Frequently Asked Questions
When travelling to the office is not an option be it for logistical or personal reasons, we offer two alternatives to better accommodate your needs. Teletherapy allows you to receive therapy from your own space in a way that fits with your needs. Rest assured that the quality of care and support you receive remains the same, the only change is in the format.
For those interested in phone counselling, this is old-school telephone counselling where your therapist calls you at your scheduled time, you pick up, and the session begins. There is no corresponding video, just pure talk. Many clients enjoy this experience as there is not the distraction of a screen, and the focus can be solely on the therapeutic conversation.
Also known as online counselling, virtual counselling, telehealth, telementalhealth or teleconferencing. Therapists use secure, encrypted platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom Basic, and OnCall Health. For Zoom or OnCall Health after you download the app from either website a link with an invitation is sent to your email account to click on to join the video counselling session. Sessions are anonymous and are never recorded or stored. Video counselling works well when clients are not available for in-office visits due to scheduling issues, inclement weather, immobilization due medical condition(s), etc. and prefer the visual cues that come with video.
What is a Social Worker? How are they different from a psychologist?
The profession of social work is Ontario is regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Social Workers may provide psychotherapy with sufficient training at the master’s level as in the case with Emily Spagnolo MSW, RSW.
The main distinction that exists between Social Workers and Psychologists is that social workers are prohibited from making mental health diagnosis. However, both psychologists and social workers are trained specifically in the treatment of mental health disorders, psychosocial and situational stressors. As well, both are required by their regulatory bodies to continually engage in lifelong learning.
What is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy? What is the difference between DBT and CBT?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)) is an evidence-based treatment used to assist clients in learning new skills that help them fulfil goals. This modality emerged from CBT and combines the use of skills with psychotherapy to help clients create a life worth living. This therapy draws upon principles of mindfulness, teaches distress tolerance skills, emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT has been proven successful for issues concerning emotional dysregulation, impulse control, binge eating disorders and borderline personality disorder. You can read more about DBT here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy
What does TIR mean?
TIR stands for Traumatic Incident Reduction. “TIR is a rapid (compared to traditional therapy) method of effectively reducing traumatic stress from emotionally and/or physically painful events in the past. It involves re-experiencing past traumas in a completely safe environment, free of distractions, judgments, or interpretations” (Applied Metapsychology, 2020). You can read more about TIR here: http://www.appliedmetapsychology.org/about-applied-metapsychology/what-is-tir/
Unblocking is a component of TIR and may be used to help clients discharge the intensity of negative emotions associated with either i) an individual(s) involved in a past stressful/ traumatic event, ii) place/ situation or other elements related to the stress/ trauma itself. Unblocking helps to prepare clients to transition to TIR as a means emotionally process the trauma/ stressful event(s).
I am considering Teletherapy but am worried because while it would fit my life well, I am NOT tech savvy at all. Would this platform still work for me?
Yes, we want to ensure that this medium works for you and can offer support in setting it up or a free consultation to ensure that you are comfortable with this format.
Is receiving sessions on the phone or online just as effective as "traditional sessions" in the office? Is one better than the other?
Great question! While teletherapy is relatively new, efficacy of this format is well researched and confirms that it is just as effective as receiving your sessions in the office.
Is it possible to switch back and forth between attending sessions in the office and online?
Yes absolutely! You can transition fluidly between receiving your sessions in person or virtually.
What training do psychologists and psychological associates have?
To be a psychologist or psychological associate practicing in Ontario, one needs to first complete an appropriate university undergraduate and graduate program e.g., a Bachelor’s and Master’s in psychology and/or a Ph.D. in psychology which is a very lengthy process. Even after obtaining a M.A. or a PhD. degree in psychology one cannot call themselves a psychological associate or a psychologist, respectfully, until they have completed the registration process, which takes another one to two years to complete. To practise psychology in Ontario, an individual must hold a current certificate of registration from the College of Psychologists of Ontario; the regulatory body for the profession of psychology. Under the authority of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Psychology Act, 1991, the College registers two classes of autonomous practitioners.
A Psychologist or Psychological Associate who holds a certificate of registration authorizing autonomous practice may provide services without supervision, within his or her area of competence, and may bill for these services. While most members of the College have no explicit term, condition or limitation on their certificates of registration, some do and must practice in accordance with any such restriction.
To qualify for professional registration to practise psychology requires successful completion of:
- rigorous educational and training requirements;
- acceptable supervised professional experience;
- a standardized written examination that evaluates comprehensive knowledge in psychology and is used throughout Canada and the United States;
- a written examination that evaluates the candidate’s ability to apply knowledge in jurisprudence, ethics and professional standards for practice in Ontario; and,
- an oral examination designed to evaluate readiness for autonomous professional practice.
Once registered, a member of the College is expected to practise in accordance with applicable legislation, regulations, standards of conduct, professional guidelines and professional codes of ethics.
Only a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario may offer psychological services in the ON or use the title Psychologist or Psychological Associate. In addition, use of the terms psychology or psychological, or any abbreviations or variations of these terms and titles in describing services, is restricted to members of the College. Psychologists and Psychological Associates respectively may also identify themselves with the designation C.Psych. orC.Psych.Assoc. after their names.
All told, psychologists and psychological associates have spent years studying and practicing psychology before they are given the title of “psychologist” or “psychological associate”. This makes psychologists and psychological associatesthe most highly trained practitioners to be conducting assessments and psychotherapy (i.e. “talk therapy”) of mental, emotional, and interpersonal issues.
What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT had been demonstrated in thousands of research studies to be very effective in helping people to improve their mood, reduce their anxiety, and cope more effectively with daily life stressors. CBT is about learning and applying hands-on, practical skills for managing difficult feelings. Over the course of the therapy, you can expect to learn how to identify and challenge negative thoughts and develop techniques (e.g. relaxation training) to restore your sense of calm and balance.
What will happen in the first therapy session?
The first session is an assessment session. In this initial session, the therapist will ask you a range of questions regarding your concerns and history. Based on this discussion of your needs, the psychologist will be able to describe to you your treatment plan and to help you to set some therapy goals. This will provide a guide for the subsequent sessions.
How long is a session?
A standard psychological session (for individual therapy, couples therapy, and life / career coaching) is 50 minutes long. This is called a “clinical hour”. The remaining 10 minutes is used by the psychologist to review your previous session notes and to write the current session note. Longer sessions (one-and-a-half or double sessions) are available for clients who would prefer more time.
How frequent are the sessions?
The majority of clients attend sessions once a week. However, some clients prefer more frequent sessions (e.g. twice a week), while others prefer less frequent sessions (e.g. once every two weeks).
How long does therapy last?
There is a wide range in the number of sessions that clients attend. Some clients come for as few as six sessions while other clients come for months, or occasionally even years. The most common duration for therapy is 10 to 20 sessions.