What is therapy?
Psychologists help people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives. Psychologists apply research-based techniques to help people develop more effective habits. There are several approaches to therapy that help people work through their problems.
Therapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. A psychologist provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral and non-judgemental. You and I will work together to identify and change the thought and behaviour patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.
By the time you’re done, you will not only have solved the problem that brought you in, but you will have learned new skills so you can better cope with whatever challenges arise in the future.
Choosing the right psychologist
The right match when choosing a psychologist is important. The relationship that develops between the client and the psychologist is vital for effective therapy. Most psychologists agree, that an important factor in determining whether to work with a particular psychologist is your level of personal comfort with that person.
Why do people start therapy?
People start therapy for a variety of individual reasons, here is a few reasons to begin therapy.
- feeling overwhelmed
- needing to make a decision about a specific thing
- feeling sad, depressed, shy, anxious or just stressed out
- you worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
- having panic attacks
- wanting more self-confidence or better social skills
- a traumatic event; hijacking, death of a loved one, rape, miscarriage
- relationship problems
- excessive dieting or overeating
- chronic illness (such as diabetes or asthma, HIV, cancer)
- separation and divorce
- problems with alcohol or addiction
- problems controlling anger
- work related problems
- feeling dead, numb, stuck or disconnected from life and people
How do you make your first appointment?
You may feel nervous about contacting me. That anxiety is perfectly normal. But having the courage to overcome that anxiety and make a call is the first step in the process of empowering yourself to feel better. Just making a plan to call and sticking to it can bring a sense of relief and put you on a more positive path.
I understand how difficult it can be to make initial contact. The first call is something new for you, but it’s something I handle regularly and I will try and make you as comfortable as possible. If I do not answer it is usually because I am in a session, please leave a message with your name, your contact number and why you are calling. It’s enough to just say that you are interested in knowing more about therapy. Once I’ve returned your call, we’ll have a brief conversation to get a better sense of what you need, whether I am able to help and when we can make an appointment.
You might be tempted to take the first available appointment slot. Take a few minutes to stop and think before you do. If it does not fit with your schedule, you can ask if there are other times available that might fit better for you.
How long and how often are therapy sessions?
A session last for 50 minutes and the remaining 10 minutes will be used for record keeping. Therapy will usually occur once a week at a mutually agreed upon time.
What should I expect from my first session?
For your first session, I ask you to to fill out some paperwork, so that I have all your details. I also go over logistical matters, how to make or cancel an appointment, fees, and confidentiality. It is also a time you can ask any questions that you might have before we begin.
Don’t worry that you won’t know what to do once the session actually begins. It’s normal to feel a little anxious in the first few sessions. It is my role to get things started and make you feel comfortable. In fact, the first session might seem like a game of 20 questions. This is so I can get an understanding of what brought you to therapy, how your problem is affecting your everyday life and whether you’ve noticed any changes in your sleeping habits, appetite or other behaviours. It’s OK for you to say that you are not ready to talk about something just yet.
It’s important not to rush this process, which may take more than one session. While guiding you through the process, I will let you set the pace when it comes to telling your story. As you gain trust in me and the process, you may be willing to share things you didn’t feel comfortable answering at first.
The two of us will work together to create a treatment plan. This collaborative goal-setting is important, because both of us need to be invested in achieving your goals. By the end of the first few sessions, you should have a new understanding of your problem, a game plan and a new sense of hope.
How long will therapy take?
How long therapy takes depends on several factors: the type of problem, the patient’s characteristics and history, the patient’s goals, what’s going on in the patient’s life outside psychotherapy and how fast the patient is able to make progress.
Some people feel relief after only a single session of therapy. Meeting with a psychologist can give a new perspective, help them see situations differently and offer relief from pain. Most people find some benefit after a few sessions, especially if they’re working on a single, well-defined problem and didn’t wait too long before seeking help.
Other people and situations take longer (maybe 6 months, a year or two) to benefit from psychotherapy. They may have experienced serious traumas, have multiple problems or just be unclear about what’s making them unhappy. It’s important to stick with psychotherapy long enough to give it a chance to work.
Others continue psychotherapy even after they solve the problems that brought them there initially. That’s because they continue to experience new insights, improved well-being and better functioning.