Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where do I start?

This is a great question! Really, we can start wherever you want to start. We will go at a pace that you are comfortable with – you are in the driver’s seat of your counselling experience. We can jump right in or take our time.

 

How long will counselling last?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on many factors. If you would prefer short-term or long-term counselling we will talk about this in our beginning sessions to come up with a plan to suit your needs.

 

Will you fix the problems in my life? Will you tell me what to do?

Many people come to counselling with the idea that the counsellor or therapist is the expert and can solve their problems. Although we are highly trained professionals, we (unfortunately) do not have all of the answers. I will at times provide you with direction, but my role as your counsellor is to be a guide alongside you, to uncover and discover new perspectives together and work on making meaningful change in your life. We will have to try different strategies along the way to see what will work best in your life.

 

Do I have to talk about my childhood?

Yes and no. If talking about your childhood is something that you do not want to do, I will do my best to respect that. However, if there was a significant event or relationship that happened at that time and it is having an impact on your present experience, it may only be possible to make meaningful change by exploring some of your past. If we do decide to do this work, it will be at your pace, you are in charge of how fast and how much we get into.

 

What if I run into you at the grocery store?

We will talk about this in our first session. In order to respect your privacy and confidentiality I will not acknowledge you if I do see you in public (it is not because I want to be rude or ignore you!) You may choose to approach me and say hi and I will definitely respond. I will never share your personal information or things that we talk about in session if we see each other in public.

 

Is everything we talk about private and confidential?

Yes, with some very clear exceptions. Everything we talk about is confidential. I cannot confirm or deny to anyone that you are my client. However, I must adhere to strict guidelines and laws around professional conduct that may require me to breach confidentiality in specific contexts. These guidelines are in place to protect and ensure the safety of individuals. These specific situations include:

  • You share with my any information that leads to suspicion that a child (someone presently under the age of 16 in Ontario, with ages varying by province) has been or is being abused, neglected, or their well-being is at risk (which includes witnessing domestic violence);

  • If you share with me that you are likely to seriously harm yourself or someone else unless protective measures are taken;

  • If you share that someone has been sexually abused by a health care provider who is covered by the Regulated Health Professions Act (for example, a psychologist, a nurse, a physician), the counsellor is obliged to report the name of the perpetrator to their governing body;

  • If my clinical records or myself are subpoenaed by the courts.

In the event that we must disclose this information to applicable authorities or 3rd parties involved, we will discuss how and with whom this information will be shared. 

​© 2015 by Courtney Smyth Counselling.

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