Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Several things affect how long, or how many appointments clients require. You have probably hear of some individuals who have been going to therapy continuously, every week or so, for several years. This is a fairly with an approach like long-term psychoanalysis. However, most therapists have learned to use briefer forms of therapy. This is due in part, to the fact that insurance companies like to limit the number of sessions they are willling to pay for. However, it is very clear based on a large number of quality research studies that the rate of improvement in counseling often starts to decrease after about five to six appointments.

A second factor involved in determining the duration of therapy is the severity of your condition, and the number of problems you face. Relatedly, whether or not a particular diagnosis tends to be chronic is most strongly associated with long-term therapy. So, for example, bereavement episodes tend to be shorter term in duration than a condition like true bipolar disorder, which is often a life-long condition. Also, some problems such as addictions (alcohol, pathological gambling), tend to involve a great many relapses along one’s way toward recovery. Furthermore, in many cases, when one’s life situation suddenly changes for the better, e.g., a client secures a better job after being fired, his or her behavioral health can improve significantly. Situational or life circumstances can cause counseling to become shorter or longer in duration.

Unfortunately, a third factor that promotes longer-than-necessary therapy is some counselors’ motivation to keep clients in therapy as long as possible, as their financial livelihood depends on it. I am not sure how often this happens but of course, it is not an ethical use of clients’ time or their financial resources. I clearly found this overuse of to be the case quite often when working in a primary care clinic, where the expectation was to see as many patients as possible, for the least amount of time necessary to provide the most benefit. We could not see all of the patients that needed help and so we referred many to therapists in the community spent far longer in counseling that the ones we saw in the primary care clinic, with about 25% of them using up all of the appointments allowed by the insurance company for the year.

A fourth factor that leads to longer-than-needed therapy has to do with the use of inefficient approaches to helping. Having had the opportunity to review over 1000 full medical records of social security disability patients in the past 15 years, I have found that the vast majority of therapists (over 90%) never provide evidence that they are actually applying the empirically-supported form of therapy they claimed to be using. If they did, the duration of therapy is very likely to be shorter and improvement, greater. For example, while a therapist claimed to use “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)”, yet their case notes nearly always read like a running diary of the life events experienced by the client since the last appointment. Nothing was ever mentioned about the outcome of CBT procedures, whether symptoms were improving since the last appointment, whether the client had completed a “homework” assignment, etc. Apparently, CBT is not actually occurring in the sessions, which was almost certainly inefficient and needlessly extended the duration of therapy.

In summary, the factors mentioned above all contribute to the duration of therapy. Here are some rough guidelines for you: 1) After completing an initial appointment with your therapist, you should ask how long therapy for a problem such as yours normally takes. 2) Your therapist should be able to outline what sorts of things you will be doing in future appointments to promote improvement. They should be able to outline goals. Relatedly, I believe clients should never leave any appointment without having something specific to be working on they feel motivated to do. (What will you be doing, when, for how long, etc……). 3) You should leave the first appointment or two with a sense of hopefulness, sensing that on the right track toward resolving your problem. 4) You may want to check with your insurance company to see how many appointments they will initially authorize. 5) If your counseling is occurring in conjunction with taking medication for your conditions, your therapist should ask you to sign a release form so he/she can touch base with your medication provider. Collaborating with your medication provider will make your therapy more effective, and vice/versa.

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Choosing the right doctor or behavioral health provider can be a confusing task. One person may prefer to talk to someone who has spent much of their career training other counselors or doctors because they assume that such a person really knows the theory, procedures etc., related to particular treatments. Some may want a therapist who has vast experience developing the very latest techniques and publishes research on these techniques in respected professional journals. Still others may simply want to see someone who has exceptional breadth of experience helping lots of people with multiple problems, much like a highly experienced family health physician.

I am confident I offer a combination of all of the above attributes: 1) unique advanced training; a Ph.D. clinical psychologist, with a specialty area (health psychology). 2) 20+ years of experience as a professor and trainer of counselors and Ph.D. psychologists at major universities; 3) a treatment perspective that incorporates new knowledge I have developed as a university researcher; 4) the skills obtained through years of applied practice in clinics, hospitals, etc. Thus, I am confident I can help you with your concerns and would be a good match for what you are looking for in a behavioral health practitioner or consultant.


