A phone consultation takes 10-20 minutes. The main purpose of the phone consultation is: You have a chance to share a little with me about what's bringing you to therapy; I will talk a bit about the approach we might take towards working on your struggles; You can ask me any questions you might have; And most importantly, you have a chance to get a sense of me and how I work to see if I might be the right therapist for you.
Whether our first appointment is in-person or online, we will start by taking a few minutes to review the informed consent and service agreement (aka. paperwork). This is an important way to begin therapy because it helps ensure that you understand the terms of service, and it allows us to begin to create the safe space and trusting relationship that we want to have for therapy to be most effective.
Once we have completed the paperwork, we will talk about what has brought you to therapy, your history with the challenges you are facing, and what some of your hopes and goals are for the therapy process.
How often you attend therapy is really up to you. I understand that therapy takes time and money so I feel it is important to start with what works best for you. I do recommend that you start with weekly therapy sessions for 4-6 weeks and then we reevaluate and see if it is best to continue with weekly sessions or move to bi-weekly, monthly or as needed. You may find that more frequent sessions will help you get the most out of therapy.
This is a harder question to answer. Everyone is so different. Creating lasting change takes time. The amount of time you attend therapy sessions will likely depend on what your particular problems are, how long they have been going on, and the severity of your symptoms. Here's what one study had to say about length of therapy:
"Psychotherapy takes time. Psychotherapy follows a “dose-response” curve. It takes more than 20 sessions, or about six months of weekly therapy, before 50 percent of patients show meaningful improvement. It takes more than 40 sessions for 75 percent of patients to show meaningful improvement.1 These findings, based on the scientific study of more than 10,000 therapy cases, dovetail with what therapists report about successful psychotherapy2 and what patients report about their own therapy experiences.3,4 "
Obviously, I am biased here! But yes, therapy - and the incredible life changes it can bring - is absolutely worth the cost. Engaging in psychotherapy is an investment in yourself. The self-understanding, relief from symptoms or roadblocks, and deep, lasting healing that can be gained through the psychotherapy process is worth the cost and effort.
In Ontario there are several types of regulated professionals that are approved to practice psychotherapy. Here's a simple breakdown on how these professionals differ:
A Registered Psychotherapist has a Masters level training specifically focused on providing psychotherapy and counselling. Registered Psychotherapists are not covered by OHIP. Fees typically range from $120-$180 per session.
A Social Worker has a Bachelor's or Masters level training focused on social work and counselling. Social Workers are not covered by OHIP. Fees typically range from $120-$180 per session.
A Psychologist has a PhD in Psychology and is trained to provide assessments, diagnosis and provide counselling/psychotherapy. Psychologists are not covered by OHIP. Fees are typically $200+ per session.
A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialized in mental health. They are trained to provide assessments, diagnose, prescribe medications and provide counselling/psychotherapy. Psychiatrists are covered by OHIP. Wait lists are typically lengthy.