Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen during the 15-minute free phone consultation?

The free phone consultation gives us a chance to talk about whether I can be of service to you. I will start by letting you know a couple of logistics about the free consultation. The rest of the time will be reserved for you to let me know what prompted you to contact me.

What can I expect from receiving psychological services?

This depends on what kind of services you are receiving. If you are in psychotherapeutic treatment with me, we will address and explore your cognitive, emotional, and/or behavioural challenges. Patients actively participate in learning about themselves in order to become more aware of the choices they have in their lives, especially in areas that pose challenges. Often challenges turn out to be more complex than originally thought, in which case a psychologist may suggest and help implement certain strategies to address the situation. Together, psychologist and patient work towards the patient’s realization of her or his full potential of health.

What are the benefits of psychotherapy?

Understanding a challenging situation (assessment) and learning new ways of thinking and coping with it (treatment) are two primary objectives of psychotherapy. Both are necessary in order to facilitate change, improvement, and healing. Making changes is often not as easy as it may seem in the beginning, but may be necessary and rewarding in the end. Reduction of symptoms, increased sense of well-being and self-understanding, improved performance in one’s personal and professional life are often the result of a successful counselling treatment. In some cases, improvements might be harder to come by, in which case the psychologist will work collaboratively with the patient to discuss appropriate options.

If I am in psychotherapy, does that mean that there is something wrong with me?

No. Pain and disease are part of being human, but for a variety of reasons we often try to hide them. Effective outcomes and improvements often are effected by getting the guidance one needs in a timely manner. In other words, getting help earlier than later is often an important factor in achieving a better outcome. I would encourage you not to let negative stereotypes affect your working towards realizing your full health potential.  If you have difficulty letting go of these stereotypes, bring it up in during a first session.

What is the difference between a counsellor, psychologist, and psychiatrist?

The main differences between these three groups of mental health professionals in BC are the following:

•Psychologists: typically have a Ph.D. in Psychology, are governed by the College of Psychologists of BC, can provide mental health treatment, psychological assessment and testing, and are covered by many Extended Health Care Plans.

•Counsellors: typically have M.A. or Ph.D. degrees, are governed by the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) and usually provide a wide range of mental health treatment focusing on the well-being of the client.

•Psychiatrists: are physicians, have M.D.s, and can provide psychological as well as psychopharmacological (drug) treatment.

What will happen during the first session?

The session will begin with a discussion about some logistics, including patient confidentiality and its limits, basic documentation, and an agreement to begin treatment (informed consent). The second objective of the first several sessions is for the psychologist to get a thorough understanding of the patient’s challenges. This phase of treatment is called the ‘assessment.’ The patient may fill out necessary forms and questionnaires, take relevant tests, and tell the counsellor about her or his history, including the history of the reason for seeking counselling. At the end of the assessment phase, the counsellor will discuss her or his understanding of the challenge as well as treatment suggestions and recommendations.

I feel nervous about the first session, what should I do?

Feelings of anxiety or nervousness as well as doubt and hesitation are very common for people before the first appointment. It may help to remind yourself that your safety, health, and well-being are primary concerns for the counsellor. If these feelings persist, let your counsellor know and you will both be able to discuss possible causes and solutions.

How many sessions will it take for me to get better?

This depends to a large extent on the nature of your challenge and other relevant variables in your life. The number of sessions can range from a few to weekly sessions for several years. Recommendations about the number of sessions are usually provided by the counsellor at the end of the assessment phase (see “What will happen during the first session?”).

How long will the sessions be?

The standard length of psychotherapy sessions is 50 minutes.

How frequently do I have to come?

Usually, treatment is most effective when sessions can be held once or twice weekly.

Do you have evening or weekend appointments?

No evening or weekend appointments are available.