Mental health has definitely been on a lot of Montrealers' minds this year and with 2021 around the corner, a lot of people are thinking about what resolutions they can make towards bettering their health, not just physically, but mentally, too. For many people, that means looking into therapy options in Montreal.
But for many, it can seem daunting to find a therapist that's right for you.
After all, a therapist can be one of the most vulnerable and important relationships that you can engage in.
We spoke to Rebecca Murray, director of the Montreal Therapy Centre, on how to go about starting the therapy process and what to look for along the way.
Answers have been edited for clarity and conciseness.
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How can Montrealers go about finding the right therapist for them?
If someone is a student, they can check with the university to see if there are any counselling services offered. I know a lot of the CEGEPS, universities and probably the high schools have guidance counsellors or counselling available at the school.
For people who are employed, they can check with their Human Resources to see if they're covered by an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) program. A lot of companies will offer a certain number of services through the EAP.
For the public sector, people can check with their local CLSC or check what's called the Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montreal, which has listings of all of the community resources. There's also AMI Québec.
There are a lot of university clinics. Even if someone isn't a student, a lot of times the university clinics will offer services to the general public, often on a sliding scale, and they can work with an intern or a therapist in training. That can be another way of accessing services.
I think there are a couple of services being put out by the Government of Canada, like Wellness Together Canada. They have a bunch of self-help resources, but it also looks like they have access to some individual therapy.
Another place to look is in the private sector, like the Montreal Therapy Centre. We offer sliding scale services, that are scaled according to people's incomes. There are also the professional orders, like the Order of Social Workers and Marital and Family Therapists, the Order of Psychologists and the Order of Counsellors. Each of them has a database of counsellors where you can search for counsellors by language, location, areas of expertise and so forth.
If you're looking for a starting point, you can always ask your friends and family or check and see what kind of coverage your insurance may provide.
Right now, it's probably one of the more challenging times to find a therapist. I know a lot of people are pretty full right now.
Some people will have to be patient and expect to wait a little bit because the demand is really high.
What should Montrealers look for in a therapist? What should you do if you feel like your therapist isn't right for you?
That's one of the things that's one of the most important factors in therapy.
You want to have a therapist that you feel you have a good rapport with. Someone you feel comfortable talking to.
That being said, if for some reason, there's something that doesn't feel comfortable or you're wondering if they're a good fit, I would say the first thing to do would be to talk to your therapist about any concerns that you have.
Therapists really appreciate feedback from clients and if clients are able to say, "Well, you know this approach doesn't really help me, or this was working better. Or this part made me feel uncomfortable." Most therapists should be able to adapt based on the feedback.
If not, then I think it would be important to either let the therapist know or to start the process of finding a new therapist.
A good therapist knows they aren't the right fit for everyone. That's why many will start off by saying, "Let's start off by seeing if this is the right fit," and being able to have that conversation. I know it can be difficult.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.