Psychotherapy and You

  1. Where are you located?
  2. How does psychotherapy work?
  3. What is a session?
  4. Do therapists provide advice?
  5. Who does provide therapy advice?
  6. Why don't all therapists work in the same way?
  7. What about medication?
  8. Is psychotherapy better than medication?
  9. How long does psychotherapy take?
  10. How often should I go for a session?
  11. What about credentials?
  12. What about experience?
  13. What about life-experience?
  14. What about ethics and conduct?
  15. What about insurance?
  16. Are you insured professionally?
  17. What about fees?
  18. How do I go about choosing a therapist?
  19. What happens in the free consultation?
  20. Why do you provide free consultations?
  21. Where can psychotherapy apply in my life?
  22. How do I know if I have some issues in my life?
  23. I don't remember really traumatic events in my past.
  24. What if I get stuck in the process of change?
  25. What might getting unstuck look like?
  26. Why would I seek out therapy if my life were not in crisis?
  27. What does the therapist actually do?
Where are you located?

Our therapists are across Canada. The majority of them are currently in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario.
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How does psychotherapy work?

The outward arrangements are easier to describe than the inward. The therapist and the client agree to meet at appointed times in a private setting to discuss things important to the client.
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What is a session?

These meetings are usually referred to as 'sessions'.

The dialogue that happens during these sessions is confidential and private, a unique opportunity to learn about oneself and one's future possibilities.

The therapist uses her/his range of understanding, life-experience, and theory to help the client experience beneficial change and make better personal choices.
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Do therapists provide advice?

This largely depends on their training background and approaches.

Therapists who have been trained psychodynamically believe that their clients do best by working out their own decisions.

Psychotherapy in their view is a process of gaining more and more individual responsibility for their life choices. They would say that the need to ask for advice means that we have not yet understood something about us. For the most part they refrain from giving advice for this reason.

Some psychotherapists use CBT or cognitive-behavioral techniques to help their clients through specific difficulties, but they do not regard themselves as being primarily advice-providers.
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Who does provide therapy advice?

If you are looking for advice you probably want a CBT (cognitive-behaviour oriented therapist. Such therapists use procedures and protocols that help individuals gain some discipline in terms of their life-choices. Strictly speaking, they are providing a learning program rather than enabling the client to make independent choices meaningful to them.
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Why don't all therapists work in the same way?

There is a major difference in point of view within therapy. Some, especially the cognitive-behaviorists, believe that there is only a conscious mind, and that we can know everything about ourselves. Things we cannot explain with reason are to be disregarded.

Others, the psychodynamicists, believe that much of our life is unknowable and that there is an unconscious component that is more influential on us than our conscious mind.

Members of the first group tend to regard dreams, for example, as meaningless. Members of the second school of thought value dreams and other phenomena of the mind. They see them carrying valuable meanings that shed light on our lives.

The psychodynamic therapist prizes the details that CBT therapists think trivial.

In the words of Sherlock Holmes "It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
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What about medication?

You should check with your physician if you are experiencing any adverse effects from medication prescribed for you. Properly prescribed medication does not affect psychotherapy negatively.
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Is psychotherapy better than medication?

Scientific studies regularly show that the outcomes of psychotherapy without medication are similar to the outcomes of psychotherapy with medication.
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How long does psychotherapy take?

Therapy can be compared to learning a new language. In this case, the language is one that reflects who we are as special and unique individuals.

We can choose how much of that language to speak, and also how well to speak it. The better we can speak our own language, the better we can relate to others in the world.

Depending on our facility in learning such a new language, each of us progresses at our own rate. This rate is ultimately controlled by the development of our psychic processes and we can progress only at the rate at which our individual psyches permit. There are times when we will move quickly, times when we may feel at a standstill. It is simply not possible to speed up or slow down the rate of therapy, because it is always being controlled by our inner mind.

People also find themselves drawn to therapy as their life-circumstances alter. Things come up that may require just a few weeks of work, after which one returns to live in the ordinary way. At other times there may be significant issues that are not so readily resolved and require more time.
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How often should I go for a session?

The general method is to go to see your therapist once a week. A session may last anywhere from 45 to 890 minutes depending on the arrangements you have made with your therapist.

When starting up, or in crisis, having more than one session a week for while is beneficial in order to deal with pressing matters.

The whole matter of frequency is something that every person has to find out individually. Finding the appropriate frequency is important and you should discuss it your therapist.
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What about credentials?

The therapists on this site have been trained in a broad range of psychodynamic technique for several years. Each has done considerable personal preparation as a psychotherapist through individual and group process work as well as through lectures, reading, supervision and continuing professional education.
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What about experience?

Each member of this site has been in practice for several years, and is familiar with a wide range of human experience as a therapist.
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What about life-experience?

Each of our members has experience in work in addition to the work of psychotherapy.

We strongly believe that this gives our members a strong understanding of ordinary reality and keeps us all grounded in the ordinary facts of living.

