Therapy is the exploration of one’s own life and allows one to highlight and develop resilience to cope with life stressors. Therapy can be used as a place to heal, a place to make decisions, a place to learn how to make constructive changes to one’s life and a place where one can glean a deeper and more vivid understanding of the patterns that both shape and interfere with healthy functioning. Investing in therapy is investing in oneself.
Anyone can benefit from therapy. There is not one of us that does not suffer from psychological angst at some time during his or her life. Some choose to deal with these problems alone and some call upon the expertise of a therapist. If you find that you are coping by trying to just “forget about it” and negative patterns repeat as a result – you may need help to get out of those patterns and discover alternate behaviors.
When you arrive for your first appointment you can help yourself to a coffee or a cup of tea in our waiting room until your therapist comes to greet you at the designated time. It is not necessary for you to knock or announce your arrival, your therapist may be with another client.
Your session will begin with an assessment, which consists of you telling the therapist why you have decided to come to therapy. Your therapist will ask you questions in an attempt to learn as much as possible about you and the reasons you are seeking help. The number of questions will slow down once the assessment is over and this can (but does not always) take more than one session. The goal of the assessment is to determine the nature of your problem and to develop a plan of action or to strategize for your treatment. You will also be invited to ask any questions you may have of the therapist. From your own perspective, the assessment can tell you a number of things including: Whether or not you can develop a good working relationship with the therapist; the type of approach that your therapist typically uses; and, whether you feel hopeful that your therapist’s style and approach are likely to be helpful for your concerns.
During the first session some time will be spent doing paper work. You can elect to speed this up by downloading the forms from our website and filling them out before your arrival. We will need some of your demographic information and together we will go over a standard consent form to participate in therapy as required by the ethical guidelines. This consent form is required for all psychologists/psychotherapists to obtain before therapy can proceed.
You and your therapist will then schedule follow up appointments for you to begin working on whatever it is you came here to do. As you proceed, your therapist will periodically check in with you to determine if you are receiving the help you need, to summarize the gains you are making, and to discuss whether we need to revise goals or discuss coming to an end.
Therapy appointments are generally 50 minutes long – the classic “50-minute hour”. The last ten minutes of the hour is set-aside for the therapist to write notes. Clients usually come once a week but as therapy proceeds and with the discretion of your therapist, sessions can reduce to every two weeks. The number of sessions involved in therapy varies a great deal and depends primarily on the nature of your concern. It can however also be determined by the limitations imposed by your insurer and sometimes your own preferences about the pace of the work.
Therapy is work and yes it is hard work. Many problems that you bring to therapy have accumulated over many years and will not be undone in a session. Sometimes when it feels that therapy is getting more difficult you will want to quit but this is often the signal that things in your life are changing. This is not the time to quit therapy but it is very important that you take the time to talk these feelings over with your therapist.
Payments are made either by cash or by cheque to the name of your therapist. This is done at the end of each session. Unfortunately Medicare does not provide coverage for private therapy fees. Receipts are issued for you to submit to your insurance provider or to use when you file your income tax.