Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT HAPPENS IN A FIRST SESSION?
Usually the first session is about gathering information about what you've experienced and are going through so we can make a plan for how to work together and what to focus on. First, we'll review the consent form. That includes information about me, our work together, confidentiality, and admin stuff. Then, I'll ask you to share what brings you to therapy and ask you questions about your life. If there's something you really hope to talk about right away, we can certainly start there. If there's something you'd rather not talk about in the first session, that's ok! We don't have to cover everything right away.
DO I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING TO SESSION?
You don't need to bring anything, but you are welcome to. I often sip a tea and encourage you to bring any snacks that help you feel comfortable. You're also welcome to bring fidget toys, art supplies, or anything else to occupy your hands if that helps you feel more comfortable or grounded. If you have any information about the challenges you've been facing - for example: your own list of topics to cover, assessments from doctors or other mental health practitioners - you're also welcome to bring these and we can review them together.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I COME TO THERAPY?
That is partially dependent on you. I know there are a lot of factors that contribute to how often someone can come, including scheduling and finances. And everyone is different in terms of how often feels manageable for them. I would recommend coming no less than once per month, and even better is weekly or bi-weekly if that can work for you. There is some research that spacing sessions out too much can reduce the effectiveness of the work. Ultimately, it needs to be sustainable and effective for you. We can also talk about how often would be best for your specific therapy.
HOW LONG WILL THERAPY TAKE?
It depends on what you're hoping to accomplish and what we're working on, but usually I share that it's not a quick process. When we're working on deep and lasting change, the process can take time and is not linear. If you have a set number of sessions you are able to come, let me know and we can certainly plan around this. And this being said, it's reasonable to expect to see some changes early on and it's up to you how long you want to keep going.
CAN I SWEAR IN SESSION?
Absolutely! In fact, I encourage it. Speak freely and the way you normally would; no need to edit or filter. If you swear, I may even join you!
HOW MUCH DO SESSIONS COST?
Counselling sessions at Local Health are $130+tax for a 50-minute session.
IS COUNSELLING WITH YOU COVERED BY HEALTH INSURANCE?
All plans are different so it is important for you to confirm with your health insurance provider before booking sessions. Make sure they cover counselling/therapy with a Registered Clinical Counsellor in BC. You'll get a receipt after each payment with my registration number and other information needed to submit a claim. According to your coverage, your health insurance provider will then reimburse you directly. If you are covered with Greenshield or have counselling coverage through ICBC or CVAP, we can discuss options for direct billing, meaning you don't have to pay upfront.
DO YOU OFFER SLIDING SCALE RATES?
I do have some sliding scale spots. They're currently reserved for people on PWD, PPMB, or IA. Please contact me to see if I have space available, or to be added to the sliding scale waitlist. Proof of income status may be required.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I OR MY LOVED ONE MISSES A SESSION?
This happens sometimes, and it's ok! I'll never be upset with you for missing. Sometimes we just forget, and sometimes we're not feeling up for coming that day. I think of this as part of the therapy process, especially in the beginning. When you don't give enough notice to cancel or reschedule, or don't come to the appointment, we charge the fee of the session, as it was a spot that could have been used by someone else. And then you're welcome to schedule again or come to your next scheduled appointment.
WHAT IF MY CHILD OR LOVED ONE IS VERY NERVOUS OR HESITANT TO COME TO COUNSELLING?
That makes sense. Talking to a new person can be really intimidating.
There are a few ways we can try to make it more comfortable. First, it's useful to know that you don't have to talk when you don't want to. Sometimes we can stop talking for a bit and just sit together, take a break for tea or to pee, draw or write instead, or end the session early. You can always say when you don't want to talk anymore. And if it ever becomes too overwhelming, you can always leave. I won't be upset if you need to go, and we can connect about what happened before or at your next appointment.
Sometimes, when someone is nervous to share in session they'll write some things down before coming. Then I can read what they've written in session, or you can read it to me. This can be an easier way to share something that is hard to say or organize your thoughts.
When appropriate, I offer a few sessions via text, which is sometimes more comfortable to start. We can't do everything via text, but it can be a useful way to start by getting to know each other and learning some new skills. Then we can transition to other ways of connecting and working together in person.
WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It's a type of therapy that uses eye movements to stimulate the brain to process memories, emotions, and thoughts so they're stored in more helpful ways, instead of the unhelpful ways we sometimes store negative experiences.
For example, when someone experiences a trauma in childhood, their brain may understand it as "something bad happened to me, therefore I deserved it and am bad." With EMDR, we can "reprocess" the memory of the trauma so it's stored in the brain as "something bad happened to me, it wasn't my fault and I am good."
This is just an example from the many ways EMDR can be applied. And it can be hard to explain and understand with words because it is such an experiential approach. If you think a negative experience or trauma from your past may be continuing to affect you in unhelpful or distressing ways today, it may be a useful approach for you.
You can learn more about EMDR at https://emdrcanada.org/emdr-defined/
Have another question? Connect with me.