…walking your life journey with you.
The decision to seek psychological services is a crucial one. Apart from making the decision to seek therapy, choosing the best therapist for you, and researching what the service provides is important. Below is some information that may help you make a decision.
Psychotherapy gives you the insights into issues you are experiencing with your mental health, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Learned behaviors are explored with associated issues and change is achieved with better coping skills. This change and healing will impact your life and relationships positively and give you inner peace and joy; thereby achieving personal and family overall health and wellness.
Initial Assessments will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and areas of focus for treatment. Your participation is voluntary in the treatment process. There risks of recalling your traumas and unpleasant memories with associated anger and triggers. It is recommended that you are open, real and committed to your healing journey. There is no guarantee, but we will walk the work together in your healing journey.
You have the right to stop therapy session at any time and ask to be referred to another psychologist or care provider. You can cancel your consent for collection or information disclosure except where the law applies. You have the right to access your clinical session notes any time.
Research suggests that 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 psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the stressors 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 communication and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your personal and professional life
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, sometimes people need additional and unbiased support. In fact, therapy works well for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand. This is to be respected as you are taking responsibility by accepting where you are 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 and manage challenges you face.
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 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.
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. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly or bi-weekly).
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.
Although psychological therapy is meant to be beneficial. it can also have some risks. As an example, therapy can bring forth uncomfortable emotions such as increased sadness, anger, or grief. Generally, such emotions resolve as you reach closer to your goals, but it is your responsibility to let your therapist know of such feelings when they occur. This way, your therapist can slow down the pace of therapy, examine your emotions in further detail, or change the direction of therapy.
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, psychological therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases, a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Even in cases where medication is a requirement, psychological therapy can assist you with managing your daily activities, accepting the need for medication, and minimizing the impact of such on the qulaity of your life.
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 include:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- 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?
Telephone and Skype appointments are available based on appropriateness and need.
Appointments must be cancelled with at least 24 hours notice. Appointments not cancelled within that time frame will be billed the full session rate. Some exceptions may apply based on emergencies. These situations are assessed on a case by case basis.
Parents often ask if there are any preparations that are required prior to bringing their child in for an assessment. Intellectual ability is an innate characteristic, and as such, is determined at birth. Therefore, preparation is not required. There are several websites such as “testing mom” that advocate preparation for intelligence tests; however, these are typically ineffective, and come at a significant cost. The best preparation for an appointment is to ensure that the child/teen/adult is well-rested, has had a good breakfast, and is not ill.
Understandably, there can be considerable anxiety when considering an assessment. Parents may be unsure what to expect, and clients may be apprehensive about test demands. The initial intake appointment, which is only held with the parents or adult client, outlines the assessment process, what to expect, and is an opportunity for all parties to discuss concerns and goals.
A clinical interview is held to gather background information so that an assessment plan can be made. This typically takes between one to one-and-a-half hours. Subsequent appointments, typically around two hours in length, are spent completing the assessment.
Length of assessment sessions is generally based on the client’s age, and attention span. At times, shorter sessions are required for younger children, or for those who cannot work for a two-hour period of time. Considerable time is spent establishing and maintaining rapport to ensure optimal engagement and reduced anxiety and stress. Upon completion of the assessment, the file is scored and results interpreted.
They are compiled in a comprehensive report which includes recommendations and strategies. These findings are presented to the parents and/or adult client in a one to one-and-a-half hour interview. Should additional information come to light during this final meeting, amendments are made to the report.
A standard autism spectrum assessment consists of the following:
- Completion by parents of a developmental history as well as clinical rating scales as required
- Approximately three hours of direct testing with the young person (including administration of a cognitive assessment as well as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule)
- Administration of the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) to parents (approximately two hours)
- Gathering of collateral information (either through telephone contact or completion of rating scales)
- A feedback session to provide assessment results and offer recommendations (approximately 1.5 hours)
The clinical time for an autism spectrum assessment is approximately 13- 15 hours depending if previous assessments have been completed.
Length of therapy is dependent on a number of factors including presenting problem, goals of treatment, motivation levels, and application of skills within the “real-life” setting. A standard course of cognitive-behavioural therapy is often considered to be approximately 8 to 10 sessions.