I’m nervous about starting therapy. Is that normal?

The step you have taken to look for a therapist, takes a lot of courage and whenever we do something that feels vulnerable, it completely makes sense to be nervous. In fact, I would expect it.

People often also feel embarrassed or out of their comfort zone to admit that they are struggling. But,the fact that you are on this website, looking for help, and reading this right now shows that you are being brave and prioritizing what you need instead of what others might think. We all struggle at one point or another and reaching out for help is a sign of strength not weakness.

Therapy is a space where you can be yourself and come just as you are.All the thoughts, feelings and doubts that you might have are welcome. It is a place you can feel safe from judgement, including judgment about feeling nervous. I’m committed to finding a way to care for your nervousness and ensure sessions are as comfortable as possible.

I’m here if you want to talk about it during a free phone consultation.

How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?

Take your time to read through my website. If you sense that I may be a good fit based on what you are reading, you can schedule your consultation.

During a free phone consultation, you can ask me about how I have helped other people like you before, ask how I work as a therapist, or any other questions you may have that are specific to you. You’ll also be able to tell me what’s up and I can share my ideas around how I can help you.

It’s helpful to think of the first few sessions as a ‘getting to know you’ process, so that we can determine if it feels like a good fit. During the sessions, you’ll be able to start seeing what it’s like and how comfortable you feel with me. My approach is not going to work for everyone. If it isn’t a good fit, I won’t be offended (I promise!). I am happy to help refer you and connect you to someone that could be a good fit. You deserve to see a therapist that you feel 100% comfortable with. What’s most important to me is that you find someone who you feel is the right fit for you. We can explore that together.

What if I don’t want to talk about something?

If something feels overwhelming or even terrifying to discuss, that’s actually very normal. It can often feel difficult to talk about some things. During our sessions, if you don’t feel ready to talk about something, I will respect that and you will not be pushed to do so. You can take your time as building trust takes time.What ever you do share, is my privilege to hear about. It’s my job to give you space to slowly start to work through the tough stuff. And when you’re ready, I am happy to sit with you, support you through any discomfort and make sharing the tough stuff as safe and comfortable as possible.

You can also share with me that you are nervous to open up about something and we can talk about that too. Your feelings are welcome, as are your feelings about how you feel. I’m here to help you with whatever is going on for you.

If I do open up, will you judge me or think I’m too sensitive?

If you open up to me, I will not judge you or think you are too sensitive. I will think you are a courageous human, finally allowing your voice to be heard. I feel happy to hear that voice and am curious to know this human sitting in front of me.

Through my own life journey and working with my clients, I know how common your experience is. I believe what you tell me and nothing you can say will cause me to judge you. Even if you identify as an empath/highly sensitive person, know that, I see this as a strength and can help you learn to understand yourself better and maneuver through life as an HSP.

Whatever it is you’re going through, I provide a calming and safe space where you can rely on me being fully present in the session and invested in getting to know you, so that I can help you truly heal. You can just talk and not worry about if you’re making sense, because I am listening for and holding on to all the pieces of the puzzle, and making sense of how they all fit together. So feel free to relax and just be yourself, and hopefully, you can trust that I got this.

Does everything I share remain confidential?

You might already know that you want to share sensitive information about yourself or your loved ones and you don’t want others to find out what you’ve said. You can rest assured that I take confidentiality very seriously and unless I’m absolutely required to do so, everything you share stays in strict confidence. This applies to all communication starting right from the first time you contact me. And, even if an accidental run-in were to happen in the community, I don’t initiate contact in order to maintain your privacy.

I want you to know that unless you are at imminent risk of hurting yourself, someone else is at imminent risk of harm (including someone at risk of sexual abuse by a health professional), someone under age 18 being is at risk of abuse/neglect, or I’m mandated by law to disclose information (e.g. subpoena by the courts), everything you share remains confidential.

Even if we find ourselves in one of these situations, know that I am 100% committed to being transparent and collaborative, and offering you as many choices as is possible.Your privacy and trust are of utmost importance even in these situations.And, we’ll discuss this in more detail in the first session.

Lastly, it’s important to know that you also have the option to give permission for recording therapy sessions for the purpose of receiving specific feedback from highly trained consultants, which can inform or enhance our therapeutic work together. This is completely voluntary and not required to receive therapy. But, if you opt for this option, know that your confidentiality is maintained by the other therapists as they are held to the same standards.

If you have any questions about confidentiality you can ask them during your free phone consultation or anytime during our work together.

How long will therapy take?

You might be asking about how long therapy will take because you are worried that therapy will be a long and difficult process.

If this is true for you, I want you to know that on average, my new clients can start feeling a sense of relief, can feel like they have had a ‘light bulb’ moment,or can begin to feel hopeful after the first 2-4 sessions. Therapy doesn’t have to feel painful, most of my clients find that they look forward to coming and enjoy the conversations and while finding their way to feeling better.

