What is PsYchotherapy
In psychotherapy, you are given an opportunity to explore areas of difficulty or problems in your life. In your initial session, you give information about your background and you discuss your issues and difficulties. Then, your psychologist works collaboratively with you to help you identify what you would like to work on. The identified issues and areas are explored via proven forms of therapy to help you to work through your issues and feel that you are able to learn strategies cope more effectively.
What are common reasons for Seeking psychotherapy?
Anxiety can show up in many forms – nervousness, worry, panic, fears and avoidance, repetitive behaviours, and reactions to traumatic experiences.
A psychologist can work with someone to help with their anxiety problems (whether it is to gain a sense of mastery over feelings of panic, to learn to manage nightmares and flashbacks, learn to worry and ruminate less, and change repetitive or compulsive behaviours).
A variety of therapeutic techniques may be utilized by a psychologist from relaxation training, mindfulness/calming techniques, somatic experiencing, behavioural strategies, and other problem solving approaches.
Depression is more than just feeling the blues. It can often interfere with someone’s life satisfaction, ability to work, and functioning in relationships. Research has shown very clearly that our thoughts can affect our feelings.
Psychologists can assess and show clients strategies to deal with depression. We can help to determine where the depressive problems may be coming from and examine how someone’s ways of thinking might influence their experience of depression. Together, we can look at ways to alter the experience of depression.
Please note that services are not covered under OHIP, but may be covered by insurance or extended health care benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
1) How effective is psychotherapy?
According to the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), psychotherapy is just as effective as medication in the treatment of depression and more effective in preventing relapse. There is also strong evidence to support the use of psychotherapy as the first method of intervention for social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), specific phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
2) Do I know if psychotherapy will work for me?
Psychotherapy is an evidence based intervention and research demonstrates that clients come out of of psychotherapy with a reduction in their symptoms.
3) Do I need a referral or assessment before starting psychotherapy?
Clients do not need a referral to begin psychotherapy, but our clinic does accept referrals. If you would your health care professional to refer you to our clinic please have them contact us and we would be happy to provide them with a referral form.
4) Do I need an assessment before starting psychotherapy?
An assessment is not required before beginning psychotherapy, but may be useful in helping to design a personalized treatment plan. We recommend clients complete a brain profile to understand your thinking preferences. This allows us to adjust the therapeutic process to maximize its effectiveness.
Sometimes clients would like a definitive answer if they have a diagnosable condition as they begin the treatment process and gain more clarity about themselves. A psychological assessment would be recommended in this situation.
Some insurance companies may require a letter of assessment and/or appraisal to access your insurance coverage or extended health care benefits. In these cases an assessment may be required before beginning psychotherapy. Please contact your extended health insurance provider for more information.
5) Is psychotherapy better than medication?
As mentioned above, there is strong evidence that psychotherapy should be considered as a first line of treatment for many mental health conditions, but this does not mean that one method of treatment is better than another. Medication may be required to help you feel better and manage your symptoms, but many people still need to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and emotions to manage their condition. The CPA also suggests that the combination of medication and psychotherapy may be beneficial than one treatment alone.
6) How confidential are my sessions?
All psychological information is kept confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone without the consent of the client, but there are limits to confidentiality. If a psychologist suspects that a client may harm themselves, others, a child may be at risk of neglect or abuse, or if the client may be being abused the psychologist has the obligation to report this to the proper authorities. Psychologists also must retain records of psychological information for at least 10 years. This includes session notes, assessment results, attendance etc. Neuropotential Clinics securely stores this information with bank level encryption.
7) How long will it take before I can see some results with psychotherapy?
Results depend on the client’s goals for psychotherapy that are established during the first session. Usually short-term and long-term goals are set and the time it takes to achieve these goals varies for each client and goal. For example, the goal of improving communication with family and friends may take a month or two while a goal of managing symptoms of depression may take longer.
8) How many sessions of psychotherapy will I need?
This again depends on the goals that are discussed during the first session. Usually an initial plan may consist of 4-8 sessions booked over 4-8 weeks and then a reevaluation of goals is conducted before booking further sessions.
9) How long is a session of psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy sessions are usually 50 minute sessions. 10 minutes at the end of each session is required for the psychologist to make their clinical notes and prepare for the next client. Please ensure that you arrive on time to receive the full duration of the appointment.
10) How often do I need to come in for psychotherapy?
You and the psychologist create a plan for how often you need sessions. This can be twice a week, once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. Initially, you and the psychologist may be meeting more frequently as you develop skills, strategies, coping mechanisms. After a month or two, you may decide to meet less frequently for check-ins and additional support. This process is flexible and we will do our best to meet your scheduling needs.
11) Can I have an “extended” psychotherapy session?
Sometimes extended appointments are requested because clients are only available once a week or they have an extended commute. If you would like an extended psychotherapy session for any of the above reasons, please communicate this to administration and we will do our best to accommodate you into the schedule. Please note that there is no guarantee that we will be able to accommodate an extended psychotherapy session into the schedule every week.
12) There are so many different styles of psychotherapy, how do I know which one is the right one for me?
As mentioned above, a brain profile is recommended to analyze your thinking preferences to recommend the best type of psychotherapy for you. Please see the following link for more information on brain preference testing. The first session is used to understand your goals and needs and with the guidance of our psychologist you will figure out the style of psychotherapy that is right for you.
13) Can children benefit from psychotherapy?
Sometimes children experience trauma or need a professional to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Depending on the situation, children 12 and under may benefit from play therapy to discuss and confront their issues. Child over 13 may benefit more from traditional psychotherapy techniques, but this is considered on a case-by-case basis.