My Approach + About Me + What to Expect + Common Myths + COVID19
I assist people to change what at first may seem unchangeable. I know this is a rather bold statement, but in my experience most people come to therapy after having already tried several times to resolve what is troubling them. I offer an objective, professional perspective on your concerns. Together, we will look at what you have already tried to do and what you have already done to resolve your concerns.
We will explore your thoughts and feelings and create new ways of approaching your situation — concrete “next steps.” This is very useful, particularly when it feels like you’ve already tried everything.
I typically begin therapy by gathering information about what brought you in to see me. This information gathering is important so that I may learn about you, those important to you, and what you want to accomplish in therapy. I may gather information about other providers such as your primary care physician, previous counselors, other specialist care providers, and so on. I do this so that our work together compliments the care that you may already receive.
Sometimes the work is very active with a lot of talking, a lot of observation (by me as well as self observation by you), and a lot of practice. Other times, the work is more reflective, focusing you: where you have been, where you are now, and where you would like to be. Quite often, I explain what I am doing, thinking, & feeling. I will also frequently check-in with you about our work and progress. I see therapy as a team effort. It simply is not effective if only one of us is doing the work. I may assign tasks or work between our sessions together. These assignments are intended to fit each person.
All the while, I keep my eye on your goals. Therapy can be brief and it can be longer term. The time spent in therapy depends on your concerns, your goals, and our work together. Effective therapy is not measured by how long you participate in it.
I enjoy working with couples, families, individuals, and groups. Some areas of interest are:
Successful life transitions: marriage, children, coming out, moving, divorce, career changes, retirement, aging, death of loved ones/grief
Improving communication, assertiveness skills, self esteem,
Relationships: intimacy, sexual problems, in-laws/extended family, blended families
Parenting: adolescents/young adults, step families, children coming out, parents or other relatives coming out
Working with those who primarily care for others and those who may be in the public eye: clergy, public leaders, health care providers, attorneys, therapists/counselors
People in recovery — you’re clean and sober, now what?
Overcoming abuse, sexual molest, domestic violence, accidents/injury, sudden or drastic changes in health/functioning
Clinical supervision mentoring
For several years, I have enjoyed providing therapy, consultation, education, and therapeutic services in a variety of settings including community counseling centers, high schools (public, private, as well as continuation campuses), an in-patient psychiatric hospital, in-patient & out-patient drug & alcohol recovery centers, independent practice, graduate universities, county children & family services, county adult services, county administration, and county civil rights investigations.
I have experience teaching as an adjunct professor in graduate level Family Therapy and Psychology/Counseling programs. Additionally, I conduct in-service training for multidisciplinary medical health care clinics, professional groups, and community based organizations. I routinely complete ongoing training, continuing education, and seek consultation to stay up-to-date.
My name is Phil Evans and I am licensed by the State of California as a Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT). My license number is “MFC41687.” I earned a Master of Science (MS) degree in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. I have certifications in Critical Incident Stress Management, Clinical Supervision, Aging Studies, Advanced Domestic Violence Intervention, and a Board Certification in Telemental Health.
My understanding of change and human relationships is influenced by Solution Oriented Therapy (sometimes called Possibility Therapy), Family Systems/Strategic Family Therapy Theory, and Systemic-Relational Theory. I often utilize techniques and interventions from Psychodynamic Theory, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive-Behavioral Theory, Developmental Psychology, Existential Theory, and Psychoeducation.
The name of my practice is:
Evans Marriage & Family Therapy Corporation, Inc. and it is a California Professional Corporation doing business as
Phillip F. Evans, II, MS, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
I am active in a variety of professional associations:
Clinical Fellow, American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT)
Approved Supervisor, a national designation of the AAMFT
Lifetime Clinical Member, International Family Therapy Association (IFTA)
Clinical Member of The Psychotherapist Association for Gender & Sexual Diversity (GAYLESTA)
Member, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF).
Certified Critical Incident Stress Management (CCISM), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Emergency Health Services and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc.
Counselor Facilitator, Prepare/Enrich Program relational couples’ assessment and pre-marital counseling assessment (Prepare/Enrich)
Board Certified-Telemental Health Provider (BC-TMH), a credential of The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE), an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The BC-TMH credential identifies those professionals who are uniquely trained in best practices for delivering traditional behavioral healthcare through technological means. BC-TMH credential holders have met nationally established Telemental health criteria.
Former President, Bay Area District: California Division of the AAMFT [District is now dissolved, pursuant to the AAMFT national restructure and bylaws update]
Former Director, Board of Directors of the California Division of the AAMFT [Division is now dissolved, pursuant to the AAMFT national restructure and bylaws update]
WHAT TO EXPECT:
The decision to begin therapy (sometimes called counseling or psychotherapy) is an important one. People I work with report both a greater level of comfort and more favorable results when they understand what to expect from the therapy process.
Therapy may help you with a variety of concerns, including but not limited to personal issues (e.g., relationships, parenting, major loss/grief, significant life changes, conflict resolution, sexuality, recovery, spirituality, etc.), career exploration, and life planning (e.g., clarification of your career interests and employment options, articulating life goals & setting a course of action to achieve those goals, etc.), and academic or vocational problems (e.g., test-taking/study skills, time management, workplace conflict, retirement, career changes, etc.).
After discussing the concerns that led you to seek therapy, you and I will decide which services are appropriate. I may refer you to workshops, group counseling, medical evaluations, or other resources as necessary.
