How do I know if I need therapy?
If you are struggling with something in your life and need support to talk about your concerns in a safe and confidential setting, then accessing therapy from a professionally trained person would likely be helpful. The issue of concern might be of a critical nature such as a sudden loss, a traumatic event or a mental health crisis; or it could be something less urgent that you have been unable to resolve such as relationship difficulties, struggles with mood or anxiety, or persistent patterns of thinking and behaviour that you wish to change. Therapy can also be helpful even when things are going well and you want to work on your own personal development in a deeper way. Interest in therapy is an indicator that you are in tune with your own self-care and that you have the emotional intelligence to recognize an opportunity for healing and growth.
How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?
If you feel at ease, listened to and can open up about your current struggles, then you have likely found a fit. I have often been told that people know they are with the right therapist because of a gut feeling that tells them they have found safety and solace in an environment where they can feel accepted and be themselves without fear of judgement. Trust your gut!
Do your credentials matter or set you apart from other professionals?
Credentials show that proper academic and applied training has been completed to ensure a high level of competence in my work. Licensing ensures that I have and continue to adhere to the standards and ethical guidelines of my profession. My training has encompassed 8 years of post-secondary education with more than 20 years of direct experience working as a therapist. There are as many approaches to therapy as there are therapists. What sets me apart is the unique combination of clinical, cultural, rehabilitation and trauma expertise I have accumulated over the years as well as my own unique style in approaching the work. I connect with my clients in a way that has been described as compassionate, gentle, sincere, transparent and effective.
Therapy costs a lot – is it worth it?
Therapy is an investment into your mental health and emotional well being. Your financial investment allows you to have access to specialized professional services that are designed specially with you in mind. As your therapist, I dedicate the time in sessions, preparation time before sessions, and documentation time following sessions solely to your care. In other words, I am spending more than the hour on developing and following up on your therapy plan. Therapy can be seen as an investment in your self-care. For more information about insurance coverage, please refer to my Fees and Privacy page.
How often will we meet and for how long?
The frequency and duration of therapy varies for each person. I recommend that sessions occur more often (weekly) in the early stages of therapy and become more spaced out (every two to three weeks) as the work progresses. Adjustments can be made at any time to increase or decrease frequency of sessions depending on the stage and focus of the work, your own personal pacing, your energy level and your financial resources. For more practical, solution-focused outcomes, therapy may be shorter in duration. In general, clients tend to engage in longer term work with me to allow for deeper, sustainable psychological change. Sessions are 1 to 2 hours in length depending on the time required to effectively address your therapeutic goals.
How will I know that therapy is helping?
If you are motivated to work on your therapy goals, and you are noticing some positive impact on your daily life, then the process is likely helping. It’s important to remember that therapy may not always “feel good” even if it is facilitating good change; when painful issues are being addressed, there may be feelings of discomfort during or following a session. Part of the process is to develop tolerance for this discomfort so that you can move through it rather than avoid it. My role is to help you develop the skills to do this. The key is that you feel safe, heard and that you want to continue even when the work is challenging.
Change is gradual and often incremental; this means that in order for therapy to help it does not need to produce immediate or dramatic results. There may be a subtle shift in how you feel. You may notice a change in old thinking patterns; things that once triggered you may seem less bothersome or relationships may become more fluid or satisfying. Sometimes you may receive feedback from others in your life who notice that something is different about the way you respond or carry yourself. Any and all of these indicators would suggest that therapy is helping.
How will I know when therapy is finished?
When the issues that brought you to therapy no longer preoccupy you as much or interfere with your day to day functioning, then you are probably ready for therapy to conclude. Often clients describe a sense of increased confidence in themselves and an ability to manage daily stressors more effectively. You may notice, for example, that you start to rely less on therapy to sort through your concerns or that you have less to talk about in sessions. This is a subjective thing that we will discern and agree upon together.
Can I take a break from therapy? Can I come back?
Yes. Taking a break from therapy can be helpful in allowing time to absorb the work done to date. Returning to therapy at a later date to continue your process is always an option. This would involve reviewing previous work and setting updated goals which may involve delving deeper into the same issue or tackling a new area of concern that has not yet been explored. The advantage here is that the relationship with your therapist would already be established and you could pick up from where you left off.
Do you prescribe medication?
No, I do not have the capacity to prescribe medication as I am not a medical doctor. You would need to see your family doctor for this or be referred to a psychiatrist. If needed, I am able to facilitate this process via consultation with your doctor (with your written permission).
Do you share my information with anyone else?
No information from your therapy can or will be shared with anyone else unless you give written permission for this to occur. In this circumstance, we would discuss the reasons for sharing any information beforehand, what specific information needs to be shared, and with whom. Other than this, all information is strictly confidential.
The guidelines around confidentiality in therapy will be explained in more detail with you during your initial session. You can also refer to my Fees and Privacy page for more information.