Answers to Your Questions About How Counselling & Therapy Work

Counselling - the answers you need

the answers you need to the question you have about counselling

How do I book an appointment?
Click in the red Book Online button to book an appointment online.

Click the blue Send a Message button to leave a message or ask a question - you can chose to receive a call or email response.

Click on the green Phone Consult button to book a time for a free 15 min phone consultation.

Is there a trial session or a way to meet the therapist to determine if we are a good fit?
This is a good question. Couples therapy is a huge emotional, time and financial commitment. It’s important to have a good fit with your therapist. In fact, research indicates that 80% of the therapeutic results are dependant on the relationship with the therapist and the other 20% is connected to the skill of the therapist and the type of therapy used. That being said, it takes 2 to 3 sessions to start to really connect with the therapist and the therapy.

Your best approach is to book with a therapist who:

1. is well educated and trained in your area of need,

2. is experienced and specifically experienced in your area of need,

3. has a practice that has a primary focus on the area in which you need help,

3. has clinical experience and can deal with individual psychological issues: stress, depression, anxiety, pornography addiction, bipolar disorder, etc. (background in CBT cognitive behavioural therapy),

4. uses a highly effective form of couples therapy (EFT - emotionally focused therapy) and individual counselling (CBT),

5. (in the case of couples counselling) who has a successful relationship (marriage) rather than a series of failed marriages or failed relationships.

If you follow those guidelines, I would recommend that if you have any other concerns you take some time to speak with a potential therapist in advance. I offer a free 15 min phone consultation and I'm sure most other therapists would do the same. After all of that, no matter who you chose as a therapist, you would best be served to give it 2 to 3 sessions to see how it goes. Lastly, if there is little connection or little results, do not be too reluctant to discuss this openly with your therapist nor too reluctant to find a different therapist.

Here is a link t a free handout on How to Get the Most Out of Couples Counselling.

How long are sessions?
Session are booked in 60 minute intervals. The intent is that the session will run 50 - 60 min. Occasionally they may run 5 or 10 mins over. Depending on availability, additional charges apply for sessions that run 15 or more over at the request of the client. Typically sessions are booked 15 mins apart and there may not be time available beyond the scheduled 60 mins.

Is therapy right for me?
Maybe you're having a bad day, week, or month; or maybe you feel that your life is out of control. Perhaps you've already talked to friends or family, but you still don't feel much better. You might feel like no one understands you or everyone gives advice without really listening first. You may feel like you just need some support. This is the beginning of a list of reasons why therapy would be helpful to you.

What are the benefits of therapy?
Knowledge, the right tools and professional support are key to your success.

Knowledge - Understanding where you are is essential to managing and treating your issues as well as developing a roadmap to where you want to go.

The Right Tools - Someone once said, "If the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." We all approach life and our issues with the tools we have, whacking away to the best of our ability. Having the right tools can make all the difference. You can improve and achieve more in less time once you have the right tools.

Professional Support - It's a proven fact that people do better when they have someone to talk things through with. Knowing someone is truly listening to you and cares about you decreases anxiety and stress, improves good decision-making, helps in overcoming specific problems you face in your day-to-day living and aids in learning about yourself. Real life change happens as a result of therapy.

What is psychotherapy and what does it look like?
This is something we will talk about all throughout therapy, but simply put, psychotherapy is us working together to better understand the issues you face, why you are facing them and where to go from here. It involves an ongoing conversation, some work in between sessions and working together as a team to meet your goals.

For Individual Psychotherapy, we will typically meet for 50 minutes once a week in the beginning and then further apart as we progress. Many clients find their therapy goals are met within 10 sessions or less with follow up sessions as required. You may, however, continue past 10 sessions depending on your progress or how you feel.

Couples Psychotherapy is approached using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). We will typically meet for 50 minutes once a week for approximately 10 sessions with follow up sessions as required. In some cases you may, however, continue past 10 sessions depending on your progress or how you feel. EFT is couple’s therapy that really works!.

