Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the therapist and the client, and the particular challenges people bring into therapy. I have found that a key to a client’s success in therapy is their willingness to work on things that we talk about both during our sessions and at home. I sometimes suggest homework to be done between sessions when I think it will be helpful.
Risks and Benefits of Therapy
Psychotherapy can have risks and benefits. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant events or aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. Therapy success is often not straight forward, but a case of “two steps forward/one step back”.
The Therapeutic Process
Our first two to four sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. During this time, we can both decide if I am the best person to provide the services you need to reach your treatment goals. We will discuss what is bringing you to therapy, background information and any goals that you want to work towards accomplishing. By the end of these sessions, we will have a plan on how to proceed over the upcoming sessions.
Sessions are scheduled for a 50-minute hour. The frequency of sessions are based on our discussions of how often you would like to meet, as well as what may be therapeutically in your best interest.
You have the right to ask questions about anything that happens in therapy. I’m always willing to discuss how and why I’ve decided to do what I’m doing, and to look at alternatives that might work better for you. You can feel free to ask me to try something that you think will be helpful. You can talk to me about any concerns that you may have, and can request that I refer you to someone else if you decide that I’m not the right therapist for you. You are free to leave therapy at any time.
In general, the confidentiality of all communications between a client and therapist is protected by law and the ethics of College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). I can only release information about our work to others, or even that you are in therapy with me, with your written permission.
However, there are some situations when I am legally obligated to break confidentiality in order to protect others from harm. Instances when I have a duty to report the situation to Family and Children’s Service and/or the police include:
- Abuse to themselves or to another (physical, sexual, emotional) where the young person is under 16 years of age;
- Intention to hurt themselves (suicidal);
- Intention to hurt another person (homicidal)
- Where I have reason to suspect that a young person has been or is currently being abused, or at risk of abuse; but also includes
- When domestic violence is reported and there is a child (children) in the home
- The situation where a client discloses that he/she was abused in childhood and there is a possibility that the abuser may be a danger to the children now.
Under these conditions, I will let you know that I have a duty to report the information that I have received to the appropriate authorities.
While the following is not a legal exception to confidentiality, it is my policy in working with couples in therapy: If you or your partner decides to have some individual sessions as part of the couples’ therapy, what you say in those individual sessions will be considered to be a part of the couples’ therapy, and can be discussed in joint sessions.
If you have questions or concerns about the therapy experience, please contact me and we can talk about them.