Frequently asked questions
What exactly is a Psychotherapist, or Clinical Counsellor, and what can they offer me?
A clinical counsellor, also known as a psychotherapist, is someone who has completed a masters degree in Counselling/Counselling Psychology, and is registered through a local governing body (ie. RCC, or CCPA).
WHAT THIS MEANS IS...
*The masters degree typically consists of a two-year program which includes hundreds of hours of internship work and supervision, as well as a finished thesis/capstone project.
* The local governing body sets standards of practice to which members are ethically and professionaly bound to uphold. They also are encouraged to educate themselves in the latest peer-reviewed research
WHAT THEY CAN OFFER YOU...
*Mental health services, both in public and private sector, for individuals, couples, and families.
*Cover vast range of clinical issues, including: anxiety, stress, depression, developmental disorders, trauma and complex trauma, eating disorders, addiction, career counselling, grief and loss, men's and women's issues, relationship issues, etc.
*They can receive adidtional training to specialize in certain areas that address a specific set of clientele/symptoms
*They do not give diagnoses...but they can work with them.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER...
This is helpful to differentiate, as when it comes to dealing with mental health matters--unbeknownst to many, there are a number of options and routes for one to take--with different titles, as well as differing levels of education, technical and supervised training, and their scope of practice and areas of specialization. At this time, there is no regulations for the term 'counsellor', so anyone can actually choose to call themselves this.
This is why it is important when you are checking with your insurance providers that you include: 'clinical counsellor' or 'psychotherapist', as this indicates receiving professional services which can positively influence elligibility.
Does gender matter when seeking a counsellor, and if so, how could a male therapist benefit me?
We live in a gendered world. Which means that how we may relate or perceive others is filtered by our socialization and personal experiences. Rather than dismissing this, it is important that we take this into consideration when selecting a therapist—so that it’s the RIGHT therapist for YOU.
Here is a list of reasons that I have heard, over time, as to why people may have been been specifically seeking out a male therapist—and it’s not just from male clients!
MAKING IT RELATABLE
For Men: due to our societal conditioning, many men express discomfort around talking about their emotional lives, which makes the notion of going into the den of feelings—therapy—that much more unnerving. Therefore, it can be very helpful to bridge this unfamiliar territory by someone who has gone through a similar socialization process, using everyday language and connecting to values that men can get onboard with.
For Women: it can be very helpful in receiving feedback from another guy when they’re having issues with their male partner. The therapist can offer possible mindsets and motivations going on, based on their own internalizations of what ‘being a man’ should be and how that can affect relationship dynamics.
OFFERING CORRECTIVE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES
For Men: having a male therapist can be extremely helpful in learning how to be vulnerable with other men. Given the traditional masculinity ideals that discourage any kind of intimate disclosure among other guys, the therapist-client relationship can act as a role model for what is possible, while healing the historic wounds of past shaming.
For Women: there can be the desire for more of a felt sense of safety and security around men. These women will have had experiences of oppression, abuse, and neglect by men, leading to a learned response of mistrust. They may be at a stage in their healing process which they feel they could benefit from having a male therapist to be witness to their trauma, at the hands of men, and receive a different response—of care, atunement and compassion.
This is a general overview of possible motivations. It really depends on the context of what brings the client into counselling.
Someone recently suggested that my current symptoms may be PTSD related...but I thought that was reserved for only car crashes or war vets. What does 'trauma' entail?
YES, while soldiers and crash victims have been typically associated with PTSD cases, trauma extends far beyond these simple classifications. Anyone who has experienced an overwhelming experience, which exceeded their capacity to cope, can be susceptible to developing trauma. Trauma strips us from our felt sense of safety, disrupts our abilities to connect with ourselves and others in a meaningful way, and changes our outlook on the world.
Researchers and practitioners have attributed this development as a result of when people undergo experiences which disrupt the mind’s ability to process information, so that pieces of time get frozen as highly charged emotional material, stored in the body. This fragmented sense of reality—where the past carries on in the present—becomes the nighttime of the soul.
This extends our understanding from trauma occuring as a result of purely a physical threat, to the interpersonal concerns of rejection and abandonment, which threaten our primal social needs of belonging and acceptance.
What complicates matters is that the IMPRINTS OF TRAUMA RUN DEEP, AND ARE HARD TO RECOGNIZE. Symptoms might not show up for years, as people's creative abilities to adapt to their traumatic experiences can cover the effects--to others, and eventually, to themselves.
In order to facilitate change, there needs to be a holistic approach that engages both the mind and body, and is able to draw out the buried material of the past to the surface of present awareness--safely, respectfully, and with continued permission by the client. Rather than shame, we need to honour the ways in which the individual has found ways to cope with the unbearable, given the resources they had, and to instill hope for a different future.
