Here are a number of counselling frequently asked questions (FAQ) that come up:
Why would I see a therapist instead of a friend?
A therapist has…
- Professional training
- Specialized knowledge
- Objectivity and confidentiality
- Ability to prioritize you and your feelings
What does it mean that a therapist is a “good fit”?
There are a few things that you may want to look for in a therapist to see if they are a good fit.
- Does the therapist have the knowledge and skills to help you? For example, a therapist that does not have extra knowledge or training in chronic pain may not be able to help you as well as someone who has that training and can provide helpful psychoeducation around chronic pain.
- Do you feel comfortable with the therapist or feel like you’ll eventually be able to get comfortable with him or her?
- Do you feel that you and the therapist could come to an agreement on goals for therapy and how to achieve it?
A therapist that is a good fit is important because you don’t want to waste time and money on a therapist that isn’t a “good fit.”
How should I prepare for my first session?
- Keeping an open mind about therapy, and how it can help you
- Writing down specific topics, experiences and issues you want to cover
- Be prepared to speak your mind about what’s bothering you – your needs, thoughts, and opinions are important
What can I do to keep making progress in therapy?
- Maintaining the momentum with consistent therapy sessions.
- Being open and truthful about the issues and challenges you’re facing.
- Being open with your therapist about when things didn’t feel right or when you think things won’t work for you.
- Keeping up with any homework assignments, practices and being honest when you are having difficulties with them.
How long will I need to participate in therapy before I feel better?
This depends on the issue(s) you are coming to therapy with, your goals and the treatment plan we have collaborated on together. Additionally, if you have done a lot of self-work prior to coming to therapy that can reduce the amount of time your issues require. Most clients start noticing improvements within a few sessions.
More complex and deep-rooted issues often take longer to heal significantly from. Trauma and childhood emotional neglect treatment usually involves 10 or more sessions.
Consistent appointments help to keep the healing process going. It is advisable to have sessions on a weekly basis or have a plan for how the healing process is going to continue between sessions.
Treatments that involve more homework or practice outside of therapy are going to create change at a faster pace. Some types of therapy just take longer to see results. If you have concerns about the amount of sessions you can afford, there are types of therapy that get help you get to the desired result faster. For example, Cognitive Processing Therapy has been found to get clients to significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms in 12 sessions or less.
Privacy & Confidentiality
What is confidentiality?
Confidentiality is the keeping of another person’s information private. This means I won’t share indefinable information about you to others. This also means I will need your permission before communicating about you to other health professionals.
There may be times I seek consultation or supervision to better serve you, but your identifiable information will always be removed and only the details needed to achieve the purposes of the consultation will be shared. I only have these conversations in spaces where confidentiality is expected.
Confidentiality also means that if I see you in public I won’t acknowledge you unless you acknowledge me first. I don’t want you to be in a position where you have to explain to someone how you know me.
What are the limits of confidentiality?
There are some legal limits to confidentiality:
- Suspected abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult.
- Court orders or warrants
- Serious, and imminent harm to self or others.
Under those circumstances, I have to break confidentiality according to the legal expectations.
What platform do you use?
I use Owl Practice as a telehealth platform for video sessions, booking, secure messaging, and other administrative tasks.
I use zoom…
- If a client requests it
- There are difficulties for the client with Owl
- If there is a family session desired for support my clients.
What do you do if there are technology issues?
This depends on the technology issue.
- If it is platform based, we may switch to zoom.
- If there are internet connection issues, we may switch to phone.
- If the client prefers it we may reschedule (no extra fee).
If the client disappears during a session, I generally wait 5 minutes to see if they reconnect before I call them. At that point we will figure out an action plan for our session and whether to reschedule.
How secure is my information?
Owl Practice, the telehealth platform I use, uses bank-level encryption (SSL) to safeguard all data that move between their secure and dedicated servers and the device and browser on which a clinician or client accesses their Owl Practice account.
Video Sessions on Owl Practice meets the highest level of global healthcare compliance standards, including support for PIPEDA and PHI in Canada. All Video Therapy sessions are fully encrypted to ensure a secure communication.
I have a locking file cabinet where I store my paper files and my digital files are securely stored with Owl Practice telehealth platform.
How do I pay for my counselling session?
There are a few options to pay for your counselling sessions:
- You have the option to putting your credit card information or banking information into the online portal and I can charge it after our session. This form of payment is powered through Stripe and is secure and PCI Compliant.
- I can send an invoice and you can pay it via e-transfer or PayPal.
What are your counselling specialties?
My counselling specialties are:
Additionally, I am also trained in and can work on these issues alongside your other challenges:
- Domestic Violence
- Anxiety & Panic
- Narcissistic Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Emotional Abuse
- Substance use problems, Behavioural problems like gambling problems and internet/social addictions
- Self-harm and Suicidality
What are the main therapeutic approaches that you use?
I bring a person-centered, caring and compassionate approach to therapy. The therapeutic approaches that I mainly use:
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT)
Do you work with ICBC, FNHA, or CVAP clients? Are there extra fees?
I am a service provider with ICBC, FNHA, and CVAP and charge no extra fees for counselling sessions. ICBC and FNHA do not cover charges for missed sessions so there may be charges if you miss sessions without sufficient notice.
Do you have a sliding scale or other options for affordability?
I have a sliding scale based on income, there may be some additional considerations for other financial hardships available. Furthermore, I want people to be able to get access to the healing they need to live a better life. I am willing to discuss what you are able to afford and how we may be able to make that work.