Q: Can I have psychotherapy or therapy even though I’m not really ill?
A. Of course. More and more people are choosing counselling to overcome a particular issue, understand feelings or just because they feel that things need to be better. If you think of someone going to a gym to get physically fitter, you can also think of counselling for mental fitness.
Q: What is the different between short term and open-ended psychotherapy?
A: Short Term psychotherapy:
Short term counselling suits many people: it is usually from 6 to 20 weeks (some people only want one or two sessions). The counsellor and client can agree the issues that need to be worked on and set goals for the sessions. It is not suitable for everyone – the counsellor can advise you – but is a good step for people who do not want to make a long commitment or have a particular issue to work with such as a relationship difficulty. It is often used by people who have had counselling in the past and want to return to work on a particular issue.
B. Open ended psychotherapy:
This is a type of therapy which proceeds at the client’s own pace. This allows the client time and space to gradually develop insight into the root cause of their concerns. Clients continue in therapy for as long as they require. Open ended counselling is delivered by counsellors who are either fully qualified or are completing their training under close supervision.
Q. I like the idea of CBT. Will it work for me?
A. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is extremely useful. However, it only suits some personalities and some situations.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy involves learning skills for overcoming behaviours, habits or reactions that are “making things worse”. This could be learning ways to overcome panic attacks or stress, for avoiding the triggers for overeating or even from entering into unsuitable relationships. This form of therapy is also particularly helpful for those suffering from depression or anxiety disorders.
Q. How do I know what style of therapy will be best for me?
A. The first session of any counselling is in fact an assessment. The counsellor will talk to you about what brings you to counselling and explore what might be helpful for you.
Q. How do I know if a psychotherapist is qualified?
A. You can always ask the counsellor what their qualifications are. I have completed my degree in counselling and endeavour to have continuing education each year to further develop my skills. I am a registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. I am also a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist.
Q. What do I do if I have a complaint about the service or the therapist?
A. Please do let me know immediately if things are not working well between us.
Q. What does a psychotherapist do?
A. Careful listening is the largest part of what all therapists do. They make sure clients have clarified the problem areas in their own terms and help them decide what steps they want to take next. Therapists will always let the work proceed at the client’s pace.
Q. What do I say?
A. It doesn’t really matter how you present your problem. You can say whatever you like. You might find yourself saying things you had not expected to say. The counsellor will always help you explore your circumstances.
Q. How long will I have to wait?
A. I attempt to make the first appointment with a week of first contact. However, waiting times may vary according to your own availability and the service you seek.
Q. Will the therapist give me advice?
A. No – counsellors will not give advice of the “I think you should do this” type, since the aim of counselling is to help you come to your own decision. They will never make a moral decision about the course of action you ought to take. The counsellor might sum up what they understand you have been saying so that they can help you to form a plan of action.
Q. Will the therapist judge me?
A. No – judging clients is not helpful or relevant; they need to be supported in finding their own way out of the problem.
Q. What’s the difference between talking to a friend and talking to a therapist?
A. Sometimes talking to a friend can be helpful and therapists often encourage clients to use their family and friends. However there are some disadvantages to using friends as your only confidants and support.
Friends could feel a conflict of loyalty and find it hard to keep things confidential.
Friends may become upset themselves by what you are telling them.
Friends could be upset if you don’t accept their advice.
Therapists have had training and have a formal support and work structure which helps them to deal with upsetting and difficult situations; friends may begin to feel overburdened, especially if they have their own problems too.
And sometimes we will need more help than friends can provide.