What does trauma recovery look like? How will I know I am getting better?
A common goal to recovery heard in the mental health field is the idea that, in order to be healed of one’s suffering, one must forgive and forget—to ‘let go’ of their identification of victimhood and ‘get over’ the experience.
But is that really what is needed??
In the case of deep relational wounding, often the damage or misattunement that was done to the individual gets compounded by a lack of acknowledgement around the event—an empathic home to validate the experience. *
This can lead to the afflicted person adopting these dismissive responses by compartmentalizing,or splitting, from the pain as a way of coping.
In a real sense, surviving meant they had to abandon part of their experience—keeping it frozen in time.
Would it not make more sense then, to set one’s sights on finding ways to safely reconnect with this exiled material so that we can properly integrate our past experiences to the present day by letting them in...fully...perhaps for the first time?
How long do people typically go in for therapy?
The length of therapy varies, depending on the unique situation, challenges, and goals people have coming in with. What studies have shown is that, typically by the 4th-6th session you should see some noticeable change.
This might come in the way of having a different response to something that was negatively impacting your life; it could be taking active steps in pursuing your dreams and interests towards a more meaningful, authentic life. It could be having a better understanding around some of the behaviors you enact with others. Maybe you notice a heightened desire to interact and socialize, as opposed to keeping closed and withdrawing.
Perhaps you noticed--for the first time in a long time--a sense of ease rather than the chronic state of stress and anxiety that was dominiating your life.
Generally, when clients start therapy, they come in either on a weekly or biweekly basis. Having this consistency can be great in building momentum on realizing your goals. After some time they may eventually wish to spread sessions out longer. I recognize that there may be a number of factors which do not allow for this consistency (ie.finances, etc)...and that's completely understandable! I firmly believe that you the client can determine what sort of help you are needing--that works for you. Then we, as a team, go about making that happen.
Are you offering sessions either online or by telephone? And if so, how do they compare to in-person?
Yes, I offer both online/video and tele-sessions.
While I can agree that nothing can replace the physical presence of in-person interaction, I have received some very positive feedback towards the online sessions. In fact, many who were initially skeptical towards this option were surprised afterwards by how well "it worked". And I would agree. My guess is because it still allows for the critical component of nonverbal communication that goes back and forth, creating opportunities for a felt sense of attunement, understanding, and "being seen".
But How Bout Privacy?...especially with people being told to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people are taking the opportunity to take these sessions mobile, via going out by themselves on a walk-and-talk--while still respecting the social distancing protocols. This could mean going out on a trail, or somewhere that is known to be more-or-less vacant. During this time of increased enclosures, any time outside is something to look forward to!
What online platform are you using? How easy is it to setup? And how about confidentiality?
The online video platform I use is called 'Zoom'. It is a no-hassle, free service. All you need is to set up an account. At the time of the session, I just send you a link, you click it and check-in...that easy.
In order to meet the Canadian Data Protectection Regulations (PIPEDA/PHIPA), I have opted to get the Zoom Pro edition, which offers better end-to-end encryption. There also are waiting rooms that safeguard against possible outsider intrusions during the session.
To learn more info regarding this, click
*It should be noted that I cannot guarantee the privacy of any information you disclose online, so it is advised to be mindful when wishing to communicate electronically, and refrain from including anything you do not wish others to see.
Are you still accepting new clients?
Yes, there are still some spots available at this time. If you are having issues booking online, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can discuss options.
Do you work with couples?
Yes. I offer 75 minute couples sessions--for any kind of partnership...as long as both people are willing and committed to the therapeutic process.
Are these sessions covered by benefits?
Yes, as a trained and registered clinical counsellor (RCC), my sessions are covered by many insurance providers. It is always best to check-in first with your provider to see what is available to you.
My registration licencing number is: RCC: #16628
* When inquiring with your insurance provider, make sure to state that you would be seeing a 'clinical counsellor' or 'psychotherapist' (indicating you are receiving professional healthcare-worker services)
What are your payment methods?
Sessions are to be paid in advance of the session. You will receive an invoice message the morning of your appointment.
* Ideal payment methods are: VISA/Mastercard and e-transfter.
* Alternative methods are: cash or cheque
MOST CONVENIENT FOR YOU: Online (VISA/Mastercard)
-> you can pay online, directly from the invoice email. By saving your credit card information, it will securely store it for you (only showing the last 4 card # digits), so that going forward an automatic process will take care of billing, etc.
-> please send the money to dave@connectincounselling. For the security question: "What is this for?". Answer: "counselling"
* A receipt of each session will be sent to you within 24 hrs to your registered email.