The purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free.
Therapy takes effort and commitment, and it is important that you make a well-informed decision. Below is a list of my answers to some of the questions I'm commonly asked, which I hope gives you clarity as you navigate these unchartered territories and make important decisions regarding your emotional well-being.
Shouldn't things have to be really hard for me before I consider therapy?
A common misconception is that you need to be in crisis, or wait for situations to exacerbate to a breaking point before seeking help. If you are inclined and willing to explore your life better, regardless of your age, gender, or background, there's a good chance counselling can help. Therapy can just be your space to explore your uniqueness, goals, patterns, and emotions - you get to define what you use this time for!
Can't I just confide in my partner, close friends, or family?
Building a strong support system is highly encouraged as it can act as an extremely healthy assistance to your emotional and psycho-social needs. However, friends, family, and partners may find themselves caught in a conflict of interest, making it hard to be objective and maintain your privacy. They may instinctively give you advice, feel upset by the matters you share, or feel hurt that their opinions may not be what you were looking for. You may experience hesitation to share your troubles in the fear of being judged (inadvertently or otherwise). You may want to avoid overburdening them, or risk your feelings being misunderstood and invalidated. All our relationships serve important purposes in our lives, and each role has its own limits.
Your personal therapy is a space actively designed and devoted to cater to your needs. A healthy counselling space is one of safety, protected by high standards of ethical boundaries. You don't have to walk on eggshells, tread lightly, or filter your words because you feel embarrassed, awkward, or ashamed to discuss issues that may otherwise be deemed 'taboo' by society - and I strive to create this alongside you.
This is my first time in therapy and I'm experiencing some apprehension and nervousness about it.
I see clients from all age groups, cultures, genders, and sexual identities. As an LBGTQ+ friendly, feminist, inclusive, and intersectional therapist, I constantly endeavour to make your experience a comfortable and safe one, which fully honours your lived experience. We work at your pace - no rush or pressure to 'get more done in a short time'. You share what you trust yourself to, and what you trust me and our co-created space to hold and contain throughout our relationship. I will always do my best to support you on your voyage into healing, meet you where you are at emotionally, and journey into the unknown depths, troughs, and peaks with you.
Image Courtesy: RevelatorI
What will others think of me if they know I am seeing a therapist?
There is a societal stigma attached to experiencing mental health vulnerabilities as well as seeking help for the same - a truly frustrating trap! There is no guarantee about changing the world, but there are paths to changing your perspective. These paths to change are paved with acceptance: acceptance of yourself, as you are, and that you are enough! You are the heart of the work we do, and this is not something I take lightly. I ensure that strict measures of anonymity and confidentiality are upheld*.
As an ethical practitioner, I also engage in personal therapy and clinical supervision to constantly ensure that I am doing my best to be a good enough therapist to specifically cater to you and your needs.
*excluding situations involving risk to yourself or others; neglect/abuse of children/vulnerable persons; or civil/criminal court proceedings.
How will our online sessions take place?
Online sessions are typically held via a video call - you'll need a phone/tablet/laptop and strong Wi-Fi to connect.
As our work progresses, phone sessions can be available for sessions upon prior discussion and after appropriate arrangements are made. I do NOT offer services over chat and text.
How safe are online sessions and how will my privacy be protected?
Your privacy is of the utmost priority. All of your information is safeguarded on servers with end-to-end protection. This information can be provided to you upon your written and signed request, giving your consent. Prior to confirming an initial appointment, I will send you a standard counselling agreement, explaining in detail my work, ethical boundaries, and counselling policies and fees for your knowledge and records.
Can online therapy help my particular issue?
I primarily offer individual online therapy. I do not see under-18's or couples online. Here is a non-comprehensive list of vulnerabilities I work with to help you gauge the suitability of online counselling for your requirements. Online therapy allows you to own your physical space, and gives you more flexibility in booking days and times.
However, online therapy may not be suitable for everyone - in clinically severe cases involving psychosis and/or violent tendencies and individuals at active and high risk, face-to-face therapy may be more helpful. However, regardless of what you're going through, I encourage you to reach out and so we can try to face it together, as best as we can.
How do I start? Can we speak before I set up an Initial Appointment?
