What does “M.S., L.M.F.T.” stand for?
M.S. is the designation for “Master of Science Degree”. L.M.F.T. represents “Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist”, the official title of the license granted by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. "Shirley Miller, M.S., L.M.F.T." is the accepted method of signature when acting in my official capacity.
What is your fee? Do you take insurance?
My fee is $125 for a 50-minute session, payable by check, cash, debit card, or credit card at the beginning of the appointment. I keep a limited number of client slots available at a sliding scale fee. Regarding insurance, I am an “out of network provider” and will furnish you with a “superbill” receipt that you may submit to your insurance company for reimbursement directly to you. For more on this subject, please see the “Fees and Insurance” tab.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Yes. As outlined in my Client Contract, I ask that you give me 24 hour notice if you find it necessary to cancel an appointment. I reserve the right to charge full fee for cancelled or missed sessions if sufficient notice is not given or the cancellation policy is not respected. Exceptions are made for emergencies at my discretion.
Are sessions confidential?
Yes. You can expect confidentiality with a few legally defined exceptions. As a mandated reporter I am legally bound to report situations that come to light in instances of child abuse, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse. If there is a threat of harm to others, I am required by law to inform the intended victim(s) and notify the police. In the case of self-harm, the law allows me to take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to self or suicide.
What types of therapeutic approaches do you use?
Like many therapists, I draw from several theoretical approaches adapting to differing clients, situations or stages of therapy. I believe that many of our issues stem from false belief systems, so I tend to utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients identify and alter their negative, unhealthy thought patterns. This works nicely with the Biblical concepts of renewing our minds, taking thoughts into captivity and finding our true identity in Christ. As one of my favorite pastors says, “We know people by their fruits; we understand them by their roots.” I heartily agree with this and use psychodynamic approaches to help a client understand the origins of their negative belief systems or outlooks. This is not done in an attempt to assign blame, but rather to bring clarity, learn grace for ourselves and others, and move into a more truthful, peaceful, purposeful way of life.
Are you a Christian Therapist?
Yes. I am a Christian whose personal worldview is governed by my belief that Jesus came to save a fallen world. Although psychotherapy deals in making improvements to one’s life, I believe that Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life merely to improve us, but rather He came to sanctify and indwell us.
I am also a credentialed psychotherapist, licensed by the state of California. Though previously trained in Biblical Counseling, I felt it was important to receive the education and experience to understand mental illness, family dynamics, and particularly crisis management. We were created as body, mind and spirit, and our moods, thoughts and behaviors are interconnected to all elements of our being.
Some of my clients are looking for psychotherapy, plain and simple. I provide that without compromising Biblical truth or inserting my personal beliefs. Others are specifically seeking a therapist who aligns with their Christian worldview, but who will take the time to understand the origins and complexities of their dysfunctional thinking or unhealthy family dynamics. My life experience and training uniquely equip me to help clients navigate their issues to arrive at understanding truth and learning to live in harmony with God’s truth.
For more on my thoughts about Christian Therapy, feel free to read an interview I gave to The Cave Place: http://www.thecaveplace.com/cave-chats/
What are your specialties?
A partial listing includes:
Relationship / Marriage Issues
Work and Career issues
Women in Transition Issues
Do you provide Premarital Counseling?
Yes, I am certified to use both the “PREPARE/ENRICH” program and the “SYMBIS” program. Both systems are recognized by most wedding officiants as the proven standards for identifying a couple’s unique strengths and potential growth areas. Both consist of an online inventory followed by a few counseling sessions to discuss the findings. If your pastor or officiant desires, I can provide a brief overview of the sessions with your written permission.
Call me at 805-660-7743
My office is located in the Water Court Executive Suites in Westlake Village, California