We know that asking for help is really hard and we know that you have questions. Here are the answers to the questions we get most often.
HOW IS COUNSELLING DIFFERENT THAN TALKING WITH A GOOD FRIEND?
Your relationship with your friend is a mutual one. There’s a back and forth, a give and take, where some time you’re talking about you and sometimes you’re talking about him or her. Friendship is based on reciprocity. Cross that line and do all of the talking and taking, and you’re not really friends any longer. In counselling, the focus is all on you and even though your therapist may share ideas or even personal stories, she or he is only doing that to serve you and your well-being. Your counsellor doesn’t need your attention, support, or energy. Therapy is for you and you alone. There’s no need to care about us or worry that you’re monopolizing the conversation. In fact,we want you to do that. There’s also no need to worry about being judged as you would with a friend or family member who may not approve of the choices you make. Or who gets annoyed that you didn’t follow their great advice. That never happens in therapy.
Counsellors are highly trained in many different ways to listen, solicit information, to ask relevant questions and to provide tools for change to help you address problems and heal. The quality of your relationship with a therapist is completely different from that of your friends and family. While therapy probably isn’t the only relationship that supports you or helps facilitate change, it’s designed to maximize that possibility. When your friends, partner, or family member tries to be your therapist, they’ll often end up feeling resentful, drained, and may start to appear angry and controlling when you don’t follow their “helpful” advice.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
That’s the big one, right? Sometimes people are shocked at the cost of therapy so let’s be upfront about our fees right now. Fees for a 60 minute session (yup, the whole 60 minutes) are $125/hour. That includes in office, in your home, or online. After offering different rates for different situations we chose to go with a one price fits all so that people could stop choosing where they had therapy based on cost. We want counselling to work for you regardless of how we do it. Couples counselling is $150/hour. We offer a sliding scale or reduced fee for a select number of clients each month so please contact us directly to discuss your personal situation.
Good therapy is an investment in your health, well-being, and your future. Lots of us take all inclusive vacations to get away and unwind. Good therapy does that better than that expensive vacation because eventually, you’re not going to need a life you need to escape from. If you’ve been on an all inclusive vacation, you know what it’s like to drop hundreds (and occasionally thousands) of dollars for a week to escape life. Except life is waiting for you when you come home. Invest in therapy instead of that vacation, just this once, and you’ll likely find you will have developed a way of living where you don’t need distraction and escape twice a year. (Also, sunburn and stomach troubles probably aren’t going to happen when we work together. Just saying.)
CAN I PAY BY CREDIT CARD? HOW DO I PAY? WHAT IF I HAVE TO CANCEL?
When you book your appointment with us, you’ll be sent an invoice through PayPal prior to your session. You can pay by credit card, debit, or email transfer through PayPal even if you don’t have a PayPal account. We ask for payment in advance for a couple of reasons. The first is to hold your space and time and to ensure that the entire session is devoted to focusing on our work together rather than spending the last of it dealing with payment issues. We also believe that prepaying for your session reinforces your commitment to your healing and our work together. We’ve found that people are far less likely to cancel or not show up if the session is paid for. It’s also one less thing to worry about.
WHAT IF I HAVE TO CANCEL?
Our sessions are important to us and we want them to be a priority for you as well. When you book a session with us, we’re holding your space and time, much like paying for a seat at a concert or at a movie. If you have to cancel, we ask that you cancel well in advance so that we can offer your session to someone that may be waiting.
If you cancel with more than 24 hours notice, you’re session fee will be fully refunded if you’ve already paid. If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice then we do not offer a refund except in emergencies. (We know you didn’t plan for you kid to catch that stomach flu at the last minute.) Sessions cancelled by us (although that almost never happens) will be fully refunded and your next session will be discounted by 50% because we want to be really fair around this whole cancellation thing and the importance of our work together.
WHY DOES IT COST SO MUCH? I COULD GET FREE COUNSELLING AT THAT GOVERNMENT AGENCY OVER THERE
Yes, you could get free counselling from different agencies if you live in a larger city. If you’re rural or in a smaller town, you’ll have some driving to do. And if that’s for you, we encourage that because there are some great options out there. Some of us have worked for those organizations in the past and are able to share our observations around these agencies.
First, a lot of free services have limits around how many sessions you can have and work from only solution focused modalities. Meaning if you’re looking to resolve or manage things like marital issues, infidelity, shame, trauma, family of origin issues, parenting/couples work, and a lot of other distressing things, you’re not going to be able to dig down to do this kind of work. It’s like putting a band-aid on a broken leg and hoping things will get better. Or like having super high cholesterol and just adding broccoli to your diet. Broccoli is great. It’s a super food even. But it’s not going to fix your health issues without a whole lot of other changes and strategies to go along with that broccoli slaw. There’s a time and a place for solution focused work (because we do that) but it should be decided as a plan based on what you need. Not by the government looking to keep costs down.
Our services are unique and tailored to you. We also offer in home, online, and in office sessions (at our offices in St. Thomas, ON) unlike at a large government organization. We’re here to work around your schedule as much as possible in the way that best fits your needs. No time to drive across town for your counselling session where you miss work and lose an hour of pay? (Yeah, that adds up so it’s often not really free any longer.). No problem. We love online work for the same reason.
We’re also super picky about who we work with and you should be, too. And money should never be the deciding factor when it comes to mental health and well-being. We don’t subscribe to things like limiting sessions, or only working with certain treatment modalities. Because those sorts of things are simply band-aid solutions to a bigger problem.
