Frequently Asked Questions

  • Counselling/ Psychotherapy FAQ
  • Counselling/ Psychotherapy Myths
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy FAQs

I've never done this before… What can I expect?

              First your therapist will talk to you about what kind of support that you’re looking for and make sure that it’s a good fit. Then you will review the treatment process and discuss confidentiality, the limits to confidentiality, and any policies that are important for you to know. Participating in counselling is voluntary and you can withdraw your consent to participate at any time.

 

              The first session typically involves your counsellor getting to know you better. They will ask a series of questions to gain a better understanding of who are you, what you’re experiencing, and what your goals are. From there, you and your counsellor will decide on a goal that you’d like to work together.

 

              Next, you and your counsellor will work towards your goal. Depending on what your goal is, this may involve talking about a situation and looking at it from different perspectives, challenging unhelpful thoughts, or learning new skills. You and your counsellor will determine together what strategies will be most beneficial for you. Your counsellor will ask you at the end of each session if the session was helpful and if there’s anything that you liked or didn’t like, so that you can continue to adjust and modify strategies to meet your needs.

 

             Once you feel you have reached your goal, you and your counsellor may discuss strategies for maintaining this progress. You will then have the option of ending sessions, or identifying a new goal. Therapy is a process and normal for your goals to evolve and change over time. The hope is that you’ll learn the skills that you need to manage the stressors in your life and you’ll know that you always have a therapist here to support you in the times when you need it. You’re always welcome to return to therapy at a later date if you feel you require additional support.

How long does Counselling/Psychotherapy usually take?

Good question! And the answer is… it depends. It depends on what your goal is, how motivated you are to work towards your goal, and what kind of support you’re looking for.

 

Brief therapy typically involves 1-4 sessions and can help if there’s one particular skill or situation that you want to work through. Most people participate in 4-12 sessions (short-term therapy) where we can target more difficult situations and goals.

 

In cases of trauma or other multi-faceted challenges that have become engrained over a long period of time and may involve learning a number of new skills, ongoing or long-term therapy (12+ sessions) may be helpful. These more complicated goals can also be broken down into smaller goals, so that you work on a smaller goal for a few sessions, then take a break to practice the skills that you’ve learned, then return when you’re ready to work on the next goal.

 

You and your therapist can work together to determine what you would like to work on and how long that may take. Everyone is different, so it’s impossible to say for sure how long it will take.

How long is a session?

Most standard counselling/psychotherapy sessions are scheduled for 1 hour. This includes 50 minutes of therapy and 10 minutes for your counsellor to complete their notes. In some cases, you and your therapist may choose to book a longer session.

 

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy sessions are scheduled for 1.5 hours. This includes a 1-1.25 session and 15 minutes for notes and clean up. 

How much does a session cost?

  • $150 – 1 hour Individual Counselling/Psychotherapy Session
              (50 minute therapy session + 10 minutes for notes)

  • $180 – 1 hour Joint/Family Counselling Session
              (50 minute therapy session + 10 minutes for notes)

  • $225 – 1.5 hour Individual Counselling/Psychotherapy Session
              (75 minute therapy session + 15 minutes for notes)

  • $270 – 1.5 hour Joint/Family Counselling/Psychotherapy Session
              (75 minute therapy session + 15 minutes for notes)

 

  • $255 – 1.5 hour Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Session
              (60-75 minute therapy session + 15 minutes for notes and clean up)

  • $150/hour – Other Services
    Please note that our standard fee for other services is our standard $150/hour rate billed in 15 minute increments. This includes clinical correspondence outside of sessions, as well as requests for notes, files or correspondence with third parties. 

Is Counselling/Psychotherapy covered by my benefits?

Every company’s benefit package is different, but many do cover counselling/psychotherapy. Check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage for a Registered Social Worker (RSW). If so, your benefits may cover some or all of the cost of your sessions up to an annual maximum.

Is Counselling/Psychotherapy covered by OHIP?

Unfortunately OHIP does not cover counselling/psychotherapy at this time, however many employers provide benefits that may cover some or all of the cost of sessions.

Is there tax on Counselling/Psychotherapy Services?

Another good question! The answer is that it depends on who is providing the services. There is no sales tax on Counselling/Psychotherapy services when they are provided by a Registered Social Worker (RSW). However there may be tax on other services such as workshops, consultations, or reports. (If you were to seek counselling/psychotherapy services from a register psychotherapist (RP), then they are required to charge sales tax on counselling/psychotherapy services).

What happens if I need to cancel my session?

You may cancel or reschedule any session without penalty as long as you provide at least 24 hours notice. In cases where it is not possible to provide 24 hours notice of a cancellation, you will be responsible for paying the full session fee. 

 

A the full session fee is charged for all cancellations less than 24 before the session, regardless of reason for the cancellation.

 

In cases where the weather is bad or you’re running late and may not make it in time, the session can be changed to a virtual session.

Are Virtual Sessions (Phone/Video) as effective as In-Person Counselling/Psychotherapy?

Yes, in most cases virtual sessions are as effective as in-person counselling. Virtual sessions also make it easier to access services for remote clients and those with very busy schedules. There are a few select cases where your counsellor may recommend in-person counselling over virtual counselling. For example, if a child is participating in counselling and has a hard time sitting in front of the computer, or if you’re unable to find a private and confidential space to engage in virtual counselling.

Can I change my In-Person Session to a Virtual (Phone or Video) Session?

Yes, your in-person session can be changed to a phone or video session at any point up until your appointment time.

 

If you’d like to change from a virtual session to an in-person session, this should also be okay, but please double check with your counsellor first.

Do I have to do homework in between sessions?

Only if you want to. Sometimes your therapist may recommend certain activities for you to complete in between sessions, for example, practicing a new skill. These assignments are meant to help you reach your goals, but they are optional. Your therapist will never be upset if you choose not to complete your homework or if you’re too busy. We understand that life happens and at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide what steps you want to take to reach your goals.

Aren't people who go to Counselling/Psychotherapy weak?

Therapy is a lot of work. It requires self-awareness, a willingness to take responsibility for our actions, and a desire to change for the better. Participating in therapy doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it means that you’re smart enough to recognize that you can’t do it all alone, strong enough to ask for help, and open enough to consider looking at challenging situations from a new perspective. Everyone can benefit from therapy at some points during their life.

We can’t always see the forest for the trees, and a new perspective can go a long way to helping us overcome the obstacles in our lives and reach our goals.

What’s the difference between a Social Worker, Psychotherapist, a Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist?

Social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are all regulated mental health professionals approved to provide regulated psychotherapy services.

Psychotherapy is a regulated act that involves using evidence informed practices to treat mental health conditions and it can only be performed by regulated mental health professionals.

Social workers are regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. The field of social work is quite large and social workers can specialize in different areas – for example, some social workers provide counselling and psychotherapy, but other social workers may focus on running grassroots organizations, research and education, advocating for human rights and disenfranchised groups, or developing policies. Nicole is a social worker who specializes in counselling and psychotherapy services.

Psychotherapists are similar to clinical social workers in that they are also trained to provide counselling and psychotherapy. They are regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

 

Psychotherapists may be educated in a number of different professions. For example, nurses, social workers, child and youth workers, and occupational therapists can all apply to become registered psychotherapists.

Psychologists are regulated by the College of Psychologists of Ontario. In addition to being able to provide psychotherapy, psychologists are able to provide psychological assessments and make clinical diagnoses.

Psychiatrists are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Psychiatrists are medical doctors first, and then they choose to specialize in the field of mental health. Psychiatrists are the only regulated mental health professionals who are covered by OHIP. They are able to assess and diagnose clients, as well as prescribe medication. 