In order to fully benefit from therapy, I suggest that you:
Attend scheduled appointments
Be as specific as you can about the concerns that led to your decision to seek therapy
Establish with me your desired goals and what your life will look like when you achieve your goals
Discuss your progress with me as we go along, and modify your goals if necessary
Participate actively, and be as open and honest as possible
Be prepared for your sessions: complete (or at least attempt) any “homework”
Tell me about how our work together is going for you.
You can expect that I will:
Keep our scheduled appointments
Work with you to establish and achieve your goals for your life
Take your concerns seriously
Check-in with you often about our progress together
Utilize a variety of proven techniques I believe best suited for you and our work together
Be honest with you
Maintain your confidence and privacy within established legal and ethical parameters.
Successful therapy is a cooperative process, requiring your motivation and active involvement. Remember, therapy can be brief and it can be longer term. The time spent in therapy depends on your concerns, your goals, and our work together. Effective therapy is not measured by how long you participate in it; rather, the more actively engaged you are, the more effective therapy will be for you.
MYTH- Therapy or counseling is only for those living with very serious psychological problems.
FACT- Therapy does help those living with very serious psychological problems. It also is very effective for:
couples wanting to strengthen their relationship, couples or individuals contemplating a relationship change such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption, and so on, individuals who want to work on self esteem, communication, or assertiveness, anyone juggling multiple demands such as managing school/work, family, and personal needs, adjusting to big changes such as moving to a new home/school, coming out, new children in the family, marriage/remarriage, separations, retirement, career changes, changes in health or functioning, the death of a loved one, and so on, people who want to continue or to support the work they are already doing: staying clean & sober, moving forward toward their life goals, and rediscovering joy or playfulness in their lives.
MYTH- Only the weak seek therapy. If I were only strong, I could just handle things. If we truly loved one another, we could resolve our problems on our own.
FACT- There is no weakness or lack of love and commitment in those who seek therapy. It takes courage to explore sensitive feelings and potentially painful experiences. Therapy is a direct, proactive, and effective step towards resolving difficulties.
MYTH- A good therapist will tell me what to do to fix my problems.
FACT- Therapy is not having another tell you how to live your life.
A good therapist will:
Assess your situation
Explore your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and concerns with you
Develop an action plan that matches your goals
Guide & assist you so that you may reach the goals you set for yourself.
MYTH- You won’t get it. You’re not me. How can you understand what I am going through – after all, we’re so different.
FACT- It is true that no two people are the same. We each have our own unique experiences, thoughts, & feelings. Even people who have experienced the same event or experience can have very different thoughts and feelings about that very same event or experience. Therapists and counselors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of differences including, but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, spirituality, age, physical health, orientation, and social & economic status. Not every therapist is a good fit for every person. My primary concern is that you get the best therapy available to you — even if that means that I may need to refer you to another resource for services.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) says that…
A family’s patterns of behavior influences the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment plan. In marriage and family therapy, the unit of treatment isn’t just the person – even if only a single person is interviewed – it is the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded.
Marriage and Family Therapy is:
Specific, with attainable therapeutic goals
Designed with the “end in mind.”
Marriage and Family Therapists treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including: depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems.
According to the AAMFT, research indicates that Marriage and Family Therapy is as effective, and in some cases more effective than standard and/or individual treatments for many mental health problems such as: adult schizophrenia, affective (mood) disorders, adult alcoholism and drug abuse, children’s conduct disorders, adolescent drug abuse, anorexia in young adults, childhood autism, chronic physical illness in adults and children, and marital distress and conflict.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems.
Marriage and Family Therapists are a highly experienced group of practitioners, with an average of 13 years of clinical practice in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. They evaluate and treat mental and emotional disorders, other health and behavioral problems, and address a wide array of relationship issues within the context of the family system.
Marriage and Family Therapists broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks such as marriage and the family. MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.
MFTs have graduate training (a Master or Doctoral degree) in Marriage and Family Therapy and at least two years of clinical experience. Marriage and Family Therapists are recognized as a “core” mental health profession, along with practitioners trained in Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work, Counseling, and Psychiatric Nursing.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC INFORMATION / PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS:
Given all of the following:
the present situation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
the State of California and the Bay Area Counties’ Public Health orders, and
the advice that people observe “social distancing guidelines” and/or work remotely when possible,
I intend to conduct my psychotherapy practice utilizing Telehealth / TeleMental Health means, until the public health orders are rescinded. This is not a decision that I have come to lightly; however, I believe that the health and safety of you, those in your life, me, and those in my life are important.
As a practical matter, please know that what this means is that we will meet utilizing Telehealth rather than meet in person, until the public health orders are rescinded.
For Telehealth appointments, I use a HIPAA-compliant platform that can be accessed securely via a “client portal.” It is confidential and there is no recording of our session – just like an in-person session.
As a general reminder, please remember that Telehealth sessions need to take place in a private place where no one can hear our conversation. So, no cafés or other rooms where you do not have privacy. Additionally, it may be a good idea to power down or use “airplane mode” on any smart devices that would normally “listen in” for our verbal instructions.
Please also feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about this change. It is my intent to assist you to access therapy in a manner that:
works and is safe for both of us,
complies with directives from our public health officials, and
helps us all get support as we weather these current times.
Links to general information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) =
Center for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov
State of California, https://covid19.ca.gov
County Social Services, https://www.211bayarea.org
Crisis Support Services:
Alameda County https://www.crisissupport.org
Contra Costa County https://www.crisis-center.org
San Francisco County https://www.sfsuicide.org
Thank you in advance for your flexibility, resilience, and understanding.
Phillip Evans, MS, MFT, BC-TMH
Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT)