What I do in general and how my sessions work.
I use the words counselling and psychotherapy interchangeably, to describe a professional practice of helping clients reach their goals for psychological well-being. Fidus is a Latin word, roughly translated as a faithful/loyal/trustworthy friend or companion. This meaning fits well with the role of a counsellor/therapist: To be a steadfast fellow traveller on the journey of change. When it comes to the processes and tools of therapy, I guide – and when it comes to understanding your life and preferences, I follow. As such, we explore and make decisions together, collaboratively.
I provide individual counselling, couple therapy, and family counselling for adults, in English and Russian languages. In Calgary, I have a cozy office in the NW for face-to-face therapy, shared with other mental health professionals.
I offer two methods of online counseling / e-counseling: video and secure email. We could choose any of these methods or combine them in a way that fits you best. One of many advantages of working online is flexibility: Instead of a fixed hour every time, we could do a 30-, 60-, or 90-minute video sessions, a single highly-detailed email (equivalent of an hour-session) or a series of shorter emails that add up to a full hourly session.
Sessions and Structure
By the end of our initial consultation, I will outline some ideas on what I can do for you. This way, you could decide if you want to go further with me. If I believe that I am not a good therapist for your situation, I will let you know immediately and provide some ideas on where to look for more help.
Therapy is a balancing act in several ways. First, we know from outcome studies that the connection established between us is a key element to success. My goal is to foster your self-reliance, yet I am doing it through a relationship with you. Second, I am passionate about competent brief therapy and teaching skills and tools because few people can afford many sessions. On the other hand, some things cannot be hurried, especially if they involve changing deep feelings and entrenched habits. So… we work together to co-create the best balance we can pragmatically get for you.
I can do this in two ways. One is meeting session to session. It is a familiar and typical approach. It could be a better option for complex circumstances, where figuring out realistic hopes is a challenge, or for people who do not like goal-oriented counselling. It could also fit well for couples or family counseling, where understanding and reconciling goals and values may require its own process.
Yet if it matters to you to have a specific plan for a limited time frame, here’s how I can make the most of it:
✓ Step 1, together: First meeting of 90 minutes, to make sure we have time to build in-depth understanding. This can be done in a single video session, or through a back and forth Privacemail conversation.
✓ Step 2, just me: I will have some ideas for how to help you right away. Yet I also review recent research to double-check what fits your situation best. The number of possible approaches and tools is enormous. Some have more evidence behind them than others; yet your personality, values, and past experience also mean that some things are likely to fit better than others.
✓ Step 3, together: I present you with a plan. My plan would usually include several options, and I will explain their potential advantages and disadvantages. This way, we could have a thorough discussion and finalize the plan for you together. Finalizing the plan could be done in one session or two, depending on your situation and preferences.
The key ingredients include steps for you to take and ways to understand how well these steps are working. It is important for you to be able to tell if you are on the right track and to correct course if needed. This plan could be something that you go and do primarily on your own, with occasional brief check-ins for support or adjustments. Or it could involve many more regular sessions, or anything in between. I mean, I would love to work with you long term, but I know therapy is expensive; so once again – it’s a balance! The details depend on your situation, preferences, skills, and budget: Together, we balance these considerations and co-create a solution for you.