or relatively new. You might think, “I already know what I’m supposed to do differently, I’m just not doing it. Why do I need to pay someone to tell me that? I can just get advice from friends and family.” The truth is, there is no perfect objectivity and others in your life may not make the connection to underlying causes.

Research shows that building a relationship with a caring and trained professional who can point out your blind spots at a manageable pace can be very effective for change (source).

In terms of what therapy looks like, you’ll come into my office and have a conversation about what’s going on with you. Most individuals come in for 50 minutes per week, and I recommend couples come in for 80 minutes.
There’s no hard and fast rule about the length of treatment, and so much depends on the complexity of what you’re bringing into therapy. Many clients choose to work with me for about a year, sometimes more and sometimes less. Longer-term work is what often leads to the most lasting changes you’re looking for. I welcome you to discuss your expectations of how long you’d like to attend therapy. Once you choose a therapist, take a temperature of how things are going after about 13 sessions – a season of your life – to get a sense of how the process is working. Just like working out in the gym, both consistent attendance and commitment to the process yield the best outcomes.
Yes, I do. I have experience working in several problems or concerns that bring folks to therapy. Here are some signs you may benefit from therapy with me:

  • Difficulty maintaining stable moods – becoming anxious, depressed, or angry very easily
  • A vague but haunting discomfort that things aren’t going well
  • Having the same fights over and over with your partner
  • That one life event you can’t quite “get over,” or that one life skill you really want to learn
  • Feedback from others that they’re concerned about you
  • Feeling like life is getting away from you and you’re stuck
  • Easily over-invested in work, sacrificing your well-being
  • Your caregivers were abusive or were substance abusers
  • Trauma recovery from a specific event
  • Needing support with gendered concerns or norms – i.e. women’s issues or men’s issues
  • LGBTQIA+ support
  • BIPOC support, especially mixed race or ethnicity
It’s not unusual for one partner to want couples therapy than the other. After completing the consultation call, both partners need to be willing to have an initial session to try it out. I will listen to both of your wants without shame or blame, and I will invite questions.

After that, it’s really up to both of you to keep returning. If you really want to start couples work and your partner doesn’t, it may be a great starting point to initiate individual therapy if you haven’t already.
“There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
We will talk about what feels comfortable to talk about and at your pace. Therapy can go pretty in-depth without discussing all the specifics (although specifics are welcomed). The goal isn’t always about having more sex. All desires are normal and can be explored. We will get clarity on your values and goals – however, “just do it” is not what you’re going to hear from me.
Sex therapy is like regular therapy in that we just talk about your concerns related to your sexuality or sexual functioning. As a certified sex therapist, I have spent considerably more time than the average therapist training on how to work with sexual issues.

In most cases, sex might be a source of stress, but it is interconnected with other emotional issues. Sometimes, sexual concerns are straightforward and we can focus exclusively on that. Other times, we have to explore other parts to bring the story together.

No, we don’t touch. Sex therapy is not a substitute for sex work or surrogate partnership. There are no physical exams or erotic interactions between us, and everyone’s clothes stay on. As stated above, we talk a lot like in typical therapy. However, I may suggest touch exercises for you to try at home alone or with partners (with consent). With couples in session, I may suggest touch exercises to increase connection and attachment. Sexy stuff stays out of therapy. If you are looking for healing work that includes touch, I can connect you with other professionals who work differently.
Generally speaking, I prefer to be your only individual or couples therapist. You can have an individual and couples therapist at the same time, but only one of each kind. In very limited cases, I may work as an “adjunct” therapist with a high level of involvement from your existing therapist. If you have a therapist already but want to work with me, let’s talk about your circumstances more in depth in a consultation.
Surrogate partnership is a form of therapy that includes relationship-building and touch. It is appropriate for all genders. Engaging with a trained surrogate partner requires you to work with a therapist (like me) concurrently to create a team approach. I am not a surrogate partner, but I do collaborative work with surrogates and can provide referrals.

Surrogate partnership therapy was created by Masters and Johnson to help with many issues where in vivo experiences could benefit clients. Sometimes people have called it “sex surrogacy”, although that is not the preferred terminology because the relationship is the focus and sex may not be involved.

If you are interested in knowing more, check out the International Professional Surrogates Association.
Yes, I work with individuals and couples with different relationship agreements and across the sexuality and gender spectrum. If you’re thinking of opening your relationship or otherwise need to work on the structure of your relationship, I can help. If kink or BDSM is also part of your relationships, I have advanced competency with that as well.
“There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I am not in-network for insurance panels. However, many PPO policies will cover a percentage of out-of-network (OON) mental health treatment as part of their benefit – sometimes up to 70%. I am happy to provide documentation to you as an out-of-network provider for you to get that benefit from your PPO. Plans do vary, so it’s recommended you research that info in advance. See the next FAQ for tips!

I accept HSA/FSA funds like a debit card. HMOs do not offer out-of-network benefits under most circumstances.
Contact your member services or benefits administrator to help understand your policy. You’ll pay my rate in full, and I will create a monthly Superbill statement for you to submit to your insurance company. Please note that a mental health diagnosis will be required. Here are some helpful questions to ask:
  • Do I have any benefits for out-of-network therapy? CPT codes if needed:
      -Individual therapy: 90834
      -Couples therapy: 90847 and add-on code 99354
  • When is the beginning of my plan year?
  • What is my OON deductible and has it been met?
  • Is there a limit to the number of sessions my plan covers or prior authorizations required?
  • What is my reimbursement rate, and what is the max allowable amount per therapy session?
  • What is the process to file and receive my reimbursement?
Next step is to book a free consultation. During the consultation, we will talk about the ways that I can best support your goals. We’ll assess if I’m the right professional for you, and we’ll schedule a time to meet for a first session. If you’re interested in couples therapy, I need both partners on the call during this consultation.
“There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I prefer “dee-VAH,” like ‘diva’. My last name is “sEE-guhl,” similiar to ‘seagull’. Before you ask, the 90’s action star and martial artist has a different last name altogether.
I currently see clients during weekdays and early evenings. My office is at 582 Market St. in the downtown San Francisco area just outside the Montgomery Station. I conduct video therapy through HIPAA-compliant Zoom.
Yes, I am. I am mixed South Asian Indian and Caucasian. My parent is an immigrant and part of the global majority. I have parts outside of the dominant culture that inform my life, and I recognize privileges in my experiences and socialization. In my practice, I often help clients that are multiethnic, BIPOC, first or second-generation immigrants, or have multiple racial or cultural identities. This includes interracial or intercultural couple clients.
Look at you, overachieving already! I’ve got just the thing. See my RESOURCES page.
“There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.” – Rainer Maria Rilke