Psychotherapy and Counselling

The purpose of psychotherapy is well-defined: Understanding and Change. Psychotherapy is designed to help you identify and understand dysfunctional ways of thinking, feeling and acting, and help you establish more productive and satisfying ways to think, feel and act.

The terms Psychotherapy and Counselling are often used interchangeably. Although similar, there are subtle differences. Psychotherapy is a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining deeper insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. Its focus is on your attitudes and general way of being in the world rather than on specific problems. Counselling is a briefer treatment that is more focused. It targets particular symptoms or problems, with suggestions, advice and instructions for dealing with them.

No matter what form the therapy takes, the essence is an ongoing relationship. Researchers who have studied what makes therapy successful have found again and again this central fact: the closeness and trust between client and therapist – the “therapeutic alliance” – is a key factor. The relationship between you and your therapist is unique. What makes it valuable is how it differs from friendships, family ties and work relationships. You and your therapist are collaborating on a single project: helping you deal with your problems and make changes. There is no other agenda and no strings attached.

Three other essential qualities of therapy make it unique. One is safety. For therapy to work, you have to be able to be yourself and say what you feel without any repercussions. A therapist’s professional role is to listen without moral judgment, ridicule, or censure. Confidentiality is another essential quality. Except for a few well-defined situations (see Policies), a therapist is obliged to reveal nothing that transpires during your sessions. A third essential quality is that therapy be an educational experience. It should help you to step back and reconsider what you may have been taking for granted, try out new ways of looking at yourself and your world, and new ways of interacting in it.

Whatever your problems, my commitment is to help you gain understanding and make changes through an ongoing relationship that is collaborative, safe, confidential, and educational.

Areas of Practice

During Cancer: 

I offer psychological support for the cancer survivor or caregiver at any stage of the illness. Assistance in finding meaning; help in coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, in coping with fear and distress, in adjusting to new realities and getting the most out of life.

During Palliative Care:

I offer psychological support for patients and caregivers facing end of life concerns. Assistance in coping with uncertainties; in managing pain, depression, anxiety and exhaustion. Help with anticipatory grief; with setting priorities and problem-solving.

During Bereavement:

I offer counselling for caregivers and family members who have lost a loved one. Support in dealing with grief, sadness, loss, anger, guilt and helplessness; help in finding resolution and renewed purpose in life.