What happens in a session?

In a counselling session, you will be talking to a trained, skilled counsellor or therapist who understands a variety of issues that a person may experience in their life. You mainly talk about how you are feeling, why you might be feeling this way, what are the effects of this on you, what you might need to change and things that cause you stress.

What’s the difference between a counsellor, psychotherapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist?

This depends on where you are in the world. In the some countries a psychologist has a three year bachelor’s degree and in other’s is required to have a PhD. What is most important is to find a professional that has the training, experience and the background to work with the areas you are concerned about. It is important you feel comfortable with the counsellor/therapist as well. You should check the professionals credentials, experience, background and that they are qualified to practice.

The terms counsellor and psychotherapist is interchangeable.

A counsellor may talk about your concerns with no specified structure or approach. There is face to face individual counselling, couples counselling, family and group counselling. There are a variety of issues that counselling can help with.

A Psychotherapist will also engage in talk therapy but will use various approaches and methods that they have been trained with. There are many different therapies such as cognitive behavioural, psychoanalytic, and humanistic and art among many others.

A Psychologist has a degree in psychology and has studied the way people think, behave and interact. They can work with more complex mental health conditions. Their work is similar to that of a counsellor/psychotherapists but the length of training may differ. Psychologists have different areas of specializations such as clinical psychologist, counselling psychologist, educational psychologist, organizational psychologist, sports psychologist.

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor that has specialized in psychiatry which is the study of mental disorders. They diagnose, manage and treat mental disorders and may offer medication as a form of treatment. They can work with all ages and with severe conditions that may need medical intervention. They can perform medical assessments and procedures and can prescribe medication.

How long are sessions?

A session is 50 minutes long and 10 minutes is provided to make the next session and to settle the fees. It is best to reserve a full hour for your time in the centre.

What can I do if my child and teenager refuse to come?

You can continue to try and explain to your child and teenager why and how you think the session will be helpful. You can also explore why they refuse to come. Are they worried or afraid of something specific that you can help address. They could be refusing to come because they think they are “in trouble” or that “something is wrong with them”. You can reassure them about how counselling works and what they might gain. Identifying their reasons for not wanting to come can sometimes help provide information to help them see the benefits.

As a parent, if the issue is about the parent child relationship or the family relationship, you can reassure the child or teenager that the session is also for you to work on something or get support on.

Will people see me coming to the office?

The location of the centre is in a private and quiet building on Orchard Road. You are entitled to keep the privacy of your final destination from anyone that you may encounter as you are making your way.

How do we handle meeting someone I know in the waiting room?

Because people see the benefits of coming to counselling, there will be a few individuals in the waiting room. Depending on what time you arrive, there will be very little time that you will be spending in the waiting room. You can decide how you may want to handle meeting someone you know. Depending on how well you know the person, you can choose a brief acknowledgement through eye contact, a nod, saying hello or a smile will do. If they start a conversation, you can keep your responses brief or choose to talk about other things. If the presence of someone you know is truly uncomfortable with you, please inform our admin staff and they can provide an alternative place for you to wait for your appointment.

What is confidentiality?

Confidentiality means that all personal information between you and your counsellor/therapist is protected and will not be shared with others including friends, family, colleagues, classmates, employers, and teachers and so on. Any information that may be written about you is also secured at all times and will not be accessed by anyone but your counsellor/therapist.

What is the confidentiality for teens?

Confidentiality for teens is very complex. The developmental needs of a 14 year old and a 17 year old are very different. Many times teens are coming to counselling because they need a safe confidential place to talk about things that are going on in their lives that they are not comfortable sharing with other adults in their lives. While the counselors support and try to encourage increased communication between teens and their parents/guardians, this is not always possible.

Generally, counsellors will provide a confidential “bubble” for teens unless there is a serious safety concern. And most often, when a counselor decides to break a teens confidentiality they will have a conversation with the teen before that happens. The purpose of the conversation will be to help the teen in understanding the counsellors decision to break confidentiality and invite the teen to be a part of the conversation with the guardians if they chose to do so.

What happens if I see my therapist in public?

Our counselor will usually assure you in your first session that if you encounter each other in a public place, there is really no need to acknowledge one another unless you choose to do so. You can ignore your counselor, and they will not think you are being rude. You can say hello and they will acknowledge you without bringing up any conversation you may have had in the counselling office.

What are the limits of confidentiality?

Confidentiality in the counselling relationship is the cornerstone of trust between a client and the counsellor. However, there are times that the counsellor is legally or morally mandated to report information that is disclosed in session. The types of information that a counselor may have to disclose include: disclosures that the client will harm themselves, others the environment or community in a serious way (ie threats to kill oneself or others); situations in which a clients involvement with another person, group or situation (ie abuse by another person); if the counselor has valuable information that could help in a medical emergency and if the counselor is required by the courts to disclose information.

Can I change to a different counsellor?

We are team of counsellors who have different backgrounds, approaches to therapy and expertise. We are confident in each other’s level of standard of professional service. After the assessment phase, the counsellor themselves may suggest another counsellor if they feel that this will best for you.

Your rapport with your counsellor is very important in therapy. It is important to be honest and your counsellor if you would like to change and will fully support your preference to shift to another counsellor in the team and will not take this personally.

What if I don’t feel comfortable with my counsellor?

Your rapport with your counsellor is very important in therapy. It is essential that you feel comfortable to work on the issues that are important to you. You can explore and discuss this with your counsellor and work on it together. Sometimes the discomfort you feel can be sorted out with your counsellor. Your counsellor may also refer you to someone else in the team or you may request to transfer to another team member.

Will my counsellor tell my school or employer that I am attending counselling?

If you are attending counselling by your own choice or what is call a self-referred basis and not as a requirement by your school or employer, then the counsellor is not required to share any information with anyone about your attending counselling.

If you are referred to counselling by your school or employer as a requirement to continue being part of the school or company and you have signed a letter of agreement with them, they may need some information on your progress on a particular issue that you are working on. They may also need information as to whether continuing in their school or company will be the best for your and for the overall community. If this is necessary, your counsellor will first discuss with you what will be shared with the school or employer before this is done.