What is therapy?
Therapy, also called counselling, is the process of meeting with someone who is trained in a particular set of approaches in order to help you resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body). Therapy can help you learn how your mind works, how to navigate (or resolve) your feelings, choose and maintain healthy relationships, or build (or rebuild) beliefs or behaviours. Therapists who use clinically-proven techniques can work with you to set goals, track progress, and measure results. They teach you skills to build emotional resilience so you can eventually leave therapy and live as the healthiest version of yourself, no matter what you’re facing.
Simply put, therapy is a soft place to land when we are not okay. It is an interaction with a trained professional who facilitates the creation of a safe place to lean into, sit with and work through that which has contributed to the pain or disconnect, and from there, to move forward.
What should I expect from the process?
You can expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens attentively, models a healthy and positive relationship experience, gives you appropriate feedback, and follows ethical guidelines. A positive therapy experience is one where there’s an appropriate fit between you and your therapist. While therapy isn’t always comfortable, it should be a place of safety to navigate and work through the pain and discomfort, and to be challenged with respect and compassion to stretch and grow. You can anticipate that the first session, or first few sessions, are focused on assessment and getting clear on what is going on for you.
It is important to remember that we are not a crisis service meaning that if you are at imminent risk of harm to yourself or someone else, you will need to contact a crisis resource such as a crisis line or HealthLink, or get to your nearest emergency department or call 911.
Why do people seek therapy?
There are many reasons why someone might seek a therapist. These reasons depend, to some degree, whether someone is looking for individual, relationship, family, or group therapy, or if they are seeking a therapist’s support for their child or teen. Some folks are looking for help in managing anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, or addiction. Others might have difficulties in creating and sustaining stable and nurturing relationships, or may be struggling to understand anger or conflicts with friends or loved ones. Sometimes a particular life experience or unexpected crisis—the passing of a loved one, separation or divorce, a milestone, an illness, or a traumatic event—may precipitate a decision to seek counselling. The reasons for seeking therapy are as vast and varied as we are.
When the strategies we have are no longer enough for us to function and show up in our lives the way we want to, it may be time to consider therapeutic support.
What if I need or want to consider medication in addition to therapy?
Going to a therapist doesn’t necessarily mean getting medicated, but if it’s something you have questions about, those are important to bring up with your therapist. If together you decide that medication is the right option for you, very often you’ll be referred to a separate provider. Psychologists and therapists aren’t licensed to prescribe medications, but your therapist will likely have appropriate recommendations regarding next steps in considering medication.
Medication can be very helpful for some people, and it is important to remember that you get to choose what goes into your body. Your therapist may also help you prepare questions to ask your physician or pharmacist so that you can make the most informed decision on what is right for you at this time.
How long is a typical session and how often will I meet with my therapist?
Typical sessions with adults range from an hour to an hour and a half, and an hour with kids under 13. However, how long sessions are can be agreed upon prior to the session to best fit the needs of the person or family.
Will you share with anyone what I talk about in our therapy sessions?
All information shared with individual therapists or their assistant is confidential and no information will be released without your consent. There are limits to this confidentiality which include the following:
- When there is risk of imminent danger to yourself, my child or to another person, therapists are ethically bound to take necessary steps to prevent such danger.
- When there is suspicion that a child or elder is being neglected or abused or is at risk of such abuse, therapists are legally required to take steps to protect the child or elder, and to inform the proper authorities.
- When a valid court order is issued for counselling records, therapists are bound by law to comply with such requests.
- Your therapist may consult from time to time with another registered professional in the same practice. This is important for your therapist to continue to grow as a professional and provide you the best service possible through getting feedback on the therapists’ work.
How long can I expect to be in therapy?
Therapy can last anywhere from one sessions to several months. It all depends on the needs of the client. Some people who come to therapy with very specific problems often one or two sessions are sufficient.
It is difficult to know how often or the total number of sessions for a person to get the greatest benefit from their course of therapy. It is important to remember that your involvement is voluntary, meaning that you can chose to terminate or not come back at any point. Some people find a handful of sessions to be beneficial, while others find value over time.
What are my payment options? How much will it cost?
Fees range depending on the therapist. If a client does not have access to insurance or the fee becomes prohibitive to accessing services sliding scale agreements can be made between therapist and client individually.
Payment options include e-transfer, or credit card through freshbooks accounting.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help and walk through that door. That is enough to get started.
Fit between therapist and client is one of the most important factors when it comes to success in therapy, and so if it does not feel like the right fit, we can possibly connect you with someone else in the team.
What do I do if I want to seek relationship or family therapy but my partner or family member doesn’t?
Although it may not be as effective you can do couples and family work without them in the room. When we shift how we show up in our relationships, it can impact the whole system. This does not mean that you can do someone else’s work for them, however when we change how we show up, the dance changes.