I am not sure that I really need to see a counselor; can't I handle this on my own?
Many people are able to get through the difficulties of life through reliance upon their own internal resources or with the support of friends and family or their faith community. However, sometimes even the support of loving friends and family isn't enough. People can find themselves 'stuck' and unable to find their way through issues which may feel overwhelming for them. Therapists are trained to help their clients consider issues from different perspectives, in a neutral non-judgmental space, and can provide the necessary support to move people towards making life changes that work for them in their unique contexts. Therapy is a natural choice for people who have come to the end of their inner and external resources and are ready to reach out for extra help.
Who benefits from therapy and will it be right for me?
The people who benefit most from therapy are clients who are willing to be open and honest about their challenges, and who fully engage in the therapy process. Therapy is most effective when both therapist and client work together toward resolving issues.
What will therapy look like for me?
Early in the therapy process your therapist will invite you to work towards developing one or more attainable and realistic therapeutic goal. These will be different for everyone because each client and each life situation is unique. For some clients, time spent in attaining these goals will be brief. In the case of long-standing or more complicated issues, therapy may take longer. At any point in the journey, additional goals may be added as new issues come to light.
In addition to the work done in session, your therapist may suggest that you read certain books or articles, or make use of other therapeutic resources. He or she may work with you towards changing habitual behaviours or ways of thinking, or encourage you to engage in new ways of communicating with people in your family or workplace.
Regularly scheduled meetings are important in the therapy process. Sessions are usually scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Once your therapeutic goals have been attained, check-ins with your therapist will be beneficial in helping you to maintain the changes your have achieved in your life.
Do I need therapy? Do I need medication? Is it either/or?
Many people are able to get through life's challenges without the need for either medication or therapy. Some people find that, medication provides what is needed to get them back on track in their lives. For others, it is the combination of medication and therapy that is most beneficial. Questions about how medications work for mental health issues can be addressed by your family physician. He or she will help you make informed choices about the course of action that will be most helpful to you regarding medication. In the course of therapy, your therapist may recommend that you see your doctor if he or she thinks that medication or getting an accurate diagnosis would be beneficial to you.
Will I be covered by provincial health care or my insurance plan?
At the present time, there is no coverage for marriage and family therapy in private practice under the Ontario provincial hospital insurance plan. However, psychotherapy is covered under many insurance plans and employee assistance plans. You will need to talk with your employer to determine the extent of your coverage. Your therapist will provide you with information regarding his or her credentialing and supervision structure to be given to your insurance company so that you can verify coverage.
It is your responsibility to find out from your employer the nature and extent of your coverage. Your insurer may require that you receive a doctor's referral before you can receive benefits.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of good therapy. Your therapist is bound by his or her code of ethics to maintain confidentiality except where there is:
- A threat of harm to self or others (Mental Health Act)
- Possible abuse or neglect of a child (Child and Family Services Act)
- Sexual abuse by a registered professional (Regulated Health Professions Act)
- A requirement of information for a legal process (subpoena / affidavit from therapist's file)
If you are a minor (under 18), you will need your parent or guardian's signed permission to receive therapy. In your first session, your therapist will meet with both you and your parent(s) /guardian(s) to explain the limits of confidentiality. Your therapist will not discuss what happens in therapy with your parent(s)/guardian(s) unless he or she has a concern for your safety.