Making the first step can be a daunting experience. I offer a free 15-minute phone call for you to talk to me directly, raise your concerns, and decide if you'd like to book an initial appointment. Over call, we briefly discuss your needs and questions, and a suitable time to start. You can contact me directly and leave me a message if I'm unable to attend to your call. Alternately, you can email me to pre-arrange a time. If you are comfortable enough to proceed with an initial appointment, a Standard Counselling Agreement outlining counselling boundaries, policies, and other details will be provided to you.
What can I expect from my Initial Appointment?
The Initial Appointment is a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better. Together, we assess our compatibility, talk about what is affecting you, explore your expectations, requirements and goals, and what I can offer you, and explore how we can work towards fulfilling your hopes from therapy. We also open up the space for you to ask me any questions you have, and gauge how you feel about working with me. Additionally, we set up a contract discussing boundaries, confidentiality, cancellations, and payments. The counselling process is different for everyone, and the initial appointment helps us formally begin ours.
Image Courtesy: Pngtree
What happens post our Initial Appointment?
If you do wish to proceed with sessions, we contract for a mutually agreed number of sessions, which can be revisited and extended if necessary. Over time, we establish a sense of regularity and consistency into our meetings to build a healthy, working relationship. Counselling is only as effective as the alliance and relationship we establish together.
Alternately, you may decide to pursue therapy elsewhere or at a later time, or I may decide that you may need someone with a different skillset and style of working to help you, in which case I can offer you referrals to colleagues and other services - there is no pressure to commit to the relationship if you don't want to. Your autonomy and independence is deeply respected, and there will be no compulsion to pursue anything you don't want to.
How do I know that you are the right counsellor for me?
Working with me, you will not get a distant, emotionally closed-off clinician. Rather, you get a fully invested, sensitive human being, with whom you can dynamically engage with!
If you have browsed through my website, CV and LinkedIn profile and feel that elements of my practice, qualifications, and research resonate with you, we may be able to work well together. I make it a point to share my style of working with you at the Assessment Phone Call and the Initial Appointment, and welcome all your questions and concerns. Ultimately, the best deciding factor is how you experience our rapport, and if you find the space conducive to your emotional and psychosocial wellbeing.
What styles of therapy do you follow and practice?
My training in the Person-Centred approach helps both of us in the therapeutic dyad not only focus on the issues you face, and more importantly, get in touch with your authentic self through self-acceptance, empathy, and recognition of your intrinsic value. This non-authoritative and non-directive environment enables you to restructure and re-write your self-narrative as you see fit, experiment with new methods of moulding yourself, and pave new paths for your future.
My training in Psychodynamic therapy helps me facilitate an exploration of origins and roots, and past events and experiences to examine how they unconsciously influence your lifestyle and self-experience in the present day. By acknowledging and coming to terms with previously unrecognized and unresolved emotions, your past patterns and unhealthy mechanisms can be unlearnt, empowering you to unchain yourself from their shackles.
I also draw from Psychoanalytic principles, Existential approaches, and aspects of Pluralistic psychotherapy, integrating them into my larger framework of practice.
How many sessions will I need?
The simple answer to this is: as many as you feel you need. Healing is not a linear process. It requires time, consistency, and commitment. As we work through the problems you face, you become the best judge of whether you have achieved what you need from our sessions. The minimum number of recommended sessions is around 10-12.
At the initial appointment, depending on the kind of support you seek, we mutually agree on possible time frames, which will be reviewed and can be extended.
Can you guarantee that I will get better?
Much like most efforts we make, there is no certainty, promise, or guarantee of outcome that counsellors can ethically make. The inner work we engage in requires commitment and faith - in yourself, and the process. Unpacking your emotions may bring about changes to relationships, personal boundaries, and long-standing patterns - which may feel 'worse' before it gets 'better'. Akin to a domino effect, when you start to incorporate changes in one aspect of your life, it induces change to occur in other aspects as well. I will not give you advice or tell you what to do - instead, I will be with you and help you examine your choices and perspectives, as you make your decisions and define your path.
Can I end my counselling anytime?
You may end our work together at any time. We usually set a mutually agreed date to terminate counselling, nearing which we reflect on our journey together, what changes you have observed in yourself, and the differences in your patterns and interactions. However, you may reach a point which feels enough for you, prior to our agreed ending date. Whenever you are close to reaching this point, I ask that you share this moment with me, so we may enter the final phase of our work together. Our ending is as significant as the journey, and by jointly reflecting reflecting on our time, we can meaningfully conclude our work.
What do I do if I or someone I know is in crisis?
If you have a question that I haven't addressed within the website, feel free to drop me a note and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!