Our world has drastically changed over the last two years, but how we manage our mental health through it all is critical. Removing the barriers to accessing mental health services is an important part of successfully moving forward. Getting therapy when and where you need it can bring you one step closer to achieving optimal health.
In 2021 25% of Canadians aged 18 and older experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.
We are experiencing collective grief and a sense of loss as we all navigate the new world we live in.There may also be changes in accessing your support network including friends and family, as well as, medical and therapeutic support. Province wide lockdowns throughout the last couple of years made it extremely difficult to access the services and support desperately needed in times of uncertainty.
Balancing priorities, including your mental health, parenting and work demands are among the most common challenges. There continues to be an increase in anxiety, depression, domestic violence and dependency on substances. These experiences have been especially problematic for individuals and families to navigate while being isolated.
Benefits of Therapy
Engaging in therapy or counseling is an effective way to counteract the challenges and prepare you for the journey ahead. Therapy aims to create a space where you can develop problem-solving skills and enhance your mental health coping strategies. Actively receiving the right support can help you work through childhood experiences and its current impact. In addition, an experienced therapist can assist with addressing relationship issues, work through grief and loss as you learn how to manage stress and emotions.
Therapy can also help you better understand yourself and how you interact with the world around you. The impact of therapy includes personal growth and better interpersonal relationships. Often individuals use therapy to gain a new perspective, learn better strategies for overcoming life challenges, and to feel heard and seen as they unpack their lived experiences.
Accessing Therapy Online & At Home
You have the opportunity to determine when and where you would like to access therapy based on your needs.
Virtual counseling is not only accessible, but also convenient and affordable. Anyone with access to the internet is able to benefit from receiving therapy online. This allows individuals to receive support while at home or work and removes barriers, such as child care, transportation, and limited availability. Virtual therapy also allows you to access a larger range of available therapists across Ontario.
However, you can also choose the comfort and convenience of therapy in-person at home.This is especially helpful to those who do not have access to the internet, are unable to travel, experiencing mobility issues, or have limited availability outside of their home and/or workplace. In-person counseling is often more effective in engaging young children, adolescents and families.
Did You Know?
Social Workers provide the majority of counseling and psychotherapy services in Ontario.
Social Workers are different from other professionals who provide therapy. They consider the connection between personal stressors and larger social issues surrounding the person. Social Workers complete assessments and create goals by looking at the individual’s concerns within the context of their families, workplaces and their communities.
Therapists are expertly trained and informed in a wide range of interventions and therapeutic modalities. They also utilize various strategies from a variety of modalities to best address the issues brought to the sessions, such as: narrative therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, solution focused therapy, emotion focused therapy, etc. The therapeutic approach is tailored to your specific needs.
Although Social Workers do not prescribe medication, they are able to communicate with Medical Doctors, Psychiatrists, and Nurse Practitioners if you believe this will be beneficial to your treatment.
What to Expect in Therapy
Your initial session typically involves a conversation to help the therapist best understand you, your current concerns and strengths. In addition, the therapist presents resources that can be used to develop a plan for your next steps. You can discuss what has worked for you in the past and where you would like to see growth in the future.
Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time in therapy will vary based on your goals. Some individuals benefit from brief-solution focused therapy to address a singular issue. Some people may benefit from longer term therapy to unpack their lived experiences and its impact on their current functioning. Sessions are typically booked on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but it may vary depending on your needs, financial circumstances and schedule.
For therapy to be successful, there needs to be a high degree of trust between the therapist and client. Confidentiality is the most important component of therapy. Your therapist will not discuss information you share with anyone unless you provide consent to release information to specific individuals. However, the therapist has a duty to report concerns to the appropriate authorities if information is shared about a child at risk of harm or if a client is a threat to themselves or others.
Therapeutic services are covered by most extended health insurance plans. Please check with your insurance provider to confirm that you have coverage for therapeutic services provided by a Registered Social Worker.
Connecting with a Therapist
Many professionals are able to provide counseling services, including Social Workers, Psychotherapists, and Psychologists. The difference between the various designations are the educational paths taken by each professional. Each designation is governed by their own specific College which regulates the ethical standards of their practice.
Registered Social Workers are both trained in and have experience providing counseling services to individuals, couples, children and families. They also have a Master of Social Work degree, along with an Undergraduate Degree in Social Work or Psychology or a similar field. Registered Social Workers must have completed supervised hours in therapeutic settings. They must also be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and are required to complete ongoing professional development training and continuing competency practice reviews.
If you’re in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area there are Registered Social Workers available to support you and your family online or in the comfort of your own home.
At HealthCasa, practitioners take a client-centered approach to therapy. You are recognized as the expert in your life and have the skills to navigate the challenges you are facing. A safe space is created for you to be vulnerable and comfortable during sessions. HealthCasa is committed to trauma-informed pratice, anti-racist and anti-oppresive frameworks.
The HealthCasa team provides support for adults, couples and children of all ages with life challenges and transitions. Areas of focus include:
Work life balance
Anxiety and depression
Gender based violence
Adult conflict and violence
Sexuality and identity development
Grief and loss
Trauma (intergenerational, childhood, racial)