Frequently Asked Questions


1.  What does counseling/psychotherapy/therapy involve?

  • Counseling initially involves interacting with and development of a therapeutic relationship with the psychologist.
  • This connection with your psychologist is crucial for therapy to progress.
  • Therapy is focused on overcoming your presenting concerns and is therefore goal-focused.
  • Counseling involves changes in your thoughts, behaviors and emotions to improve your overall emotional and social functioning.

2.  How do I know I need to see a psychologist?

  • People seek out counseling when they are in significant emotional pain and believe they are no longer able to deal with the concerns on their own.
  • People may also be experiencing behavioral, relational or social issues which significantly impact their overall functioning and well-being.

3.  How do I choose a psychologist who is the best fit for me?

  • Unfortunately, this may involve shopping around a bit.
  • You will not connect with everyone and the fit with your psychologist is a crucial factor for therapeutic change.

4.  Why choose a registered psychologist over a counselor/therapist/psychotherapist?

  • The training of counselors/therapists/psychotherapists varies greatly, and may be questionable in some cases.
  • In the province of British Columbia, Registered Psychologists have a minimum of a Ph.D. in Counseling or Clinical Psychology, have passed both a written and oral exam and have engaged in a minimum of 1600 hours of supervised practice, all of which guarantees a high standard of training.

5.  Is counseling confidential?

  • The ethical standards for psychologists require that everything said in therapy is completely confidential.
  • To release any information to anyone, psychologists require your written consent.
  • In rare circumstances (i.e., risk to self or others), confidentiality may need to be breached to protect you or someone else.
  • These circumstances will be more fully discussed in your first session.

6.  How long is a typical session?

  • Sessions are usually 50 minutes in length.
  • This provides 10 minutes between sessions to write up case notes or other documentation to ensure continuity of your care from session to session.

7.  How long does counseling typically last?

  • The number of sessions you will require depends a lot on the presenting issues you come in with, your readiness for change, the work you put into counseling and other personal factors.
  • Since therapy is goal-directed, it may mean just a few sessions or it may require a longer commitment (i.e., months) if you have more long-standing concerns, or if the issues are very significant (i.e., trauma).

8.  Do I need a referral from a physician to make an appointment?

  • A referral is not needed, but in some cases, a physician may make one to send you in the right direction for help.
  • Once you have made contact with me, we will set up a 15-minute phone consultation to determine whether I am able to offer you the best services to meet your needs.
Copyright © 2013 Dr Kim Maertz