Our responses to a sample of questions commonly asked by individuals seeking our services are presented below. If you have questions or would like more information about our practice, please feel free to contact us.
What are clinical psychologists, registered psychotherapists, and registered social workers?
Clinical psychologists, registered psychotherapists, and registered social workers are regulated health care professionals in Ontario. Psychologists are regulated by the College of Psychologists of Ontario and only psychologists who hold a doctoral degree are permitted to use the title “doctor”. Registered psychotherapists are regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Registered social workers are regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. These three regulatory colleges function to ensure that their members maintain the highest standards of professional practice and conduct. Psychologists, registered psychotherapists, and registered social workers are legally authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy in Ontario.
Each of these professions has some distinguishing aspects:
Doctoral-level clinical psychologists are among the most highly educated health care providers in the field of mental health. The communication of a psychological diagnosis is a controlled act restricted to qualified members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
Registered psychotherapists place a special emphasis on the therapy process. They develop expertise in a wide range of treatment methods and are notably person-centred and outcome-oriented in their therapeutic approach.
Registered social workers are unique among mental health professionals because of the degree to which they consider people’s difficulties within the context of their families, workplaces, and communities, and take into account the connection between personal problems and larger social issues. Registered social workers provide the majority of counselling and psychotherapy services in Ontario.
What might I expect during my first therapy session?
Many people feel nervous about the first meeting and, in particular, about the prospect of sharing personal information with a stranger. That said, it is common for people to state that they began to feel more at ease or even relieved as their initial meeting progressed. It is our job to create a meeting space in which patients feel comfortable, safe, and secure.
The first meeting is an opportunity for your therapist to get to know you. You will be invited to share whatever information you wish. Your therapist will also ask you questions in order to better understand or clarify the information you provide.
The first meeting is also an opportunity for you to get a sense of whether your therapist is the right fit for you. We appreciate the importance of “fit” and, if you were to feel you would rather see another therapist, we would be pleased to recommend other professionals who may be a better match. Similarly, if we were to determine that another professional may be better able to meet your needs and goals, we would discuss this with you and, upon your request, refer you to someone better suited.
What is your approach to treatment?
While each of us has a distinctive approach and style, we share the following fundamentals:
- We believe it is crucial to establish a positive and collaborative working relationship with our patients.
- We place a strong emphasis on developing a full and thorough understanding of our patients’ concerns.
- We are integrative in that we incorporate various evidence-based treatment approaches, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic/interpersonal, and existential/humanistic.
- We pay attention to the unique treatment needs of each individual. No two therapies are alike.
- We are empathic, sincere, and non-judgmental.
How long does therapy take?
The duration of therapy varies across different people and is dependent on a number of factors. After meeting with you and assessing your situation, your therapist will be able to recommend a course of treatment for you. Generally speaking, treatment length ranges from three months (short-term) to over one year (long-term). Regardless of its duration, you should notice signs of progress over the entire course of your therapy.
What should I expect at the end of treatment?
Treatment outcomes are described differently by different patients. Many individuals focus on the resolution of their symptoms. Others refer to their personal growth. Still others describe having benefitted in ways that are beyond what they had considered or expected prior to treatment. In one way or another, as their therapies draw to a close, our patients talk about having developed inner capacities and resources that allow for a richer and more fulfilling life.