What can I expect during the first session?
The first therapy session is usually between 1 1/2 to 2 hours long and requires our best efforts to closely examine your difficulties so we can determine what drives them and how you can resolve them. This process also functions to jumpstart therapy by mobilizing your internal resources needed to ultimately overcome your difficulties. At the end of this session we review our findings and lay out a treatment plan if you wish to do further work in follow-up sessions.
How many sessions would I need?
These session are usually 50 minutes long and occur on a weekly basis until you achieve your desired goals. Basically, we build on the trial therapy findings and keep mobilizing your internal resources so you can overcome your difficulties as rapidly as possible. The number of follow-up sessions required obviously depends on the type of difficulties you have and the level of change you want. In my practice, most people start experiencing significant symptom relief after the trial session and have an average of 7 follow-up sessions. In contrast, a full course of therapy for more complex treatment resistant conditions and personality patterns would be less than a year at about 40 sessions.
How do you determine progress?
What if I can't get my partner or family to come?
It is very common for people to be apprehensive about engaging in therapy for a variety of reasons:
stigma often associated with life challenges,
vulnerability that is part of recognizing and facing difficulties,
trusting a stranger with the vulnerabilities,
feeling they may be blamed for the problem,
feeling helpless and hopeless
to avoid accountability
If you can’t get them to come, I encourage you to start the counselling journey and I can help you find ways to have these conversations in meaningful ways. I would also invite them to a short introduction, with no expectation of them to participate right away.
What about privacy and confidentiality?
Information collected during counselling session remains completely confidential. I am professionally and ethically obligated to keep all client information confidential and require written client consent to release any information to others (e.g., family physician, schools). All information collected will be kept in a file, stored in a locked cabinet and offices are locked.
However, there are some exceptions, and in rare cases I am legally obliged to release information:
Court order or subpoena to disclose confidential information
Information pertaining to the suspected abuse or neglect of a child, dependent or elder
Information pertaining to an imminent threat of serious harm to the client or to an identified other (suicidal or homicidal)
How do I use my extended health benefits?
Psychological services are not covered by Alberta Health Care Insurance. These services are tax deductible and usually covered in part or in full by your or your spouse's extended health insurance, personal health account, or employee and family assistance plan (i.e., EAP/EFAP). Please check your therapy and counselling coverage with your insurer.
What is your cancellation policy?
It is your responsibility to provide at least 24 hours notice via email or phone for cancellation of a scheduled appointment so the time can be used for someone else. Consistent failure to do so will result in paying for the full cost of the missed appointment before the start of the next scheduled appointment.