What is the difference between therapy and psychotherapy?
The American Psychological Association adopted the definition of psychotherapy developed by Dr. John C. Norcross which ties therapy to a clinical method from established psychological principles. This is generally thought of as evidenced based therapy, i.e. therapy that has been proven effective in clinical trials such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy.

How long will it take for me (us) to get better?
The length of time someone is in therapy can vary greatly. It can depend on the nature of issues faced, the frequency/consistency of therapy, and participation both in and out of session. As your therapist, we will work together to establish a regular schedule tailored to your specific need(s). You decide; you're in control. You may come to therapy once or twice and feel you have enough to work with for a while or may choose to continue therapy until you have fully met all of your goals. Keep in mind, most emotional and/or relationship problems have evolved over several years, and it is unrealistic to expect them to be resolved quickly.

In most cases, sessions are scheduled weekly and then spaced further apart as you begin to achieve your goals. The length of therapy cannot fully be determined ahead of time, but the decision to continue will ultimately always be yours. As stated above: for Individual Therapy, most goals are met within 10 sessions or less and there may be periodic follow up sessions. Then again, you may continue past 10 sessions depending on your progress or how you feel; for couple's therapy, you will typically have 10 sessions with follow up sessions as required.

What types of clients do you work with?
I specialize in working with adults (20+) and adolescents (14-19) dealing with relationship issues, and the things that seriously effect relationships like divorce, depression, anxiety, stress and pornography addiction. I provide psychotherapy to both individuals and couples.

What topics can I talk about in therapy?
You may talk about any topic that is causing pain, duress, or confusion. Some typical topics for adults are, relationship concerns, pornography addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, grief, stress, parenting issues, family problems, work issues, sexual issues and health issues. Some adolescent topics include stress, school issues, peer pressure, anger management, family problems/changes, depression, gender and sex issues and coping skills.

What happens in the 1st session?
The initial session will typically run approximately 50-minutes and is designed to gather information on your current concerns and history. During this session, we will talk, work toward a therapeutic plan, set some initial therapy goals, and begin to implement strategies and tools to use outside of therapy. If you feel up to it, you may do some work outside of therapy - nothing complicated though. It may be as simple as thinking about what your goals are for therapy. Work outside of therapy is key to success and significantly reduces the number of therapy sessions required to meet your goals. A major component to therapy is a healthy and supportive relationship between you and me - the therapist. This initial session is set up to better understand you and the issues you are facing, and for you to ask questions and determine what you want to work on.

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is an effect form of psychotherapy that address thoughts and how they affect our emotions, behaviours and lives. For more information check out this.

What does therapy cost? Can I afford it?
You can find our fee schedule on our fee information page. Fees are set in accordance with the Ontario Association of Social Workers' recommended guidelines. Most health benefits plans provide for at least six or more hours of counselling or psychotherapy. Contact your employer or benefits plan provider to determine if the offer coverage for counselling / psychotherapy provided by a Registered Social Worker (BSc, HBSW, MDiv) or a Psychotherapist (registered with the College of Social Workers) is covered by your benefits prior to booking an appointment.

Please Note: If you plan to use healthcare benefits, it is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage.

We do not bill insurance plans, however, we do provide receipts for you to submit for reimbursement.

What payment methods are available?
INTERAC Flash (TAP), Cash, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover Card, cheque, PayPal and e-Transfer are all accepted - payable to Life 360 Counselling or L3C. Payment is due at the time of service. A receipt with an Ontario College of Social Workers Registration number will be provided and may be used for health benefits claims or for income tax purposes.

Additionally, Life 360 Counselling is able to bill Blue Cross directly for services provided to Blue Cross members, including Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, and Veterans Affairs. Please note that pre-approval for service made be required by your organization or by Blue Cross.

How do I apply for EAP or health benefits?
Your employer will have the answer to that question. Typically, you will access your EAP or health benefits online or they will give you an address you can send your counselling / psychotherapy receipts for reimbursement.

Why am I'm having an issue with claiming psychotherapy sessions with my health benefits provider?
All Social Workers who comply with rules / guidelines set out by The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers are legally allowed to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy use the protected title "Psychotherapist".

