Beginning therapy can be really difficult, time consuming and laden with its own sense of dread or anxiety. Looking for the right therapist can take up a lot of time and energy. This is an especially challenging task to undertake when you are experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression or fatigue. The follow is a guide to help you understand what therapy with me will consist of and how it will be structured. Hopefully this will alleviate a bit of stress and uncertainty from your current situation, making it easier for you to find the information and peace of mind you are searching for.
the free consultation
I offer a free consultation via phone or Zoom. It is about 30 mins in length. This consultation allows us to meet and discuss your goals for beginning therapy. What brought you here and what you hope to address. If you don’t know or feel unsure that’s totally okay and very normal. Many people begin therapy without a clear idea of why they are here and what they want to accomplish. In this consultation we will have an opportunity to decide if we move forward with sessions. In the event that we are not a good fit, I will do my best to help you find someone who can best meet your needs.
the first session
The first full length session is either 60 or 90 minutes, we explore what brought you here. I will ask you questions about different aspects of your experience and together we will establish a plan that meets your goals and expectations. In this session I might ask questions about your history, living conditions, relationships or job. Your answers will help paint a full picture of your life so that I can better understand your unique situation and plan accordingly.
The subsequent sessions
There is no rule to how therapy evolves , each persons therapy is different but there are some shared themes. The first few sessions can be about exploring your story and identifying problems that have arisen. Often we follow that stage spending time building the coping skills and awareness for how best to manage these problems. I follow the format of awareness, acceptance then resolution. Its also a time to build trust and familiarity.
Beginning therapy can be stressful, opening up to a new person can take time, we need to feel safe doing so. I will check in with you regularly during our sessions. I provide a safe supportive space for you to explore your feelings, behaviour, desires and thoughts without judgement. My style is integrative and person centered. Which means i’m trained in several different models of psychological health. My job is to guide you to your own truth and solutions. I will not tell you what to do but I will offer my thoughts and insights when they are useful and relevant.
how long do people usually stay in therapy?
Therapy can last anywhere from one session to several months or even years. It all depends on your needs and wants. Someone that comes to therapy with a very specific problem they need to solve might find that a few sessions are sufficient. Others may be facing complex situations that require a more in-depth approach that can take several months or longer. In my practice I see some people for 3 sessions, some for 3 months and others for several years.
I will be honest and transparent with you about the depth and length that may be required. Usually I see clients weekly. I recommend this format especially to begin with. I see some of my long term clients fortnightly or monthly. This ongoing maintenance really helps them stay on track with their progress. But its important to understand that there is no one size fits all approach to therapy. It’s a deeply personal and private experience that I will carefully tailor to your requirements so you get exactly what you need to heal and grow.
I offer either 60 or 90 min sessions. Its really up to personal preference. Some of my client prefer a longer session. As I mentioned previously I see clients at least once a week to begin with. After some time a move to less frequent session may be suitable for you. All this will be regularly discussed. Every month I conduct a review of our work together and we spend time reflecting on how things are going and what direction we might take. You are always in control of your therapy, I will offer suggestions but ultimately you decide.
How does this work online?
Online therapy works in very much the same way as in-person sessions. The obvious difference is that you will be in your own space. Whether that is in your home or at your office, you can decide on where and when you choose to have the sessions. Receiving therapy from the comfort of your home have major advantages. Clients report being more relaxed in their own space and many appreciate that they don’t have to commute anywhere post session. Others have said wearing comfortable clothes or having their pet with them can be really a lovely addition to your therapy experience.
For many people getting to and from an appointment can be a major obstacle. Working full time and trying to accommodate the commute plus the session time adds up and can make access to in-person therapy prohibitive. Online therapy is really about removing barriers to access. My clients are generally very busy so I provide you greater access to session times. I accommodate my clients that require sessions after 6 pm or on weekends, because squeezing a therapy session into your lunch break is not always ideal. Online therapy can also includes phone, email and txt communication too.
Hopefully this guide has cleared up some of the questions you may have had about beginning therapy. And perhaps it has raised some for you too, please contact me with any further queries. I’d be happy to facilitate any questions about how I can help you. If you are ready to book a free consultation please contact me here.