Frequently Asked Questions
You questions answered
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy”, is a way to treat people with mood disorders, emotional problems, and mental health conditions. It teaches people coping strategies and gives them the tools to be able to deal with stress, unhealthy thoughts and behaviours. Psychotherapy helps people manage their symptoms better and function at their best in everyday life.
Sometimes psychotherapy alone may be the best treatment for a person, depending on the person and the severity of their symptoms. Psychotherapy may also be combined with medications if that is necessary. Therapists work with an individual, families and groups to devise an appropriate treatment plan.
What is the difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Counsellor and a Life Coach?
A Psychiatrist is a fully qualified medical doctor who specialises in mental health and is able to prescribe medication if necessary. A Psychologist and a Counsellor are mental health professionals who generally have advanced degrees of at least a Masters level and are trained to address mental health issues, offer psychoeducation, do psychotherapy interventions and carry out assessments. In Singapore, however, Counsellors are not ethically able to do assessments or DSM clinical diagnosis but in other countries they are able to, so it is best to check with your local counselling organisation, hospital or mental health facility. Life Coaches are not mental health professionals, have no required minimum educational or professional qualifications (although some may) and are not typically trained in dealing with people with mental health issues. Life Coaches address specific issues such as projects, business advancement and professional/personal goal setting. Check the qualifications of any mental health professional or Life Coach you employ to ensure they are qualified for the assistance you require.
Will the counsellor give me advice?
Your counsellor is not there to give you advice, tell you what to do or judge you in any way. The aim of counselling is to help you come to your own decision(s); only you know how you feel in any given situation. The counsellor might sum up what they understand you have been saying so that they can help you to form a plan of action.
What does a counsellor do if they don’t give me advice?
Listening carefully is the largest part of what all counsellors do. They make sure clients have clarified the problem areas in their own terms and help them decide what steps they want to take next. Counsellors will always let the work proceed at the client’s pace.
What should I look for in a therapist?
Things to make sure about with any counsellor/psychologist/therapist you visit are:
- that they have recognised academic qualifications
- that they adhere to a professional code of conduct
- that they have regular, ongoing supervision to ensure safe and ethical practice
- that they discuss certain issues with you up front before any commitment is made to the sessions including:
- their counselling approach
- confidentiality issues
- length of sessions
- their responsibilities to you
- your responsibility to them
What format do counselling or therapy sessions take?
Generally, the first session is used in order to get to know you. We seek to understand your objectives and the reason that you came to us. We also use this session to devise a treatment plan and recommend the best basis to proceed going forward. Sometimes a single session can be effective, however generally it will take a number of sessions to get to know you and advise you as to the best coping strategies to help you achieve lasting sustainable outcomes.
What conditions are suitable for Online Counselling?
Online counselling sessions are generally appropriate for the same issues as face to face counselling . During our first meeting we will assess if this is the right approach for you, and advise accordingly. Online counselling can be a used if you travel frequently, live overseas, have difficulty leaving home/work for various reasons. Online and face to face sessions can be used together to ensure a consistent therapy program at your convenience.
Typically online counselling can be suitable for:
- behaviour management
- coping with change
- couples counselling
- life adjustment
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- parenting issues
- relationship issues
- relocation adjustment
- stress management
- work life balance
What is the difference between a face to face session and an online one?
Very little. We go through the same process, offer the same levels of care and offer the same standards of care and confidentiality. However, some people may be more comfortable face to face meetings, especially initially. Once we get to know each other you’ll probably find little difference between the types of session, and likely will find online counselling more convenient.
What if I don’t like technology, or would prefer to meet face to face?
Anyone that wants to meet with us face to face has the option to do so. It is your decision, or you can let us advise you.
Is online counselling as effective as meeting face to face?
Yes, it can be. However, for a small number of people, it may be preferable to meet face to face to get the best outcomes. We can advise you on this. Or just tell us how you feel after your first session and we’ll listen to your feedback and suggestions.
How do I make a booking?
You can either make a booking online, or you can call our office and speak to our trained staff who can guide you on the best approach for you.
Prior to your appointment we will require you to complete both a Client Questionnaire and acknowledge our Confidentiality and Cancellation Policy. We will also email the links to these documents with your confirmation.
Do I need special technology for an online counselling session?
No, however, we will ask you to download a small secure app/piece of software to your device. We will send you the link that helps you do this.
Why do I need to download the software for to conduct the online counselling?
We ask you to do this for your privacy and protection. That is very important to us. We offer our service through VSee , https://www.vsee.com/ which is a HIPAA compliant teleheathcare app that aims to make telemedicine simple and secure for everyone. It is also used by NASA, the US Navy Seals and the US Congress. You’ll be in good company and can trust that your connection to us is secure and confidential. HIPAA is the American telehealth standard, which is the toughest in the world currently. We also conform with Singapore guidelines and regulations.