If you are visiting, you certainly have a sense of what to expect from counselling. You likely know it involves sitting down together and talking things through. Walking through the difficult feelings and experiences together. You may wonder, though, about the way I practice, and what it may look like when we work together. These are some common questions:
What kind of challenges and experiences do you work with?
I work with people with many kinds of experiences and difficulties.
You, or your child, might choose to see me for help with:
- anxiety and worry
- chronic pain and/or illness
- life transitions
- sleep difficulties
How will I know if you are the right therapist for me?
This is an important consideration. When you meet a therapist or counsellor for the first time, you will share some of the difficulties that have led you to counselling, and they will respond. Pay attention to how you feel as this is going on. You will feel some distress, probably, because it’s difficult sharing with a stranger at first. Notice, though, whether you feel safe? Respected? Comfortable? Does the therapist listen to your concerns and proceed at the right pace for you? Do you feel a personal connection? At the end of the first session, you and I will talk about whether we have the potential of carrying on with our work together. At any point, if counselling no longer feels right for you, you can choose to end the counselling relationship. Likewise, if I feel that another style of therapy or counselling may be more helpful for you, I may discuss referral to another professional.
What do we do in the sessions?
This will vary depending on what is needed at different times. We will always talk together, of course, but depending on what approach seems best there may be times we also work with mindfulness techniques, learn strategies and skills for coping, and share information with worksheets or apps.
How long are the sessions? How many times will I need to see you?
The sessions are one hour long–50 minutes of counselling, and 10 minutes of paperwork. During the paperwork segment, we take care of details like payment and scheduling our next appointment, and then I will take care of making notes to guide your treatment and track our progress.
Sessions will usually take place on a weekly or biweekly basis at first, and then may be scheduled less frequently as treatment progresses.
The length of treatment will depend on how progress is made during our sessions together. My job is to help you get to a place where you no longer need to see me for therapy. For some people, that may be just a few sessions. For others, therapy may extend for a longer period.
If I bring my child to see you, how do I know what they are doing with you?
Before I work with your child for the first time, I will speak with you in person or on the phone about your concerns. At the child’s first appointment, we will meet together with you for a few minutes, and then I will meet with your child alone. Later in our session, your child and I will meet with you again to discuss some of the things we would like you to know, so that you can support practicing strategies at home. It is important that you know I will not share every detail your child shares with me. Confidentiality means that I will keep their information private. Exceptions to this exist, of course. If your child shares that they are being hurt or abused, that they know of someone else who is, or that they are thinking of harming themselves, I cannot maintain their confidentiality.
Do you offer evening or weekend appointments?
I don’t offer evening appointments, but my office is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for daytime appointments.
Will you communicate with my doctor or other referral source about our work together?
When I need to share information about your progress, we will complete an authorization for me to exchange information with others, and you will sign it if you are willing. It is my practice to inform clients when information is about to be shared, and to share the content with the client.
How much does it cost to get counselling?
This varies between counsellors, but in my practice I charge $100 per hour. This is paid immediately following the session, in cash or by e-transfer.
Will insurance cover the costs of counselling?
Some insurers cover personal counselling, and others don’t. We can discuss this at the time you are making your first appointment. Counselling may be reimbursed as a medical expense by the Canada Revenue Agency.