What is therapy like?
Therapy is about talking about your thoughts, ideas, challenges and feelings with a supportive, empathetic person; a listener who helps to support you and makes you feel better. Therapy can often be a helpful, healing experience just because of this close and supportive relationship. It’s a place to express your apprehensions and worries or talk deeply about something that’s been weighing heavily on your mind. It comforts you and feels good to be listened to — to know that someone else cares about you and your life and wants to help you with your challenges. Therapy is often called “The Talking Cure”.
From your therapist, you can expect warmth, compassion, respect and understanding. Therapy will help you learn about and develop new perspectives to uncover persistent patterns and negative feelings that affect your life. It’s about developing realistic, practical strategies for enacting positive and lasting changes.
A therapist knows how to listen, helps you identify and understand negative self-defeating thoughts and self-destructive behaviours, encourages you to make constructive and positive changes in your life, and encourages you to learn and grow. But the real work in therapy is done by you between sessions. You must be an active and engaged participant in the process.
Therapy provides support, an outside and reasoned perspective, and expert guidance. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who canhelp you get to the core of your problems, overcome life’s challenges, and make positive changes to improve your life.
You don’t have to be diagnosed with a specific mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy are seeking guidance and help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, low self-confidence, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times such as a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or for help in making important life decisions.
How long does therapy take?
In today’s world of fast food, fast fixes and quick “miracle cures,” there is a desire to feel better and fix our problems immediately. Unfortunately, there are really no overnight cures that will last. The length of time therapy takes basically depends on the types of issues being addressed and the strength of desire in an individual to change his/her life and feel better.
Other influences that affect the length of therapy are supportive relationships with friends and family, the client’s level of intelligence and emotional intelligence, the number of other stressors in the client’s life, and the ability to effectively understand oneself and develop insight. Typically, however, personal problems and negative patterns of behaviour can take a long time to develop; therefore, therapy may also take some time to alleviate them. Some problems can take years to get to a resolution, such as with victims of severe abuse, bipolar disorder, or some personality disorders.
Most psychological research suggests that a typical course of therapy lasts about 16-20 sessions. As a general rule of thumb, however, after about 2 to 3 months of therapy (or after about 8-12 sessions), most people will begin to see some positive change in their lives –- maybe not a complete cure, but a noticeable difference in how they feel, or in how their world looks to them. That being said, some clients will see a change — possibly even a big change — much sooner.
Is therapy right for me?
Therapy is the right choice for a person who is interested in getting the best out of life by taking control, taking responsibility, creating greater insight and self-awareness, and working towards positive and lasting change.
Seeking therapy is an individual choice. There are many explanations as to why people come to therapy. Sometimes people seek therapy to deal with long-standing psychological issues or problems with fears, stress, anxiety or depression. Other times, it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a separation or divorce, work stress, relationship stress or another life transition.
Many people use counselling as a starting point as they pursue their own personal learning, exploration and growth. Time with a therapist can help provide understanding, insight, encouragement, and fresh approaches to all types of challenges that life throws at us. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, anger, sadness, fears, grief, stress management, and help with difficult life transitions.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the relationship between a psychologist and client is based on confidentiality in all communications. No information is disclosed to anyone else without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule.
Duty to Warn and Protect –- When a client discloses intentions or a plan to harm another person, the mental health professional is required to warn the intended victim and report this information to legal authorities. In cases in which the client discloses or implies a plan for suicide, the health care professional is required to notify legal authorities and make reasonable attempts to notify the family of the client.
Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults –- If a client states or suggests that he or she is abusing a child (or vulnerable adult) or has recently abused a child (or vulnerable adult), or a child (or vulnerable adult) is in danger of abuse, the mental health professional is required to report this information to the appropriate social service and/or legal authorities.
Minors/Guardianship –- Parents or legal guardians of non-emancipated minor clients have the right to access the clients’ records.
Call our office today at 403.973.2174 and find answers to more of your important questions about therapy and counselling!