With a few more sessions, they often tell me that they have a deeper understanding of themselves and feel motivated to work on healing the root issues so they can continue to feel better long term.

The total duration of therapy varies from client to client. Because therapy progress is affected by many factors, it is difficult to predict or guarantee any particular results in a particular period of time. Some of my clients find 4-5 months to be enough to focus on a specific goal like tolerating their emotions or relating better with each other and can make significant improvements with this. While other clients feel more supported by longer term therapy. Similarly, some couples are satisfied with 8-10 sessions and some find it supportive to have 20+ sessions.

Regardless, we’ll work together, check in regularly about how therapy is going and as the process unfolds, we’ll develop a better sense of the approximate length of time needed to make the changes you’re wanting to make.

Are there some risks to therapy that I should consider?

There are some risks that apply to therapy but also many benefits. Know that I’m committed to do my best to help you experience the benefits of therapy and tolerate or manage any risks that come up.

As therapy unfolds, often you might discuss your struggles or you might uncover or remember difficult past experiences or traumas. As you make sense of what has happened to you and how this affects your struggles in day to day life, it is possible that this could bring up strong or unanticipated feelings or physical sensations in the body. Rest assured, I am well trained in body-based and neurobiology based therapy work, and will be right there with you to manage and move through any discomfort that arises. Even with our best efforts, sometimes this discomfort can linger for a few days after session. If you experience this, I encourage you to reach out to me so we can make sure you have the appropriate support and are not left to manage on your own while feeling triggered.

The benefits of this hard work do pay off though. Many people share feeling happier, notice unexpected positive shifts in other areas of their lives, improve their relationships, and most importantly, develop a deep awareness and connection with themselves, which makes it easier for them to show up in the world as their true selves.

Remember, you are encouraged to discuss any concerns or questions you have about the therapeutic progress with me at any time and a free consult is a good way to start getting your questions answered.

Will online therapy really work for me?

I understand the initial hesitation as people can be worried about its effectiveness. The research shows that online video therapy can be equally effective as in person therapy, and often comes with additional benefits when you’re healing and learning in your home environment.

While some were hesitant at first, all of my clients have shared that they have been able to build rapport and feel that I am right there with them, even over video. I have also been seeing my clients improving, sometimes even more quickly via video therapy because it can feel easier to open up and share (this is also based in research). What I notice is that as clients learn these skills in their home, it is a lot easier for them to practice these skills in between sessions, whereas this is a common reason in person therapy would otherwise slow down. Now, they can remember to practice what we discussed because they were in their safe and confidential space at home that reminds them of what we discussed.

Even for couples, online therapy is effective. And even with trauma therapy, like EMDR therapy, online therapy is effective. So, save the commute, especially if you have a busy schedule ????

What are some good things to know about online therapy?

You will receive your link to the virtual therapy session in your email on the day of the appointment and will log in using the Jane platform.

How to set up your space for online therapy:

  • Make sure that you have a safe and confidential space where you won’t be interrupted for the session (door closed, notifications turned off). You can use headphones, turn on a fan/white noise machine or play quiet music in the background to increase the confidentiality of your space.
  • Please make sure that there is proper lighting and when possible use a larger screen for a better experience with virtual therapy.
  • Please make sure that you are using a secure computer with secure, password-protected high speed internet connection, rather than public/free Wi-Fi. If possible, connecting directly to the ethernet cable offers greater reliability and security. You can check your connection at com and a result of 15Mbps or higher is needed for the video to work.
  • Please use Chrome or Opera browsers to log into Jane. If you are using an iOS device you can also download theJane Online Appointments app which is available on the Apple App Store.
  • It is important that youmaintain security for your device, including password protection, regular use of anti-virus/malware software and installing regular updates for your computer and browser.
  • If there are technical issues, I might call or email you to resolve this, so keep your phone handy but on silent.
  • It can also help to have some water or warm drink, tissues, pen/paper and/or stress ball available to you, so if you need it, it’s there
  • If you are attending couples therapy, know that both partners are required to attend together on one device (I know, you will have to sit closer together, but hey, it might help).

Why JaneApp?

I use the secure JaneApp platform for the video sessions because its compliant with the privacy laws in Ontario. The video therapy feature is built exclusively within the platform’s secure infrastructure, so no 3rd party solutions are used to facilitate virtual sessions. JaneApp provides ‘peer-to-peer audiovisual communication’ which means that all the traffic flows directly between each user’s web browser and completely bypasses the JaneApp servers and the traffic is also encrypted in transit and no data is stored anywhere at any time. Because of all these features, the online virtual therapy appointments are PIPEDA compliant and address the major privacy concerns around tele-health in Ontario.

What can I expect during the first session?

