What is therapy like?

In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly). You are more likely to get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in your session back into your life. People seeking psychotherapy generally wish to take responsibility for their lives in order to make desired changes for their personal growth and development.

What about medication vs. psychotherapy?

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems, and the pain they cause, are generally not solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy can help clarify the cause of distress and the behaviour patterns that curb progress. Sustainable growth and a greater sense of wellbeing may be better achieved using an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine what's best for you and, in some cases, a combination of medication and therapy may be the right course of action.

Will what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team; however, by law, your therapist cannot release this information without first obtaining your consent and/or written permission. Provincial and federal laws and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations: 1) Suspected physical or sexual abuse or neglect of children and of vulnerable adults based on information provided by the client or collateral sources. 2) Suspected sexual abuse of a client/patient by a health care professional. 3) If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is in serious danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person. 4) Mandated release of a client's personal file or of the therapist's testimony by court order or from a judge.

Are services covered and how does that work?

Psychotherapy services are not covered by BC Health Services. My fee is $150 per 60-minutes for individual therapy session. To determine if you are eligible for reimbursement of your mental health services, you will need to check with your insurance provider and consult your extended health benefits plan. Some helpful questions you can ask them: 1) What are my mental health benefits? 2) What is the total coverage amount and/or coverage per therapy session? 3) Is a referral from my primary care physician required? 4) Does my plan cover a Registered Clinical Counsellor or a Canadian Certified Counsellor?

Jessie Langlois