PSYCHOTHERAPY FAQ

psychotherapy faq toronto

1. FAQ About Ayan's Practice

Do you offer a free consultation?

Yes, I do offer a 30-minute phone consultation before booking our first session. In this call, I ask you a bit about the reasons why you are reaching out and then you can ask me any questions that you may have. I also speak more about my approach and if we both agree that it could be a good fit, then we can book our first session at the end of the call. Click here to contact me.

What client populations do you work with?

Currently, I only work with adults in individual therapy sessions. I do not work with children, couples or families.

Do you only work with men?

Even though my practice sees a lot of male clients, I do work with women and those who identify with non-binary gender identities.

Which school are you affiliated with and what are your credentials?

I completed my diploma program in psychotherapy in March 2016 from the Transformational Arts College (TAC), based in Toronto. Read more about the school and the program here. I currently have the designations of RP(Q) – Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and and an EMDRIA-approved EMDR Therapist.

The RP(Q) designation is regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). The Qualifying tag means that I am licensed to practice, as long as my clinical work is supervised by an experienced Registered Psychotherapist. I need to achieve a few more supervision hours to drop the Qualifying tag, to become a Registered Psychotherapist in full.

To review my page on the CRPO psychotherapist public directory – click here.

To contact CRPO for any questions or complaints – click here.

What types of therapeutic techniques do you utilize?

My style of conducting therapy is of an eclectic nature, while being firmly grounded in a client-centered, collaborative approach. This means that I use different modalities, based on what fits the situation and I am not stuck up on one school of thought.

Having said that, I do utilize EMDR Therapy quite often, along with other modalities such as trauma-informed mindfulness, Internal Family Systems, Brainspotting, Somatic Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy and Structural Dissociation Theory. I also bring in concepts from other schools of brain-body based therapies and concepts such as Non-Violent Communication (NVC) for improving my client’s relational and communication skills.

What do you mean when you say that your techniques go beyond “talk-only” therapy?

In typical “talk-only” therapy, the focus is on generating insight into the client’s issues and understanding the situation rationally and realistically and then transforming the client’s behaviours, as the thinking pattern becomes more rational and balanced. Talk-only therapies, like CBT, deal primarily with the conscious, rational part of the brain.

But studies in neurobiology show that our feelings, defense mechanisms and gut reactions to situations arise from more primitive parts, such as the emotional (mid-brain) and the survival (brain stem) sections of the brain. These parts are often outside the direct control of the rational part of the brain. So you may rationally understand your issues and have a lot of insight, but that may not help you heal from your symptoms.

Therapies such as EMDR and body-based psychotherapies work more directly with these primitive parts of the brain that are responsible for fight, flight, freeze, submit and other dissociative defense mechanisms. These defenses when out of balance can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, depersonalization, derealisation, etc. This is what I mean when I say that the therapies I practice go beyond “talk-only”, rational therapy.

Are you covered under extended health benefit plans?

If your health benefit covers you for Registered Psychotherapists (RPs) under the Psychological Services section, then you can submit my receipts for insurance claims. If you are covered for Registered Social Worker (RSW), but not Registered Psychotherapist, then I can offer RSW receipts through my supervisor, Jillian Hosey. Lately, more and more companies are covering RPs within their plans.

What level of privacy can I expect?

In general, all communication between us is confidential and I will only release information about our work to others at your request and with your written permission. I will also be discussing our work with my supervisor, however I will do everything possible to keep your identity confidential. My supervisor’s focus will be on how I am doing as a psychotherapist and is there to offer suggestions and input on my work with you. My supervisor is also bound by confidentiality.

There are certain situations, however, where I am required by law to reveal information obtained during therapy to other persons/agencies, even if you do not give permission. These are the situations:  If you threaten grave bodily harm or death to yourself or another I may inform medical or law enforcement personnel. If you report to me knowledge of physical or sexual abuse of a minor child by an adult, or of an elderly or disabled person I am required to inform the appropriate agencies. If you report the sexual misconduct of a mental health professional I am required to report it to the appropriate College. If you become involved in a legal case (child custody, civil suit, etc.) I may be required to produce records or testify. I will do everything I can to keep your records confidential but sometimes it may be out of my control to do so.

Is psychotherapy a regulated health profession?

Psychotherapy is regulated in Ontario by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), which was proclaimed in April 2015. I am a member of this regulating body. For detailed information, you may go to https://www.crpo.ca/

Can you dispel some common myths surrounding therapy?

I created a video blog post on 5 therapy myths that are sabotaging your personal growth. Click here to know more.

2. EMDR and Trauma Therapy FAQ

Can you tell me more about EMDR Therapy?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is basically a memory reprocessing therapy and looks to change the way we associate and hold on to old traumatic memories. The emotional energy locked in these traumatic memories are often powering our negative beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. With EMDR we can drain away this emotional energy from those memories and thus discard those old negative beliefs, more easily and adopt positive, life-affirming beliefs. To know more about EMDR Therapy, click here.

What all issues can EMDR Therapy help me with?

