What are your professional credentials?
I hold a masters degree in counselling psychology and am a member in good standing of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (#2360).
What goes on in the first appointment?
Our first meeting is a chance for you to tell me something about yourself and what has brought you here. It also provides an opportunity to find out more about my approach, ask questions, and for us to get a sense of whether we could work together.
What kinds of problems do you deal with?
Have a look at my Areas of Practice for a list. I find that underlying specific problems there are usually four basic issues that people grapple with: 1) how to be yourself, 2) how to love, and get along with, other people, 3) how to enjoy your life, and 4) how to practise self-awareness (but not self-consciousness). That said, often what’s first noticed are any of a wide range of symptoms like anxiety, stress, depression, self-harming behaviours, relationship conflict,
How often would we meet?
Especially in the beginning, people tend to come weekly or once every two weeks. After that it depends upon the stage and nature of the work and your own rhythm. Some people prefer a series of shorter, intensive periods of therapy, spaced by periods when they come less often. Others may work for a longer period then stop, and come back once in awhile to check-in, or when there is something more, or new, to work on. Other factors affecting frequency may include finances, availability of childcare and your own schedule.
How long does counselling or psychotherapy take?
The short answer is that it takes as long as it takes, and all things being equal, it would be you who decides when we’re done. Length of time will vary from person to person and can depend on several factors, such as the types of problems to be worked on and how recent or longstanding they are, frequency of sessions, finances, other external circumstances and commitment. In general, the more longstanding the problem, the more time a person may need in order to feel that they are ‘out of the woods’.
What is the difference between counselling, therapy and psychotherapy?
On my web site, I use the terms therapy and psychotherapy interchangeably. There is not really a hard line between counselling and therapy/psychotherapy. Generally, therapy/psychotherapy involves more in-depth work for longer-standing problems.
A therapeutic alliance between you and me would be the basis for our work together. I define it as a type of relationship in which I would do my best to attune myself to you and understand your concerns so that you would feel taken seriously, and safe enough, to begin to come out of hiding and risk showing and expressing yourself. I would be for you. It is easier to face problems and make changes when you’re in connection with someone who is standing in solidarity with you.
The term relational home was coined by psychoanalyst, Robert Stolorow, who defines it as feeling deeply emotionally understood by another person – your emotions are welcome. The therapeutic alliance can offer you just such a relational home. Writing about trauma, psychiatrist, Judith Herman, states “Recovery can only take place within the contexts of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.”