People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Knowing if therapy is right for you can take some time and some self-reflection. You can talk to your therapist if you have any concerns about your reaction to therapy. It is important to be open with your therapist and give honest feedback on your experience so that your therapist is aware and can help make things right or even refer you to different therapist who can give you the experience you are looking for.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn and/or discover in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives, and are ready take responsibility for their lives.
Please see our “Rates & Insurance” page. You can find information on which insurance providers we accept and how the process works.
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
Basically, whatever you say in therapy, stays in therapy. However, there are times when a therapist is legally obligated to break confidentiality:
· Harm to self or others. If a therapist believes that you are in imminent danger of hurting yourself or someone else, a family member, police or ambulance will be called to ensure safety.
· A child under the age of 16 or older adult in care is in danger. In these cases Family and Children’s Services or the police will be called.
· Your files are subpoenaed by the court or by the College of Registered Psychotherapists.
· A client experienced a health emergency during a session. In this case, medical staff would be provided only with necessary information. No information about why a client is in therapy will be shared.
Some therapists (myself included) carry confidentiality into the community. I inform clients that if I see them in the community I will not say hello. I don’t want to put anyone is a situation where they have to explain how they know me. I am always open to speaking to clients outside of the office, but they get to make first contact.
A number of benefits are possible from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists 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:
Clients come into an office (that’s usually quite comfortable) and talk to the therapist. Sometimes the therapist will have a plan for what to talk about during that session; at other times, the client drives the conversation.
I’ve found it helps clients to have an idea of what will happen in a session, so I have a basic structure. The session starts with the client telling me about what has been happening for them since our last meeting. We check in on any homework that was suggested. I ask the client if there is anything they want to talk about. Normally the client has outlined goals for therapy (what they would like to be different when therapy is finished) and that always provides areas for conversations.
This is your session, so again you get to choose!
While therapists learn various types of therapies (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, etc.), therapy is also an art. Every client is different, with different needs for the amount of time they will be seeing a therapist.
Personally, I operate from the perspective of ‘this is your therapy’ and you get to choose. If a client is in crisis, then I suggest meeting weekly until things become more stable. Once the crisis is past, we move to bi-weekly or even monthly. It depends on what the client chooses as well as what is in their best interest therapeutically. Ethically, a therapist shouldn’t want a client to have to come forever. The overall goal is that people feel better and go back to their lives.
Once clients ‘graduate’ from seeing their therapist, many treat their therapist as one more tool in their health toolbox–checking in when necessary.