There are a number of different modalities or types of counselling and therapy. Here is information on some common types.
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When I talk about ‘finding a good fit’ I am referring to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. One of the most important factors of therapeutic success is having a strong therapeutic alliance. The importance of this is significant, as you (the client) need to be able to trust the therapist enough to share some of the most vulnerable parts of yourself. Outside of a therapy context, you probably wouldn’t go around sharing all of your most secret, private (possibly darkest) parts of yourself with just anybody, so why should it be different when it comes to therapy? As a client you have the right to try out counsellors to find one that suits you. If you don’t feel it is a good fit, don’t be afraid to ask for an appointment with a different counsellor next time (if this is an option at the agency or organization you are attending). Therapists are aware of the importance of this factor and ultimately want you to be successful and thrive in counselling…even if it isn’t with them. I personally would much rather have a client transfer to another therapist than for them to miss out on all of the benefits of counselling, just because we weren’t a good match.
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So I realize that counselling and psychotherapy can be a very intimidating process for many, and can feel almost too scary to even consider as an option. Well I am here try to calm your nerves, hopefully answer some questions, and break things down a bit.
What type of counselling is right for me?
First of all, there are a few different types of counselling and many different styles. A few of the types are: individual, couples, family and group.
Individual counselling is one to one, and likely the most common type. If you want to work on getting along with others, maybe couples or family counselling is for you. The dynamics of these types are all quite different, as there are different personalities at play. The other type you might come across is group counselling, which means a group of (usually) unknown to each other individuals who all have a common thread. It is usually led by two co-counsellors.
Group counselling is sometimes more accessible than individual, and can be extremely valuable. They all have their benefits, but only you can decide what is right for you at the moment. Some people may see different counsellors for different purposes at different times in their life. This makes sense if you consider that humans are complex beings with multiple dynamic relationships and are constantly changing over the lifespan.
In terms of the different styles – well there are so many that I couldn’t even list them all here. However, some of the main groupings of approaches on the scene these days are: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Humanistic and Neuroscience-Informed. Within these groups there are a myriad of different styles. Each therapist is unique in their own approach and will often have multiple influences within the work that they do with their clients. I know this seems like things are getting pretty complicated, BUT there is a silver lining here. There are several factors unifying counselling styles that are common across the board. Counselling is collaborative, meaning you work directly with your counsellor to achieve your goals. It is a safe-place to be yourself and to talk about your concerns, issues in your life, and your feelings regarding these events or occurrences. Also, you can speak openly and confidentially while having someone listen to you non-judgmentally.
Do you know of a friend, family member or colleague that may benefit from accessing counseling but don’t know how to approach them about it? Have they told you they wanted help but just don’t feel ready yet? Here are some helpful tips on how you can help them feel ready.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada in any given year, 1 in 5 people will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures, and all Canadians are likely to be exposed to a friend, family member or colleague experiencing mental health concerns at some point in their life.
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