Counselling Services in Calgary

Sometimes, on the pathway of life, you may encounter challenges or obstacles that interfere with your enjoyment of the journey. At times like this, it can be very helpful to work with a psychologist – a travel companion – who can help you discover new ways of looking at things, new skills to manage situations and new resources that can add to the richness of your experience.

Individual or couple therapy can be a gift you give yourself. I would welcome your call if you would like to speak with me about how I might be able to help.

Individual Counselling and Therapy in Calgary

There are many reasons that contribute to an individual's decision to seek professional counselling or therapy. Sometimes, people find themselves feeling intense and uncomfortable emotions or experiencing challenging situations that they don't know how to manage on their own. People often think about seeking therapy for a long time before they actually make the decision to proceed. Asking for the help of a psychologist can be a turning point in making significant and positive changes. It is quite common for people to report feeling better as soon as they make an appointment for their first session. Just knowing they have taken this first step to help themselves can give them hope that things will improve.

I have been working as a therapist in Calgary since 1988, helping people to overcome issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, recovery from trauma, significant decisions, loss of a loved one, or emotional struggles following a divorce. In addition to offering my own experience and expertise, I work with a talented group of other therapists and psychologists in Calgary. I will refer you to one of my colleagues if their expertise is a better fit for your issues. Combining the experience of our collective of therapists, together with all our contacts and resources, we can ensure that you get the most appropriate help.

How does individual therapy work?

Individual therapy begins with gathering information to understand your situation as completely as possible. Whether you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or angry, these emotions do not occur in a vacuum. In the initial phone consultation and in the first therapy session, I ask questions to get a full understanding of the context in which you are experiencing these feelings. As well, I ask clients to complete information forms and a few checklists prior to their first session, to speed up the process of collecting important information. In order to offer appropriate recommendations for solutions, the first step is to understand the problem. Depending on the issue you are bringing to therapy, I may ask questions about your relationships, your social support system, your work life, your physical well-being, your sexuality, your financial well-being and your spirituality in order to identify all the factors that might be affecting you. I typically ask what parts of your life are working well so that we can build on your strengths. Sometimes, it can be helpful to gather information about your past, if it serves to help you move forward in the present and the future.

Occasionally, people find that it can be difficult to talk about the experiences that have led them to counselling. It is often the case, however, that people feel hugely relieved to have a place to reflect on what has happened in the past or what is going on in the present. My job is to create a safe place where people can explore their issues, identify the changes they want to make and make a plan of action to bring about the changes.

It is common for people to have relationship concerns that they want to discuss in their individual therapy sessions. They may come into therapy, hoping that they can find a way to make someone else in their life change (e.g., a co-worker, a child, a partner). It is important to accept that the only one you can change is yourself. In individual therapy, the focus is on identifying and changing the things in yourself that may be contributing to problems in your own life and in your relationships with others. Individual therapy can be a powerful turning point as people discover they can improve their situations by focusing on changing their own attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and behaviors. It can be very empowering to take steps to change how you interact with and respond to others.

How many therapy sessions will I need?

Every situation and every client is unique. Sometimes, the necessary changes happen very quickly and significant improvement occurs after only a few therapy sessions. In other cases, if the issues are more complex or if they have persisted for a long period of time, then longer-term therapy may be appropriate. The goal of therapy also influences the length of therapy; if a person wants to learn a specific skill, it can usually be achieved with short-term therapy. Although it is difficult to say what the "normal number" of therapy sessions would be, I can usually offer more insight about this after the initial consultation. For more information about Individual Counselling in Calgary, please contact Dr. Beth Balshaw.