How does psychotherapy work?
This is a long standing practice of two individuals, the clinician and the client meeting at mutually agreed upon time and location to discuss issues that are significant to the client.
How can I know if I need psychotherapy?
Do you often find yourself in similar situations, or with similar emotions or thoughts that cause you distress? Do you find that you desperately want change, but you lack the insight into yourself to make long standing changes?
I want to bring my child in for counselling are they appropriate?
In Ontario, you can start therapy independently without needing the consent or knowledge of your parents once you are 12 years of age, according to the Child and Family Services Act. However, for parents with children under the age of 12 they will need to be part of the counselling process.
I want to do marriage counselling, but my partner doesn’t want to come in
I would encourage you to attend as a couple for marital sessions. It is really difficult to do couple/family therapy with one individual, but this isn’t always possible. Having said that, I think it is equally important to ask yourself are there any personal goals that are more important to work on prior to starting marriage/couples therapy.
How do I know if you are the right therapist?
I think looking for a therapist can be a daunting task with all of the information online and thousands of therapists to choose from. I would encourage you to take some time to visit the website of a particular psychotherapist you are interested in seeing. In particular, read their “ABOUT ME” section, you can get a sense of their understanding of psychotherapy, specific skills, personal life experiences and ask yourself: Can I work with him/her? Can she/he offer me something? Also, many therapists including myself will provide a free 20 minute telephone consultation that you can access before scheduling your initial session.
How to determine what kind of therapy will be helpful
I often have individuals whom will arrive at the first session discussing what they have read online, spoken to friends, colleagues, or medical practitioners about as “the key to getting better”. While research has looked at the effectiveness of certain approaches what remains more important is your “therapeutic alliance” or connection to your therapist. I would encourage you to focus on whether you can connect to your therapist and if you feel cared for, listened to and supported by him/her.
Will you give advice and tell me/us what to do?
It goes against my practice to give “advice” or “solutions”. Generally, the desire to ask for solutions means that you have not yet understood something about yourself. Rather, I will help you to build insight into yourself; this involves looking at your patterns of behavior, thoughts and emotions, in order for you to better grasp the issues in your life and to strengthen your capacity to make your own decisions.
Psychotherapy is a process of self-exploration and insight building. Change is believed to occur once you have gained insight into your maladaptive patterns. After building insight, and having time for reflection allows you to contemplate change. I will support you to use your autonomy and practice more responsibility for your life decisions.
What if I am on prescribed medication, or considering it
This is a very personal choice, but I often begin by working with you and your medical practitioner to understand your current symptoms and expectations in psychotherapy and the influence that medication may have on that process. From a clinical perspective, I can inform you of the multiple research studies that have looked at the effectiveness of medications in alleviating mood disorders, in order for you to make an informed decision about medication use. Medications usually influence individuals differently, and if you choose this route, it is vital to ensure that you work with your medical practitioner to use one(s) that work well for you.
How long will therapy take?
This is a question that I usually like to discuss with you personally, since it is really difficult to predict how long therapy will last. The length of treatment is usually dependent on the individual, the goal that they would like to work on, their budget and the frequency of their sessions. I usually will discuss this during the first session, and will regularly review this with you throughout the course of treatment.
Who pays for my therapy?
Psychotherapists are not OHIP funded, clients pay directly for their professional services. You may have insurance through your workplace, or a supplementary health insurance plan that covers psychotherapy; and it might be best to discuss this directly with me.
Do you use a sliding scale for fees?
I have a sliding-scale approach to my practice which means I have a fixed rate for sessions, however for individuals that find it difficult to pay this fee I can reduce the rate.
How will you ensure my privacy and confidentiality?
The practice of psychotherapy involves respecting privacy and boundaries. I take ethics very seriously, I understand that you will disclose very sensitive and personal information during sessions which I guarantee to protect. I am a member of The College of Social Workers, The College of Psychotherapists and I pledge to uphold both colleges’ legislation concerning confidentiality and disclosure.
Hannah Esmaili-Counselling2Wellness Inc. 2896 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke, ON 416-999-8618