Frequently Asked Questions
Psychotherapy is similar to counselling but focuses more on underlying causes and how to solve them. It aims to help a person “understand their feelings and equip them to face new challenges, both in the present and the future” (Brazier, Medical News Today). People who seek psychotherapy often struggle with stress, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addictions, trauma, anger, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), relationship problems and more. Psychotherapy sessions can be one-on-one, in pairs, or in groups.
One popular treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps a person understand how their thoughts and behaviors as well as feelings can affect each other. Through a trusting relationship between the client and the therapist, the client may notice a difference in themselves after around six to twelve sessions, while others may need ongoing treatment for several years. The client’s progress is often depended on the client’s motivation, insights/awareness, severity of the issues, support/resources, and current stressors, etc.
More information on psychotherapy can be found by Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156433
The risks involved with psychotherapy include but is not limited to: feeling unwanted emotions and complicated changes in life. Addressing and resolving these emotions is an integral part of therapy, and your therapist will be able to help you understand and cope with these emotions. Similarly, change can be difficult to adapt to, but your therapist will help you anticipate change and let you decide which changes are best for you. Note that some people expect to see positive change in themselves right away, but change takes time.
The benefits to psychotherapy include but is not limited to: learning more about oneself and triggers, identifying tensions in relationships, developing new skills to face challenges, building a support system, overcoming present challenges, and preparing for future difficulties. Therapy can be challenging, but ultimately, it will allow you to fulfill your needs, pursue your aspirations, and live freely in this world.
Typically, your therapist will spend some time getting to know you. They will obtain a bit of background information and learn about the areas of your main concerns. Each of our therapists has unique experiences and expertise; therefore, pairing you with a therapist who can support your journey is important to us. Your therapist will then give you some feedback and recommendations that are tailored to your specific needs and situation, and together you will make a plan to address your current difficulties.
A typical one-hour therapy session includes 50 minutes of clinical time with 10 minutes allocated to documentation and paperwork. Lastly, you will be invited to make another appointment in a week, biweekly, a month, or whatever agreed upon. The process is voluntary, and you are not obligated to continue your future sessions if you are not ready to or you do not find it beneficial. It is important though for you to discuss your barriers and concerns with your therapist to see whether a referral to another therapist is more appropriate instead of stopping your treatment completely. A transitional plan can then be made collaboratively by you and your therapist.
Psychotherapists use a variety of personalized treatment plans to help individuals overcome emotional, relationship or behavioural problems. Psychologists are trained in assessment, treatment, and are qualified to provide a formal diagnosis. Social workers collaborate with clients to address challenges through a strength-based perspective that views individuals and families as resilient and resourceful. Counsellors typically focus on advising, guiding, educating, and informing families and individuals. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are specialized in providing mental health assessment, a formal diagnosis, and pharmacological treatment.
More information is provided by the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals: https://oamhp.ca/about-us/#mentalhealth
Graduate therapist interns are completing their post-graduate studies and are working towards their requirements to become registered psychotherapists with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Our interns are supervised by Phyllis Ng who is an experienced registered psychotherapist and a trained clinical supervisor. Phyllis will ensure the best quality of services are provided by her graduate interns.
There are many benefits to seeing a graduate therapist intern. For example, the intern offers more flexibility in affordability and availability. The rates to see interns are often significantly lower than with registered professionals. This enables more individuals to access counselling/therapy with less financial strains. Interns may also offer availabilities such as weekends and after-work hours to suit the client’s schedule. Lastly, graduate therapist interns engage in ongoing professional development and are up to date on new and current treatment, research, and perspectives.
In all cases, the identities of clients and their self-disclosures are of utmost importance and are handled in a strictly confidential manner according to the professional standards set out by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW). Positive Minds Psychotherapy Services respects every individual’s privacy and values the trust every individual places in our therapist. The only exceptions to client confidentiality can occur are due to legal or ethical obligations. These exceptions are:
- To notify appropriate individuals of a client’s intent to inflict serious harm on self or others.
- To inform the Children’s Aid Society of suspicion that a child is at risk for abuse.
- To report a regulated health professional who has sexually abused a client.
- To follow the legal process if a client’s file is subpoenaed by a court of law and to release information if ordered by a judge to do so.
- A request is being made to have peer assessed by the Regulated College of the therapist.
As a private practice, services at Positive Minds Psychotherapy Services are not covered by OHIP, but if applicable, it may be partially or fully covered by extended health insurance/benefit plan(s). The coverage for each carrier is different, so please check your plan to find out whether you have coverage for services provided by registered psychotherapists or social workers, the claim procedures, details required on receipts, and whether or not you will require a letter of referral from your physician.
Fees paid for psychotherapy and counselling services may also be eligible for inclusion in your medical expense deduction on income tax. Please speak to your accountant regarding this. Fees are paid at the end of each session. Clients will be given a receipt for each payment, which should be retained for income tax or other claim purposes. Fees may vary according to the nature of the service(s) and the assigned therapist involved. Sliding scale payments are accepted if needed. After an initial consultation, an hourly rate will be provided. We currently accept contactless payment through e-transfer and credit card. Please contact us to learn more.
Positive Minds Psychotherapy Services prioritizes everyone’s health and safety during the pandemic. That’s why our office for in-person sessions is currently closed unless special arrangement is being made with the therapist and safety measures are in place. Nevertheless, we are committed to supporting you. We now offer virtual therapy sessions through video and phone. The session is still the same as in-person therapy sessions, except you may join from the comfort of your own home. To book your appointment, visit our “Contact Us” page where you can find our email and phone number.
Conversations about mental illness can be difficult to have with families and friends, especially because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. If you are having trouble speaking to your family or friends, please know that you are not alone. It takes courage to voice your thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities.
One way to make the conversation easier, is to think about a time and location so that both parties feel that they are in a safe environment. Another tip is to speak from the personal “I” statements and to be as specific as possible about the impact on your life. For example, “I can sleep 6 hours per night, or 12, and I still find it physically difficult to move my body in the morning.” This is a good way to start the conversation. We welcome you to reach out to your therapist for more advice for specific circumstances.
More information can be found from “A Therapist’s Guide to Talking to Friends and Family about Mental Health” by Jor-El Caraballo: https://www.talkspace.com/blog/therapists-guide-talking-friends-family-about-mental-health/