Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
What is your training?
I have a Master of Social Work Degree, and am a registered member
(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,
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.