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What to expect from therapy

Counselling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably to describe the experience of talking with a mental health professional about challenges, problems, or difficulties in your life. Counselling generally focuses on providing a safe space to share and process your feelings and experiences. Therapy does the same and is focused on helping you create change through therapeutic treatment.  You can learn more about the therapeutic modalities I use and am trained in under My Approach.

In all my work, I’m focused on helping you identify and utilize your unique strengths and values to help improve coping and guide your life choices. I also tend to be insight-oriented in my work, which means we will be having conversations focused on understanding ‘why’ you feel a certain way or are experiencing certain difficulties. Increasing your self-understanding will help you figure out what is needed or missing. This will likely guide us to work on accepting, letting go, grieving, or changing that which is not working for you.  Finally, I find that most of us are too hard on ourselves, so a lot of our work will be nurturing self-compassion and reducing self-criticism.

Want to start therapy?

 

The first step is to contact me by email or through the Contact Me form on this website. I highly recommend that we connect for a (free) phone consultation so you can ask questions, share a bit more about yourself and your goals (it’s okay if you haven’t figured this part out yet!) and to see if we’d be a good fit to work together.

Finding a ‘good fit’ in therapy is critical. The therapeutic relationship is the foundation of the work that can be done. If you don’t feel like your therapist understands you or you’re simply not ‘clicking’ it can be hard to experience growth.  Trusting your therapist is something that grows with time. Some of us have had difficult experiences in our lives that make it difficult to open up or trust another person, including a new therapist. That’s okay! This may take a few counselling sessions to build.

 
Want to book an appointment?

If you’ve worked with me in the past and I have openings for new clients, you’re welcome to book an appointment right away. We can set this up over email or the phone. If you’ve had a consultation, we will likely book the appointment at the end of our conversation or at a later point if you need more time to think, reflect and gather information. I often encourage people to speak with a few different therapists, so that you can get a sense of who is right for you!

 

Before your first appointment

 

I will send you an intake form and informed consent through my PHIPA compliant software Owl Practice. The intake contains basic questions, such as your address, date of birth and an emergency contact. There are other optional questions, for example, asking about your goals. (Usually we talk about this in the consultation!) The Informed Consent gives you ALL the details about Flourish with Compassion Psychotherapy’s policies and practices, including confidentiality and what to expect from a virtual appointment.

 

Video or phone?

I’m currently offering virtual appointments only. Virtual counselling has been found to be as effective as in-person appointments and offers greater flexibility and no commute time! Phone appointments are simple and easy and can be facilitated from any private space, such as your bedroom or office. Some people have had their appointments in a parked car, while on a walk or in a tractor!

Video appointments feel more like ‘in person’ as we will be able to see each other face-to-face. If you’d like video, I will set you up with an account on Owl Practice and you will login for each appointment. You will receive an email prior to your first appointment with the login information.

 

Many people prefer in-person counselling and many therapists have transitioned back to this practice. If you’d like to see someone in person, I can help with referrals. I too hope to offer in-person counselling in 2023.

The day of your first appointment

On the day of your first appointment, you can wait for me to phone or (for video appointments) you can login to your Owl Practice account and wait in a ‘virtual waiting room’. I’m generally punctual, but I may be a few minutes late if I experience technical issues.  Counselling appointments are scheduled for 60 minutes. I like having the last 10 minutes to rebook, talk about next steps, or take time to recoup from an intense conversation together.

Our first conversation will be both difficult and easy. Difficult, as it is hard opening up all those painful boxes. Easy, as I will guide you with gentle questions and most people report feelings of relief and hope after their first appointment.

I work out of a private office on our family farm. This photo above shows you the space I work from and if you’re on video, you can expect to see my bookshelf and large painting of a grain farm behind me. What you can expect from me is that I almost always have a coffee in hand and wear a warm sweater (the cliché therapist cardigan) as my office is chilly all year long!

After your first appointment

If you need to return to your work or children after the appointment, please schedule in a bit of time to ground yourself afterwards. Most people feel encouraged after appointments, but it can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining so a bit of self-care and/or distraction is helpful!

 

Owl Practice will email you an invoice for the cost of our appointment within 24 hours. If you have coverage through insurance, you can submit this invoice for payment, but some providers prefer a receipt proving payment. Please let me know if you need the latter and I will send this as well. Payments can be made through e-transfer to carriepollardmsw@gmail.com

Frequency of appointments

We will decide together how frequent you wish to attend. Some people attend weekly or biweekly. If you wish for something more or less frequent, we can discuss it further.

Final thoughts

I’m so grateful you’re considering therapy. It can be a scary and something that people put off for a long time, and that’s okay! For others, it can feel comfortable and natural. I will do my best to create a space where you can talk easily about the things that are difficult and feel inspired and encouraged to create the change(s) that are needed.  If you have any questions about starting therapy, please email me!