FAQ

What type of psychotherapy services do you offer?

Please consult the therapy services page for more information on sex therapy, couples therapy, individual psychotherapy, combination therapy, teen therapy and peer consultation. You’ll get some general information from this FAQ, but there are many more details about specific therapies elsewhere on the website, so please consult those pages before scheduling an appointment.

It seems like your practice centers around sexual issues. Is that all you offer?

Sex therapy is what I’m most known for, but, no, I also provide general psychotherapy and work with patients on all sorts of issues: depression, anxiety and other mood disorders; addiction, life-challenges and trauma, to name a few. But I do have a passion for sex therapy. When I was a young adult, I struggled with sexual problems and communicating with partners about sex, and I found that therapy provided a unique opportunity to speak without shame and gain the insight I needed take action and make changes in my sex life. But I also found that the therapists I was seeing at the time didn’t know much about actual sexual function, and I quickly surpassed them in learning and knowing more about my issues than they did. But, still, it was enormously helpful just to talk to someone and not feel so alone. While sexuality is a field that I never grow tired of learning about (the science, the interventions, the overlapping of perspectives, the diversity of human experience), many of the patients in my practice come to me with a wide array of goals that don’t necessarily include or prioritize sex.

What sorts of therapeutic modalities do you work in?

Therapy is a chance to create a space out of time, go deep into a patient’s personal story and distill themes. It’s an opportunity to gain insight, but also, importantly, to translate that insight into action. To do this, we employ various methods or ‘modalities,’ each of which draws on different theories of psychology and brings different benefits. My primary modalities are psycho-dynamic (which focuses on both past and current interpersonal relationships and how they affect current issues), cognitive-behavioral (becoming aware of inaccurate or negative ways of thinking and reframing them in positive ways that help you cope more effectively with life stressors), and purely behavioral (taking action). I’ve also been trained in various approaches for treating trauma. As much as possible, my approach is science and evidence-based, regardless of the modality I’m working in. I like to think of my patients as living planets that occupy a solar system with other planets. Together we walk around the planet of one’s experience with open-mindedness and curiosity. We try to see the forest for the trees and look at the big picture, but also to get down into the weeds with near-experience. As much as possible I want to be able to hold a patient in mind and really know them with a richness of detail. My experience as a therapist has shown me that I care for my patients and want them to feel safe and secure in my presence as an ally, but that I will also challenge them, hold them accountable and be tough when necessary.

Are you one of those therapists who never talks and just stares?

No. Generally I have a lot to say, and you won’t find that I lack opinions, feedback or curiosity. I’ll also give direct advice when asked. That said, therapy is a space to reflect and find the words that correlate with what we’re experiencing and sometimes that requires some silence. I love words, but that doesn’t mean we should rush to them just to fill space.

Do you work with a diverse range of patients?

Yes. I see patients of all sexual orientations and I take a sex-positive stance. My practice is about 50% heterosexual and 50% LGBTQ (with a high percentage of gay men). My services are aimed at helping diverse people across age, racial/ethnic identity, creed, color, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, and marital or relationship status/form. I encourage patients to understand, embody and express their desires and identities from a position of “sexual authenticity.”

How long will therapy last?

The answer varies. Sometimes patients require intensive long-term therapy and sometimes all it takes is a few really focused sessions to get on the other side of an issue. And sometimes all that’s necessary is an initial consultation without further sessions. I have patients that I have been working with consistently for many years, and many that I have known for years but work with in punctuated bursts as-needed. I try to take a solutions-oriented approach that defines specific goals and strives to meet those goals in as few sessions as possible. As much as I relish the depth of connection that therapy offers, I know that it is a commitment of time and money and I want to respect a patient’s resources.

How often do you meet with patients?

Again, it varies. For more intensive work, I will meet with patients every week (especially if there is a sense of urgency), but generally I meet with patients every two weeks or so, often with homework in between sessions. Sometimes a patient will need to meet twice in a given week, and sometimes they won’t need to meet for a few weeks after a session. Like many aspects of therapy, the frequency of sessions and the duration of therapy is co-constructed between us.

How long are sessions?

All sessions are 60 minutes. A full 60 minutes. Sometimes we’ll go over (no additional charge), but not under.

My schedule is hectic and it’s hard to commit a regular day/time. Will that be a problem?

Not at all. My schedule has a lot of variability as well. I generally do not schedule a regular day/time with patients unless they really require that consistency for some reason. What we will always do is schedule your next session at a mutually convenient time and take it from there. Before we get started with therapy, I will ask you about your schedule and your general availability, and it’s always great when a patient can meet in the daytime.

If I have to miss a session, will I be required to pay?

No. I get it. Life happens. Sometimes I will need to reschedule as well, or move the time of a session, so I like to provide flexibility as well as expect flexibility in return. But let’s try to give each other ample notice and not make a habit of canceling and rescheduling.

Therapy is costly.

I know that therapy is an additional cost and not always a planned expense. My rates are market-based for NYC and competitive. I don’t overcharge, nor do I undercharge. My sessions are also a full 60 minutes, whereas many other therapists only provide 45 or 50-minute sessions. I also try to schedule sessions every other week rather than weekly in order to help patients economize. And when the time feels right to end therapy for whatever reason, either you let me know or I’ll let you know, and we won’t drag things out.

Do you take insurance?

Unfortunately, I don’t take insurance directly. Working with insurance providers requires a lot of paperwork and red-tape, and insurance companies do not generally reimburse therapists at rates that are consistent with the cost of living. Such is the nature of our mental health system. That said, I will provide receipts for out of network reimbursement if your insurance company provides this benefit. If you are looking for an in-network provider, please consult your insurance company for appropriate directories.

How do you take payment?

These days I accept Venmo, Paypal, Zelle/Quickpay, a credit card, or even a check. I prefer to be paid after each session, without having to request it, as this limits my time spent on administrative details.

What if I can’t afford your fee, or you end up not being the right therapist?

Let me know and I’ll see what I can do. If it doesn’t make sense for us to work together, I’ll try to make a good referral based on your needs.

How do I get going? What are next steps?

Generally the first step is to schedule an initial session and we’ll see if we’re a fit. Once we agree to a day/time for a first session, I’ll send along some simple paperwork that you can read and sign online.

What if I have other questions that haven’t been answered by this FAQ or your website?

Send me an email at iankerner@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer your questions. If necessary we can set up a brief phone call to help you make a decision (no charge), but I’d prefer to just get going with a first session as that’s where we’ll really be able to dig in and see if we can establish a productive therapeutic alliance. Again, before you request a phone call, please peruse this website to see if you can find the answer to your question(s).

Anything else I should know?

Yes, therapy is a co-constructed experience. That means that we will work together to define, implement, modify and refine the experience – from the frequency of sessions, to the duration of the treatment, to how we’re communicating and addressing issues in-session, to the homework assignments you leave with, therapy is an alliance and a partnership. Don’t worry: I know how to lead a session and what questions to ask, and I will probably have a lot to say that you haven’t thought of, but in the end we’re human beings sitting together in a room (whether in person or via zoom) and I will always welcome your opinions and feedback on the process.