Brief answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about my services.

Question: When should I seek counseling?

When you want to:

  • Reduce, manage, or eliminate anxiety, depression, grief, unresolved hurt
  • Strengthen your relationship as a couple, improve communication, restore trust, learn to treat your partner or spouse as the apple of your eye
  • Heal relationships with parents, family members, siblings, friends, coworkers
  • Resolve, forgive and let go of past: regrets, estrangements, damage from affairs
  • Manage transitions with “empty nest”, career, family, adult children or grandchildren who need to move out
  • Feel empowered to make changes at home, work, or within yourself
  • Grieve and resolve the loss of a  beloved family member, horse, or pet
  • Own and celebrate your place in the LGBT Community

Question: Do you accept insurance or Medicare or offer a sliding fee scale?


Question: What are the ages or mental health issues that you do not treat?

  • I do not treat children and adolescents
  • I do not treat adults actively abusing drugs or alcohol (you must complete detox and rehab first, have a recovery plan in place, and a commitment to sobriety from all substances in order to be ready to see me for therapy)
  • I do not treat clients with eating disorders
  • I do not treat victims or perpetrators of sexual assault, domestic violence, or crimes
  • I do not treat clients who participate in polyamory or BDSM
  • I do not treat clients seeking evaluations for DUI or long term disability
  • I do not treat clients seeking help coping with long term or complex medical issues

Question: How do I get started if I want to come for therapy?

Call me and make an appointment.

Question: Do you offer a free consultation to see if we are a “good fit”?

No. The initial session is a thorough mental health assessment that takes 90 minutes. My assessment covers: your current situation; mental health symptoms; an overview of past issues; history of family, substance use, medical, legal, counseling; your support system; and a discussion and initial plan of how we can best proceed together. If you feel that the services for what ever reason are not a good fit for you, I can refer you to trusted colleagues.  

Question: How long will I be in individual therapy?

There are no short cuts in good therapy. Ideally, therapy is finished when you are feeling better, doing well, and have met the goals you set.  For example, most clients come once a week for 6-18 months. To maintain the gains they have made, many clients attend ongoing sessions through group therapy, workshops, or weekend retreats. Each person is unique so this is just an example; some come to therapy more often, some less.

Question: What can I expect from couple’s therapy?

Successful couple’s therapy requires that both people want to be in therapy and are committed to and actively engaged in the process. Sessions are weekly at first, they last 90 minutes and generally continue for about a year. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes in couples therapy. Couples therapy takes time and effort individually and as a couple. Most of my couples attend sessions together as well as separately unless there is an issue involved that I do not treat such as active substance use or eating disorders for example. Most couples benefit from individual as well as couples therapy during the process. I guard each person’s privacy during individual sessions but I will not “keep secrets”. Couples therapy helps with things like: communication skills; rebuilding trust and intimacy after cheating, dishonesty, illness or addictions; getting to forgiveness; resolving co-dependence and building independence; improving your sex life; defining better division of labor; resolving old hurts; learning how to treat your partner or spouse as the apple of your eye. 

Question: What if as a couple, we “just need a break” or want to separate?

In my experience as a counselor, couples counseling works best when done within the couple-ship. Separations without a specific plan do not help and usually make matters worse. For example, if your business was failing, you wouldn’t lock the doors and take a vacation from it thinking it would somehow be better when you returned. Restoring your relationship will require hard work; each person will have to give and take and bend. And if we decide on a separation, each of you will need individual therapy with a specific plan to reunite; separation is not a time to date other people or drop your family responsibilities. I will help you build a plan to work on restoring the marriage if possible or I will help you create an amicable divorce. The first step is to come in and talk about it openly and make thoughtful decisions about you and your family.

Question: What if we already know we want a divorce?

I can help you start the emotional process of creating an amicable divorce as long as both people want a divorce and are committed to that goal. We can all work together toward getting you prepared for divorce. Couples who are willing to do this work are often able to avoid hard feelings and save money by preparing with me for divorce mediation. 

Question: Are you licensed?

Yes. I hold 2 professional licenses with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners  http://www.azbbhe.us/. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) And, both of my practice locations (Carefree and Tempe) are licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services as Counseling Facilities. Link: http://www.azdhs.gov/index.php

Question: Why should my counselor be licensed?

 In July, 2004, it became an Arizona state requirement to be licensed in order to practice counseling. Counselors who are not licensed are not regulated by or accountable to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners for specific education, training, and standards of practice or care. Make sure your counselor has the experience you need and holds a current license in good standing.  You can find licensees by logging on to the Board at  http://www.azbbhe.us/.

Question: Is everything I say confidential?

Yes, to a point. I can only speak to others with your written consent. But if there is clear and imminent danger that you plan to harm yourself or someone else, I have an ethical and legal responsibility to help keep you safe and a duty to warn others you may intend to harm. I guard your privacy if you and your partner or spouse are doing couples therapy with me but I will not keep current harmful secrets from your spouse or partner.

Question: What is your educational background?

