An Overview of our sessions
Your first appointment
Never been to counselling/therapy? Here's what to expect at Peace of Mind. The first appointment is typically designated as an assessment. This means that I will attempt to learn as much as possible about you and about the difficulty for which you are seeking help. Usually asking questions, and generally you won't get too many recommendations about what to do about the problem. Sometimes the assessment extends over two sessions.
The goal of the assessment is to determine:
The nature of your issue.
The strategies that might be helpful.
Whether we are a good match
To refer if additional supports would benefit you.
As well, typically you will be able to ask questions of me. From your own perspective, the assessment can tell you a number of things, including:
Whether you feel we can develop a good working relationship.
The type of approaches that I typically use.
Whether you feel hopeful that my style and approaches are likely to be helpful for your concerns.
Forms and measures
I may request that you fill out one or more forms or questionnaires early in therapy. The forms will include your general information and discuss confidentiality for you as a client. Screening forms such as Adverse Child Experiences are often completed to help discuss past events that may be triggering you now. Feel free to ask questions about any of these forms if you have concerns.
If we agree to work together, your session time will shift from assessment to counselling/therapy. I see counselling as short term, usually up to 5 sessions; therapy is often more complex and more time is needed. The kinds of things that we will work on depend in large part on the type of therapy you are comfortable with.
Counselling is generally considered short term with specific goals set. For example, the focus is largely on how you think (the cognitive side) and what you can do (the behavioural side) to help you think and feel better in your daily life.
In therapy we spend time on stabilization and resourcing before we go into the trauma or distressing events The processing can continue outside of the therapy and it is important you feel confident and have the resources to ground yourself (stabilize) when the waves get rough. Each session begins and ends with calming activities to help you with grounding and to become more attune to how to feel a sense of safety and calmness in any situation.
In Nature therapy, we may begin in nature itself, helping you to see and feel how it can be a resource for you. Being in nature can help you to feel more connected, grounded while achieving an inner calm and clarity about your world. We can explore many pathways to help you feel this connection.
Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that the real work will take place in your everyday life rather than in the therapist's office. This is your journey. We as therapists are here only to help you on your healing journeys. Important insights may occur in therapy sessions and out.
Your first session is often an hour and thirty minutes, as it is a time of getting to know each other while gathering information and completing a few forms. Sessions are generally an hour. Some forms of therapy like EMDR might call for a longer session. You can decide the length of a session that is best for you.
The length of therapy
The number of sessions involved in therapy varies a great deal, depending on the type of therapy, the nature of your concern, the type of therapy, limitations imposed by your insurer, and sometimes your own preferences about the pace of the work. Therapy typically lasts from 5 to 25 sessions, though this is enormously variable depending on the concern being dealt with.
The cost of therapy
One concern that many people have is the expense. Therapy is an undeniably expensive process, even when the total number of meetings is 12 or less (which is often the case). If you are paying for your therapy yourself, the bill can add up quickly. The maximum cost for a 60 minute session is $180.
Some people feel that they would like to cut back on the cost by scheduling less frequent appointments and doing the vast majority of the work on their own. This is sometimes possible, depending on the therapist and the problem at hand, but it can be quite demanding in terms of the self-discipline required. If you would like to explore this option, let your therapist know.
One suggestion: Take the hourly individual rate ($140) and multiply it by the number of sessions therapy is likely to take. Then ask yourself whether you would be willing to spend that much repairing your car. It's not an entirely fair comparison. After all, in therapy you will be doing most of the hard work, in addition to paying! But if your car is worth it, why not you?