Acorn Family Guidance


Frequent Questions

What is therapy like and how long does it take?

The answer depends on your situation, child, and needs.  We make every effort to prepare you for the therapeutic process.  We take the necessary time to get to know you, build a helping relationship, create a safe space, work through your challenges, and provide a supportive goodbye.  Therapy can often offer relief right away, but for lasting change it often takes time.   Contact us and we can provide you with more details about course of therapy and timeline.

How do I talk to my child about going to therapy?

Talking to your child about seeing a therapist can seem daunting.  Here are some tips for navigating that conversation:

  • Wait for the right time. Talk to your child when he or she is calm. It is important to avoid raising the issue when you and your child are angry or upset. We do not want your child to view therapy as a punishment.
  • Offer compassion. Tell your child that you know how hard it can be to grow up. Notice his or her worried or stuck feelings and your desire to help.
  • Identify the problem and the goal. Let your child know that you are worried about their difficulties and your desire for them to feel better.
  • Explain therapy. Tell your child that you have found someone who can help them. Explain that there is a special Doctor whose job is to help kids understand their feelings and worries by talking and playing with them. Make sure they understand that we are doctors for feelings, not your body. Consider saying: I think if you met with this special Doctor you might start feeling better.
  • Don’t get discouraged. You may follow the steps, but your child or teen may still resist. He or she may be scared, deny having any problems, or suggest you are the problem. Remain calm and compassionate. Say: “Ok, I understand you don’t want to go, but I care about you. After you meet with the Doctor, we will talk about your choice of whether you want to continue seeing her.”

What is the difference between a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, LMFT, LMSW, and LPCC?

When seeking help for your child and family, it is important to understand the choices you have. There are many helping professionals, some are licensed and some are not.  When you choose a licensed professional, you are choosing someone who is bound by laws, held to ethical standards, and is required to obtain on-going training in current research and clinical practices. Qualifications and requirements vary for each professional license and can be different depending on the state/area the person is licensed in. Below is some general information about various licensed mental health professionals commonly found in the State of California.  This information is meant to be used as a general guide. For further information, questions, or updates to these standards, please feel free to contact us.


A psychologist is a clinician who holds a Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D.). These clinicians have spent at least 5-6 years of graduate work strictly studying psychology, then complete 1-2 years of internship, followed by 1-2 years of supervised clinical work experience before qualifying for the right to sit for the licensing examination. A psychologist does not prescribe medication. Instead, they provide psychotherapy through their in-depth knowledge of psychological theory, therapy, research, and diagnostic testing. Psychologists may specialize in psychological testing and are the only group of clinicians trained to do so. Psychological testing requires years of training that involves not only how to administer the tests, but also how to score and integrate the test information with clinical interviews, background information, knowledge of personality theory, human development, and research.

The title “psychologist” can only be used by someone who has completed the above training and has then passed both national and state licensing examinations. Informally, a psychologist may be referred to as a “therapist,” “counselor,” or “clinician.” However, these are more general terms that can be used by other mental health professionals who are not formally trained and licensed psychologists.


A psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor (M.D.) who has graduated from a medical school. A psychiatrist’s training focuses on general medicine while in medical school. They will then go on to 3-4 years of residency where they will specialize in psychiatry. For the most part, psychiatrists complete psychiatric evaluations for the purpose of determining if an individual would be appropriate for treatment with medications. If so determined, the psychiatrist prescribes the medications and then tracks the patient for medication management. Medication management includes initially following the patient closely until they are stabilized with the proper dosage and then usually once every 1-3 months for maintenance.

Social Workers

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW’s) hold Masters Degrees.  Their training typically consists of two years of graduate school and 1-2 years of internship. LCSW’s assess, diagnose, intervene and treat individuals, families and groups with psychosocial problems. They also work to connect individuals with community resources. LCSW’s must pass national and state examinations before obtaining their license in California.

Mental Health Counselors (LPCC’s and LMFT’s)

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC’s) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT’s) hold Masters Degrees. Often they have completed two years of graduate training and 1-2 years of work experience under supervision. LPCC’s and LMFT’s provide counseling to individuals, families and groups. They, too, must pass two examinations, clinical and laws & ethics, before obtaining their license in California.

What are your fees?

Fees vary based on clinician and service provided.  It is best to contact Acorn Family Guidance Center for our current fee schedule. 

Do you accept insurance?

We will provide you with a "superbill" to submit to your PPO insurance for reimbursement at out-of-network provider rates. We are not currently on any insurance panels.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, ACH (Automated Clearing House), and credit cards. Payment is due at the time of service; unless you wish to have your credit card routinely charged every month. We require that you have a credit card authorization on file with us in the event of an outstanding balance.


What can I expect after I contact you?

After you contact us, we will set-up a brief phone call to discuss your purpose for seeking out Acorn Family Guidance Center. It is important to us that we are a good fit for your family, child, and/or organization. After our initial phone call, we will either provide you with a referral, if appropriate, or set-up an initial appointment.

Prior to our first appointment, we will provide you with our welcome information packet to review and complete. This will provide you with helpful information about our services, policies, and fees.  Additionally, we will ask you to complete a confidential intake application to gather important information about you and your family.  

Please be prepared with a few days/times of the week that you are available.

We look forward to hearing from you!