Frequently Asked Questions
What is Counselling or therapy?
Counselling can also be called talk therapy. It involves sitting down with a trained professional to explore situations, behaviours, thoughts, feelings and even dreams that have been causing distress, pain or anxiety. The concerns that can be brought to the therapy session are as wide and broad as human experience itself. As the counsellor, I will bring all my skills, training and wisdom to support you in getting to the place you want to go.
How do I know if therapy will work?
Evidence-based research has shown there is a high degree of success when the therapist and client together have created a bond based on respect and trust. That is important to me. I think therapy is both a science and an art. You have my commitment to form a partnership with you. Success also depends on the motivation of the client to invest time and energy toward their healing.
Who will know if I go to therapy?
Only the people you tell will know. Everything you say in a session is held in strictest confidence.
There are three exceptions to this confidence that are explicitly explained at the first session:
- if the counsellor has reason to believe a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect,
- if the client is at risk of harming self or others,
- if there is a legal subpoena for the client's file.
In these situations the counsellor is legally required to contact other community and/or social agencies like Emergency Medical Technicians, Victoria Police Department or the Ministry of Children and Family Development. If there is a subpoena, the file goes to the lawyer requesting it.
Will my counsellor tell me what to do or solve my problem for me?
No. This is a common misconception. Counsellors rarely, if ever, give advice or suggestions. They may offer various breathing and grounding techniques if anxiety is the issue, as I do, for example. No one can solve another person's problems. I will work with you to form a partnership of trust where we explore the various factors informing your concerns.
What does therapy cost?
Among counsellors costs vary widely, as do payment options. British Columbia Medical Services Plan does not cover the cost of counsellors. Group insurance, employee wellness benefits, cash and credit cards are generally accepted. Many counsellors have a sliding scale and their fees are posted on their web site.
I have a sliding scale and my 2017 rates are at the affordable end of the scale. I accept cash and provide receipts to claim toward group health insurance plans.
When should I go see a Therapist?
Ask yourself these question:
- "Am I coping with this situation/struggle as well as I would like to be?"
- "Can I think of any other solutions on my own?"
If you answered “no” to either of those questions, then perhaps therapy will open new doors and insights for you to pursue. It is likely the therapy, even just a few sessions, will get things moving for you again and get you past any blocks that have been impeding your progress.
How long do I have to go to therapy?
Everyone is different. Issues that involve daily life or co-workers might only need a few sessions; situations that are longstanding or concern trauma and abuse are layered and may take more time and dedication to get to a place of healing.
Some of the techniques I employ include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Solution Focused Therapy
- Developmental Theory
- Attachment Theory
- Tri-phasic model for Healing Trauma and Abuse
- Healing Shame Therapy
- Gender issues in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Therapy
- Dream Therapy
- Breathing and Grounding techniques
Can't I just read a self-help book and get the same benefit as seeing a counsellor?
No. Whereas there are many useful and well-written self-help books, their advice is meant for a general audience, not your unique situation. It is just not the same as forming a trusting relationship with a trained professional. I become an ally in your life. A book cannot replicate the power of being witnessed, seen and heard.
Can't I just take medication and get better?
For some situations like depression, evidence has shown that the gold standard of treatment is medication plus counselling. However for most situations, the mental and emotional aspects of the issue still need to be processed and sorted. Primary care physicians do not do that sort of work.
Therapists do that work, but please note that counsellors do not prescribe or suggest medication.
I encourage clients to consult with their physician and I work openly and in conjunction with the client's medical practitioners on the client's request.