I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
What’s the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and a psychotherapist?
In Québec a PhD is required to use the title of psychologist since 2006. PhD typically involves 5-7 years of formal university training post master’s degree, which includes courses, research and internships. Psychotherapists are also legally permitted to practice psychotherapy since 2012, but their journey is a little different. They typically have a master’s degree in psychology, social work, nursing or another health-related field followed by continuing education workshops and supervision, all regulated by the Ordre des Psychologues du Qc. Medical doctors technically are also allowed to practice psychotherapy but typically they don’t have the training to do so. Psychiatrists are medical doctors specialized in mental health. They typically focus on following patents’ medications and work together with other mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychotherapists. If you want to know the specific information regarding a person’s training, accreditation, the way they work, and whether their services are covered by insurance don’t be shy to ask the specific professional you have in mind or your insurance provider.
What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy focuses on treating sexual problems. Many women participate in sex therapy because experience pain during penetration, think their sexual drive is too low or too high or they don’t know how to manage some sexual issues, which arise with changing hormones (e.g., pregnancy, lactation, menopause). Men typically seek sex therapy because of difficulties obtaining or maintain an erection, rapid ejaculation or finding they spend too much time, effort or money pursuing sex or using pornography.
What is the difference between a psychologist providing sex therapy and a sexologist (“sexologue”)?
A psychologist has an extensive training in mental health issues and knows many “tricks” how to help a person think in different, more adaptive and constructive ways. Combining that knowledge with the knowledge of human sexuality and its problems creates an approach, where mind and body are attended to equally. For example, your unique beliefs about sex and their origins might be explored, or we figure out the best way to diminish your performance anxiety when it comes to sex working with your thoughts, or we may work together to help you get over a past sexual trauma. Sexologists’ training is focused more on the present moment sexual functioning. Both approaches will give you effective tools and techniques to ameliorate your sex life. *A word of caution: not all insurance reimburses the work of sexologists (members of the “Association des Sexologues du Quebec”), so even though some of them may charge lower fee (commensurate with their degree), you may end up having to pay all of it out of pocket. A receipt from a psychologist on the other hand is recognized by all insurers, which means you may end up paying less than if you were going to a sexologist. Always check with your own provider first.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, understand your behaviour and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relationship goals. Research shows that medication can be helpful for some people, however, medication and psychotherapy together tend to be more effective and the effects last-longer, even after the medication is discontinued. Unfortunately, at this time, research demonstrates that relapse rates (return of the symptoms) are very high after using medication alone. The good news is that medication combined with therapy reduces the relapse significantly.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. We will talk, do some thought-exercises together, find new ways of looking at old problems.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to answer precisely. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. Research shows that typically people who go to therapy see a difference in less than 5 sessions and that has been my experience as well. The whole treatment may last anywhere from 8 to 25+ sessions depending on your needs and the number of issues you would like to work on. Feel free to contact me, if you would like to get a more specific answer based on your circumstances.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counselling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, seeking couple’s therapy is a good idea. Individual therapy focuses on needs of one person at a time (which may not always benefit the other member of the couple), while couple’s therapy is devoted to helping the couple as a unit. This way, if you make any changes during the course of therapy they are most likely to benefit the couple together, as opposed to only one person. There are two (or more!) sides to every story and they are evaluated equally and with respect. If during our work we realize that one of you may need individual therapy as well, I can refer you to somebody I trust. This way, you share your confidential personal information with a different person and I can remain an unbiased therapist devoted to your couple as a whole.