Psychotherapy and counselling refers to treatment methods that help individuals address a range of issues, from dealing with normal life challenges (e.g., coping with stress, handling conflict, etc.) to more significant difficulties (e.g., overcoming trauma, managing debilitating panic attacks, etc.).
Therapy typically involves examining the relationship between our thoughts, behaviours, and emotions, and developing new patterns of thinking and behaving.
What to expect
Your therapist will begin the first session with a discussion of informed consent and limits of confidentiality. Informed consent includes information about the benefits and risks of treatment, what will be involved in therapy, and other relevant information. Although you can expect the highest level of privacy and confidentiality, there are a few exceptions that your therapist will review at the very beginning of the first session. Also, if you would like your therapist to communicate with anyone on your behalf, such as your doctor, lawyer, or a family member, you will be asked to sign a release of information form to document your consent.
Next, your therapist will ask questions about what has brought you to therapy and what you would like to accomplish. You will be asked about your current symptoms and the events that lead up to your current situation. You may be asked questions about your personal history, health/medical history, family history, and current relationships and supports. The goal of the first session is for your therapist to get to know you and to collect enough information to develop an effective treatment plan. Importantly, you will never be pressured or coerced to discuss issues that you are uncomfortable with.
Towards the end of the session, your therapist will summarize the information you provided and will discuss a plan for treatment with you. Your therapist may provide you with some reading material or other "homework" to begin the therapeutic process.