What you can expect from therapy
Therapy can be facilitated by two modes, one to one therapy or by group therapy that would address one issue, i.e. a group or family that has been affected by the same event.
The therapist will help you understand your mental health condition and will also introduce techniques to help you through the tough periods such as relaxation, stress management and coping methods.
Your first therapy session
At your first session, one of our therapists will ask you to complete a couple of multiple choice questionnaires designed to gather information about you and ask what concerns you'd like to work on.
You will likely be asked about your current and past physical and emotional health to gain a deeper understanding of your situation.
There will also be an opportunity for you to talk to your therapist, this will help you understand:
- His or her approach
- What type of therapy is appropriate for you
- The goals of your treatment
- The length of each session
- How many therapy sessions you may need
It might take a few sessions for your therapist to fully understand your situation and concerns, and to determine the best course of action. Having a good "fit" with your therapist can help you get the most benefit from therapy.
There are different types of therapy that we offer at the Lisa Lowe Centre, one of which is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT.
CBT generally focuses on specific problems, using a goal-oriented approach. As you go through the therapy process, your therapist may ask you to do "homework" — activities, reading or practices that build on what you learn during your regular therapy sessions — and encourage you to apply what you're learning in your daily life.
Your therapist's approach will depend on your particular situation and preferences.
There may be a combination of CBT with another therapeutic approach — for example, interpersonal therapy, which focuses on your relationships with other people.
Steps in CBT
CBT typically includes these steps:
- Identify troubling situations or conditions in your life. These may include such issues as a medical condition, divorce, grief, anger or symptoms of a mental illness. You and your therapist may spend some time deciding what problems and goals you want to focus on.
- Become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems.
- Once you've identified the problems to work on, your therapist will encourage you to share your thoughts about them. This may include observing what you tell yourself about an experience (self-talk), your interpretation of the meaning of a situation, and your beliefs about yourself, other people and events. Your therapist may suggest that you keep a journal of your thoughts.
- Identify negative or inaccurate thinking. To help you recognize patterns of thinking and behaviour that may be contributing to your problem, your therapist may ask you to pay attention to your physical, emotional and behavioural responses in different situations.
- Reshape negative or inaccurate thinking. Your therapist will likely encourage you to ask yourself whether your view of a situation is based on fact or on an inaccurate perception of what's going on. This step can be difficult. You may have long-standing ways of thinking about your life and yourself. With practice, helpful thinking and behaviour patterns will become a habit and won't take as much effort.
Length of therapy
CBT is generally considered short-term therapy — about 10 to 20 sessions. You and your therapist can discuss how many sessions may be right for you.
Factors to consider include:
- Type of disorder or situation
- Severity of your symptoms
- How long you've had your symptoms or have been dealing with your situation
- How quickly you make progress
- How much stress you're experiencing
- How much support you receive from family members and other people
Except in very specific circumstances, conversations with your therapist are confidential.
However, a therapist may break confidentiality, if there is an immediate danger or threat to safety.