What to Expect
"Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength"
- Sigmund Freud
How long does each therapy session take?
Typically, a therapy session is defined as a "clinical hour" which is 50 minutes in length. This allows your therapist to continuing focusing on your well-being once you've left and to document your session for future treatment planning. Any sessions longer than the "clinical hour" will also include a 10-15 minute space for charting and preparation.
Is there any risk to attending therapy?
Some individuals may temporarily feel more distressed when talking about their problems in the beginning but they will learn effective ways to cope with their therapists assistance.
What can I expect during my first session?
First sessions vary from person to person and therapist to therapist; however, there are some commonalities that are shared. Generally, your therapist will go over the intake and informed consent process, empowering your understanding of what to expect on your therapeutic journey. Once this is complete, the remainder of the session will focus on what your hopes and expectations are for therapy, potential goals, and various treatment options to consider. Sometimes, however, it is just as important for the therapist to provide you with a safe space to listen to your story, gathering background information in order to ensure that you have an opportunity to express what is on your mind and in your heart. By the end of the first session, our hope is that you leave feeling heard and validated and walk away with a clear plan of action and some new tools and strategies that you can begin to implement in your daily life.
How often should I see my therapist and when will counselling end?
You determine the frequency and the duration of the sessions based on your goals/success in therapy and your availability for sessions. You can end a session at any time (e.g., after 15 mins.) and also make the decision to terminate therapy altogether. You are in the driver seat and you get to choose! Your counsellor, with your help, will monitor your goal progress and adjust treatment plans and/or goals accordingly to ensure your attendance in therapy is meaningful and purposeful to you. This close monitoring will also let you and your counsellor know when therapy is nearing completion and/or is completed. Therapy, ideally, is best concluded on a gradual basis. If you decide to terminate and/or end therapy, we believe there is often great therapeutic value if you tell your counsellor in person during a booked session that you have decided to discontinue therapy. Your counsellor would like to ensure a proper closure and provide you with resources you may want to access in the future.
What can I expect during Couples Therapy?
Depending on your preference, your counselling session will take place either virtually or in-person, and sessions are typically 80 minutes in length. During the first session, your therapist will meet with both individuals together to gain a better understanding of your current difficulties, the background/foundation of your relationship, and your hopes for counselling. In the second session, they will meet with each partner individually, either dividing the 80 minute session time in half or seeing each partner for a full 50 minute session. For any subsequent sessions, the therapist and couple will develop and work towards their goals for counselling, making any adjustments as needed.
How does confidentiality work in couples therapy?
Your psychologist will explain confidentiality in detail at the start of your first session. However, an important thing to know at the outset is that your therapist will not keep secrets between partners; what is disclosed to your therapist individually is able to be discussed as a couple (i.e. an affair, desire for a divorce, etc.).
Can one partner meet with their therapist for individual counselling?
Your therapist is committed to working with you as a couple and is not able to meet with either partner for individual counselling that is outside the scope of couples counselling. If either partner could benefit from individual counselling, their therapist will discuss this with the couple and refer the individual partner to a trusted colleague.
What if you make me feel like the bad guy?
This is one of the most common concerns for at least one person coming to couples counselling. Couple’s often worry that one partner will be sided with and the other will be made into the bad guy/problem. Some people have even experienced this during previous therapy. We see the relationship as an interaction between two people’s attachment systems and thus no one person can be the bad guy or at fault for everything. Though many feel this is the case coming into counselling, most couples discover there is more below the surface that makes people act the way they do. This knowledge helps us change our underlying interactional patterns and create a safe, secure environment for both people.
Does attending couples therapy mean our relationship failed?
Absolutely not; this means you are human! While we understand that there is still a stigma about couples counselling, it is absolutely not something you should be embarrassed about. Human beings are each so uniquely different that living in close quarters, needing each other, and trying to stay connected through the difficult times in life is tough. All relationships struggle from time to time...this is normal!