I have been a mental health clinician since 1978. I have a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, a master’s degree in counseling and a doctoral degree in education with a focus on the study of empathy and teaching counseling students. I am a subject matter expert (SME) in counseling skills, empathy, group therapy, and inner self-care. I taught counseling courses at the master’s level for 18 years. More info is on the About tab.

Question: What type of therapy do you do?

I establish and work within a therapeutic relationship (Rogerian) getting to know you and your unique patterns and needs. Therapy with me is not passive, I don’t just listen and nod my head. We create your direction together which sometimes requires you to be brave and make the difficult changes you desire. At times I use methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), Transactional Analysis , Psychodrama, Gestalt, and other active, experiential methods that involve doing homework or practicing what we discuss. There are no short cuts in good therapy.  I do not use any sort of set formula, hypnosis, regression, or EMDR.

Question: Do you offer Group Therapy?

Yes. Many of my clients attend group therapy in order to “practice” the things they have learned in individual therapy. I lead the groups, so it is a safe place to take interpersonal risks and learn to express emotions and feelings in healthy ways. Some people are anxious about group at first but they make great gains and sign up for more groups, workshops, or retreats as time goes on. Not everyone attends group.

Question: You also offer Spiritual Guidance. How is that different from Counseling?

People generally seek counseling for symptoms of anxiety, depression, grief or relationship problems. People who seek Spiritual Guidance often seek help with learning to cultivate forgiveness, honesty, generosity, inner independence, empathy, compassion, and patience. I successfully work with people of all faiths and cultures who wish to develop or improve these qualities and also develop or enhance their personal spiritual practices.

Question: What if I’m not sure if I want to see you for Counseling or Spiritual Guidance?

It’s not necessary that you enter the relationship with me knowing which services you are looking for; we can sort that out when we meet.

Terms and Conditions For Using Our Website.

If you browse or use this website you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern Advanced Counseling PLLC’s relationship with you in relation to this website. The term Advanced Counseling PLLC or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is P.O. Box 2382, Carefree, AZ85377. Our company registration number is [company registration number and place of registration]. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website. The use of this website is subject to the following terms of use:

  • The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It provides overview and contact information and does not provide crisis or emergency services or counseling advice. It is subject to change without notice.
  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
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  • Unauthorized use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
  • From time to time this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).
  • You may not create a link to this website from another website or document without the prior written consent of Advanced Counseling PLLC.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy tells you how we use personal information collected at this site. Please read this privacy policy before using the site or submitting any personal information. By using the site, you are accepting the practices described in this privacy policy. These practices may be changed, but any changes will be posted and changes will only apply to activities and information on a going forward, not retroactive basis. You are encouraged to review the privacy policy whenever you visit the site to make sure that you understand how any personal information you provide will be used.

Note: the privacy practices set forth in this privacy policy are for this web site only. If you link to other web sites, please review the privacy policies posted at those sites.

Collection of Information

We collect personally identifiable information, like names, postal addresses, email addresses, etc., when voluntarily submitted by our visitors. The information you provide is used to fulfill your specific request. This information is only used to fulfill your specific request, unless you give us permission to use it in another manner, for example to add you to one of our mailing lists.

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The Site may use cookie and tracking technology depending on the features offered. Cookie and tracking technology are useful for gathering information such as browser type and operating system, tracking the number of visitors to the Site, and understanding how visitors use the Site. Cookies can also help customize the Site for visitors. Personal information cannot be collected via cookies and other tracking technology, however, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information. Aggregate cookie and tracking information may be shared with third parties.

Distribution of Information

We may share information with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in fraud prevention or investigation. We may do so when: (1) permitted or required by law; or, (2) trying to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud or unauthorized transactions; or, (3) investigating fraud which has already taken place. The information is not provided to these companies for marketing purposes.

Commitment to Data Security

Your personally identifiable information is kept secure. Only authorized employees, agents and contractors (who have agreed to keep information secure and confidential) have access to this information. All emails and newsletters from this site allow you to opt out of further mailings.

Privacy Contact Information

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about our privacy policy you may contact us using the information below:

By e-mail: drvallerycoats@gmail.com

By Phone: 480-980-6308

We reserve the right to make changes to this policy. Any changes to this policy will be posted.

Refund Policy

There are no refunds for services rendered.

Credit for sessions cancelled with 24 hours notice?

Yes, contact staff directly if you paid for a session and had to cancel giving 24 hours notice. If this is verified by staff, your payment can be applied to your next session.


Each Workshop offered has a specific timeline for payments and refunds or cancellations. Please contact staff directly if you paid for a workshop and had to cancel within the required notice. If this is verified by staff, your payment can be applied to your next workshop or refunded according to that workshop’s specific timelines.

Dr. Vallery Coats, EdD, MC, LPC, LISAC
8700 E Vista Bonita, Suite 280
Scottsdale , AZ85255
Phone (480) 980-6308
Fax 1(480) 488-1904
Email drvallerycoats@gmail.com