Consult the individual bios to learn more about each member of the site.
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What about ethics and conduct?

All the psychotherapists listed on this site adhere to a code of conduct, which you can reference here.
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What about insurance?

All our therapists are in private practice as non-medical specialists. They have all been trained outside the formal medical system.

This form of psychotherapy is not insured by the provincial health insurance plans. On the other hand, medical doctors do not have our kind of training and they often refer to us for the sake of their own clients.

Some private insurance companies will cover some forms of psychotherapy but you will have to find this out by referring to your own insurer.
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Are you insured professionally?

All members of this site must carry professional liability insurance as a condition of membership on the site.
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What about fees?

Fees are set on an individual basis by each psychotherapist. Many of the therapists use a sliding scale. Feel free to ask about fees when you contact a therapist who interests you.
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How do I go about choosing a therapist?

You have several easy paths to choose from.

Profiles: View the photos of al the members in your general area and click through to reach their individual profiles.

Office Locations: A geographic listing of office locations with maps.

Areas of Special Interest: View the comprehensive list of skills and special interests.

Glossary: Words and terms specific to therapy, psychotherapy and counseling can be found in the glossary. Many are linked to individual therapists.

Free Consultation: Use our free consultation service to ask questions about therapy with a therapist.

Email: Use the email addresses on each member's page to reach the therapist you may want to question or to meet for your free consultation. All email is private and confidential.
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What happens in the free consultation?

A consultation is not a formal session but a chance to ask and explore without obligation on either side.

You will have some time to talk about your issues, to get a feeling for the therapist as a person, and to discuss times and fees. You will recognize if you felt respected, listened to, and taken seriously in terms of your needs.

People often tell us that they are usually able to tell right away if the person they are speaking to is right for them.

You may want to go and consult with another therapist, or undertake some paid sessions to get a better feel of the process and the therapist. The consultation interview is a mutual dialogue in which each of you will be getting a sense of the other; the therapist wants to be sure he or she is able to help you with your issues.
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Why do you provide free consultations?

Every one of us can testify to the value of a good therapy from direct personal experience.

So we are committed to helping you find the right therapist. We're paying back to the process of change.

Feel free to discuss your needs. We will assist you in connecting with another member if that is the best thing to do.
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Where can psychotherapy apply in my life?

Psychotherapy is beneficial for any aspect of your life that feels unsatisfactory. It can help improve your relationships, heighten one's self-esteem, and provide help in healing traumatic events. This applies both to past and present events.

Unresolved events of the past hold us back from being fully aware and effective in the present, and may distort our hopes for the future.
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How do I know if I have some issues in my life?

If awareness of incidents, memories, feelings or sensations brings up uncomfortable feelings of loss, pain, anger, fear and core anxiety, there are issues in one's life.
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I don't remember really traumatic events in my past.

Psychotherapy is not only for those of us who are already aware that they have experienced traumas. Being unhappy has a lot to do with not having been understood respected and well treated by those on whom we have depended for nurturance and support.

If you find yourself having difficulty in dealing with your present life, your past is very likely exerting its influence on you in ways that you are not yet able to recognize.

Psychotherapy enables us to see the hidden psychological dynamics of our past and present life. Once we are able to see our dynamics, we can alter the grip they have on our life, and make better choices for a future that is no longer just a repeat of the past.
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What if I get stuck in the process of change?

Your therapist is there to help you if and when you get stuck in the therapy process. Getting stuck for a while just means you are working though some matters which are not yet resolved.

The primary goal of psychotherapy is to develop the skills you need to move on and move forward, not only externally in your external world but also in your inner world of personal subjectivity.
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What might getting unstuck look like?

You will learn to face traumatic events in lives without re-experiencing the same pain. You will also have the power to respond to situations with a fluidity and acceptance that you have never before experienced.

You will experience your self as free rather than not bound, responding rather than reacting.
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Why would I seek out therapy if my life were not in crisis?

Sometimes, it is most difficult to sense who we are and what our function is in the world when things are going along as usual. In fact, things may even be going well externally, but we may experience an inability to appreciate the fullness of life.

Conversely, some individuals cannot feel any sense of their place in the world unless their life is in a state of flux.

Both scenarios reflect an inner sense of discomfort.

If you are dissatisfied with your life in some way that you feel powerless to change, be it a relationship, past events, or your life prospects, then psychotherapy can probably help you to develop the skills that you are missing.
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What does the therapist actually do?

A lot of it has to do with having a reliable companion who understands the journey you are on.

The therapist helps you the way a guide does when you go to a part of the country you have not visited before. The therapist has already made such a journey, and knows about what to expect and how to handle it.

Because a competent therapist has made the journey before you have, and with many others, he or she can keep you on track in your journey, and will point out features of your personal landscape that are worth appreciating.

The therapist will be able to provide the tools and techniques that will help you to move through your emotional issues and arrive at a better understanding of your life and its possibilities.
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