We at Maratos Counselling and Consulting Services hope you have had a safe holiday season. As we move into the New Year, you may be thinking it is time to seek out professional support.
Here are a few tips and strategies to get you started on your search.
Consider what type of support is feasible for you:
- We have many community resources that offer free counselling services. Those can be found here:
- BounceBack® is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
- Call or search 211 Ontario. 211 connects people to the right information and services, strengthens Canada’s health and human services, and helps Canadians become more engaged with their communities.
Extended Health Coverage:
- If you have Extended Health Coverage as part of your benefits package, call and ask your provider if therapy provided by an RSW (Registered Social Worker) or RP (Registered Psychotherapist) is covered. This is often lumped together with other services, so be sure to ask for the maximum amount you have to work with. Please also consider discussing this with your therapist to plan out your sessions within your budget.
NIHB: The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program provides eligible First Nations
and Inuit clients with coverage for a range of health benefits that are not covered through other programs.
Finding a therapist:
- Psychology Today is a good place to start to get an idea of who is in your area and what they might specialize in. There are several different search fields you can use to narrow your search including issues, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. Be sure to spend some time reviewing the person’s profile, website, and other professional information they might have listed.
- Window shop. Most therapists offer some sort of free consultation call. This will give you an opportunity to hear the person’s voice, ask any questions you might have, and have a chat to see if there is a connection before committing to an appointment. Therapy is an investment. It is important to shop around and make sure there is a good fit. We understand this, so don’t worry about hurting our feelings, or continuing the search.
During your Consultation Call:
Questions you might ask during a consultation call:
- What does an average session look like?
- How active are you as a therapist? Am I expected to do most of the talking?
- What is your training?
- Asking personal details. You are welcome to ask whatever question of your therapist, and your therapist is welcome to only answer what they want to. Remember, we are trained professionals and if there is something we don’t want to answer, we most likely will tell you why. Having an open dialogue and boundaries is part of building a secure therapeutic relationship.
- Have you ever worked with… feel free to ask about a particular issue or topic you are wanting to focus on. Be open to their answer. Even if they may not have worked directly with a specific issue, the rapport between the two of you is the most important piece, and there still could be value in your work together.
- Logistical questions- What is your fee? Do you offer sliding scale fees? What is your cancellation policy? How do you accept payment? Am I able to contact you between sessions?
Questions the therapist might ask you. And don’t worry, if you don’t have an answer, that’s ok too. It can be all part of the journey:
- Have you ever been to therapy before? If so, how was your experience? Anything you liked or didn’t like?
- Is there something you’re hoping to focus on?
Check-in with yourself:
Listen to your gut. Based on a 15-minute phone call, what you are really looking for is:
- If you felt heard
- Do you feel there is potential for a deeper trust
- Are you curious about your future work together?
As you continue your work with your therapist, you will start to feel more confident in your fit. Remember you are also never “trapped” with that person. You are always welcome to make a change.
Booking your first appointment:
Your first session will most likely be an assessment, giving your therapist an opportunity to collect information and get a snapshot as to what is happening for you. Try to be patient and remember like any relationship, the therapeutic alliance will take time to grow.
The goal of therapy is not to “fix” you immediately, and healing takes time. This can feel uncomfortable, and it is recommended you give yourself 6 months to reflect and see if you notice any changes, realizations or growth in your thinking, behaviour, hopes or fears. If you feel that your work together isn’t where you’d like it, consider discussing this with your therapist or finding someone new with a different modality or style of therapy.
Our team can be viewed on our website or call us at 519-752-3653.
Written by Rebekah Laferriere, MSW, RSW
Maratos Counselling and Consulting Services