Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
About Therapy

What therapy is best for me?

Choosing the best therapy for you may be a straightforward task, or it may evolve through trial and error. You will need to consider some of the following points:

  • Are you in crisis? Brief Therapy may be the place to start. When the crisis is over, you will be in a better place to decide whether to continue psychotherapy, and in which direction.
  • If the same type of crisis happens repeatedly, or if you are dealing with long-standing depression, low self-esteem, or unsatisfying relationships, long-term insight-oriented psychotherapy may be the way to go — particularly if you are prepared to face painful issues, and to commit to the effort needed to overcome them.
  • If you experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms, or dissociation, Trauma Therapy is usually indicated.
  • Sometimes emotional distress and sudden changes in level of functioning may indicate a medical condition which is important to address first with your health care practitioner.

What is the difference between Brief Therapy and other therapies?

Brief Therapy aims to bring a person back to the emotional and functioning level he/she had prior to a crisis, and to find a resolution to the problem presented.

The goals of psychotherapy and other therapies are broader:

  • Increasing self-awareness and depth of experience.
  • Changing long-standing patterns of relating to others or functioning in the world.
  • Acquiring tools to manage one's feelings, being comfortable and at peace with oneself, feeling confident in one's ability to handle future challenges .
  • Improving self-esteem.

How long does Brief Therapy take?

Typically, Brief Therapy takes three to six sessions.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy ('the talking cure') is the general name for treatments designed to heal psychological and emotional problems through talking. There are many schools of thought and various approaches to Psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy usually involves the client and therapist meeting for regularly scheduled hour-long sessions, during which they explore the client's issues, the emotions and beliefs surrounding them, the origins of those beliefs, and the ways they are manifesting themselves in day-to-day life and current relationships; alternative views and options are often identified and tried out. For more about psychotherapy and my approach to it, please see the Psychotherapy page.

How long will I be in psychotherapy?

Each psychotherapy is unique and the length of treatment cannot be estimated from the outset. Therapy depends on many factors unique to the individual and to the scope of issues to be addressed. Generally, the client senses that therapy has been successfully completed when major challenges have been overcome. They will notice that they have new energy, interest, and enthusiasm about other aspects of their life - as well as the confidence to tackle new challenges on their own.

Successful psychotherapy also depends on maintaining the momentum of the work. Thus, committing to attend regularly set sessions is important. Most clients find weekly sessions the most productive. Others feel that bi-weekly, or twice-a-week sessions are the right pace for them.

How do I know you are the right therapist for me?

This is an important question, as most studies show that the fit between the client and the therapist is a very important predictor for a successful therapy. You are encouraged to take your time in choosing your therapist, and get the information you need to make your decision.

You can find a guide, and list of questions to ask your prospective therapist at the (CAMH) website. You may want to browse through this site, www.marikapollak.com, and see if you find the information you need.

You can use our initial interview to ask the questions important to you, and to get a sense of what it feels like to work with me. My style is empathic, intuitive, and interactive, and I tune into the client's strengths, talents, and potential.

Why should I go to a trauma specialist rather than a general therapist?

Trauma therapists are trained to recognize the specific effects that trauma has on the brain and its function, the way it manifests through the trauma symptoms, and the rationale for using specific interventions to deal with those symptoms.

For people who have undergone abuse as children, trauma theory also shows how abuse and the circumstances around it interact with child development to create a particular, problematic style of handling life's challenges. Trauma therapy is a focused and a usually effective approach to reversing the many effects of trauma, (such as the intrusive symptoms of PTSD, addictive behaviours, a damaged ability to trust and to enjoy intimacy). Otherwise, trauma psychotherapy has many of the same characteristics as general psychotherapy.

What is EMDR? Is it safe?

EMDR is a specialized form of therapy, often used in the treatment of trauma, as well as other emotionally charged issues that are not readily resolved through insight and reasoning. It involves focusing on the issue in all its intensity, while attending to laterally alternating sensory stimuli. The alternating stimuli seem to facilitate the information processing needed to lower the emotional intensity, and resolve the issue.

EMDR has been researched through numerous controlled studies, and found to be a highly effective approach. Because it evokes very intense emotions and sometimes finds connections to issues generally avoided, careful assessment and preparation are necessary to ensure that it is safe. For more information, please read the EMDR page.

What is your training?

I have a Master of Social Work Degree, and am a registered member of OCSWSSW (Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers). In addition, I have training in Self-Psychology (and psychodynamic therapy) Trauma therapy, treatment of' Dissociation, and EMDR, levels 1 and 2. You can find more about my background here.

Where are you located?

I am located at 1235 Bay Street, Suite #700, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 3K4 (View map). My office is conveniently located in downtown Toronto and is easily accessible via TTC (Bay Subway). There is a parking garage adjacent to the building, with entrances from both Cumberland St., and Yorkville Ave.

What are your hours?

My hours are weekdays, from 8:30 to 5:00, or 5:30. In case of an emergency beyond these hours or on weekends, please call the numbers on the Resources page, or go the the emergency room of the nearest hospital. During our initial session we will identify additional resources you can use in your specific circumstances.

Do you do therapy via email? via Phone? via Skype?

Occasionally, when needed, I can offer these services to clients with whom I have a strong therapeutic relationship already established.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes, your information is kept in strictest confidence. I may not disclose any of it to anyone, unless you give me written permission. You can withdraw this permission at any time. There are some specific exceptions to this rule, which are also detailed in the privacy policy as follows:

I will not disclose personal information to any other third parties except if I am made aware that a child has been, is currently, or potentially being harmed or if there is reason to believe that a client is a danger to themselves or others. In addition, if you are in litigation, there is a possibility that your therapy file may be subpoenaed. For more information on confidentiality, please view my privacy policy.

What are your fees?

I discuss my fees during the initial telephone contact. My fees are not covered by OHIP, but some extended health benefit plans may cover a portion of the fees. The client is responsible for the fees at the time the service is delivered, unless otherwise arranged. Fees are charged on an hourly basis.

How long is each therapy session?

Sessions are 60 minutes long; exceptions are EMDR sessions, and initial couples' counselling sessions, which are 90 minutes, and they are charged accordingly.

48 hours cancellation notice is needed in order to avoid being charged for a missed appointment.

If you have any other questions not covered by the above, please feel free to contact me.



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