Why hire a therapist?

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It is very tempting to believe you can figure out your own issues and work through your own problems without getting counseling.  Even if you realize you need help, it is very easy to procrastinate, make excuses and find other ways to spend your time and money. 

Consider it this way.  If your roof was leaking, you probably wouldn't think "I can climb up there and fix it.  How hard can it be to put a patch on a roof?"  If your car started to malfunction, you probably wouldn't think "Well, I have been kinda careless with it lately.  I'm sure it will self-correct if I just don't drive it so hard for awhile."

It's the very same thing with relationships like your marriage.  When it begins to 'malfunction', it will NOT self-correct and if it gets a hole in it... the hole will eventually create extensive damage.    You need to call someone whose training and expertise is in restoring relationships and rebuilding a 'self'.

And remember this.  The reason why most marriages fail is that they waited too long to get help.  If you take your car in when you first notice 'that funny noise'... it's often quick, easy and cheap to fix.  If you ignore the noise until there is smoke pouring out from under the hood,... well... not so quick, easy or cheap... plus now it's urgent..  It's true for your body, your car, your house and most certainly, your marriage and your relationships.

How to choose a therapist?

There are lots of therapists.  Not all have the appropriate training or experience.  Be certain to confirm that your therapist is qualified for what you are hiring them to do.  If you hire a handyman who says he can do everything, you might receive a different quality of work and safety standard, than if you hired a certified, specifically trained electrician, plumber, mechanic, carpenter and painter (for example.)   There is now a (newly formed) college of psychotherapists which means a therapist will need to have at least a masters degree and pass qualifying exams and be 'registered' in order to use the name psychotherapist.  You should probably confirm that the therapist you are interested in working with is 'registered.'  

As well, you might want to find out how much experience they have.  Have they been working for 10 years, off and on, 1 or 2 afternoons a week?  Or is this their career, 5 days a week?  Along the same line, availability is an interesting question.  Is the therapist available 'tomorrow?'  Or is the therapist booked for 3 weeks in advance? Why is that?  Sometimes the therapist who is available immediately hasn't been able to keep clients, or is just new.  Sometimes the therapist who is booked three weeks in advance only works one day a week.  All things to consider.  

Finally, what sorts of services does the therapist offer?  If they have a long list of specialties....  Borderline Personality disorder, depression.  marriage counselling. eating disorders etc etc..., it might raise a few red flags.  Often the claim to do too much is a sign of a new, or inexperienced therapist.  Successful, busy therapists usually have fewer areas of focus and expertise, and would refer for most clinical diagnoses.  Borderline Personality disorder (for example) is a very serious disorder, which might be best referred to a psychiatrist or someone qualified in DBT.

It is also important that you choose someone who 'fits' with you.  For example, some people prefer rigorous, challenging therapy, some people prefer a gentler, more soothing therapy.  They are not mutually exclusive in a therapist, of course... but it might be worth finding out which 'type' your therapist feels most comfortable with.  Another 'fit' to consider is the therapist's world view and personal beliefs.  Theoretically, the therapist tries to be objective, but in reality, it's pretty difficult for their own beliefs not to leak through at times.  For example, some therapists might support a divorce option more quickly than other therapists. 

As well, find out what 'kind' of therapy a therapist does.  Do they focus on thoughts and behaviour and practice mostly Cognitive/Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?  Do they emphasize the emotional component as an "Emotionally Focused" Therapist (EFT).  Different areas of expertise and focus, offer different types of therapeutic experiences, and it's helpful for you, the consumer, to understand your purchase.

What kind of therapist am I?

I am qualified.  I completed my Masters Degree in Counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia (one of two accredited schools in Canada at the time).   It was a 3 year Master's Program in Couples/Individual Therapy and I did my thesis on "How People Change."  In addition I am a qualified EMDR therapist

I have also passed the required jurisprudence exams and requirements for early acceptance into the newly formed College of Psychotherapists, and as such, I am a Registered Psychotherapist.

I am experienced.  I have been a therapist for over 20 years (currently seeing clients 5 days/week).

I have a gentle presence but will be very clear about what you need to do in order to effect authentic change.  Change is not easy.  Rebuilding a marriage is not easy.  But I believe it can be beautifully done.... if you want it.  I believe we are designed with the wonderful (and truly amazing) capacity to change, restore, heal and grow.   I have an integrative approach and can help you identify how your unconscious beliefs, feelings, fears and behaviour sabotage what you say you want most.  I can help you heal from traumatic events and childhood wounds (which we all have) that impact your adult intimate relationships.  I can give you tools to change your thinking and expand your options (so you don't have that horrible 'trapped' feeling).  The difficult reality is YOU have to do the work.  The exciting reality is that it's possible!