Q: How Many Counselling Sessions Will I Need and How Often?
Counselling can help you identify and overcome emotional difficulties. In some cases, even just the ability to share your story and your pain in a confidential and safe environment can be healing. At Thunder Bay Psychology, our supportive team is here to listen and help you identify your own unique needs. In partnership with you, we will develop a treatment plan that strives to meet your goals as efficiently as possible.
It is important that the counsellor feels like a good fit for you. The therapeutic relationship is the vehicle through which change occurs and we are dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment where clients can engage in this important process. As for the frequency of sessions, this depends on a variety of factors including time, financing, risk level and goals. Ideally, your counsellor would like to see you weekly/bi-weekly for the first three sessions in order to gather information, complete the initial assessment and identify treatment goals. From there, the counsellor and client can determine a meeting schedule that is feasible for the client and their unique situation (i.e. time available, benefits available, funding, etc.). That being said, consistency is important, and clients should aim for attending at least 1-2 sessions per month minimally.
Similarly, people often want to know how many sessions will be required. Again, this depends on several factors including the complexity of the presenting issues, severity of symptoms, motivation and engagement in the therapeutic process. Often clients will come in with a narrow or specific goal, but quickly realize there are other additional issues they may want to work on in the course of therapy.
It may seem overwhelming and it is natural to want to know exactly what to expect before making a commitment, but trust in the team at Thunder Bay Psychology to help you navigate these fears as we develop a treatment plan that works for your life and goals.
Q: How Does Counselling Help?
Counselling uses evidence-based interventions and therapeutic models to help clients better understand their own emotions, interpersonal styles, needs and goals. Throughout life, you may experience traumatic events, unstable moods, or stressors that introduce challenges you have never faced before. You are not alone; therapy can allow you to express these feelings to an objective professional who can guide you through the journey of recovery and self-improvement.
Clients may already be medication for psychological symptoms and counselling can provide additional benefits through psychoeducation and skill building (e.g. mindfulness, emotion regulation, communication, behavioural self-care). In this way, therapy can help to maximize the benefits and promote the re-occurrence of symptoms through increased understanding and skill acquisition.
Q: How to Make the Most of Your Counselling Sessions?
Here are a few tips that will help you maximize the benefits of counselling:
Make Certain Lifestyle Changes
There are certain things that you can do every day to improve your mood and promote wellness. For example, communicate with family and friends for support, exercise, promote sleep hygiene, eat healthy food and engage in activities that increase positive emotion and relaxation. In psychology, we consider these “behavioural interventions”. Engage in behaviours that help lower distress levels and increase feelings of joy, accomplishment, peace and pride. Counselling can help identify behaviours that may be contributing to the presenting problems while also developing structure for positive behaviour change.
Engaging in therapy is a commitment and clients will notice more benefits if they are actively engaged in the process. It is important to attend regularly, and if something comes up, please call ASAP to cancel your appointment. At times, it is natural to feel nervous or reluctant to attend and that is completely understandable. Therapy isn’t always easy and in therapy you are approaching feelings and acknowledging difficult situations which can be uncomfortable. However, this is all part the process that may feel challenging (at times) in the short term, but can lead to important long term changes. Through therapy, you can free yourself from ongoing distress and unhealthy patterns, hopefully leading to a life of health and happiness.
Don’t be Afraid to be Vulnerable
If you want your therapy to be effective, you should always be open and honest with your therapist about your feelings. If you are embarrassed or ashamed about sharing something or find any incident too painful to talk about, you and your therapist can work towards a gradual expression of these thoughts by creating a relationship in which you feel safe and comfortable.
To understand what to expect in your first counselling session, read our blog.
Contact us today to book an appointment.