faq - counselling + neurofeedback

How can counselling help me?

Reaching out for help with our struggles is a huge step and we recognize this and appreciate that you are considering do so.  When you come to Psychology Calgary you will be greeted with a warm,receptivenon-judgemental smile. Research shows that psychotherapy helps, and by taking the first step you will likely experience a greater sense of well-being.  Even after just a few sessions, our clients report a greater "sense of hope" and outlook for the future.  Counselling can help countless individuals and we sincerely hope you will find the courage to give it a try.

What is your approach to counselling?

We utilize evidence-based counselling approaches to help serve you and meet your goals.  With our background in Health Psychology, we will begin by understanding your current levels of functioning, from a physical, emotional, and nutritional perspective.  We believe that all areas are important to begin to help you heal.  For example, if we do not have the proper "raw materials" (i.e., nutrition, sleep, movement) to support our bodies, we will have difficulties supporting our mind and emotional well-being. 

Our counselling approach is based on cognitive-behavioural (CBT) principles which is an empirically supported psychological treatment which helps people understand the relationship between their thoughts, behaviour, physiology, and emotions.  We can help to teach you tools so that you can take better control of your life.  

In addition to CBT, we understand the need to focus on solutions to our problems, while acknowledging their roots.  Although we certainly listen and seek to understand the etiology of our presenting problems, we utilize a solution-focused approach (SFT) which is a future-focused, goal-directed type of therapy.  By focusing on where we'd like to go, rather than where we have been, we are able to discard habits that may not have been helping us, and create new strategies to get us there.

And finally, without an awareness, and ability to be in the present moment, it is very difficult to truly utilize these tools. This is where a mindfulness-based approach to psychotherapy comes in.  Mindfulness is cultivating the ability to pay attention in a particular, non-judgemental way.  By increasing mindfulness with the present moment, we are able to better call on the tools that we have developed through CBT and SFT.  By being mindful of our triggers and gaining greater control over our reaction to them, we enhance our ability to cope with uncomfortable emotions, challenging situations, and to enjoy life to a greater degree.

The holistic approach that we take to counselling is individually tailored to suit you and your needs.  We believe the client's feedback is paramount in finding the way to cope with your own, unique circumstances.  Our approaches are based on evidence, and experience.

How long are the sessions and how often should I come?

All counselling sessions are 50 minutes long.  We recommend that you set asdie one hour out of your day.

After your initial session, we will come up with a treatment plan that will likely include more frequent sessions at the outset (weekly or bi-weekly), and a spreading out of our meeting times as treatment progresses (once every 3 weeks, or monthly). Because each individual is unique in their severity of symptoms and readiness for change, it is difficult to give a definitive answer.  Some clients experience noticable change early on, while others require more intensity and frequency.Contrary to many common misconceptions regarding the treatment process, psychotherapy includes hard work.  Anyone who is able and willing to examine him or herself honestly and openly in the context of therapy will likely begin to see benefits of this personal work very early in the treatment process. .

What can I expect during my first appointment?

When you decide to come for counselling, your initial appointment will include an overview of my approach to counselling, issues pertaining to confidentiality and informed consent, and a collaborative intake interview in which you share your concerns and goals with me.  All sessions run for 50 minutes in length.

Together we will come up with a plan moving forward which may include more frequent sessions at the outset, and as you notice improvement, sessions may spread out.

It is my belief in the importance of making the counselling session "your best experience," which leads me to do frequent "check-ins" with you to ensure we are moving in the right direction.  We may utilize what are referred to as "Outcome Measures," in order to track our progress in therapy.  Outcome Measures are brief inventories that may ask 5-6 questions about how things are going, whether or not you are feeling that we are moving in the right direction, and how the strategies are working.  This provides for an open conversation about your progress and what is helping you most!

What is neurofeedback?

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is a powerful technology that can greatly enhance your well-being and generally help you get the most out of life.  Brain training can unlock untapped cognitive potential and help you achieve long-held goals and dreams.  Neurofeedback users enjoy the benefits of reduced stressimproved sleep and relief from conditions that used to hold them back from becoming all they were meant to be.

How can I expect to feel after a neurofeedback session and do the effects last?

Many clients describe feeling clearer, calmer, light or brighter for a few hours after the session.  It is as if events that may have "triggered" us prior to the session, no longer have the same effect.  The good news is, this feeling typically lasts from one neurofeedback training session to the next.  Eventually, this new centered way of being becomes your "new normal."

Only if you get thrown off by a negative event- a bad day at work, chemicals, a knock on the head- might you drop into the way you felt before.  But generally, you will not dip as deeply into emotional discomfort and will more than likely bounce back from challenging situations much more quickly and easily.

And yes, the effects last!  And this is what we find so exciting about this type of brain training.  Unlike medications which require you to "be on" them in order to feel the effect, this type of brain training lasts and begins to be your "new normal."  We simply need to understand the concept of neuroplasticity in order to begin to understand why this is the case.  When we are working at the electrical brain wave level, we are "re-wiring" the brain which can have long lasting effects. 

Neurofeedback is actually a learning task.  You get results because your brain is actively learning, even if you are not doing the learning consciously.  So much like reading, once your brain knows how to read, it can't "not know."  Your brain doesn't forget.  It may get rusty, but the effects of learning through your lifetime.

How is NeurOptimal® neurofeedback different from other systems??

There are a few key factors that distinguish NeurOptimal® from other neurofeedback systems:

1. NeurOptimal® is effective because it is designed to work best with your individual brain.  It does not attempt to "fix" predetermined conditions or pin down specific problems.  This was a limitation in many earlier neurofeedback systems.  Often, resolving one problem in one area could cause problems elsewhere.  The heart of the NeurOptimal® system- Dynamical Neurofeedback- is a proprietary technology based in neuroscience and specifically designed with the naturally non-linear function of the human brain in mind.  NeurOptimal® is built to harness the incredibly dynamic nature of your brain in a way other systems simply cannot match. As a result, this neurofeedback system can be used effectively to address a wide array of complaints without specifically "targeting" them from the outset of the training.

2. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is extremely safe.  Research shows your own brain "knows best" and therefore the NeurOptimal® system does not force or "push the brain in any one direction.

3. NeurOptimal® requires no effort on the user's part.  Some brain training systems require the user to "interact" by playing games or solving puzzles during sessions.  During a training session, you can simply relax and enjoy!

Are these counselling and neurofeedback sessions covered?

Many extended health benefits plans cover the cost of at least a portion of psychological services provided by a Registered Psychologist.  Please contact your extended health care benefits provider to find out what services are covered. 

Receipts for fees paid for Psychological services will be issued at the end of your session and these can be submitted for full or partial coverage.