Overall, you can think of the first session as a conversation with purpose, where I will ask you some questions to get a deeper understanding of the struggles and how you are feeling. I’ll invite you to share more about yourself and we can also talk about what’s worked or not worked for you in any past therapy. You can also ask me questions and see how comfortable you feel with me. I will also provide recommendations based on my assessment and together we can come up with a plan for therapy.

Some questions that I like to ask during a first session include:

  • What brought you to therapy at this time in your life?
  • Have you gone to therapy before? What worked and what didn’t?
  • Of all the challenges you are facing, what is the most important one to focus on first?

You might be curious about my approach to therapy, how I’ve helped clients like you, and about my experience and training. Ask  away!

The most important part of a first session is to get a sense of your comfort opening up to me and if you can see yourself possibly sharing more. If you feel safe, seen, heard, understood, relaxed or comfortable with me, we can discuss if you’d like to meet again.

What can I expect in ongoing therapy?

I will be focusing on your unique skills, strengths, and growth areas in order to tailor the therapeutic approach to you. I will always approach sessions with compassion, non-judgement and be sensitive to your history. The approaches we use will be grounded in evidence and also take your neuro-biology into account so that we can understand you as a whole person and heal issues at the root. We work together collaboratively, to help you move forward, reduce your stress and help you make sustainable change. Together, we’ll  come up with themes or direction for therapy, so we’re clear on what will be of value to you and check in about this regularly. While I don’t provide advice or tell you what to do, I will explore issues with you so you can come to your own decision about the situation.

For more information on what to expect or what healing can look like for you, please visit the individual or couples therapy service pages.

How should I communicate with you?

All communication is encouraged to take place only through the Jane.app program as this is the most secure way to protect your information. You can reschedule appointments, view your invoices/receipts, pay invoices and in the near future you will be able to send secure messages through this program which will replace the need for email.

If you need to get in touch with me between sessions for any other reason, you can use the contact form on the website and you will receive an encrypted email response from me through Hushmail. You will be required to agree to their privacy policy. If it is an emergency though, you need to contact your local emergency services.

Why am I receiving an encrypted email response via Hushmail to my request to contact you?

This is a good question and important one to understand. As a therapist, it is my responsibility to protect your personal health information because of the sensitive nature of what you share with me. When people reach out for therapy, they can share sensitive information and it should be protected with the utmost safety and confidentiality, in the same way as when it’s shared in a session.

Regular email is not encrypted, if this information is intercepted, it can create challenges that we don’t want to have, and this can also potentially erode your trust with the therapeutic process. So, I do my best to use the most secure systems available while understanding technology is constantly changing and security can never be 100% guaranteed. And this is where hushmail comes in.

How to use Hushmail:

To use hushmail, you will need to set up a passphrase and agree to the hushmail privacy policy. It is important that you use a secure password that you won’t forget. Hushmail has limitations, so if you forget your passphrase and need to reset this, you will lose access to any previously sent encrypted email communication from me and will need to reach out to me again via the contact form. This is a safety feature, while it is cumbersome.

As well, please ensure that you are replying to any encrypted email response I send you and are not starting a new email chain. Any email response I send you will be encrypted.

Alternatively, you can choose to book a free consult and ask your questions there if you are not comfortable with using hushmail. I would be happy to chat with you and answer your questions about therapy and see if this feels like a good fit for you.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a word that in the therapy world, refers to any experience that stays with you and continues to have an affect on you. Big T trauma is usually things like sexual, physical or emotional abuse, emotional neglect, assault, bullying or witnessing violence. Little T trauma, feels like ‘a thousand paper cuts’ and can be a situation where many emotional injuries happened over a lifetime, on their own, not so bad, but all together, do have an impact on us. Things like a car accident, relationship break ups, loss of friendships, parents’ divorce, can be examples of Little T trauma for some people.

What is EMDR and how does it help?
What is IFS or parts work and how does it help?
What is EFT and how does it help?
How can a conflict of interest affect therapeutic work?

While it’s rare, there is a risk that therapeutic work may need to be discontinued if a conflict of interest is discovered. In this situation, a conflict of interest usually refers to situations where the therapist has a pre-existing relationship with a client’s family or close social circle where there would be a lack of professional distance which could negatively affect your treatment. In such a situation, I would not be able to take you on as a client.

Unfortunately, conflicts of interest can sometimes be only discovered after therapy has started. If this were to happen, I will consult with colleagues as to what the appropriate plan should be, but there is the possibility that therapy may need to be terminated. In any situation like this, I will always do what is in the best interest of the client and try to prevent any potential harm that can happen from a conflict of interest. If something like this were to happen, while it’s rare, you will be provided with other therapy resources. But, to protect the confidentiality of the various parties that might be involved, I would not be able to provide information on the reasons leading to a conflict of interest determination.