Pre-screening Questions to be Considered for Services with Sara Ouimette, LMFT

Please read through these pre-screening questions. This will help us rule out any potential barriers to working together. Thanks so much for taking the time!

1.       Do you have a flexible schedule and are therefore able to come to in-person sessions during the week in the daytime? My current openings are mid-day (12:15 pm) and mid-afternoon (2:15 pm) on Mondays; 1 pm on Wednesdays; or Thursdays at 12:30 pm or 1:30 pm. I am restricted to working with CA residents only, and in-person sessions are preferable over online sessions. I will consider working online with CA residents in some circumstances.

2.       Are you able to commit to a regular weekly time slot? Sessions are 50 minutes long. I do not see people less than once weekly because I believe the therapy is much less effective that way. I will hold a weekly time slot especially for you.

3.       Are you able to attend therapy for a few months or longer? Therapy is most beneficial when a relationship is established. Therefore, I do not recommend just one or two sessions. However, I do offer consults about psychedelic use and psychedelic harm reduction. Please let me know if this is what you’re looking for. I am also willing to work over a period of a few months if you are seeking psychedelic integration therapy (please click on link for clarification of what integration services entail). Length of treatment varies and often cannot be predicted. Generally, the more severe the symptoms, the longer and more intensive the treatment.

4.       Are you able to pay my fee of $180 per 50-minute session? I do not take insurance. You may be eligible for reimbursement if you have out-of-network benefits (I will provide you with the form you will need to submit to your insurance in that case). You can read more about what to ask when calling your insurance company at the bottom of my contact page here.

5.       Are you experiencing severe depression, extreme dissociation, debilitating anxiety or frequent suicidal ideation with a plan to follow through? If your symptoms are extreme, you may need more intensive treatment than I can offer. I will only take you on as a client if I feel that I can fully hold you through what you are going through. With more severe symptoms, I encourage or insist upon more than one session a week. Please do email or call if you’re not sure if your symptoms would be too severe for us to work together. We can assess that together and I might have some other recommendations for you.

If you have read through these questions and want to speak further, please email me at, or call me at 510 859-7724 to set up a brief phone consultation.


If your answers to any of the questions above prohibit us from being able to work together, I have listed some referrals and resources below. Please don’t wait to seek help if you are suffering too much!

Some local therapists I often refer to:

Heather Galvano

Amy O’Brien

Rae Walker Mountz

Sliding scale therapy in Berkeley:

The Psychotherapy Institute

Women’s Therapy Center

Psychedelic Integration Providers:

M.A.P.S. list

Psychedelic Support Network

Crisis Support and hotlines:

Alameda Crisis Support Services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Local Stabilization Clinic (Sausal Creek)

The Complexities of Cannabis Use

As psychotherapists, how do we think about clients who use cannabis? I suspect our opinions vary, based on factors such as race, culture, upbringing, value systems, personal experience, age, education, and so on. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country,” and the Bay Area has the highest rate of use in the nation (Hughes, Lipari, & Williams, 2016). I believe that many of our perceptions of cannabis have been shaped by the prohibition and criminalization of this substance in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. I also believe we have an ethical duty to educate ourselves on this history, as it informs both the collective and the personal unconscious and is largely unknown.

Why Psychotherapy?

I truly believe that there is nothing more important than our mental and emotional health. We can often lose track of what we're actually striving for in life. Society leads us to believe we will get love and acceptance with things such as beauty, status and financial success. We get what we think we want and then there's something else missing... another void. The void is an emotional one - a lack of connection to self and other - a false belief that our worth is attached to what we do as opposed to who we are. Then we may not even know who we are because we've been trying to be something else. We may even believe that we are somehow intrinsically bad.