FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT KIND OF THERAPY OR COUNSELLING IS RIGHT FOR ME?
That depends on how you see yourself and your problems. There are over 400 schools of therapy, and despite their different theoretical foundations, they all work about equally well. Whether they work for YOU depends on whether they fit your worldview. That's why you need a therapist who isn't wedded to one theory, but is flexible and knowledgeable.
HOW DO I SELECT A THERAPIST?
The research says that your working alliance with your therapist is key. That's a fancy term for “Do you like, trust and respect your therapist and does your therapist like and respect you?” Without that positive relationship, it’s hard for anyone to change. So when you have your first session, ask yourself if the therapist really listened to you. Did they seem to quickly grasp what was going on with you? Did you feel appreciated and respected, or did you feel judged and criticized? Did you talk about the things that you wanted to talk about, or did the therapist have their own agenda? Did you feel treated as a unique individual/couple, or did it feel like you were diagnosed and given a label? Did you find yourself wanting to open up and talk more?
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN MY THERAPIST?
The belief that we can change seems to be an essential first step to actual change. And the research shows that the therapist’s ability to help you see the potential for change is a significant contributor to a successful outcome. Perhaps the therapist tells you of similar situations where clients have improved. Or they point out your strengths and assure you that these will help you feel better. Or they lay out a convincing treatment plan for you. Regardless, you should be walking out of sessions feeling hopeful that a happier future awaits.
Do you get the sense that your therapist knows what they are doing? Do they appear calm and able to handle the stresses and perhaps crises that are in your life? Do they listen well, ask good questions and instill a sense of confidence in you?
DO I NEED A PSYCHIATRIST, PSYCHOLOGIST, PSYCHOTHERAPIST OR COUNSELLOR?
Only a psychiatrist -- someone who is a medical doctor -- can prescribe drugs. Typically, everyone else, whether a clinical psychologist, counsellor, social worker or psychotherapist, provides 'talk' therapy. If drugs are required, they will work with a psychiatrist to get you what you need.
DO I NEED SOMEONE WITH AN MD, PHD, MSW, MHC OR MFT?
The degree is much less important than your relationship with your therapist. The research is unanimous: a good working alliance is the best predictor of success. It really doesn't matter whether you see a counsellor, clinical psychologist, doctor or social worker, as long as you feel comfortable with the individual.
HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST ME?
I believe that therapy should be available to everyone, not just to people who are rich. I therefore charge on a sliding scale, with a maximum of HK$2,500 for a 55 minute session, and a minimum of HK$500.
I also encourage clients to meet several therapists and to work with the one they feel best fits their personality and needs. As ‘shopping around’ can be an expensive proposition, I only charge for an initial consultation session if a client decides to continue in therapy with me.