What benefits are available from working with a Registered Psychotherapist & marriage counsellor like Bob?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that Christian counsellors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing unhealthy behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
How long does counselling usually take?
Depending on your specific needs, the number and frequency of sessions varies with each individual and the nature of each situation. Therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or achieve your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist which can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly as needed or desired.
What is the difference between a Psychotherapist, Psychiatrist, and Psychologist?
It can be confusing to know the difference between these titles. The term "psyche" means "soul" which includes our thoughts, emotions, passions, decision making, and the unique qualities of our personality.
Psychotherapy is therefore therapy for the "psyche" or "soul" while Psychology is the science of the psyche or soul, derived from “-logy” which means “science” or “theory.” Psychotherapists and some Psychologists are specifically trained to use talk therapy (often called counselling), a technique which is proven through years of practice to help people live healthier and more satisfying lives.
The suffix “-iatry” means “medical treatment,” so psychiatry is the medical treatment of the psyche or soul. When a person may benefit from or require medication to manage a mental health condition, they will often be referred by their family doctor to a psychiatrist to discuss and manage the medical treatment of their condition. Because a psychiatrist is also a medical doctor, he or she can prescribe medications, while psychologists and psyschotherapists cannot.
In our health care system, most counselling and talk therapy is done by psychotherapists (and some psychologists and social workers), while psychiatrists generally focus on managing the medications used in treating some mental health conditions.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to many mental and emotional health problems (like depression and anxiety) and the pain they cause are rarely solved solely by medication. Often, you can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness that includes counselling. Instead of just treating the symptom, psychotherapy often addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, whether counselling, medication, or in some cases a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them are:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- Does my policy cover services by a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (i.e./ Physician, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
Provincial law and professional ethics require therapists to take action in the following situations, which may affect confidentiality:
* Suspected abuse or neglect of children, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
* Complying with a subpoena issued by a court of law.