If you’re living in an RV and traveling all over the place, how can you help me?

Technology! It’s a marvel that allows us to have intimate sessions despite being at a distance.

We can do live telephone or video sessions which are proven to be effective and give the bonus of being convenient for most people. Instead of getting in the car to commute to another appointment, you can do your therapy or coaching sessions from home or a locked, parked car in between your other responsibilities.

I just ask that you be in a safe, quiet, and private location during our sessions. I make the same commitment to you and go above and beyond to be reliable, despite my unusual lifestyle.

I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia. Since Virginia laws are in place to protect the people located inside the state, therapy patients need to be located inside Virginia state lines even though I, the therapist, might be located elsewhere.

Since life coaching is unregulated, my coaching clients can be located anywhere. We simply work together to keep the work in the realm of coaching, not therapy.

How do I book my first appointment?

It’s best to arrange a free 25-minute consultation, so we can talk about what’s going on for you and figure out if we’re a good fit for working together. You can go to the Contact page to drop me a message with some days and times that work well for you to talk.

When it’s time for your consultation, you’ll either login to the web link provided or wait for me to call you on the phone.

If we decide to work together, we’ll book future sessions at the end of our appointment.

You can also email andrea@andreashipley.com or call (804) 404-5593.

How long are sessions?

Sessions are 50 minutes long.

How many sessions will I need?

It depends. For therapy, I recommend starting with at least 4 weekly sessions and tackling the core issue. From there, some people continue for a few weeks or several years based on the concerns they’re dealing with and the benefits they’re getting out of having a trained professional and confidante on their side during the recovery and growth process.

Coaching sessions are generally offered in packages (1 month, 3 months, 6 months), which we can discuss more in the consultation call.

Would it be possible to have more frequent sessions (i.e., twice a week) for a few weeks to try to really get down to the root of the questions and anxieties that continue to crop up?

We can absolutely do two sessions a week for as long as that makes sense and schedules permit. Although weekly sessions are the most common, we can front-load consulting sessions or book multiple therapy sessions in a week based on your needs. This can be discussed more in your personal consultation or session check-ins.

Do you take health insurance?

I am currently accepting several insurances but most of my counseling patients prefer to pay out of pocket.

Insurance companies require a diagnosis right away and often dictate the length and types of treatment, which I’ve found to be unhelpful to the client in certain cases. They may also require any mental health diagnoses to become part of your permanent health records.

I do my best to help people afford treatment by offering a sliding scale rate, partnering with a non-profit, and providing super bills to clients who can be reimbursed by their insurance companies for out of network treatment.

Would it be possible to split the coaching package in half? The full package feels like a big commitment.

It’s possible to choose a smaller package; however, the rate goes down when you purchase more sessions. Also, I’ve found that when people commit to bigger packages, they generally get better results – because they’re more likely to keep moving through challenging or lethargic periods instead of following old habits like procrastination or quitting.

It can be hard to commit to these personal growth services, but keep in mind that the real commitment is to yourself and your healing.

The 10-week Lifestyle Design Program can not be altered and includes coursework, individual coaching, group coaching, and a community.

What if I need to cancel a session?

I know that things happen sometimes. I ask that you call me at least 24 hours before your scheduled session to cancel. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your session, or simply fail to appear, you’ll be charged for the full session. If you’ve prepaid for sessions, you will forfeit that session.

What’s the difference between life coaching and therapy/counseling?

I think these two services work on a spectrum. Both can be healing and perpetuate growth, but there are key differences.

Counseling or therapy are often focused on healing and problem solving. It’s for people who are dealing with life challenges that are related to emotional or mental health concerns, including depression, trauma, and anxiety.

Therapy is best for people who want/need to spend time talking about past events and making new meaning from those experiences in order to handle today’s stresses with more skill. We work together to develop more understanding about how the past influences the present and establishing healthy coping skills to use day-to-day.

The therapist helps create a healing relationship and space where you can shine a light on parts of yourself that don’t often get attention so they can be healed and released.

Coaching is focused on the present and future more than the past and is for people who are managing life stress pretty well and demonstrate sufficient mental and emotional stability already.

These people are doing well, have processed the past, and want to level-up their approach to work or personal life. They have a big project that they need help undertaking, or they’re on a spiritual path and want to be as intentional as possible on their journey of awakening.

