Counselling: What you might be wondering
Therapy is a conversation between client and therapist. While the therapy session often feels like a natural back and forth exchange, this conversation has quite a different quality from other interactions. While you tell me your story - your current struggles, doubts and concerns - I ask questions that will show us different angles of the issue, and take us more deeply into your current process. I listen for prominent themes, and point out patterns that I believe could be quite relevant to explore. I help you come up with more effective ways to deal with current difficulties in your life.
When I see couples, the sessions involve reshaping dynamics that have become hostile, defensive, or disconnected. This is an active process in which I work with entrenched relational patterns, help expand each partner's tolerance for vulnerability and develop improved communication. My couples work is informed by evidence-based psychotherapy, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Gottman Method.
Overall, I tend to understand people's struggles through the lens of attachment, emotional struggles, and core beliefs. I typically draw from Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-based therapies, and Emotionally Focused Therapy. I find that a combination of insight and skills serves us best, and I weave both into the therapeutic conversation. Above all, I believe that the client-counsellor connection is vital. Within the trusting container of the therapeutic alliance, we can establish a collaborative base to explore what you're bringing to the room.
I will often spend the first couple of sessions getting a sense of your predominant attachment patterns, core beliefs, and current emotional landscape. Understanding these will typically shed a lot of light on the more specific issues with which you are struggling. Some people wonder if being in therapy means dwelling on painful experiences in our pasts. My personal approach is to explore the early relationships and experiences that have formed your character and adaptive behaviours, but always in the service of helping you make important shifts in your current relationships and behaviours.
I do not have a 'paint-by-numbers' approach to psychotherapy, and any therapeutic model I use is tailored to you at a time in which I believe it will be most beneficial.
This is a loaded question! My counselling approach is such that we will not only be targeting symptom relief (i.e. worrying less, arguing less, or drinking less, for example), but we will also be exploring the underlying forces that drive these problematic behaviours. Difficult emotions, behaviours, and approaches to self have developed over time, and it takes time to explore these.
Here's what you can expect. You can expect that the issues that have been festering in your own head for weeks, months - even years - will be received by a caring presence and an astute listener. You can expect that I will be paying attention both to the content and patterns of your story, as well as the non-verbal and emotional cues occurring as you tell it, and will call your attention to aspects of both. By the end of our first session, you will likely leave with a deepened understanding of the issues about which you are seeking help - perhaps new strategies to practise and a new awareness to leverage in your everyday life. As we continue to understand your experiences further and reshape your personal narrative, the hope is that you will experience more clarity around some difficult positions, respond to others less defensively and with more authenticity, and be able to better manage challenging emotional states.
The way I am inside my office is not all that different from that way I am outside my office - that is to say, I have quite a warm and open demeanour. I'm candid, engaged, and genuinely curious about each person or couple I work with. While this is a professional relationship with professional boundaries, the connection in the room is easy and natural. Many of my clients have commented that they were surprised at the lack of awkwardness that they experienced in their first session.
There are multiple factors that will influence this - the degree of your struggles, your willingness to commit to therapy, and financial constraints. We will mutually decide on targets for therapy and estimated treatment time at our first or second session.
My fee is $150 per 60 minute session for individual therapy; $160 per 60 minute session for couples therapy (fees include GST). Payment can be made by cash, cheque, e-transfer or credit card, and is due immediately after your session.
Many, but not all extended health providers cover a certain amount of sessions with an RCC. If you have extended health coverage through your benefits, please ensure that there is coverage for Registered Clinical Counsellors, so that there are no surprises when you submit your claim.
-Irvin Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy.