Psychotherapy Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long is each therapy session?
At Growth Counselling Services, I offer 1-hour and 1.5-hour sessions. However, if you need to extend one of your sessions, please feel free to let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate you. Sometimes, the length of each session may depend on your specific needs and whether you’re engaging in individual or group therapy.
2. What can I expect from my first therapy session?
Psychotherapy, or any type of therapy for that matter, is a very personal experience. As such, it’s important that you feel comfortable talking to me about the challenges you’re facing and expressing your feelings. Your first session will mostly consist of us getting to know one another, establishing trust, and mapping out a therapy plan that works for you.
3. How can I make the most out of my first therapy session?
As hard as it may be, try to go into each therapy session with an open mind. Be honest about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Trust the process and remember this is a safe space. Try to schedule your appointments at appropriate times that work for you so that you don’t feel rushed. Most importantly, think of therapy as a collaborative effort instead of a one-sided treatment. You and I are a team working together to help you to establish a new way of relating to your difficulties.
4. Can I contact you in the event of a crisis or if I exhibit suicidal thoughts or behaviour?
Yes. You can contact me in the event of a crisis or if you have suicidal thoughts. I am always ready and willing to help in any way I can. You should know, however, that if there’s a chance that you could harm yourself or others, I am obligated by the profession to report the incident to the authorities.
5. How effective is psychotherapy?
Over the years, psychotherapy has proven to be extremely effective for a wide range of individuals from young children to older adults for a number of reasons. In fact, most people prefer talking to a psychotherapist about the challenges they’re facing rather than taking medication. Talking about your life experiences, perspectives, and emotions can help you resolve deep-rooted challenges in your life and help you understand them better.
6. What is the difference between a psychotherapist and psychiatrist?
Although the terms psychotherapist and psychiatrist are often used interchangeably even by members of the medical community, there is a distinct difference between the two professions.
While they both focus on helping clients understand and cope with emotional and mental health challenges, psychiatrists are trained medical doctors who are qualified to prescribe medications like anti-depressants and aid in medication management for their patients.
Psychotherapists, on the other hand, study the way people think and behave and how their behaviour impacts their emotional and mental well-being as well as their relationships with themselves and others. Psychotherapists do not prescribe medical treatments, however, they may be able to refer you to other medical professionals who can if need be. Psychotherapists specialize in behaviour-based treatments to help you understand and overcome your emotional challenges either with or without medication.
The objective of psychotherapy is to help clients understand, accept, and face their emotional challenges by applying learned alternative behavioural techniques and coping mechanisms to their everyday lives.
7. Do I need a referral from a doctor to get help?
No, you don’t need a referral from your doctor to see a psychotherapist, but you will need one to see a psychiatrist.
8. How can I tell if psychotherapy is working for me?
It’ll take time before you start noticing the positive effects of psychotherapy. Simply showing up for yourself, opening up about the difficult challenges you’re dealing with, and even a difference in your mood are all good signs that the treatment is working. Some people might experience an immediate shift in their perspective on life, but for others it might take a little more time to notice a difference. Everyone’s journey is unique and the most important thing is to try to accept and understand where you are today.
9. What if I don’t know what kind of help I need?
That is okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out when you start therapy. That’s what I’m here for. Many people go into therapy not really knowing what they want, need, or expect to get out of it. Realizing these things is half the battle. The other half is recognizing that you need some form of help. Throughout the treatment, if something comes up that’s beyond the scope of my practice, I’ll be more than happy to recommend other treatment options.
10. How do I know if I need psychotherapy?
When it comes to psychotherapy, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. We all face different struggles from time to time in our lives. Relationship troubles, work stress, problems in the family, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc. can all take their toll on us. Regardless of what you’re going through, seeking out therapy could be the solution for you.
11. Does everything I tell you remain confidential?
For the most part, the answer is yes—with a few exceptions. In situations where safety is a concern, I’m obligated by law to alert the authorities. This includes situations in which you plan to hurt yourself or others.
12. How long will I be in psychotherapy?
You can continue therapy for as long as you think it’s necessary. I like to take it one session at a time with my clients and help them define their goals. Once those goals are met and you’re satisfied with the results, you can stop the sessions on your terms.