Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Counselling Confidential?
Yes, everything we discuss will be kept both private and confidential. This means that I will not discuss the details of our sessions or confirm your attendance in counselling without your written permission to do so. Maintaining your privacy is integral to my role as your therapist, and it is always top priority.
There are however some limits to confidentiality. These limits include concerns of immanent risk to yourself or others ; any concern about a child or children who may be in current need of protection; or a court subpoena. Under any of these circumstances, I would be both legally and ethically required to take appropriate steps to maintain safety and report to appropriate authorities. During our first session together, I will review these limits to confidentiality in more depth, and answer any questions you may have.
2. I've never been to a therapist before. What can I expect in the first session?
The first session is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better and for me to learn more about what brings you to therapy. Before we begin this discussion, I will orient you to the process of counselling, attain your consent to begin therapy, and answer any questions you may have about how I work, or my background. During the first session, I will ask questions relating to your concerns, and other areas of your life so that I can get a well rounded picture of who you are and your history. I will listen intently to your story and pay close attention to underlying themes and patterns that may help to inform our work together. Towards the end of the session, we may begin to set goals for therapy together and prioritize what to work on first. The first session allows me to learn about you and you about me. I would encourage you NOT to expect us to reach your goal for counselling in our first session, but you certainly can expect to feel some relief just from the act of telling your story and being truly understood by someone who genuinely cares. We WILL get to the work, and we will set and achieve goals in the sessions to follow.
3. How many sessions will I need to reach my goal and how often should I come in for appointments?
Every person and every goal is unique, so I cannot give a one size fits all answer. Some people come in for two or three sessions and others may seek appointments for several months. My goal is to equip you with insights, genuine care, tools and self-awareness that will enable you to internalize our therapy and adopt it for yourself Essentially, my goal is help you to become your own therapist, so that my role becomes obsolete. Most clients come in for 10-12 sessions, others come in for 20-30, while others will only come in for 2 or 3 sessions. The number of sessions is dependent on what you want and need and what your goals are. You may want to work on one issue now and save another to work on later, when you feel ready to tackle it. That is something that we can discuss and prioritize together.
In terms of frequency of sessions, I usually recommend that we begin therapy with weekly sessions so that we can build and maintain momentum in our work and our change process. After some time, I often recommend slowing sessions down to bi-monhtly or even once a month to give you time to live the change that we have begun in therapy. It also allows for new insights to sink in and time for these insights and new behaviours to be practiced in your day-to-day life. We can then check in on how things are going and trouble shoot areas that are difficult, or address new challenges as they arise. Once you have reached your therapeutic goals and feel ready to end therapy, we can complete our work together, knowing that my door is always open for you if you wish to return.
4. Are you currently accepting new clients?
No. My practice is currently full, but please feel free to e-mail me to find out how long the wait is.
5. How do I cancel or re-schedule an appointment?
If you need to cancel or re-schedule an appointment, you can do so on my online booking system, or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a minimum of 48 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time. Any cancellations that are within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment will be charged the full fee.
6. How do I know if you're the right therapist for me?
Finding the right therapist can be an overwhelming task and it can be difficult to know where to start. There are a few things that I would recommend looking for when searching for a therapist:
1. I would recommend looking for a therapist that is both qualified and experienced. Qualifications to look for would be education (does this therapist have a masters degree or beyond), and registration with a professional regulatory body such as the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) or Canadian Counselling Association (CCA). In terms of experience, I would recommend seeking out a therapist who has both training and experience working with clients who have similar issues to what you are seeking therapy for. For example, if you want help with anxiety, I would look for a counsellor who specializes in this area.
2. Ask yourself if this counsellor's therapeutic approach a good fit for you. There are many different therapeutic modalities out there, and not all will be the right fit for everyone. Take a look at what type of therapy is offered, and if it sounds like an approach that would feel right for you.
3. Ask yourself how you felt after the first session. When you've met with a therapist who is a good fit, you should leave the session feeling safe, cared for and understood. Even though it is early in the client-counsellor relationship , clients will leave the first session feeling a little bit lighter, and more hopeful. If you end the first session feeling safe, comforted and hopeful about the positive changes that you are about to make, that serves as a good sign that you've found the right fit.
My approach to therapy is genuine, non-judgemental and evidence-based, which means that the therapeutic methods that I draw on have been shown, through scientific research to be effective in helping clients.