Why would I want to talk to a therapist?
Usually when the pain of what you are trying to cope with becomes unbearable, you might recognize you need help. This is where a therapist comes in.
Do I have to lay on a couch during therapy?
No. Well, if you really want to you can. But it's not necessary! Your therapist should have a comfortable space, and you should be able to sit whatever way is comfortable to you.
How does confidentiality work?
Basically, whatever you say in therapy, stays in therapy. However there are specific times when a therapist is legally obligated to break confidentiality.
They believe you are going to cause harm to yourself or others, a child under 16 is in danger, your files are subpoenaed by the court, or you experienced a health emergency during a session. In all cases, only relevant information will be shared. Not your entire history if unnecessary.
How often will the sessions be, and how long are they?
Typically if there is a serious or severe concern you are presenting with, sessions will be scheduled weekly for 6 or 12 weeks until you are feeling better. If you are looking to talk to someone, to discuss and/or vent, you can schedule your sessions for whenever you feel necessary. Therapy is totally self-directed.
Usually sessions are 1 hour, but can be an hour and a half if needed. This is determined when you book a session so you will always know what to expect.
What types of therapy are there?
There are so many types of therapy - a list can be found here.
The 5 main types of therapy are:
Integrative or Holistic
Depending on what your presenting concerns are, your therapist will be able to help determine which will be the best modality to use with you.
How can I find a good therapist?
A referral from family or friends, or another health professional is a good place to start; you could also do a Google search. Psychology Today is a great directory for therapists all over the world.
What happens in therapy?
Sometimes the therapist will have a plan for what to talk about during the session, other times the client will direct the session with something pressing they need to talk about.
Psychiatrist, Therapist, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Social Worker, Psychologist....What is the difference??
Psychiatrist: A medical doctor, with training in psychiatry and ability to diagnose mental health issues and prescribe medication.
Psychotherapist: A counsellor, holding a Masters degree, or equivalent, and specializes in specific issues such as complex trauma and grief & loss. In Ontario this title is protected, in BC it is not.
Psychologist: Holds at least a Masters degree in psychology and can diagnose a mental health issue, but cannot prescribe medication.
Therapist/Counsellor: One who has training, education and experience in psychology and the science of mental health. These terms can be used interchangeably. Must be registered and licensed by a governing counselling association.
Social Worker: Typically social workers have either a Bachelors degree or a Masters degree. They work either clinically or in the community helping governments or local agencies with family and children services.
It is important to know what you need for the concerns you feel you need therapy for. In most cases, a therapist or counsellor will be exactly what you need. However, when there are severe issues involving personality disorders, or complex trauma, grief or loss - a psychologist with a speciality in theses issues will be much more effective.
What if my therapist upsets me?
If your therapist upsets you, you should bring it to their attention. Even if you wait until a later session to bring it up, it’s better than ignoring it. If you feel that you’re being judged or criticized, let your therapist know. For example, you could say something like, “In our session last week, I felt like you were judging me when I told you that I smoke marijuana. Can we talk about that?”
A well-trained therapist will be able to respond empathically to you and will be open to exploring your feelings about the interactions between the two of you. A well-trained therapist will also be able to own their part in the interaction. Often, an open and honest conversation about your interaction can enhance your work together long-term.
What makes a good therapist?
The most important piece of the puzzle is relationship between you and your therapist. However, what is also important is a therapist with valid credentials and has experience in your area of concern.
How long will I be in therapy? Will it be forever??
Every client is different. A good therapist will have a plan to help you work through the concerns you brought to the table. After that, you may continue to see them if you feel you would benefit from it.
Is online therapy as effective as in-person sessions?
It is completely up to you as the client. If you prefer to be in-person because you like the face to face connection, that is completely understandable and you will be more comfortable and therefore share & work through much more. If you are used to online meetings or FaceTime - then online therapy will be no issue for you. Again, it is completely up to you the client. There is no difference in the quality of therapy whether it's in person or online.
What if I don't want to talk about certain topics?
Therapy is self-directed. You will get out of it what you put into it. However in the first session, there will be an intake done which is when the therapist will ask a lot of questions about your family history, mental, physical and family health, questions about your education and career, and substance use history. All of these questions and the answers you give will help the therapist to help you. So the most important piece of the puzzle is that you are honest when answering the questions. Your therapist should never judge you for anything. They are there to help you. They can't help you properly unless you tell them the truth about yourself and your history. Again, you will get out of therapy what you put into it....and while it may be hard and uncomfortable at times, you will not regret it.