How does therapy help?

Depending on your present situation and your reasons for seeking help, there are many benefits to therapy. If you are accessing treatment for a mental illness, therapy will help you better manage your symptoms and triggers, and in many cases help you overcome the illness itself.

Therapy can also provide you with a place to reflect, be known and understood, and  offer you new perspectives on your life and your usual patterns and coping habits.

Therapy is also a place to practice problem-solving skills, receive support during struggles, and work through life changes.  Therapy is a personal growth opportunity if you want it to be.

Some specific skills therapy can teach you are:

  • Emotional awareness and regulation
  • Coping skills to work through difficult situations
  • Stress management to overcome daily and chronic stressors
  • Boundary setting and assertiveness training
  • Problem solving skills when life is confusing and uncertain
  • Improving self-worth, self-esteem, and body image issues
  • Communication techniques such as: asking for what you need, active listening, and giving feedback
  • Taming the inner critic and learning self acceptance
  • Tuning into your intuition and becoming more self aware

While the decision to begin therapy is an individual choice, in many regards it can be helpful for everyone in your life. If your stress and coping strategies are affecting family, friends, and/or coworkers, you might all benefit from your decision to seek help. When  we receive feedback from the people in our lives that our anxiety or depression is impacting them, that our anger is scaring them, or that our rigid beliefs and behaviours make us difficult to live or work with, then our difficulties are probably having a negative impact on those around us. Working on your personal struggles may thus indirectly improve family and working relationships as well as your own well-being.

What to expect on your first visit?

Your first therapy session has two main goals:

1. Assess your needs

In the first session we will begin by understanding your personality and life experiences. Think of it as an information gathering session where you can describe your troubling symptoms, unique life experiences and the reasons that brought you into therapy.

From there we will be able to set therapeutic goals, decide what therapeutic framework is right for you, and how we will apply the work.  We will also determine the frequency of sessions and the length of therapy. Most appointments are weekly and reserved for you on a specific date and time, while the average time in therapy is 6 months – 2 years but can vary greatly depending on your needs and individual progress.

2. Establish a working relationship

We will use this time to get to know each other and see how well we work together. As I’m getting to know you by inquiring about your primary issues and your life history, you will be getting a sense of how I work, how comfortable you feel with me, and of my own personality. You are welcome to ask questions and any time, and you can always ask to skip any question I ask.

I believe trust and safety in your therapist is vital to an effective therapy. I hope you will feel comfortable, accepted, and safe to be yourself during our sessions. If you don’t feel this way, please tell me. Additionally, know that trust and comfort are slowly built over time, but that most people will notice relaxing into therapy by the third session. Each client/therapist relationship is unique but I aim to bring some core principles to all sessions. These are:

  • Compassion, acceptance, empathy, respect, and understanding
  • Honesty, integrity, challenge, and confidentiality
  • Scientifically-backed techniques and understanding of difficulties and treatments
  • Openness to feedback and discussion about changing our treatment approach
  • Creativity and play when appropriate

I look forward to getting to know you and helping you reach your therapy goals.

Please complete the following forms prior to your first therapy session.

Is therapy confidential?

As a general rule, all therapy sessions are confidential and anything you discuss with me will remain between the two of us, unless you request otherwise. This is in compliance with professional protection laws, which all therapists legally need to follow. When sessions are online, a secure platform that is PIPEDA-compliant  is always used and therapy notes are kept in a locked file to which only I has access. If you feel so inclined, you can use a nickname when logging into our online sessions.

There are limits to confidentiality however, and I will need to disclose information to legal authorities or appointed persons if any of the following are true:

  • I suspect physical or sexual abuse to a child, or a dependent adult.
  • You intend to cause severe bodily harm to another person or themself.
  • When mandated by law, such as in a court subpoena.
  • If you are disregarding highway safety laws that endanger others (in Quebec).

If any of these circumstances ever occur in our therapy, I will first and foremost discuss the matter with you and inform you of any steps I need to take to secure the safety of yourself and others.