Time Heals All Wounds

It’s true that sometimes with time we are able to integrate, heal and move forward. But some experiences may continue to impact you no matter how much time has passed if left untreated. This is often the case when our experiences impact our core beliefs about ourselves and the world. You’ll know if this is the case if you notice patterns in your life, such as not feeling good enough, repeatedly choosing partners who are not a good fit for you, or when overwhelming or upsetting emotions persist over time. The good news is therapy can help!

Counselling/Psychotherapy is Expensive.

The cost of Counselling/Psychotherapy is comparable with what other similar regulated health care professionals are charging for services. It's just as important to take care of your mental health as it is to take care of your physical health.

 

Prolonging treatment when you’re not feeling well can lead to burnout and things getting worse; thus requiring more intensive treatment approaches (and more money) in the long run). Early intervention and ongoing maintenance can help keep you feeling good and prevent bigger challenges down the road.

 

There is no more important investment than in yourself. When you feel good, you’re better able to manage stressors at home, at work, and in your personal life.

Therapy is for the weak.

We’ve grown up in a society where asking for help is sometimes perceived as a sign of weakness, as though we should be able to do everything ourselves all of the time. But this expectation isn’t realistic – All of us need a hand sometimes.

 

Let’s consider these examples:

 

Example 1: You’re an employer and you changed the password in the system, but forgot to tell your employees. So when they logged in they were denied access to your system. Would you prefer an employee come to ask you for help, or would you prefer the employee continue to enter random passwords until they lock the whole system and it needs to be reset again, or worse a safety feature deletes all of your data? Often when we don’t ask for help when we need it, it ends up making things harder in the long run.

 

Example 2: I don’t fix my car myself. It’s not that I can’t do it, but it would take a lot of time and effort for me to learn how to do fix my car when there are experts in this field who can do it much faster and much more efficiently. I also feel more confident driving knowing that someone experienced is the one doing the work on my car.

 

Reality is that it takes a bit of self-confidence and courage to ask for help when we need it, but asking for help can often save us a lot of time, hassle and effort in the long run. Being self-aware enough to know when you need some support is a strength. It’s smart to ask for help when you need it. It’s a more effective and efficient way of getting things done.

Talking about it isn't going to Solve Anything.

There is a myth out there that therapy is “just talking,” and that people go to therapy to vent about what’s happening in their lives and then they leave. The truth is, therapy is much more than just talking about what’s happening in your life.

 

Sometimes when we’re struggling we tell the same story over and over again. We do this because it’s upsetting us and we’re not sure how to get passed it. But this kind of talking isn't always helpful. 

 

If you have developed a good relationship with your therapist, then your counselling/psychotherapy session may feel like you’re just talking to a friend. But your therapist is trained to help you explore your thoughts, feelings, and actions, examine situations from different perspectives, draw connections between events that you may not have previously seen and teach strategies and skills to help you integrate your experiences, feel better, and reach your goals.

I don't need a therapist, my friends are my therapists.

Good friends are so important, but sometimes, despite their best efforts, they don’t know how to support you. And sometimes they have other things happening in their lives that make it difficult for them to focus on what you’re going through.

 

Your therapist is skilled in supporting people through challenging life events and situations. Your therapy session is protected time in a safe space where the conversation is 100% about you and your needs.

Only women talk about their problems.

It may be true that in the past men have been encouraged to avoid their emotions and act as though nothing is bothering them. We’re learning now that this approached has caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. Men’s mental health is finally taking the spot light and more and more men are recognizing the benefits of seeking support during challenging times. It’s okay if you’re not sure how to process or manage your emotions, we’ll help you. It’s okay if you’re scared, we will move at your pace. It’s okay if you’re not ready to tell anyone you’re going to therapy just yet, we respect your privacy and your decision.

Why are Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Sessions longer?

When working with the horses the therapy is so experiential that it’s easy to get caught up in the activities. We’ve found that a regular 50 minute session is just not enough time, but the 75 minutes allows the session to be meaningful without feeling rushed. Even at 75 minutes, most clients are left wishing they had more time with horses.

