“Rock bottom became the foundation upon which I built my life.” 

- J.K. Rowling -
Dr. Sharleen McDowall, Psy.D., C.Psych.
Registered Psychologist
Counselling  FAQs Counselling FAQs

Counselling Toronto FAQs

McDowall Counselling Toronto (416) 485-5555

Contact McDowall Counselling today if you are looking for a Psychologist Toronto. Dr. McDowall is the supervising psychologist at McDowall Counselling and works with a team of psychologists and masters level counsellors. We offer many programs that can help you through problems with depression, life transitions, anger management, relationships, and other areas.

General Counselling Information

How can I start counselling right away?

There are two ways to contact our office. You can contact our Intake Department at 416 485-5555 x 1. When you call, one of our Intake Counsellors will ask you a few questions and connect you with a therapist immediately. Alternatively, you can fill out a web form located on our website. After filling out a web form, our intake department will contact you to answer any questions you may have over the phone or by email. 

How can councelling and/or psychological treatment help me?

Councelling and psychological treatment can have many benefits.  Possible benefits that you may look forward to include:

  • Experiencing a decrease in the symptoms that caused you to seek help
  • Feeling supported during a difficult time in your life
  • Learning better ways of coping with difficult situations in your life
Are counselling and psychological services free?

Unfortunately, counselling and psychological services are not covered by OHIP. However, our services are covered by most extended health benefit plans if they include services for a Registered Psychologist. Please check with your employer's health benefit plan.

I work during the day. Do you have evening and weekend appointments?

Yes. We have flexible office hours and offer evening and weekend appointments as needed.

I feel nervous about calling to get help. What can I expect?

Not to worry, feeling intimidated or anxious about taking the first step to seek help is completely normal. We understand that you might feel nervous or embarrassed. Our intake counsellors are empathetic and compassionate, and understand that seeking help may be difficult for some people. During the initial intake, our intake counsellors will ask you a few questions and you will only need to elaborate on any difficulties you are experiencing if you feel comfortable doing so. The intake process, on average, takes 10-15 minutes.

What if I don't like my therapist?

We understand that creating a strong therapeutic alliance is essential for successful therapy. If you do not feel connected to your therapist, please inform us about your concerns. We will gladly connect you with another therapist that will meet your needs.

Are my sessions confidential? Will privacy be respected?

We understand that seeking counselling or psychological treatment is a private matter. Therefore, maintaining your privacy  is important to us. Confidentiality is one of our primary goals and we adhere to the privacy and confidentiality guidelines outlined by our profession's regulatory bodies. 

Is there something "wrong with me" if I seek counselling?

Please understand that seeking help during a tough period in your life is absolutely normal; there is NOTHING wrong with you! It is our philosophy that everyone, at some point in their life, could benefit from some form of counselling. We believe that those who take this step are courageous, and are choosing to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Will counselling or psychological treatment really help me or should I just go on medication as suggested by my doctor?

Counselling and psychological treatment can have a significant impact on helping you to feel better in addition to or in replacement of medication. Although in some cases medication is beneficial and necessary, therapy provides you with concrete ways to manage and cope with the way you are feeling. You will gain skills and strategies that you can use in your everyday life and in the future. If you have been prescribed medication, speak with your doctor about the different options. 

This is my first time seeking counselling and psychological treatment, what can I expect from my first session?

When you arrive at our offices you will be asked to complete a Client Intake Form and review our Consent for Service Form. After filling out this brief paperwork, your session begins with your assigned therapist. They will go over the forms with you and answer any questions you may have about the therapeutic process. The rest of the session will focus on understanding and discussing the reasons why you sought help. During the session, your therapist will ask you various questions in order to gain a more meaningful insight into the difficulties you are experiencing. This session's focus is essentially on conducting an intake assessment and providing you with education about what to expect. Most importantly, we want to get to know you and help you to feel comfortable about taking this important step.

Couple or Marriage Counselling

What can I expect if decide to seek couples or marriage counselling?

In couples counselling, the therapist views the "relationship" from the perspective of each partner. During the first session, the therapist will conduct an assessment of the difficulties you and your partner are experiencing. After this session, we usually recommend that each partner attend an individual session. These individual sessions help you and your therapist to get a deeper understanding of what each person's individuals needs are in the relationship. Once the individual sessions are complete, you can resume attending sessions with your partner; collaborative goals of treatment will be established and treatment will move forward until the issues presented have been addressed.

How long will it take to see improvements in my relationship?

It is important to understand that couples or marriage counselling, like individual counselling, is a process. The time spent in counselling will depend on the issues presented. It is not uncommon for couples to feel immediate improvement in their relationship after their first session. However, long-standing changes in a relationship may take a minimum of 8-10 sessions.

I think it may be too late to save my relationship. Can couples or marriage counselling still help?

Don't give up, therapy can still help. You may feel like there is no hope for your relationship but with commitment and motivation, "lost cause" couples can still make transformative changes. 

Anger Management

What are the fees?

Unfortunately, like other counselling services, anger management counselling is not covered by OHIP. However, these services may be covered by your extended health benefit plan. We offer a flexible fee schedule and do our best to make sure you feel comfortable with our fees. Please contact our office and we will explain how our fee schedule works and how you may get reimbursed for your sessions with us.

How quickly can I have my Anger Management Program completed?

Generally we do not have a waiting list and can schedule sessions within 1 weeks time. We offer our anger management program in different formats depending on how quickly you want it to be completed. Please contact our office for more information.

Do you deal with court recommended or mandated individuals?

Yes. We have several years experience working with individuals who have legal difficulties and our program is recognized by the courts.

Do you provided a certificate or letter of completion after completing the anger management program?

Yes. We can provide you with documentation about your progress in anger management (if needed) and offer a letter of completion at the end of the program.

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