Here is the information with respect to Social Workers and the controlled act of psychotherapy:

"As of December 30, 2017, the controlled act of psychotherapy has been proclaimed in force, and becomes one of fourteen controlled acts defined in the RHPA. A controlled act is an activity thought to have the potential of posing a risk of serious harm to the client. Restricting the performance of controlled acts to certain regulated professionals who are legally authorized to perform them is the approach to protecting the public set out in the RHPA. As a result, as of December 31, 2019, performance of the controlled act of psychotherapy is restricted to members of the following regulatory colleges:

The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
The College of Nurses of Ontario
The College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
The College of Psychologists of Ontario
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario

In addition, the Controlled Acts Regulation under the RHPA sets out certain exemptions.

Members of The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers may now perform the controlled act of psychotherapy and use the title “Psychotherapist”, provided they do so in compliance with the SWSSWA, the regulations and the bylaws."

Registered Social Workers are not typically also registered with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario (largely due to the high membership fees and the fact that Social Workers are legally entitled perform the controlled act of psychotherapy and use the title “Psychotherapist”).

In accordance with the law (RHPA), Registered Social Workers do not have to be registered with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy and use the title “Psychotherapist.

This is also true of Nurses, Doctors, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists. Some heath care insurers misunderstand this. Insurers provide benefits for the act of psychotherapy and for therapists who are legally allowed to use the title of Psychotherapist, however, they (or individual employees) may lack the understanding that Social Workers, Nurses, Doctors, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists are legally allowed to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy use the protected title "Psychotherapist".

Most healthcare providers clearly understand this and do provide benefits for psychotherapy in accordance with the law. It is your responsibility to determine if your benefit provider provides benefits for psychotherapy and conforms with the current law with respect to the controlled act of psychotherapy.

In order to have access to the therapist you would like to see, it is important to advocate with your healthcare provider with respect to Social Workers and the controlled act of psychotherapy which was proclaimed in Dec 2017.

Do you offer online counselling? If so, how does it compare to in-person counselling?
In a word - YES. eTherapy is modelled as closely as possible to in person counselling. We adhere to the same professional ethics and standards of practice as we would if you were in a in-person session. You can expect the same level of care that you would expect with a highly qualified and experienced in-person counsellor. Research confirms that eTherapy (online counselling) is highly effective and there is no difference in client satisfaction or outcomes when online sessions are compared to in-person counselling sessions. Find out more HERE

Why do people choose eTherapy?
Many people prefer eTherapy (online counselling) because it is more convenient and offers greater anonymity. Online counselling is a method of counselling that research has shown to be highly effective. It works like traditional counselling except the counsellor and client meet online using a program such as, FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype, Zoom, Webex, etc instead of meeting for an in person appointment.

Is eTherapy available to everyone?
Yes. However, patients with diagnosed depression or depressive disorders such as Bipolar Disorder need to be under a physician's care prior to booking an eTherapy session. To book an eTherapy appointment visit our Book Now page.

What’s so special about Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples?
Basically, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) helps couple’s to talking about what’s going on on the inside rather than focusing on solutions to problems themselves. Otherwise, a great deal of time would be spent arbitrating arguments and finding solutions to problems. Unfortunately, there is no end to the problems you could address and, therefore, there would almost be no end to therapy. Once you know why you have difficulty talking about how you really feel, you can begin to turn things around. When you begin to turn things around you start to focus on building your relationship and giving your partner what they need rather than demanding what you need from your partner. Problems are solved naturally as you work together outside of therapy. Although all couples differ greatly, most couples feel the difference right from the start and many couples express that they felt EFT was starting to work for them after 4 sessions.

What is your connection to the Gottman Institute?
I am endorsed by the Gottman Institute as a trained Gottman 7PP Educator. As such, I organize and facilitate couple’s workshops on the Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work.

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Member of Focus on The Family's
Christian Counsellors Referral Network

Barrie, Ontario Providing in person
counselling & eTherapy (online counselling)

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