Frequently Asked Questions
This is perhaps a bit like defining the difference between pop music and classical music: both have their place and it is often a matter of preference. That said, counselling is often understood as contemporary, brief in duration, and solution-focussed, while psychotherapy often goes deeper, involving itself in the "invisible" (such as deeply rooted patterns, unconscious processes, dream-states, symbols, spiritual quests, and early/forgotten memories). If you want quick tools for here-and-now problems, looking to change how you "do life", then perhaps conventional counselling is for you. If you are after something deeper, and your quest is more about purpose and being in life, then psychotherapy might be the better fit.
Take anxiety or depression as examples: through a contemporary counselling process, we would likely take 4-6 sessions target cognitive-behavioural syptoms. On the other hand, if we were to approach it through a deeper psychotherapeutic process, we'd be more invested in exploring the origins and roots in order to come to a more comprehensive understanding of how/why anxiety and/or depression manifest, in addition to providing insights regarding how to deal with it.
We'll probably figure out pretty quickly what it is you're after... but in either case, be prepared for some depth, some challenge, some fun, and a big dose of liberation!
What's the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Are you covered by insurance or my British Columbia Medical Services Plan)?
We are currently registered under the following providers: Worksafe BC, First Nations Health Authority, Autism Funding BC, and Metis Nation BC .
In addition, many other insurance companies will reimburse employees for either the full amount or a portion of counselling fees. Every plan is different, so please contact your insurance company/employee assistance plan to determine whether they cover fees for counselling with a Registered Clinical Counsellor (in the case of Ron, Andrew, Allie and Rachael), or a Master's level Registered Social Worker (in the case of Ken and Maura). Be sure to ask them regarding your annual limits (if applicable).
Counselling is not currently covered under British Columbia's MSP.
What Can I expect from my first Session?
Every clinician has their own style and their own structure. That said, you can expect that the first session will likely be about getting to know one another, talking about what's brought you to therapy, establishing some goals and determining some strategies to get you there. There will likely also be some opportunity to get into some of the relevant history and perhaps even some assessment work, if applicable. But there isn't just one way of doing things, and we're all pretty flexible. If you have a preferred structure or specific hopes for your first session in mind, please talk to your therapist!
How long are sessions? How often should we meet? And for how many sessions?
Ideally, the first session would be 80 or 90 minutes. This gives us time to get to know one another, to fill in some history/assessment, and formulate a plan based on your counselling goals. Thereafter, it's usually best to have sessions weekly for at least the first few 4 weeks so that things stay fresh in mind and on-track in terms of action plans. There is, however, a lot of room for flexibility: some folks are understandably limited by such factors as time, service caps (in the case of insurance-billed sessions), or where surplus cash flow is a concern. We've had clients meet weekly on an ongoing basis, and we've had clients who went away satisfied after only one session. Much depends on your specific circumstances, needs, hopes, and availability. We'll take some time during the first session to assess needs and set attainable goals that will work for you.
What form(s) of payment do you take?
We find that it works best to use the integrated payment system that comes with our booking system, Jane Software. This system uses military-grade encryption and even we can't see the credit card information that is stored. This also allows for us to focus our time on just the therapy part instead of having to do the money part every time: clients are billed (almost) automatically after the session is complete. If you don't have a credit card or you have concerns about doing it this way, please let us know and we'll do what we can do accommodate you.
Where do I find your office?
The nearest main intersection is Wallace and Terminal. The "Vault" coffee shop is in the same strip of buildings as our offices... we're just a little further up the road on Wallace. The entrance to our part of the building is near the end, toward the lawn below city hall. The address is 477 Wallace. Parking during the day is (currently) free. We're on the second and third floors, and there is an elevator for those who need it. But we'd ask that you wait down at the front door. Our building's policy has been to keep the front door locked as access isn't monitored and we've had some issues with crime in the neighbourhood. We'll meet you a minute or two before the scheduled session start time and proceed to the office together!
how often will we meet?
It is most common to schedule regular (weekly or every two weeks) sessions until difficulties begin to subside or your goals are reached. During severe crises, we have met with individuals more than once per week. Generally, more growth can be experienced through weekly therapy, but meeting every two weeks can provide ample time to digest things and practice new skills between sessions. We can discuss which option seems more appropriate for your unique situation.
How do I know when our therapy is finished?
Throughout our relationship, we will discuss goals and our progress in working toward those goals. Usually, once it has been mutually determined that goals have been satisfactorily reached or when you determine that you no longer need the supportive relationship, we set an end date together. Once that end date is established, we use our remaining time to consolidate growth and discuss the most helpful aspects of therapy.
can you prescribe medication?
As Registered Clinical Counsellors or Registered Social Workers, we do not have the ability to prescribe medications. If you'd like to consider medication, we will gladly refer you to a psychiatrist or medical doctor with whom we will collaborate on your care.
How long will therapy last?
Depending on your own unique needs, therapy can be short-term (4-10 sessions), for a specific issue or goal, or long-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for continued personal growth.
My spouse has been unfaithful. Is there hope for our relationship?
In a word: YES! In some cases, the betrayal occurs in the form of romantic and sexual relationships; in others it is an emotional affair, and in still others, the problems have to do with pornography or "sexting". Betrayal is extremely painful and difficult to deal with, and many relationships fail as a result. That said, there is a lot of hope when both partners are willing to do the work to repair and rebuild the trust, friendship, and esteem.
DISCLAIMEr: Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Notice
The Therapy Place Counselling Group provides counselling services to support your mental and emotional well-being. It's important to note that the information and guidance provided during our sessions are for educational and supportive purposes only. While we strive to offer helpful insights and coping strategies, we cannot guarantee specific outcomes or results.
Professional Advice: The information shared by our clinicians is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is essential to consult with qualified healthcare or mental health professionals for personalized advice regarding your specific situation.
Confidentiality: We are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your sessions in accordance with professional standards and legal requirements. However, there are limitations to confidentiality, such as when there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.
Individual Variability: Every individual responds differently to counselling, and results may vary. Progress and outcomes depend on various factors, including your commitment to the counselling process, personal circumstances, and external influences.
Financial Responsibility: Counselling services at The Therapy Place Counselling Group typically involves fees as agreed upon during the intake process. It is your responsibility to ensure timely payment for services rendered. Please contact our office if you have concerns about fees or payment arrangements.
Emergency Situations: In case of an emergency or crisis, it is crucial to contact emergency services or visit the nearest emergency room. Counselling services are not intended to address urgent or life-threatening situations.
By engaging in counseling services with The Therapy Place, you acknowledge and understand the above points. If you have any questions or concerns about these disclaimers, please feel free to discuss them with your counselor or call our clinic manager, Ron Depner, at the number below.