The other thing is a weird and fun fact about what happens when people have access to free stuff. Basically humans are weird and they don’t value or make the work a priority. Clients cancel or don’t show up. They don’t prioritize or take the sessions seriously. They don’t follow through or implement the strategies because they don’t get the value behind it. We know from studying human behaviour that when we invest in something rather than getting it for free, we take it seriously and work hard to make the necessary changes. Humans are kind of strange that way. (It’s okay to ask us how many things we’ve signed up for for free that we’ve never used. That includes courses, webinars, and all sorts of things that we thought were truly awesome but never made a priority. But when we’ve paid for a course or training, we’re all over it. Interesting, no?)
And also, in the interest of being really transparent….we also have to feed and raise our families. This is our lifework and we’re good at it. And we support our families with our careers, just like you do.
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? WHAT IF I CAN’T GET THERE?
How awesome is 2018? We have at 15 St. Catherine St in St. Thomas, Ontario. But we also offer online counselling which cuts down on the actual time it takes for us to get together. No driving time, no parking fees, and less time missed out of your day. If you choose online counselling, we’ll work either with SKYPE (if you have it or are willing to sign up) or ZOOM (where we just send you the link) to meet in privacy wherever works for you. As long as you have a reliable internet service along with with a computer, laptop, tablet, or even your phone, we’ll be able to work together. In some circumstances we are able to offer counselling in your home as well. We’ll talk about best options for you once we connect in person.
WILL I BE IN THERAPY FOREVER?
Heck, no. Most of our clients are able to do great work in an average of 8-12 sessions before deciding together that they’ve got this. People are rarely in therapy for months or years on end unless they want to be.
Some of our clients love the idea of having a place to come where they can talk about their lives, focus on themselves, without having to reciprocate like you do with friends and family. (How annoying is that friend that uses you like a therapist??) When you’re in therapy you can be that person with no judgement at all. We’re here to focus on you.) For those that literally love therapy, we’re able to set up more affordable options like bi-weekly or monthly appointments. Just like taking your car in for an oil change, this type of counselling is kind of like a tune up for your life.
Regardless of how long we work together, our focus is on getting you healthy and strong enough to manage situations on your own, not to hand hold you through life and create dependency. How long we work together is entirely up to you.
DO I HAVE TO COME FOR 8 OR 12 WEEKS?
No. You do you. At the beginning of our work together (after the free consult and in our first live session) you’ll be participating in an intake assessment and we’ll identify together what issues are the biggest problems for you. Then we’ll work on those issues to make things better. You may be so pleased with how things have changed, you’ll stick around for additional work. That’s awesome. Or you may find that after just a few sessions, you’ve got this. It’s really about what works for you.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
You reach out to us by phone (519-765-2432) or through our contact page and you’ll leave a message. In your message, let us know how and when it’s best to reach you and if there are any safety issues we need to be aware of. If it’s not safe to call, let us know how to safely respond to you. We return all calls and emails within 24 hours except on weekends. In that case you’ll hear from us by the following business day (Monday. Or Tuesday on a holiday weekend.)
At that point we’ll offer a free 20 minute phone, Skype, or Zoom consult to determine if we’re a good fit where we’ll get a brief understanding of what’s happening for you and how we can help. If we don’t feel we’d be a fit for you, we’ll do our best to follow up with other suggestions. If we agree together that we’re a good fit, we’ll go ahead and schedule our first session, either live in person or online, depending on what works best for you. Once we’ve completed our intake, we’ll formulate a “treatment plan” where we’ll have set goals for our work together and identified how many sessions we’ll be working together. The plan is very fluid and is really based on your needs and goals.
I’M SO OVERWHELMED, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. CAN YOU REALLY HELP ME?
We get that and we’re experts in figuring this out. You’re job is to show up and to start talking. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be an orderly way of presenting one problem because most people we work with have a bunch of things going on. Sometime life is really freaking hard and everything seems awful and hopeless. Our job is to listen and to help you make sense of what’s happening and find solutions that work. Once we get to know each other, you’ll feel more comfortable talking about yourself and the issues you face and we’ll get what works for you and what doesn’t. So. Yes. We really can help with most problems. That’s why we offer a free consult and a thorough intake assessment. If we don’t feel we can help with your particular situation, we’ll tell you that and give you an idea of where to go next.
MY LIFE IS A TOTAL GONG SHOW. A COMPLETE MESS. IS THERE A WAIT LIST? DO YOU HAVE URGENT APPOINTMENT TIMES AVAILABLE?
We do our best to respond to all requests for contact within one business day (see above) however, there is occasionally a wait list while we match clients with the therapist we feel is the best match or we’re simply full and there is a wait list of a few weeks or so. We do keep some time each week for new and urgent situations. Please let us know in your message to us that you feel the situation is urgent and we’ll do our very best to book a session within the next few days.
If you are in crisis, it’s important to be aware that we’re not a mental health crisis service. CMHA in the London area is a 24 hour service and can be reached at (519) 434-9191. Additional crisis services can be found HERE.
DO YOU HAVE GROUPS OR WORKSHOPS?
We occasionally develop groups when we identify a need in our practice or community. Currently we’re developing an 6 week group for caregivers of children with FASD. We’re also in the process of developing a separation and co-parenting group for parents who are in the process of separating or divorce. (Can you even imagine if you could separate and manage to skip over the court system or have minimal disruption to your lives, your finances, and your kids? We’re super excited about this one, in case you can’t tell!)
If you have a group in mind that you think would benefit people, let us know and we’ll see if this is something we can accommodate. There’s a lot to be said for group learning and being with people who are struggling with the same issues you are.
GOT OTHER QUESTIONS? READY TO BOOK YOUR FREE 20 MINUTE CONSULT?
Complete the form below and we’ll respond in one business day.
PLEASE NOTE: At this time our FASD services are filled and we are not accepting new families. If you’d like to be added to our wait list, just let us know.