I have had some clients, as well as friends and family, ask some questions about myself and the counselling profession. Some questions are personal, some are more logistical. These answers only apply to myself and will be different for every therapist, but hopefully they will give you some insight into what this career looks like for me.
Q: How long are sessions?
A: I do 60 minute sessions and I book clients an hour and fifteen minutes apart so I have a little bit of leeway if I go overtime. Some therapists see clients on the hour and do 50 minute sessions.
Q: How many clients do you see a day?
A: I see a maximum of 6 people/day. For myself that is just the right amount – some therapists see more, some see less.
Q: Doesn’t it get exhausting listening to people’s problems all day?
A: This question always makes me smile. With many clients, I actually feel energized after our session. It is an awesome feeling to have a conversation with someone who is actively trying to change their life for the better. Some sessions might be particularly intense which can take up some energy, but then I chat with a co-worker or distract myself before the next session to refresh.
Q: Can you prescribe medication?
No. Many people get psychologists and psychiatrists confused. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialized training in mental health. They are able to diagnose and prescribe medication if need be. A psychologist may or may not be able to diagnose a disorder, it depends on their training and the province they live in. In Saskatchewan, in order to apply a diagnosis a psychologist needs an Applied Practice Endorsement (APE) and those without it cannot diagnose.
Q: Have you ever been to therapy?
Yes a few times. As a teenager I saw a sports psychologist to help with my performance in track and field and I also saw a clinical psychologist for some personal issues. I found working with the sports psychologist to be helpful and I saw her a few times. The clinical psychologist I only saw once. I was 16 at the time and the psychologist and myself did not connect personally. I also saw a counsellor in my early 20’s and it was just what I needed to help me get things sorted out. This experience actually prompted me to make some life changes and go back to school to get my graduate degree.
Q: Is it hard not to take your work home?
Most times I’m pretty good at leaving the job at the office. Sometimes a client or session really sticks with me, especially if I think I could have done something different. During these times, I really try to make sure I have healthy coping strategies (like exercise) in place. If need be, I’ll chat with a supervisor or co-worker to see if I could be doing something different.
Sometimes you can get some of your questions answered and get a feel for a therapist by checking out their online profile. All of the PPC therapist profiles can be viewed at http://www.peopleproblems.ca/profiles.html. If you have questions for me please feel free to fire away!