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Psychotherapy is an ongoing, regular process that involves the development of a solid therapeutic relationship. In order to develop the trusting relationship necessary to do this work it is important that we meet with regular frequency on an ongoing basis. Once we have established that we will work together, I would ask that you commit to sticking to the frequency and times of the sessions, payment policies, cancellation policies etc. Psychotherapy is more effective when the sessions are regularly attended.
Generally, for individuals, sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes and for couples 75 minutes, once a week at a regular established time. We can discuss which frequency works best for you and your schedule.
This is entirely up to you. At first, you may not feel comfortable sharing some parts of your story or experience. Over time, as the trust develops between us, you may feel more comfortable revealing more of your vulnerabilities. The more open you can be, the more potential there is for learning and growth. I will help you to slow the story down so that we can pay close attention to the details that you may not have previously considered. The details often tell us a great deal and can make a big difference to how we understand what is going on for you.
It is so important to feel comfortable with your therapist. Your comfort level often comes from an intuitive sense of how we connect. The process of psychotherapy can be difficult at times and being with a therapist you feel at ease with will help you to persevere through these difficult moments. I believe that it can be very beneficial to stay working together through these hard phases of therapy, even if it feels like it would be easier to quit. Seeing these challenging moments through can often bring profound insight and deep changes to the ways you are in relationships and the way your life feels. If the therapeutic relationship becomes difficult, we will work together to try to understand what happened between us and how to repair it. In our sessions we can actively discuss how well we are working together and how comfortable you feel in the relationship.
If you feel heard, understood and supported by your therapist, therapy is off to a good start. If you are gaining new insights about yourself and your relationships, this can be an indication that you are on the right track. If you find yourself leaving therapy sessions going over the material we have discussed and feeling like someone is really starting to "get" you, chances are therapy is being helpful. If you are noticing that you are starting to become more aware of the themes in your life as they emerge and you are consciously trying out different responses that feel more authentic and have different results, the benefits of therapy are making their way into your life. If you are getting in touch with feelings that you never knew you had and are making sense of confusing emotions and maybe even starting to express them to others, therapy is doing what it is meant to do. If life doesn't seem as daunting, and you feel more able to handle the unpredictability of life, therapy is working. The goal of therapy is to help you to feel more satisfied in your life, more equipped to handle life's challenges, and more aware of how you are in your relationships and the world.
But therapy can also increase your fear, anxiety, sadness and other uncomfortable feelings. This is not necessarily a sign that therapy is going badly. In fact, you should expect that at times, during or after a session, you will feel less stable and more vulnerable. Often this is because you are uncovering new truths, emotions or challenges through being honest in your therapy. Revealing yourself in this way helps to move your healing forward, even though it can feel painful at times.
Ultimately, you need to determine whether or not your therapy enhances your life, gives you a sense of well being, validates your experience or helps you feel more confident.
Ending your therapy is entirely your choice. If you do tell me that you would like to end, I will encourage you to come back to see me for one final session to tie up loose ends and to have a proper ending with me.
If we have worked well together in our relationship, you would always be welcome to come back into therapy with me. Many clients find that psychotherapy suits their lives at different times and in different ways. The therapeutic process is not necessarily a linear journey, so coming back to me as a client after an ending or a "therapy vacation" is entirely negotiable.
Confidentiality is an important part of the therapeutic relationship and the information you share with me will be kept strictly confidential; however, I will report any serious threats of suicide to the proper authorities. This is out of concern for you. By law, I must report to the Children's Aid Society any information you share about a person under the age of 16 who is currently being abused or neglected. All phone messages are confidential. As part of being an ethical psychotherapist, I regularly attend supervision; however, you are kept anonymous and I am careful not to use any of your identifying information.