What concerns are discussed in counselling or therapy?

Most mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, feelings of suicide, self-harm, obsession, addition and mood disorders. A new diagnosis such as Parkinson and Alzheimer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia and cancer can cause premature or anticipatory grief, depression and anxiety. Violence and abuse can contribute to post-traumatic stress and trauma. Relationships and communication can be strained by such life changes and challenges such as caregiving, parenting and co-parenting imminent death. Many mental health professionals do not prescribe medication nor make formal diagnosis.

What do social workers do?

Social workers are highly skilled professionals that utilize practical problem solving to promote better overall functioning. Social workers providing clinical therapy have a university degree in social work at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral level. The aim of social work practice is to enhance mental health functioning by helping people get the most out of their relationships, work and community life.

For mental health services do you need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist?

Social workers are the largest group of practitioners providing psychotherapy. In fact, social workers are often the only mental health care providers in many rural and remote communities. Social work is unique among the helping professions because it looks at people’s problems within the context of their families, workplace and communities and considers the connection between personal problems and larger social issues.

Why do people seek-out counselling?

Therapy is a highly individual process that is shaped by the goals of each person who enters into counselling. Generally, the goal is to end destructive patterns of behavior, to alleviate unnecessary suffering or pain, increase one’s awareness, improve relationships, consider new options, and find different ways of coping with challenges and transitions.

Is meeting with a counselor or therapist helpful?

Many people find that, over time, working with a therapist provides significant, enduring relief from chronic emotional issues. It provides individuals with greater clarity and a real sense of empowerment. However, it is important to know that while the effects of ongoing therapy are not immediate, they are enduring. You will likely have some awareness of the potential results of therapy for you after a few sessions. If you are concerned about whether your experience in therapy is benefiting you, you and your therapist should discuss your experience and expectations.

Do I require a doctor’s referral before connecting with a counselor/therapist?

A doctor’s referral is not required. It is a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see, which professionals are covered under your benefit plan.

Is therapy covered under OHIP?

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) only pays for psychotherapy by medical personnel (MD/GP). Psychotherapy is not covered by OHIP unless the therapist/counsellor work with a psychiatrist or physician (MD/GP). A Registered Social Worker is a trained professional and can provide psychotherapy at lower fees than a psychologist who primarily provide assessments. Social Workers  are covered under most insurance plans, recognized medical practitioners and approved for claiming medical expenses on income tax returns.

What do Social Workers bill for their service?

Fees for services rendered by professionals in the helping professions are often not quoted or negotiated through email or phone. In all cases therapists reserve the right to select his/her own fees based upon a suggested rate by their professional college. Benefit plans can be private plans or employee benefits plans and many place restrictions on the number of sessions (visit/treatment/appointment) or a maximum monetary value that can be spent.

Is the fee the same if I attend alone or with my family/kin?

There is no difference in fee. The therapist will determine after the first session whether it would be beneficial to meet separately. Should this occur, subsequent sessions are charged individually but the goal is for everyone seeking help attend sessions together.

How often should I attend therapy?

Initially 1-2 times each week and than every 2 weeks. Depending on the nature of the concern, some individuals may choose to meet initially only once per week.

Is there homework between each session?

Yes. For example, you might be asked to research a topic, keep a journal, use reflection, perform desensitization and undergo exposure to challenging situations, activities and/or events.

What are some of the concerns that bring people to therapy?

Some concerns are unresolved grief, depression, anxiety, addictions, suicidal thoughts, intrusive thoughts, eating disorders and managing pain.

What is the difference between counselling and therapy/psychotherapy?

Counselling involves learning about options and choices in our environment that will support positive outcomes by problem solving and developing coping strategies to achieve goals. Therapy and psychotherapy involves finding insight into those past experience and choices which prevents us from achieving goals due to intrusive thoughts and destructive behavior.

Is counselling effective?

Working with a therapist can provide significant insight, relief from symptoms and emotional distress. Treatment may not be immediate but, over time, individuals will have clarity and begin to feel empowered.

Is counselling available by phone or Skype?

Phone is not ideal because it is impersonal and Skype is not a secure site. To ensure the public’s privacy ask your health professional whether they subscribe to a secure e-counselling service.