Most recently, I have been serving as a Ph.D. clinical health psychologist with the U.S. Air force, working with active duty members and their families in medical facilities. My unique combination of training and experience has effectively assisted clients with such challenges as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, chronic pain, Type 2 diabetes, and marital problems, ADHD, and many other difficulties. I work well with individuals who are reluctant to talk to a therapist about personal problems or are very ambivalent about making changes in their life.
On a personal level, outside of work, I enjoy simple, outdoor pleasures such as hiking and visiting national parks. However what I have loved best in my life has been my role as a father. Now…I say ‘has been’, because very recently, I have discovered that the absolute best role in life is grandfather.

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Dr. Stein has extensive experience working with clients, patients and students in online or video formats. You will find no real difference in the experience of sitting down face-to-face, versus a video interaction.

Advantages over face-to-face meetings include: 1) Convenience! First, think about the amount of time it takes for you to leave work or home, travel to a doctor’s office, then complete your appointment and drive back. With online video therapy, you will easily save over one hour of travel time to and from a therapist or doctor’s office. Second, you complete your confidential appointment in the safety and comfort of your own home or office. Third, online appointments are generally available either before or after your normal workday—no need to take time off work for a doctors’ appointment Third, we have the ability to send and receive helpful resources through the internet in real time, at the moment in time it is most relevant.

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For persons residing in the state of Utah, both PEHP and Blue Cross are accepted. We hope that Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, EMI will be accepted starting about May 1, 2019 in both Utah and Arizona.

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The individual counseling and psychotherapy services are restricted to residents of Utah and Arizona. This is due to the fact that state licensing laws in the U.S. typically do not allow psychologists or other therapists to see clients outside the state in which they hold a license to practice.

Other services such as consultation on thesis and dissertations, or consultation about employee behavior problems are available to anyone.

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When you scheduled your appointment, you were automatically sent an email that confirms the appointment and includes instructions for connecting with the secure, online video counseling system. Please follow these instructions. You can use any mobile device and opt for either an audio-only appointment or audio + video appointment.

If you have any questions, send them through an email response or use the Contact Form (located on the Home page and other pages).

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You can obtain assistance with behavioral management of difficult employees, as Dr. Stein has over 12 years of personnel management experience, particularly in the public sector e.g., higher education.

Dr. Stein will also contract with individuals regarding developing graduate program theses and research dissertations. He can help you with all stages, from idea development, proposal composition, research design and data analysis expertise, planning a research thesis or dissertation document, preparing for a dissertation defense meeting, etc. This assistance can help students who feel they have an inactive or less-than-engaged major professor or dissertation chairperson and need more guidance. Dr. Stein has successfully chaired over 50 research thesis and dissertation committees at major, publicly-funded universities. Assistance in these domains must be limited to topics in education, social sciences and health, i.e., topics within the areas of our expertise.

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If you scheduled counseling or therapy appointment, what would your experience be like? 

First, I believe I provide clients with the experience of being listened to far better than they have likely encountered with other health care providers.   Clients and patients need an opportunity to put their problems or difficulties into their own words.  I exercise great patience helping them do just that.  You need to a chance to hear themselves think out loud in a safe, nonjudgmental setting

Second I tend to focus on helping clients identify and then reframe their problem, either as an internal conflict they have been unable to resolve or, a situation they feel they cannot cope with.  In other words, I think the most important part of your first appointment is helping you put into words what you think, feel, but cannot find the words to accurately express.  I can guarantee there are imporant aspects of your problem you have not been able to put into words!  A related aspect of counseling or therapy is helping clients articulate what they say to themselves i.e., their internal dialogue or ‘self-talk’, which reflects the conflicts and problems they have not yet resolved.   In summary, much of what I do falls under the technical term, “cognitive therapy”

Third, I think clients find me to be highly practical.  I tend to help them focus on the ‘here and now’.  I will not inquire much about the happened during an adult client’s childhood or other ‘history’, unless it is truly relevant to their current problem.   I realize many therapists think it is helpful for clients to gain insight into the causes and history of their problem.  However,  I don’t find it to be particularly useful or necessary to understand  ‘why’ something happened.  Rather, I primarily focus our therapy effort on ‘what to do about it’.  This is is a more efficient use of your therapy time.  Similarly, spending time finding a label for a problem e.g., a diagnosis, is not as important as finding solutions to it. 

I think you will find that I am unlike others you may have talked to about your problems.  I look forward to meeting you. 

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Yes, in the past 20 years, Dr. Stein in particular, has worked with individuals of all ages, and in the past few years, he has increasingly worked with seniors. He has special expertise and understanding of persons with serious, chronic medical conditions, and active duty military from all branches (their families, and veterans).

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