Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy and the Therapeutic Process
What is therapy?The words “Therapy” and “Counselling” are used interchangeably. Traditionally speaking, most people believe that sessions are all about engaging in “talk therapy.” However, effective therapy must address all parts of a person, including your thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and actions. Therapy is the process of self-awareness and personal growth that occurs through a secure and supportive therapeutic relationship. Through this relationship, we can help you to resolve “blocks” and help you to gain skills and insights. Therapy also helps you to resolve emotional disturbances, change troubling behaviors, resolve problems, develop skills, make healthy life choices, and experience more fulfilling relationships. Therapy sessions are held in different formats, such as individual, couple, family and groups. The therapist’s role is to guide you in your process of self-awareness and act as a catalyst for behavior change by uncovering ways that you may be stuck.
Who sees a psychologist/counsellor?Anyone who wants to improve some aspect of their life. Thousands of people seek help each year. It is important that the individual is willing to work on his/her problem(s).
Why would you see a psychologist/counsellor?People come into therapy for many reasons. Some people are experiencing unexpected changes in their lives, while others are looking for personal growth. Some common concerns that psychologists deal with are: grief/loss, stress, depression, guilt, doubt, anger, parenting, relationship issues, trauma, sleeping issues, or unmanageable fears or anxieties. When coping skills and resources are overwhelmed by situational factors, counselling can provide you with the needed support. Therapy can also help you develop awareness and understanding, resolve your issues, and assist you in coping more effectively with life’s challenges.
When is it time to see a psychologist/counsellor?The fact that you are considering getting some professional help is a big clue that it is likely a good idea to talk to a counselor. Oftentimes, people attend counselling after trying everything that you can think of and you are still feeling “stuck” in negative emotions, thoughts, behaviors and/or relationship patterns. We suggest that you seek counselling when you feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness, hopelessness, grief, sadness, or anger. Oftentimes, people report experiencing difficulties in day to day functioning, have uncontrollable emotional outburst, have physical manifestations of stress such as headaches or difficulty sleeping, and have interpersonal challenges. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is likely that it is time to see a counsellor. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, you should seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to an emergency room.
How long does it usually take to start to feel better?This depends on several factors including: a) the issue(s) and the severity of the issue(s), b) the client’s motivation to change, and c) the goal(s) of therapy. Most clients often feel better after the first session.
What benefits can I expect from therapy?There are several benefits from participating in therapy. Often it is helps just to know that someone understands your situation. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include: Some benefits include but are not limited to:
- Resolution of symptoms
- Strengthened relationships
- An increase in coping, insight, and healing
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Managing negative emotions such as panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression, etc
- Improving communication skills
- Improving your self-esteem and self-confidence
What are the risks of therapy?Risks include but are not limited to: experiencing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, recalling troubling memories, and confronting difficult issues. Choosing not to go to therapy may result in escalating distress, turmoil, or risks.
Is my information confidential?Confidentiality means that any information that clients provide in therapy stays between themselves and their therapist. All Registered and Provisionally Registered Psychologists adhere to strict confidentiality standards. However, few exceptions to this rule exist that Psychologists and Provisionally Registered Psychologists must adhere to, by law. These are:
- When there is risk of imminent danger to yourself or others.
- When there is a reasonable suspicion that a child or any other vulnerable person is being sexually, physically, or emotionally abused or neglected or when there is at risk for such abuse.
- When there is a subpoena regarding information discussed in therapy.
- If you are a WCB (Worker’s Compensation Board) or EAP (Employee Assistance Program) client, please note that your information may be released to your employer or the agency that is handling your case. This is a legal part of these agencies and is not controlled by us.
What are sessions like?Each person brings a different life history and experiences to the session and has his/her own desires outcome, therefore, therapy will be tailored to each person’s specific needs. This can be discussed in further detail with your therapist. In the first session, your therapist will listen to your concerns, obtain background information about the problem and its impact on your life, assess your resources and coping strategies, and collaboratively determine the goals of therapy with you. The initial session is a chance for you to get a “feel” for your therapist’s style and make sure that it is a “good fit” for you. Some questions that the therapist may ask are: What brings you to counseling? What do you hope to gain from counselling? and How has this issue impacted various areas of life? If this is your first time meeting with a therapist, it is natural to feel some apprehension and hesitation about the session. We work hard to support you and create an atmosphere of trust, empathy, and understanding in order to help you feel at ease. In between sessions, it is best to think about and process what was discussed in sessions. The therapist may give you tools to practice in between sessions, which are designed to help you achieve and maintain your goals. Completing these resources usually progresses therapy. For therapy to “work,” we ask clients to be active participants in their care, both in sessions and outside of the sessions.
How long are therapy sessions?Typically, first sessions are 90 minutes long wherein the therapist listens to your concerns, asks you questions, discusses goals, introduces you to the treatment method and begins to work with you on the issue(s) that brought you into therapy. In a 90-minute session, therapy lasts approximately 70-75 minutes and subsequently the therapist takes the rest of the time to complete session notes, as this is a legal requirement. Subsequent session can be any length of time that you chose. Usually weekly sessions allow for the best results, however, people who are in a crisis may need more than one session per week, until the crisis passes. Otherwise, sessions are scheduled weekly to once every two weeks.
How do I make the most out of my therapy?You can enhance your experience in therapy by making therapy a priority in your life, being honest and open with yourself and your therapist, and by practicing any of the new skills that you acquire in therapy. Please note that a person often achieves greater results from therapy when they are open to the process and are willing to actively participate.
Do I need a referral to book an appointment?No. In your free 10-15 minute telephone consultation, you and your therapist will be able to determine whether the therapist can meet your specific needs and help you accomplish your goals. Afterward, your first appointment will be scheduled. If an appointment is not booked and you need further referrals, the therapist will provide you with appropriate referral options.
What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?If you aren’t sure what your goals are for therapy, we work together with you to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
Will my health insurance pay for therapy?We are happy to provide you with a detailed receipt to help you obtain reimbursement from your insurance company. You may want to call your Extended Health Benefits plan to get the details of your coverage.
I am ready to start therapy. How do I schedule an appointment?Click on the Appointment link or call 780-298-9401.