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Focuses on Thinking and Behaving 

The basic premise of the cognitive model is that how you feel is largely influenced by how you think. The principle suggests that emotional and behavioural reactions are learned. The goal is to help patients unlearn responses and to adopt a new way of responding to stressors. The process includes assessing the patterns that the patient undertakes in their thinking and behaviours. These thoughts and behaviours are challenged and a new modified way of thinking happens. Gaining control is of most importance in this process and the psychologist strives to empower the patient to do so.

Focus on the Present

When people are anxious they tend to think of the future. The goal for cognitive behavioural therapy is to help patients open their focus to the present moment and to assess situations without distorting their realities to the future. We want to help our clients remain focused on the present situation that brings on their anxiety and manage their symptoms in the moment.

Direct Session Activities

A psychologist conducting CBT will help guide the session by being directive. This means that the therapist sets the agenda, plans activities, and engages in discussion to help the patient move forward. The therapist and patient will mutually agree on assignments and treatment decisions. The therapist will work on helping you move forward session by session. Being specific and task orientated is very important throughout this process.

Teaching Valuable Skills

The therapist focuses on teaching valuable skills to help manage the patient’s anxiety symptoms. This may include helping with problematic situations or dealing specifically with learning new skills. This in turn will help achieve and maintain treatment goals.

Provide Guidance Through Research Supported Techniques

CBT Psychologists and Psychotherapists use techniques that have demonstrated effectiveness through clinical research. A well-trained therapist will also provide well thought out homework for their patients to read and process.


Your first session will be conducted by the psychologist working with you. The psychologist will be taking a lot of notes and possibly ask your permission to conduct a formal assessment with the use of a specific measure that will help identify any issues that may influence your ongoing treatment. The assessment session will help gather information that it’s important to develop a treatment plan. You may be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, and family. We recommend that you take the time to reflect on your responses and be as open as you can. Assessments could take up to two hours.

Why is it Important to Form a Therapeutic Relationship?

The therapeutic relationship is very important to develop for both the client and the therapist. Genuine openness is imperative to the healing process. This process is important for both parties to nurture throughout the therapeutic journey. Your therapist will attempt to establish a collaborative relationship. They will do this by being supportive, encouraging, and non-threatening.

Our image of what a relationship constitutes is largely derived from what we see in the media or from models in our social circle (e.g., parents, friends of the family, etc.,). This also means that through these models we adopt a certain way of behaving in a relationship. Sometimes we follow in these model’s footsteps and often times without questioning the behaviour or asking ourselves how it may be influencing others around us. Often these very behaviours can be hindering our relationships. Many theorists in couples counselling talk about the importance of observing behaviours and making choices that are best for the relationship and not just the personal self. We attempt to highlight how making choices that are solely in the benefit of the self may influence how the dynamic of the relationship unfolds.

For further information and clarification, we ask that you book an appointment with us. Find out how a professional psychologist or psychological associate can help.

Whenever a couple decides to participate in counselling at our clinic we conduct an assessment. An assessment provides us with information that helps identify variables that might be influencing the couple to remain ‘stuck.’ After the assessment, the therapist will provide the couple with information regarding a treatment plan. This will obviously be based on the couple’s goals for therapy, but also the therapist’s impression.

We use specific techniques and questioning to determine behaviour patterns, language used in conversation, and function (or purpose). Our goal is to gather as much information as possible to make an informed assessment and present it as clearly as possible to create awareness.

Should we come as a couple or should I come alone?

It’s typically never a bad idea to come alone to counselling. You can certainly begin to change throughout your therapy process and hopefully that change influences aspects of your dynamic with your partner. However, sometimes an individual can change his or her behaviour and if the other partner is not aware it may bump up against the reoccurring interactional pattern and the other person may attempt to simply maintain the existing pattern. Put simply, you may change through counselling, but your partner may not be completely ready for it and may attempt to maintain the existing dysfunctional pattern (sometimes not consciously). Change in a relationship often requires mutual influence. The change in one part of the system will create a ripple effect through the entire system, but reorganization from both partners is often needed.

Why hire a professional psychologist or psychological associate?   

Psychologists have years of experience that includes an extensive amount of clinical training and supervision. This training includes 10+ years of education and thousands of hours of clinical experience. What also separates a psychologist form other professions is their certification to use specific assessment tools that help guide assessment and counselling.

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