What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy involves a confidential, collaborative relationship with a psychotherapist that is built on trust and open and honest communication. This foundation allows for a process that will help you to:
- Come to a deeper understanding of your personality, relationship dynamics, and how you experience and interpret your world
- Minimize emotional pain and decrease anxiety and depression
- Reduce distressing or self-defeating psychological and emotional patterns that interfere with your goals in life
- Develop adaptive coping strategies to help deal with stress and anxiety
- Improve communication skills that can aid in forming more satisfying interpersonal relationships
- Gain a sense of control over your life and live in a more gratifying and effective manner
Psychotherapy can provide you with a better understanding of the choices you’ve made and how they have contributed to your current circumstances. This deeper understanding can help you to make healthier and more productive choices going forward.
I believe that the foundation of psychotherapy lies in a warm and supportive relationship between my clients and myself that enables people to feel safe to explore what is troubling them. I incorporate components from a wide variety of models of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, process-focused, experiential, cognitive-behavioural, and family systems models. Different people are receptive to different approaches, and I collaborate with my clients in order to tailor a therapy that best suits them.
How long does psychotherapy take?
Quite simply, it depends what you are looking for. Some clients come for help in coping with very specific psychological or behavioural problems. Depending on the problem, your goals could be reached in 8-12 sessions. Such short-term therapies usually involve learning and practicing new skills (such as relaxation training and learning how to challenge negative thinking).
Some clients set therapeutic goals that require a longer course of psychotherapy. Such clients might have more significant difficulties that have been bothering them for a long time. Or alternatively, they might have personal goals that are not “problem specific” but are more reflective of their wish to gain a better understanding and awareness of their relationship patterns and of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and as such improve the quality of their life.
Regardless of the type of therapy that is right for you, I make it a point of discussing and setting therapeutic goals with clients from the outset.
Thoughts about Medication
As a Registered Psychologist, I do not and cannot prescribe medication. I am respectful of one’s choice to use or not to use medication, and I am happy to work collaboratively with your family physician or a psychiatrist in this regard.