You Asked, I Answered: What to Know About Working With Me

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I get asked a lot of great questions about my work.  Here's a short list of the most commonly asked questions about couples and relationship work with me.  

Read more of the most frequently asked questions by my clients here

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How is coaching different from counseling?

Yes, I have completed a masters in counseling, but the work I do is not based You’ve tried therapy and stuck to it… but it’s time to apply the skills learned. Counseling is important reflective healing work, but my clients come to me hoping to take action for change.  That's where coaching comes in.

Counseling (the "assessment and treatment of mental health disorders") is about asking why something is happening.  Coaching doesn't assess or treat these disorders- my clients are healthy.  Instead we ask what you want to do differently.  How do you want to change? 

You're pretty friendly, how is this different from a friendship?

Having friendly relationships with my clients is important to me, but this isn't a friendship per se.  Whenever we meet I'm working for you providing facilitated space, open-mindedness, years of experience and training, and deep professional care.  

What's different than friendship is:

  • I bring ten years of professional expertise and training helping people build healthy relationships
  • I don't have personal attachment to your story so I won't offer judgment and you don't have to question my motives
  • You don't have to take care of my feelings or needs- this is a one-way relationship
  • I won't hit on you, sleep with you, or date you- our boundaries remain clear no matter how intimate our conversation
  • I won't search you online or in social media, what you choose to bring to session is up to you
  • The things you say to me remain strictly confidential (see more on this below)

How long are sessions?

Couples sessions are 75-90 minutes long.  I ask you to reserve 90 minutes for our meeting each time we schedule.  Many of my clients arrive 15 minutes early to collect their thoughts before session- I highly recommend it.

Individual sessions are 50 minutes long.  Many of my clients arrive 15 minutes early to collect their thoughts before session- I highly recommend it.

How often will we meet?

Most of my clients meet me every other week.  This gives you time to check in with your partner, your other partners, and (if you're in couples work) your individual therapist or coach.  It also gives a little more time to try out the skills we're working on before we meet again. 

A small number of my clients meet me weekly.  These are typically clients healing from affairs and experiencing extreme emotions.  Sometimes clients meet me weekly during stressful experiences (loss, break-up, new partner etc) or when they are making time-sensitive decisions (should we stay together, move to China, abort this pregnancy etc).

There's also a small number of clients who I have worked with for a while who want to invest in pro-active relationship maintenance.  We've generally cleared up the initial concerns they brought to my office, but they want a container to hold their conflicts with care moving forward.  We typically meet every third week for this kind of preventative relationship care work. 

How long do you meet with people?

Most clients work with me 4-6 months.  Many clients choose to stay on for monthly relationship maintenance meetings to help keep their relationships healthy.  

I'm proud that over 50% of my clients return years after working together to start up again when new issues arise.  They enjoyed our work together, found it helpful, and want to work with someone who knows their back story.

Where is your office/Where will we meet?

All my initial screening free consultations happen on the phone.  

Once we've decided to work together we may meet on the phone or in my office in Northeast Portland, OR.  My office is in the Overlook/Arbor Lodge neighborhoods at the corner of N Denver and N Killingsworth.  You can take the Max or the bus easily and there is ample street parking.

How much does this work cost?

I recommend budgeting between $175 and $800 each month for this work (depending on the frequency and type of meetings).  I offer some reduced rate spaces for clients who make a lower income.   

Initial phone consultations are free.  First sessions for couples are $200 and first solo sessions are $175.  Ongoing couples sessions are $175 and solo sessions are $125.  Again, let me know if this is too much for your household budget, I may have reduced rate sessions available.

Do you offer sliding-scale or reduced fee sessions?

I do reserve a small number of spaces for reduced rate clients who make a lower income.  Some of my clients also meet with me less frequently to make this work fit in their budgets.  Let me know if you need help affording our work.

Do you bill insurance?

I would never share your personal information with a corporation- so no, I do not bill insurance.  Some of my clients have used Flex Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts to work with me successfully.

Will you see either of us individually if we also see you as a couple?

I will see you individually to work on issues related to the relationship.  But if you want additional support for other areas of your life, or very intense self-work I will likely refer you out.

How does confidentiality work?

Everything you say to me in session is kept confidential on my end forever.  There are only a few exceptions to this:

  • If you are abusing someone in your care, or your partner, or yourself I'll likely have to report your abuses
  • If you are planning to kill yourself or another person I will report your plans
  • If you contact me using the internet, social media, email, or a smart phone I have no control over the confidentiality of the information you share (but google, facebook, etc will) 
  • I am currently receiving supervision for both a Sex Counselor and a Master Coach credential and will talk with my supervisor about my client work- but I will remove identifying information in these conversations.

How do you maintain boundaries with a community so interconnected?

It's not uncommon for one of my clients to have some familiarity with others.  But your confidentiality is of utmost importance.  If there's something that feels uncomfortable we'll talk about it, but I won't be able to share information about any of my other clients, famous or not, past or present.  

Your information is safe with me.

I also don't discuss my own personal connections, interests, desires, or activities with clients.  If I show up at an event and a client is in attendance I will probably leave.  I do this to maintain a professional relationship, instead of beginning a personal one (that could complicate our work together). I'd rather maintain extra distance than harm our work.  

What if we stop working together?

Your confidentiality is respected even if we stop working together.  Once you become one of my clients you can always return to our work, so your information will wait in a secure vault if (until) you decide to return.

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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She can help you:

  • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
  • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
  • open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
  • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
  • break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).