Virtuous Circle Counselling

What to Expect from Therapy and How to Get Started

What to Expect from Therapy – Virtuous Circle Counselling

More and more people suffer from mental health problems like depression and anxiety these days. It can happen to anyone and people from all ages and backgrounds may be affected by the debilitating consequences of suffering from something that the people around you might not understand.

The good news is that there is a way to get back on track with your life and it’s called Therapy.

What is Therapy?

Mental illness is slowly but certainly starting to form a more substantial part of our lives. However, many people are still not sure how to approach the situation and they might still not be aware of all the available options out there to help them cope.

When you make a decision to seek therapy, you will be exposed to people who understand your day-to-day battles with whichever issue you are dealing with. Finding the perfect therapist who can connect with you on a personal level and whom you can trust to help you get back to living a happy life.

Types of Therapy

There are various types of therapy and the one you’ll be getting the most from will dependent entirely on your specific needs. Each type of therapy serves a unique purpose. This list provides some of the more popular types of therapy:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • EMDR Therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Trauma Therapy
  • Online Therapy

Types of Therapists

There are various kinds of therapists who have studied different aspects of the psyche and therefore they are labelled exclusively.


A psychiatrist generally diagnoses mental illnesses like depression and bi-polar disorder among others. They also prescribe appropriate medications to help you cope with whichever condition you are dealing with.


A psychologist is a mental health specialist who has a strong understanding of the human mind and they usually approach the situation through the lens of various theoretical frameworks. Some prefer using talk therapy or mindfulness approaches while others resort to cognitive-behavioral therapy also known as CBT.

Psychologists often use tools to identify specific issues and they provide you with the necessary advice for coping better with problems you may be facing in your life.

Social Workers

For social workers it works a little differently, they generally help people function on a psychological, social or even occupational level. They provide people with assistance and tools to help them live fulfilling lives based on things like a stable career, tight-knit social circles and well-founded support groups.

Licensed Counselors

A licensed counselor is someone who has their master’s degree in counselling and who has completed at least 3000 hours of counseling services after obtaining this degree. They can, for instance, both diagnose your depression and provide counseling as part of your treatment.

How Do I Start Looking for a Therapist?

There are various approaches for finding the right therapist. Let’s take a look at a few.

Collecting Names

Start by collecting names of therapists online. You could also look at local mental health organizations. Word of mouth is another good way to find what you’re looking for. Once you’ve found some potential options, do a little research on them. You can use their websites to find out what kinds of therapy they offer and then you can decide if you think it’ll be a good fit. Some Therapists offer free consultations which can be an effective option that can cut time and money while in the process of determining if your Therapist is a fit for your Therapy goals.

Get Recommendations

You might have friends or family members who don’t mind being open about seeing a therapist whom you could also ask for recommendations. They will be able to offer you lots of insight into how their particular therapist works and what they might be able to help you with. It could also be comforting to hear that therapy has helped for others.

Professional Referrals

A health professional is one of your best options if you need to be referred to a therapist. This would be a GP or perhaps even a psychiatrist. They will give you the needed details and possibly inform the therapist that you will be in touch with them soon.

Online Listings

Another way to find a therapist is to take a look through some online directories. These are extensive listings that provide the names of therapists according to their location. Depending on what you are struggling with, you could also search for someone who is more suited to your predicament.

What Happens in The First Session?

In the first session, you will be discussing your personal history with an emphasis on the major events of your life and, of course, the issue that caused you to seek therapy in the first place. You therapist will explain the process by outlining the process and suggesting specific goals that will determine the outcome of your experience.

The first session is also like a meet and greet as you will get to know the therapist you will be working with so that you will be more comfortable sharing private or sensitive information with them.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

Consider asking your therapist the following questions beforehand to make sure you are on the same page and to limit any unexpected scenarios:


  • What therapy approach do you use?
  • How long have you been a therapist?
  • Where did you train to be a therapist?
  • Are you experienced in LGBTQ/gender/race/other identity issues?
  • Which way do you think is the best to go about helping me?


Remember that questions can help to determine your treatment plan and you are always welcome to ask them.

Making the Decision to Seek Therapy

Deciding to seek therapy may be a daunting decision, but it may also be the best thing you can do for yourself. The power truly lies in that first step, that choice that says… I am done feeling the way I do, and I want to start a new chapter in my life.

It is worthwhile investing in your mental health by seeking therapy!

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.