Coaching helps with goal-setting and accountability. The coach helps you clarify where you are; where you want to go; and offers guidance, teaching, and encouragement to help you reach your desired outcomes.

Most people know which service is right for them, and I do my best to help them assess which is the best fit when we have our initial consultation.

Is it possible to integrate therapy and coaching/consulting?

Regarding the integration of the two practices, we can do some degree of this. But if it sounds like therapy is warranted, we would err on the side of therapy due to the licensing and ethical restrictions of that approach.

The coaching relationship can incorporate more alternative practices. In the therapy relationship, self-disclosure from me would be limited and alternative approaches would be more cautiously used, depending on the mental health concerns being addressed.

It can be very helpful for some people to have a separate therapist while we do coaching and consulting work. If blocks arise in coaching, they can be handled promptly in a nurturing environment without severely halting the progress made in coaching.

Given that life coaching is more goal-oriented, will it directly address the anxiety I’m experiencing?

We all experience some anxiety and can benefit from learning some skills to help us manage stress and relax. Both life coaching and counseling will address anxiety to some degree and will aim to clarify and adjust thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

While some degree of anxiety is natural and normal for everyone, some anxiety can be debilitating and requires more digging to address the deeper factors involved. When anxiety levels are deemed unhealthy or debilitating, therapy would be appropriate.

I’ve never been in therapy before. What can I expect?

The most healing aspect of therapy comes from the relationship itself. As with any relationship, it can take some time to get comfortable –and there may be challenges you’ll work through with your therapist. This relationship is also unique, because it’s all about you. We talk organically about what’s going on in your life now; and, when necessary, we explore the past as well and work toward healing, managing stress, and making healthy choices.

Some sessions may start with a clear agenda while some may be more free form. Sessions may include activities like writing, body movement, expressive arts, or creating rituals. There’s room to be creative and insert your interests into sessions.

What is your approach to spirituality?

My spiritual approach is ultimately going to support your personal views whenever they’re of service to you.

I find value and truth in spirituality as a whole, as long as it supports compassion and a genuine exploration of truth. I studied Transpersonal Psychology which looks at altered states of consciousness, peak experiences, and what it means to be more than just a personality.

My personal interest tends to point me toward Buddhist and Shamanic theories and practices the most, but it’s YOUR beliefs that matter most in sessions, not mine.

There are spiritual coaching and therapy options, depending on your level of need and location.

Why do I need a therapist or a coach? Can’t I do this on my own or just talk to my friends and family?

Different people have different needs. Sometimes people seeking therapy don’t have friends or family members with whom they feel they can really open up and be honest. Maybe they don’t want to burden people with the problems they’re facing.

Some people talk to their friends a lot but can’t count on their friends to challenge them or listen without judgment. Friends and family may want to be helpful, but they have their own problems and biases that can prevent certain levels of help.

If you’re thinking about coaching because you want to build your dream project or lifestyle, you might take a look at your friends and family.

Do they have the things you want to create? Would they know what direction to point you in? Could you take their guidance considering your relationship dynamics?

I love DIY, and there’s definitely some good personal development work you can do on your own. But we all reach the point where getting help on certain things can actually save us a lot of time, money, and heartache in the long run.

I want to work with someone in person. Is that something you can do?

The easiest answer is no. Right now, I only offer sessions online.

After the first few minutes, people forget the screen; and we can dive deep into the session as if we were in the same room. There have been studies that suggest that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy in most cases.

There are certain cases where online counseling may not be the best option. For instance, if you’ve had recent suicidal thoughts or plans, are currently suicidal, or are harming yourself or others, or if you’ve been hospitalized for mental health concerns within the last year or so, then I’d recommend working with a therapist in person.

There may be occasional situations when I’m located where my client is, and we can discuss meeting in person in those cases.

You talk a lot about Mindfulness. What’s that about?

Mindfulness is a rich and ancient set of practices that have been proven effective in all sorts of ways. Not only can Mindfulness help us cope with stress, it can also help us focus, be more creative, rewire the brain, tune in spiritually, and more.

To be mindful means paying attention to the present moment by noticing the breath, surroundings, or body sensations and doing so without judging your experience as good or bad or right or wrong. Instead the attention is curious and exploratory, and we do our best to remain compassionate to ourselves and others.

I guide some Mindfulness practices in session and encourage people to maintain a daily practice that works for them, so their skills continue to grow stronger between sessions.