How much does an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Session Cost?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is $255 for a standard 75 minute session (1.5 hours includes a 75 minute session and 15 minutes for notes & clean up). A regular 75 minute therapy session is $225, as per the usual $150/hour fee. So Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is only an extra $20/hour and this helps to cover the additional costs involved with using horses in sessions. 

I heard that horses can pick up on the emotions of others. What if I become anxious?

Yes, horses can pick up on the emotions of others, so if you’re feeling anxious, they may become anxious as well. Your counsellor will support you in learning how to manage your anxious feelings and teach you strategies for calming down, as well as what to do if the horse that you’re working with becomes anxious during the session. It is because horses are able to pick up on our emotions that working with them is so helpful. They will often show us exactly how we’re feeling, even if we’re not sure ourselves, and this can help us to recognize our emotions, take care of ourselves, and ultimately heal over time.

What kind of activities will I be doing with the horses?

There are a number of different activities that we can do with the horses to help facilitate learning, healing, and growth. All of the activities are ground activities, meaning that we will be standing on the ground – You will not be riding the horses. We will engage in activities such as grooming the horses, spending time with them, leading them, and doing different obstacles courses. These activities become therapeutic as we incorporate opportunities for you to express your feelings, reflect on challenges, practice emotion regulation techniques, implement different psychotherapy models, learn strategies for connecting with others, and learn how to live more authentically yourself.

Will I have an opportunity to ride the horses?

There is no riding involved in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. All of the time that we spend with horses is on the ground – Leading, grooming, etc. If you are interested in riding, we can refer you to the barn manager at the stable to set up riding lessons.

Can I feed the horses?

No, please don’t feed the horses. This is for your safety as well as the safety of the horses.

What should I wear?

Great question! The most important thing is that you make sure you wear appropriate footwear. Wear boots or hard-toed shoes to protect your feet in case a horse steps on your toes. No sandals, moccasins, tennis shoes, or going barefoot. You will not be permitted to work directly with the horses if you don’t have proper footwear.

 

If you have long hair, make sure it is braided or tied up, and avoid wearing jewelry.

 

Dress for the weather. If it’s hot outside, remember to bring sun tan lotion, water, bug spray, and a hat. If it’s cold outside, dress in layers and dress warmly because it can be cold in the barn.

 

Do not wear dresses or lose fitted clothing that may get caught or tangled.

 

Remember that you’re going to a barn, so dress comfortably in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Can my family member(s) visit with the horses while I’m in my Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Session?

No. If it is necessary for a family member to wait on site for you while you are in your session, they will be required to wait in the lounge area or in their car until the session is over.

 

Family members are not able to roam the property or interact with the horses without a facilitator present for safety reasons.

Is Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Safe?

As is to be expected, there are inherent dangers in working around horses. These horses have been trained and there are safety precautions in place, however it is not possible to make Equine Assisted Psychotherapy 100% safe. Horses are prey animals that sometimes become startled. They may step on toes, flee, kick, bite, or push you aside if they become fearful. Prior to beginning Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, your counsellor will review how to read horse behaviour and other safety guidelines with you. Wearing proper footwear and following the safety guidelines will help to keep you safe when working with the horses.

Do I need to have horse experience to participate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

No previous horse experience is required to participate in Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy. Your counsellor will review a number of safety guidelines with you prior to beginning to working with the horses. She will also teach you how to interact with the horses and will tailor your sessions to your needs and comfort level.

What’s the difference between Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is provided by a mental health professional who has a minimum of a master’s degree and is regulated by a professional college. Since psychotherapy is a regulated act, those trained to provide psychotherapy are required to have ongoing training and supervision in addition to abiding by their respective college’s code of ethics and best practices. Social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, and other regulated mental health professionals may be qualified to provide psychotherapy if they have met the training and experience requirements. This means that they are qualified and permitted to support people who are struggling with mental health challenges, in addition to other day to day struggles that arise.

 

Equine Assisted Learning is not a regulated and thus there are no prerequisites to become an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator. They often focus on other areas of personal development, such as team building and learning specific skills.