My Approach to Helping
As a therapist with 15 years experience, 10 years ago I was happy to expand my services to travellers and expats living aboard as well as for anyone unable to reach a therapist in their region through phone or video. I had not thought at that time how important this service would become in 2020. We are all under immense stress. Hopefully counseling can help you deal with the situation as well as any of your previous personal issues.
Therapy is about inner growth in order to not repeat our destructive patterns, gaining new perspectives, better coping and communication skills. We will work together to gain a greater understanding of your situation and relationships so that you are able to move forward.
In counseling you will be helped to improve your self-worth, resolve any childhood issues and present day difficulties and increase personal growth.
I work with people living through stressful situations such as work conflicts, retirement or empty nest syndrome as well as difficulties around emotions of sadness, anger, fears, shame, etc.
The main ingredient of good therapy is always empathy and attentive listening, letting you know that you are in a safe, nonjudgmental space.
Your objectives are my first priority. My approach is eclectic and can include cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-dynamics, mindfulness and anger management. Relaxation techniques and art therapy are also used for relieving anxiety and stress.
Telephone andor video counseling requires no office space, therefore, I am able to offer a sliding scale fee based on your income and circumstances. In person therapy is offered in Vancouver, Canada. Please email or phone me and we can arrange a free 15 minute initial consultation.
More Info About My Practice
Five years ago, I moved to Vancouver, BC, after counseling people in Montreal, Quebec, for 15 years. A number of my clients wanted to continue therapy with me. I therefore offered them video or telephone counseling as an option. Through this experience I learned that long distance counseling was not only practical but also helpful. I discovered that emotions and empathy can be transmitted in a video and even by phone. Many of my clients have told me that they feel it is easier for them to communicate through long distance counseling than face to face as they are able to speak more freely in the comfort of their own homes. Some clients have expressed surprise at how connected and understood they felt after a telephone counseling session.
My Therapy Focus
What is cognitive behavioral therapy and how can it help you?
The idea behind cognitive therapy, simply put, is that our emotions are based not just on present day events but on patterns of thought that we developed in childhood and continue believing throughout our lives. These patterns of thought are often referred to as automatic thoughts and can become basic beliefs about who we are, who others are and how we should relate to the world. When we are stressed these thoughts come up automatically (semiconscious) and dictate our choices and actions.
For example, if in childhood we were in an environment that was racist, as an adult we may keep these beliefs not recognizing that we can make a conscious effort to change our way of thinking. If in childhood we were told that we are stupid (a form of racism against ourselves), we may spend our whole life believing it. Little children can assume many things that are in fact not real or what the parent meant, but they may continue to believe their childhood version of reality all their lives. For example, many clients have told me that deep down they believed their parents breaking up was their fault, that they were simply not good enough.
Therapy helps to bring these thoughts to the forefront, to question them, look at alternative ways of thinking so you can make your own choices as to how and what you want to believe.
Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed
Many of my clients have told me that they hesitated quite a while before calling for help. While discussing this with them, I discovered that there were three main beliefs that caused people to avoid counseling.
-The belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
If you have a backache, you go to see a physiotherapist. If you have emotional pain, then it is best to seek a psychotherapist.
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. In fact the contrary is true, showing vulnerabilities to the outside world takes courage and strength.
-The belief that no one is able to help you.
Usually this type of belief comes from childhood issues. The therapist can work with you to revitalize your feelings of self-worth and help you gain the ability to trust in others.
-The belief that the therapist will be judgmental.
Therapy is based on a non-judgmental approach; it is a place where you can feel safe. The therapist is there to understand you, not to judge, to help you find your inner strength, and enable you to work on your personal problems.
These fears are quite real and can be overwhelming. It is important to face them, not let them control your decision. Calling a therapist can be the first step to gaining greater insight and inner strength.
The Duration and Frequency of Therapy
On the first appointment many people ask questions about the duration and frequency of therapy. They expect an exact answer but there is no simple response. For each person, the mode of therapy is different. Therapy is a type of education where we try to gain a better knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. How long that takes varies.
The duration will take into account the reality of your presenting problem, and practical issues such as time available and finances. Duration, therefore, can vary quite a bit from a short term of a few weeks to long term therapy of a few years. Some therapists specialize in short term therapy and others focus on long term goals. It is important to ask the therapist their approach.
Frequency can be twice a week, once a week, every two weeks or once a month, again, depending on a number of factors including the motivation of the client and presenting problems. I recommend beginning with weekly appointments and then, depending on the client's needs, once every two weeks, progressing to once a month. When there is a crisis more frequent appointments are recommended. The first appointment may last up to 90 minutes then after that it is usually 50 minutes to one hour.
I hope I have answered your questions. Please feel free to contact me for any additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org