By Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW
It never fails. I go to a party, someone finds out I’m a therapist, and drink in hand, they proceed to tell me about all the things that eventually make them cry while simultaneously insulting my profession. (“Quit psychoanalyzing me!”)
Do I make people cry? No. Do I attract vulnerability? Perhaps. I do listen, and people’s stories are always fascinating to me. But it’s not about me.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which means that the things that are hard to talk about always seem easier to address when you’re drinking. Who hasn’t used liquid courage to do something that was tough? This is the basis of most of our regrettable texts and snaps (or good old drunk-dialing).
But there’s more to it.
By Laura Groulx, BEd, MSW, RSW
Your first counselling session can be anxiety-provoking: you’re sitting with a stranger, in a quiet room, and talking about very personal issues and topics. You might feel incredibly vulnerable. However, know that anxiety in this situation is totally normal, so don’t let it stop you from attending!
The majority of people that push through that first session vulnerability and anxiety return for a follow-up. This means that the experience was worth it, and they desire to return and continue. When it comes to anxiety generally, it’s often the anticipatory unknown that causes distress. The purpose of this article is to help with just that, shed light on the unknown by exploring what to expect and ways you can prepare, in order to take away (at least some of!) the first counselling session jitters.
By Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW
We're checking the window, making sure the crumbs are vacuumed from the office floor, coffee is fresh, water glasses are clean, and phones are working. I'm preparing resources, reading my notes from the last session, and checking your file so I know what we’re working on.
I paid to go to school for 6 years for this. I did internships, paid for supervision, attend ongoing training, and read books every day to continue to find the best way to help. I found my calling with helping people overcome serious, longstanding traumas, I mentored students, hired staff, and spent my weekends setting up furniture and renovating the building so that every person walking in here would feel safe, comfortable, respected, and valued. I am SO ready to help!
And you…don’t show?
By Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW
Your confidentiality is a top priority for us, and it is imperative that you feel comfortable coming here for services, so here's what you need to know.
Your clinical file can only be accessed by two people: your therapist and their supervisor. The other staff members may see your name on the schedule, but they can't see why you're coming, nor do they go looking.
If you are placed with a therapist that you know personally, either you or the therapist can let us know so that we can transfer right away.
If you really want to come but you don’t want one of the staff members knowing, we can substitute another name on your chart and have you book sessions when that staff member is not in the facility (e.g., evenings, early mornings, etc.), or have your sessions done by phone or online (e.g., Skype).
As Linda Kelly is the Clinical Director for KMH, she retains custody of all files. If you know her personally, she appoints another staff member to act as the supervisor so that she doesn’t need to access your file. However, the file is ultimately in her care if the therapist moves on from the practice, and would need to be accessed if there were ever any legal issues arising down the line (e.g., client becomes involved with court and file disclosure is requested). Although this is rare, it’s something you need to know if you decide to attend sessions.
There is ample parking available on site. We can't guarantee that you'll never run into someone you know, but we do our best to make sure your session starts on time and you're not in the waiting area too long. We have a second exit door so you can leave a different way if you want to avoid running into someone in the waiting area. If you are waiting and there’s someone else there that you know, you can ask our staff to place you in one of the conference rooms early.
Our system is set up so that you can do almost everything remotely without consulting our admin staff. Bookings, intake forms, and payments can all be done online. In fact, you can even upload documents to share with your therapist if you choose to do so. If you are booking through Health Canada, you do need to speak directly with our admin staff to make sure the bookings are done correctly.
What if you are placed with someone that you sort of know, but maybe haven’t seen in a long time?
Basically it goes like this: if you have to justify to yourself whether or not it’s a good idea, we don’t do it.
We’d rather save you from the awkwardness of running into that person at a social gathering and just set you up with another one of our highly trained and fantastic clinical staff.
By Seija Grant, MEd CP, RP
When I talk about ‘finding a good fit’ I am referring to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. One of the most important factors of therapeutic success is having a strong therapeutic alliance. The importance of this is significant, as you (the client) need to be able to trust the therapist enough to share some of the most vulnerable parts of yourself. Outside of a therapy context, you probably wouldn’t go around sharing all of your most secret, private (possibly darkest) parts of yourself with just anybody, so why should it be different when it comes to therapy? As a client you have the right to try out counsellors to find one that suits you. If you don’t feel it is a good fit, don’t be afraid to ask for an appointment with a different counsellor next time (if this is an option at the agency or organization you are attending). Therapists are aware of the importance of this factor and ultimately want you to be successful and thrive in counselling…even if it isn’t with them. I personally would much rather have a client transfer to another therapist than for them to miss out on all of the benefits of counselling, just because we weren’t a good match.
There can be several reasons for a lack of ‘good fit’ between client and counsellor. Some of the factors to consider:
Check here periodically for updates from Kelly Mental Health staff.
Check out kellymagazine.ca for recent mental health articles and blog posts.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide personal support as an alternative to psychotherapy services. Please note that replies are viewable by the public, and we may take a few days to respond. If you require immediate assistance, please call us during business hours.
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