Steven Keightley, MFT · Marriage and Family Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions

Wait, aren’t you in Southern California? No. I lived in Pasadena between 2012 – 2016, was in private practice and served as President of the SGV Chapter of CAMFT. I moved back to the SF Bay Area Fall 2016 to be closer to aging parents.

Pasadena therapist

What kinds of therapy clients do you serve?
My main therapy focus is with men, and men’s issues, intimacy and communication, I also enjoy working with men and women who feel cut off from their emotional lives and are seeking a greater sense of connection. This “cut off-ness” might feel like depression or anxiety or chronic stress.

How long does therapy take?
It is variable. In the real world of managed care, HMO’s or PPO’s, you may be limited to a certain number of sessions per year, and, depending on the nature of your problem, that number of sessions might not be “enough” to address the scope of the problem. Sometimes clients want to focus on specific problems and they feel better after two to three months of therapy. Deeper therapy, delving into your unconscious via dreams and weekly sessions, requires your engagement in the process, your learning that it is healing to unpack the complexity of your life’s story, and your willingness to explore your issues deeply, even when this exploration brings up difficult or painful feelings.

How does therapy work?
Generally, we meet once weekly — or more,  if mutually agreed upon —to explore your current relationships, your feelings and patterns of behavior and your past. Although therapy can seem like a conversation with a friend, I may interrupt you, redirect you, or ask you questions to invite you to think and to develop greater self-awareness. Together we seek to make links between what has happened to you in the past and how you are behaving now and the degree to which you wish to change. Sometimes therapists may seem quiet. Typically we are thinking and reacting to what you say, but we may not always share those thoughts.

Does meeting every other week work?
I do not believe that less-than-weekly therapy is effective treatment. The large gap in time makes remembering what we  were talking about difficult. In traditional psychoanalysis patients met with their analyst several times per week! Obviously class, privilege and wealth are factors that limit that frequency in our modern age. (If a client were familiar with the therapeutic process, or had been in weekly therapy for a time, then in some limited cases, bi-weekly therapy could work).

How do I know you are the right therapist for me?
Do you feel pulled to contact me because of what you’ve read about me and my approach to therapy? Or do you feel that I’ve accurately described your problem, or you feel like there may be a fit between us simply based on the images and text you see here? Follow your gut instinct!  The best way to find out if we’re a good fit is by direct experience: calling for a free 20-minute phone consultation, or scheduling an in-person consultation at my office. I charge for the first office visit.

At my therapy office you might check-in with yourself and your body. Do you feel tense or anxious? Do you feel at ease and listened to? Have I asked good questions, or made a keen observation? These are the types of questions to ask your self when sitting with me for the first time.

What is your therapy training?
The process of becoming a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist includes earning a Master’s degree (two to three years) from a Board-approved graduate program and then completing several years of training and clinical internships by working with a variety of client populations. Following this process, two rigorous Board exams must be passed in order to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. I completed my graduate education, professional training and clinical internships, and licensure process in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I earned my M.A. at John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area and then went on to work at several different clinical internships: an adult day treatment center, a methadone clinic, and as a Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) clinician. I also completed a two-year advanced Post-Graduate Training Program in Psychodynamic Theory and Practice at The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley.

In September 2014 I completed Anger Management Training via the California Association of Anger Management Providers (CAAMP) and use some of those skills and strategies in my work with clients.

What are your therapy business hours?
At this time (2016) I am only able to refer you to other clinicians.

Is my therapy information kept confidential?
Yes. I am required by law to keep your information, and the content of your sessions, private. There are some exceptions to confidentiality that I would be happy to discuss with you in person, or you can view my Informed Consent form here.

If you are using health insurance to pay for your mental health therapy, then I am required to make a psychiatric diagnosis and share that with your insurance company. Clients should be warned that such information could come up in future federal job applications, or in other unintended ways. But psychotherapy via your health insurance is  affordable.

What are your fees?
My full fee is $120 per 50-minute hour. I am willing to adjust my fees in some cases. I prefer to have a “fee adjustment” discussion in-person and not by phone/e-mail.

Do you accept health insurance?
Yes, I am on Blue Shield of CA, Magellan and Anthem Blue Cross. If I am not on your plan, I can also provide you with a receipt for services, (called a “super-bill”) which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Although super-bills do not disclose specific issues discussed in therapy, clients should know most insurance companies require a psychiatric diagnosis for reimbursement. You may want to consult with your insurance provider to determine their out-of-network reimbursement policies.

How long is each therapy session?
I provide a 50-minute session for both individual and couples’ work. Most individual clients feel that meeting once per week is helpful, while others prefer to meet twice or even three times per week. It is usually best for us to discuss your therapeutic goals and decide together what is best for you.

What do the initials M.F.T. or L.M.F.T. mean?
M.F.T. stands for “Marriage and Family Therapist,” and L.M.F.T. means “Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist”. This label can be misleading because MFTs often work with much more than just “marriage” and “families”. These acronyms are interchangeably used to refer to a therapist’s official license designation.

After a two or three-year graduate program to earn a Master’s degree, a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern completes a series of supervised internships to accumulate hours of experience, training, and supervision toward their eventual licensure. Any MFT Intern who is seeing clients must be supervised by a licensed clinician. After earning a minimum of 3,000 hours in an average of two to five years, an MFT Intern sits for two different license exams before becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFTs are licensed by the State of California and are bound by laws and ethical guidelines.

Please contact me to discover how my therapy services can benefit you.


Psychotherapy San Francisco