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Get answers to frequently asked questions about counselling.
  • I’ve never consulted a counsellor. I’m used to handling things on my own. How do I know if this is for me?
    It takes a lot of courage to weather life’s storms alone. It takes even more courage to reach out for help. We all need support now and then, especially when things are difficult. In our work together, we’ll work at your pace and equip you with tried and tested tools and strategies to help you face life’s challenges, now and in the future. Please note that our psychologists offer a FREE 15-minute telephone or online consult to determine if counselling is for you.
  • What can I expect my first session with my new counsellor to be like?
    The very first thing that happens in your initial session is reviewing the informed consent policy with your counsellor. This may take 5-10 minutes, which can feel tedious when you are anxious to jump into the counselling process. However, knowing your rights and the confidentiality policy is an essential part of informed consent and it ensures your safety in this relationship with your counsellor. ​ Next, there will be a lot of information sharing about the issues that brought you in, how they are showing up in your life, and how you having been managing them so far. You and your counsellor will explore your goals for therapy, what you hope to get out of your work together, and how you might know if you are making progress. Your counsellor may also ask about any relevant history or life experiences. The first session is about getting on the same page with your new counsellor regarding the work you will do and the direction your want to move forward in. This important initial interaction will help establish the foundation for a safe relationship and how well you and your counsellor fit together. ​ Read more in this blog post by Kyla!
  • What’s the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and counsellor, and why does it matter?
    The terms psychologist, psychiatrist, and counsellor are often used interchangeably, but there are important differences between them: their level of education and experience what they do and how they approach mental health challenges their fees ​ A psychologist (what we are) holds a minimum of a master’s degree, has completed a practicum and a residency of at least 1600 hours, passed North America’s licensing exam for psychologists, and is registered in good standing with the respective provincial professional body – in our case, with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP). We can diagnose most mental health conditions, but we cannot prescribe medication. A psychiatrist is a physician with a specialization in the field of mental health and often works with people who have a clinical disorder. They can diagnose conditions and prescribe medication. They have to be registered in good standing with their professional body. “Counsellor” is not a regulated term in Alberta. While many psychologists and clinical social workers refer to themselves as counsellors, there are also other mental health service providers that operate under the term, and their level of education, training, fees, and experience vary widely. It is important to be aware that if they are not registered under a governing body, then they have not been required to meet specific standards in academic or practical training, nor are they subject to ethics review boards.
  • Do I have to take medication?
    Not everyone wants to use medication, nor does everyone need it. The medical community has come a long way in acknowledging the efficacy and value of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, and so on. While medication can be very effective on its own, research indicates that the best outcomes are achieved when clients use medication in conjunction with talk therapy. We can help you figure out alternative treatments that will work for you if you don’t want or need to use traditional medicine.
  • How does counselling or therapy work? What do I have to do in sessions?
    Each person has different issues and goals for counselling and we always tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs. This means every counselling relationship will be different. For counselling to be a useful experience, the client must want to be there and want to do the work in order to see changes. Ideally, the client is open to sharing their concerns and experiences, is an active participant, and has put thought into their goals or what they want to get out of the process. We know that it can be hard to open up, to feel vulnerable, but don’t worry – you are in good hands. We’ve got you.
  • How long will it take?
    This is a tricky question because everyone’s circumstances are unique to them. It really depends on what brings you to counselling, your desired goals, and the extent to which you are doing the work outside the counselling sessions. This is a question you and your counsellor will continually explore together, but it can be helpful to come up with some benchmarks to indicate that you have made progress or are ready to take a break from therapy. Other than that, we can only share a phrase that we often hear in counselling circles: trust the process.
  • What else should I know?
    Great question! The fit between you and your psychologist is the factor most critical to your success. Choose wisely, and if you don’t think there is a good fit, always ask your counsellor for a referral! Most of the therapy takes place outside of the therapy room. You get out what you put in. Your needs are paramount. Your counsellor will guide you based on your desired outcomes and offer their professional opinion, but the two of you need to work collaboratively to achieve your goals. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call or email us!

Frequently Asked Questions

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