The American Psychological Association (APA) has recognized EMDR Therapy as the therapy of choice for PTSD. Though there are also many different variants and protocols that other therapists have created over the years, to adapt EMDR Therapy for other issues, such as anxiety, phobias, attachment and relational traumas, dissociative disorders, etc.

I have significant anxiety/PTSD-like symptoms, but I can’t think of big traumatic events in my life. Can EMDR Therapy still help me?

The definition of trauma has changed in recent times. Currently, it is defined as anything that overwhelms us psychologically. There are two types of trauma, one called “Big T” trauma, such as war, sexual abuse, rape, physical assault, major accidents, natural disasters, torture, etc. The other is called “small t” trauma, such as verbal, emotional, psychological abuse, childhood neglect, abandonment, smothering, difficult breakups and other forms of relational, attachment and childhood developmental traumas.

“Big T” traumas are generally highly intense and short-lived, often showing up as discrete events in a client’s trauma history. “Small t” traumas on the other hand can be of lower intensity that can go on for years. “Small t” traumas are no walk in the park and can cause significant post-traumatic stress symptoms, if not full-blown PTSD.

When it comes to attachment, relational and childhood developmental trauma, EMDR Therapy may need to be adapted to the client’s specific situation. I do practice a variation of EMDR called Attachment-Focused EMDR Therapy. We can discuss this more during our free phone consultation.

I have heard that EMDR Therapy can heal issues within a few sessions. Is that true?

EMDR Therapy can be very effective, but it is not a magic pill and every client’s situation is unique. Our issues are often multi-factorial and thus many factors are needed to make therapy effective in healing your symptoms. This includes the strength of our therapeutic relationship, your coping mechanisms, your ability to regulate overwhelming feelings and to feel safe in your body and with other people, the level of dissociation that we are working with, the quality and quantity of supports in your life, etc.

EMDR Therapy is one of the factors within this framework. Having said that, I strongly believe in a results-oriented approach and we will work collaboratively to ensure that the therapy is meeting your needs.

EMDR Therapy for Single Event Traumas vs. Childhood Developmental Traumas. How are they different?

In cases of single event traumas in adulthood, where the client had a relatively trauma-free childhood with secure attachments, EMDR Therapy can be quicker in terms of showing results. I analogize the trauma to be like a localized tumor in the body, which can be directly accessed and dealt with.

While in cases where there is significant childhood trauma, or significant dissociation, EMDR Therapy needs to be implemented with other modalities and the therapy process can be slower and more long drawn out. Dealing with the trauma is then similar to dealing with late stage cancer, which has metastasized to different parts of the body. The trauma then affects every aspect of our personality and our sense of self. It is not as cut and dry as the scenario presented above, with single event traumas.

Once we conduct the intake in the first session, I shall present a treatment plan to you and work collaboratively with you to adapt EMDR Therapy and other modalities, to your unique situation, in a safe and effective manner.

What other therapeutic techniques do you utilize along with EMDR Therapy for trauma?

When it comes to clients who come to me for trauma, I use the triphasic trauma model. This model has 3 phases:

  • Stabilization Phase: In this phase we are ensuring that the client is able to deal with overwhelming emotions, that may arise in between sessions and certain skills are taught and practiced. In this phase I bring in trauma-informed mindfulness, body-based psychotherapy and breathing and relaxation skills. We also work on some dissociation in this phase, if it is present, using Internal Family Systems and Structural Dissociation Theory.
  • Reprocessing Phase: This is the phase where we reprocess memories and I often use a combination of EMDR Therapy, Brainspotting and Internal Family Systems.
  • Integration Phase: In this phase we ground the gains made in therapy into real life. This is where I help the client learn new behaviours and teach and practice effective relating and communication skills

Please note that these phases are not linear in nature. We can also stay in phase 1 for the whole duration of the therapy and it can be very effective in stabilizing a client’s symptoms. We can talk more about this on our free phone consultation, if you like.

What is “parts work” and how can it help me? Is it like having Multiple Personality Disorder?

“Parts work” is a colloquial term for therapeutic techniques that help us to look at ourselves as comprised of various parts, with slightly differing agendas, needs and desires. Internal Family System (IFS) is one such therapeutic technique. It can help to reduce the polarization and the tug-of-war between opposing parts, such as your Inner Child and your Inner Critic. To know more about IFS, click here.

Identifying parts in your psyche does not mean that you have Multiple Personality Disorder (currently known as Dissociative Identity Disorder).

Based on what I have read, I think I have dissociative symptoms/depersonalization/derealisation. Do you work with these symptoms?

Yes, I do work with clients experiencing dissociative symptoms. I use the model of Structural Dissociation Theory to help my clients slowly and safely reduce the level of dissociation in their psychological system. Please note that dissociation is one of the ways in which our body protects us from overwhelming feelings and sensory overload. We can discuss more about your unique situation during our free phone consultation.

The Working Man's Therapist

Ayan Mukherjee is a Toronto-based, Registered Psychotherapist (Q), specializing in EMDR Therapy, anxiety, low self-esteem, PTSD and men's issues. Contact him to book a free phone consultation -

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-854-2195

Clinic Location - Suite 507, 55 Eglinton Ave East, Toronto ON M4P 1G8