Frequently Asked Questions About Career & Executive Counseling

How long is a session? - Normally, sessions are 50 minutes long, although arrangements can be made for longer sessions.

How many sessions will I need? - The answer to that question depends entirely on the issue(s) you are seeking to resolve. If you’re coming in for something fairly straightforward, such as networking or interviewing coaching, or to improve your resume/LinkedIn profile/cover letter, you’ll probably need to meet with me once or twice. If you’re looking to tackle a more complex issue (e.g. if you’re dissatisfied with your current career but don’t know what alternatives would make sense, and/or if there is a significant emotional block like low self-confidence or debilitating anxiety) we’re probably looking at somewhere between four and eight sessions. After a preliminary conversation with you I’ll be able to give you a reasonable estimate.

Do you require face-to-face meetings, or can you work remotely? - I prefer to meet face-to-face if at all possible, because the in-person experience allows me to get a fuller picture of you as an individual, which is important in making sure that the solution for you is as precisely tailored as possible. However I do work with clients ion other parts of the country and internationally, and I am open to remote communication if in-person isn’t feasible. FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are all pretty good vehicles for this purpose. Please note that I have two office locations: my primary office in Dupont Circle and my home office about 10 minutes south of the Beltway in Alexandria. 

How much do you charge? My rate per 50 minute session ranges from $150 to $350. The rate varies according to the complexity of the issue(s) we will be working on, and your ability to pay.

Do you offer packages? If, after our initial meeting we determine that multiple sessions make sense, I will be happy to discuss a package with a reduced per-session fee.

Do you take insurance? - If you are eligible for insurance reimbursement (i.e. if our work together involves a significant emotional or psychological component, and if you have out-of-network mental health benefits), I will be happy to provide you with the documentation necessary for reimbursement. Unfortunately I will not be able to determine whether you have coverage as there are hundreds of types of plans offered by insurance carriers; you will need to contact your carrier or HR department to determine whether your plan provides coverage for my services.

What forms of payment do you accept? - Check, Venmo, PayPal, or cash.

What age clients do you primarily work with? I work with clients at every stage of their career, from about-to-graduate college students to seniors looking to open a new work chapter in their lives. 

What can I expect from the first session? - The primary tasks in our first session will be:

  1.  Agree to a goal (s) for our work together. 
  2. Get to know each other so as to ensure that we’re a good “fit” (it’s very rare that the fit isn’t good).
  3. Agree to next steps that will begin to move the ball forward. I believe that every session should include assignments that will result in progress towards our agreed-upon goals.

Can you help people discover their passion? -First of all, despite conventional wisdom, most people do not have one passion buried inside of them that simply needs to be discovered. More generally, people are capable of developing passion for multiple careers. 

Can you help me feel more fulfilled in my current job? - Most certainly. There are proven techniques that can enhance job satisfaction to at least some degree. Whenever I work with clients who are dissatisfied with their job or their career I make sure to devote at least some time to teaching these techniques in addition to working on exploring alternatives and improving their ability to find better employment. 

Do You Do Career Testing? Career testing is not something I do a lot of: quite honestly I’m not a big believer in career testing for most people. Test results generally confirm what people already know about themselves, and the results are frequently so broad that they don’t provide much practical guidance. Furthermore there is next to no evidence that following the findings of career testing leads to career fulfillment and success.

Do You Give Advice on Moving Ahead in Your organization? Yes; it’s an area I have a great deal of familiarity with, having successfully negotiated my own advancement to the top in the very competitive world of advertising.

Why would I need coaching on how to network? Most clients don’t recognize how absolutely fundamental  networking can be both in exploring career alternatives and in landing the right position. Applying to jobs posted online is how most job seekers spend the bulk of their time and energy, but it’s a method that has a very low likelihood of success. Much more productive is reaching out to people who are 1) in a position to help you understand the lay of the land along career paths you’re exploring; 2) who are in a position to know of available jobs before they’re posted; 3) who can give you tips on applying and interviewing for specific positions and; 4) may be willing to lobby on your behalf if you’ve impressed them. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the whole process of networking: they might be reluctant to reach out to others because they don’t want to impose or because it feels like they’re using people or because they don’t know what kinds of questions to ask. I can help you with all of these issues.

Do you give advice on negotiating job offers/asking for raises? Absolutely.

Can you help me improve my motivation?  Reduce anxiety? Build self-confidence? Deal with overwhelm? - All of these issues are grounded in patterns of emotion and self-defeating ways of thinking about yourself. As a licensed psychotherapist in practice for over 20 years I have vast experience dealing with these blocks to job and career success and happiness, and specific techniques to deal with them.

How can I tell if I need to change jobs? (Thanks to the Washington Post’s Lee Goessl) - Here are some signs to pay attention to:

  1. Days are stressful – and only stressful (there are relatively few moments of true satisfaction).
  2. You’ve changed yourself to fit the position (the fit was good when you started but the position has evolved away from your strengths/likes perhaps because of outside factors like a takeover, a reorganization, or downsizing.
  3. Your job is a dead end with no obvious positions to move up to.
  4. You chased the money but have realized that just the paycheck isn’t enough to fulfill you Quitting time is the day’s highlight.
  5. There’s been a shift in organizational values (more emphasis on the bottom line? Less ethical?).
  6. You’re having performance struggles (your evaluations aren’t decent, feedback from superiors is negative).
  7.  Work/life balance is progressively getting worse – Unless you can confidently predict that a deterioration in work/life balance is temporary, it is often a sign that your organization is investing in fewer resources than is necessary to get the job done well.
  8. You’re having difficulty getting along with your boss – It may happen that you find yourself with a new boss. If your day-to-day relationship with that boss becomes uncomfortable, or in the worst case scenario contentious, you should start considering moving on. Most people underestimate the influence that their bosses have on their career trajectories; it is generally enormous. So even if you are doing an outstanding job in the eyes of your co-workers, and even others in management, a bad relationship with your boss is frequently fatal.