Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT WORKING WITH US
+ How do I make an appointment or referral?
Many of our referrals come from family physicians. However, no referral is necessary. Simply contact us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible to set up an appointment.
+ How quickly may I be seen?
We realize that when contacting a therapist you may be in a significant amount of emotional distress. We make every effort to meet with you as quickly as possible. Often we can arrange an appointment within a few days of your initial inquiry.
+ Are our conversations strictly confidential?
Absolutely. Our work with you adheres to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice published by our professional association, the Ontario Association of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. As such, we protect the confidentiality of all information we acquire in working with our clients. If you would like us to consult or collaborate with other medical or health professionals we require your written permission to do so.
+ What can I expect in the first session?
The first session offers you an opportunity to explain your current situation and why you’ve decided to explore psychotherapy. It also provides you with an opportunity to interview your therapist to determine whether you feel he or she “gets you.” Remember, successful psychotherapy is built upon a foundation of confidence and safety. You need to leave your first session with the sense that your therapist will be able to understand you and what it is you’re struggling with.
+ Do you prescribe medication?
No. Medication can only be prescribed by a licensed physician. For many people medication can be a helpful component in their treatment to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. If we feel that medication might be useful we will suggest that you meet with your family physician to discuss it further.
+ Psychotherapy or Neurofeedback? How do I decide?
As we work together to get a better sense of your situation we will begin to discuss treatment options. At CVPN we make it a priority to educate our clients so that they can become effective partners in their own treatment. We will discuss the pros and cons of different treatments in a manner that gives you a feeling of control over your therapy.
+ May I also see a psychiatrist?
Yes. Many of our clients see a psychiatrist or their family physician who prescribe and monitor medication. We do not recommended that you be involved in more than one psychotherapy at the same time though.
+ Will OHIP cover your services?
Many extended health insurance policies provide coverage for our services. If you are not sure contact your benefits provider for details. Unfortunately OHIP only covers services provided by licensed physicians.
+ What is the Science of Calm?
The Science of Calm is based on one simple idea: a calmer brain creates a calmer state of mind and a greater sense of wellbeing. The information presented in our Science of Calm seminars is based on the most recent, empirically proven research on the brain. Learn more here.
+ What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is special kind of conversation and relationship with the goal being to help you develop a new, more adaptive perspective on yourself, your life and your relationships with family, friends and coworkers. As therapists we believe that people are natural-born problem-solvers and that sooner or later everyone will encounter a situation in which they feel stuck. Our professional role is to assist you with generating new solutions to life’s problems or to help you come to accept certain realities.
Our long held belief (now backed by rigorous scientific research) is that emotional growth and development occurs best in the context of a safe, supportive relationship and that the connection between therapist and client is the most important element in effective psychotherapy.
+ When is psychotherapy helpful?
Our emotions are vital indicators of our physical and psychological wellbeing. If, in the course of your daily life, you find yourself feeling too much negative emotion (sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt or shame) or that it is difficult to control your emotions, then you are a candidate for psychotherapy.
+ How long does psychotherapy last?
There is no hard and fast rule about how long psychotherapy should last. For some people a handful of visits are all that are necessary while for others psychotherapy becomes an ongoing part of their lives –
a method of developing and maintaining optimal emotional health.
+ What are the benefits of psychotherapy?
There are many benefits that emerge from psychotherapy but the two most important outcomes our clients report are feeling a healthy sense of pride and confidence in their abilities to deal with life’s ups and downs.
Clients also report being able to see themselves and others in a more realistic light which helps with making better choices in their careers and relationships. People who engage in psychotherapy also benefit from lower levels of stress and increased resilience.
+ How do I know what type of therapy is best suited to my needs?
There are currently several major styles of psychotherapy, each of which claims to be the most effective. Research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy tells a different story: The most important factor in whether or not your therapy will be successful depends upon the quality of your relationship with your therapist. Psychotherapy is most beneficial when you feel safe sharing your thoughts and feelings and have the sense that your therapist is genuinely motivated to understand you.
ABOUT NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING
+ What is neurofeedback training?
Neurofeedback training is a safe, non-invasive way to help you improve your physical and emotional
wellbeing. It works by modifying the arousal level of the brain and increasing its resilience to stress. We believe that neurofeedback is the best kept secret in the field of mental health. It has been used for decades by athletes and musicians in order to achieve increased clarity and focus. This same technology also has a proven track record in treating attention deficit disorders (ADD/ADHD), anxiety, depression, migraines and panic attacks as well as a host of other problems.
“Neurofeedback has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility, creativity, athletic control, and inner awareness.”
— Mason and Brownback, Journal of Neurotherapy (2001)
+ How does neurofeedback training work?
Neurofeedback training involves attaching small sensors to your scalp and reading the electrical activity of your brain. These signals are processed through an EEG (electroencephalograph) machine with the resulting information being sent back to you through visual, auditory and tactile feedback. During training you simply sit back, relax and view a movie or television show. As you watch the screen, slight distortions in the picture and sound influence the arousal level of your brain. Many of our clients are astonished to find that they begin to feel positive changes almost immediately. At first these changes are short-term but as you continue to train, your brain learns to maintain these changes for longer and longer periods of time.
+ Who can benefit from neurofeedback training?
The short answer is that anyone with a brain can benefit from neurofeedback. At CVPN we work with clients who come to us seeking relief from a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. But neurofeedback can also be used by anyone seeking to increase focus and develop greater emotional resilience. No matter who you are or what you do, you can always benefit from a calmer, more resilient brain.
+ How many training sessions do you recommend?
As with many of our clients, you may begin to notice positive results within the first few sessions. As you continue to train, your brain becomes more accustomed to these changes and begins to maintain them for extended periods of time until the changes become permanent. Every brain is different but experience has shown that it takes about 20 sessions on average to train and maintain long-term changes.
+ How can neurofeedback help such a wide range of conditions?
Your brain is essentially the central control panel for your mind and body. It is involved in everything you do, think and feel. If your brain is over-aroused, under-aroused or unstable, this will be reflected in how you think and feel. By restoring the brain to balance, your whole mind-body system benefits.
+ What is the science behind neurofeedback training?
Based on the groundbreaking research of the last two decades we now know that the common element in all psychological therapies is that they promote neuroplastic change. Simply put, our brains change in response to how we use them. Neurofeedback is the most effective neuroplastic treatment discovered so far.
“The brain can change itself. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience… this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging...”
— Dr. Norman Doidge, MD, Canadian psychiatrist and Researcher
+ Is the EEG technology you use safe?
Neurofeedback is completely safe. It has been used safely and successfully for over 40 years.
"Neurofeedback has no adverse effects while psychopharmacological interventions... are associated with side effects. Outcomes of neurofeedback training are maintained over time and do not reverse after treatment is withdrawn."
— Robert Cohen, Ph.D.