Here's the Deal on What You Can Expect

  • To be informed upfront about confidentiality.
    They will tell you exactly who they will share info with and when (Mom? Dad? Teacher?). They will explain the training and approach of the service provider, the number of available sessions, the cost if any and the specific goals of that service (eg; some agencies only do assessment, while others only do certain kinds of treatment.) All this will be done in the first meeting.
  • To be informed of what situations will cause your service agreement to end
    eg; missing too many sessions, attending a session while “under the influence” etc.
  • To be informed of your right to read your record and under what conditions
  • To be informed of medications you will be given, their side effects and at what point you should contact your practitioner if you have concerns.
  • To ask questions about any part of your treatment.
    You can and should ask for clarification of any information that you don’t understand. You can ask for handouts or make your own notes. Most medications come with info sheets from the pharmacy. They are a good back up.

    If you find you have trouble remembering everything you are told, ask if you can bring a friend in to that part of the session or better still, ask if you can go online in the session and enter the info on a ecard and send it to yourself.

  • To ask if you can work out a safety plan for between sessions when the counsellor is not available, or for online or community resources for other issues, services or information.
  • To bring into session a list of issues to talk about with the most critical ones noted or any questions you need answered.
  • To sometimes feel worse as a result of the treatment
    eg; initial reaction to medications.
    When it is a concern, you can discuss it with your counsellor.
  • To be treated with respect, as a partner in the process.
    That includes asking any questions that you feel are relevant. You may not like the answers or wish they were different, but for the most part, you have the right to be informed, which means that the issues were discussed and that you understand the reasoning behind a decision. This is especially important when issues of “consent” are involved even though your consent may not be required.

Getting Involved

In short, one way to feel more human in the helping relationship and to make it work for you is to become more active in the process. Then it can be a real partnership between you and the professional where your shared goal is to improve your life. When you get involved and take charge of your healing, you become more than a diagnosis. You become a fully functioning human being on their way to recovery… with some help.

Information provided by thanks Dr. Margaret DeCorte, Ph. D., C. Psych. and her youth crew at Royal Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON