Starting therapy

Logo for registered psychologist and photo of Dr. LaCombe

 

 

 

 

Frequently asked questions…when you’re just starting therapy

If you’re undertaking therapy for the first time it’s natural not to know how the process works. Hey, I’ve been there 😉

Some of the common questions that clients ask are answered below.

  1. How do I know if my problem can be resolved through therapy?
  2. What kinds of problems do people see you for?
  3. How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?
  4. How would you describe the way you work?
  5. How long does it take to get results?
  6. Are the fees tax deductible?
  7. Do I need a referral from my physician?

Click on a question above for more information.

1. How do I know if my problem can be resolved through therapy?  
  While I may not ‘solve’ your problem, I may be able to help you become more resilient and better able to deal with your problems. Often, individuals already possess the ability to deal with their concerns. I can assist you in finding those resources so you can better manage the issues and circumstances that you are facing.Sometimes we’re not ready for change but life circumstances forces us to consider other options. My role as therapist is to help you be as fully conscious of the options available before you embark upon these changes.  
     
2. What kinds of problem do people see you for?  
  I work with a wide range of psychological problems including familial and work-related conflicts, adjustment to injury or chronic illness, bereavement, depression, phobias and other anxiety related disorders as well personal issues related to family of origin, low self-esteem, career dissatisfaction, loneliness, body image and shyness.It is important to acknowledge that some problems defy labels. Many people undertake therapy for long-term development to enhance their lives. Therapy can benefit you in many ways, from improving your ability to solve problems, to developing your interpersonal skills and increasing your sense of well being.  
   
3. How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?  
  I have a general comment that applies to most forms of therapy. I feel the relationship between client and therapist is an integral part of the therapeutic process. As the therapy proceeds it is important that you feel connected to the therapist, that you feel safe in your work together and that your therapist has a non-judgmental acceptance of you.It is also important to understand that the client/therapist relationship is a ‘work in progress’ that bears the imprint of your early history. For some individuals experiencing a therapeutic alliance will naturally be more challenging than for others.For more information you might refer to the excellent article, “How to choose a competent counselor” at What to look for when choosing a therapist  
   
4. How would you describe the way you work?  
  I believe you would find my style as warm, interactive and emotionally present. I attempt to establish a collaborative and creative working relationship with my clients. You might also say that I try to be with my clients in a way that creates a sense of safety and helps them to access feelings and emotions previously unavailable to them.Early on in our work together I will ascertain your expectations. Your therapy will also benefit from your active participation and effort to produce results. I encourage clients to address any concerns they have about the direction or manner in which the therapy is proceeding.  
   
5. How long does it take to get results?  
  It is not unusual for clients to experience moderate symptom relief after the first few sessions. The length of time however will depend on the nature of the problem you would like to resolve. You set the pace and the agenda for the issues you wish to work on. Some seek therapy on an intermittent basis in times of crisis and change. Others come to therapy for symptom reduction for isolated behavioural concerns. These may be dealt with using a short-term model of six months or less which can produce satisfying results.More intransigent symptoms that have developed over a long period of time will require more time. If your problem is long standing and affects many dimensions of your life, and you want to make significant changes to your personality and functioning, it may take a couple years before you witness change. Complete satisfaction may take several years.It is also important to note that many people view therapy as a long-term commitment to their quality of life and continue to go to therapy on a casual basis indefinitely.  
   
6. Are the fees tax deductible?  
  Absolutely. Fees are deductible under the medical portion of your personal income tax form.  
   
7. Do I need a referral from my physician?  
  Clients are generally self-referred. However on a rare occasion I come across an extended health plan that requires a physician’s referral. If you plan to use your extended health benefits to cover a portion or the entire fee, you might check with your insurer.