Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I believe in transparency in the treatment process, and that shared expectations can help you ask effective questions, and make informed decisions in your treatment.
How do I begin services?
Connecting with Dr. Hope for services involves either leaving a brief voicemail with your name and phone number, or filling in the "contact" form on this website in the top righthand corner.
Dr. Hope will follow-up with you to schedule a 15-minute consultation call free of charge to better understand what you are looking for services for. Depending on whether both yourself and Dr. Hope think that what she can offer is a good fit for you, Dr. Hope will invite you to schedule your intake assessment session. This is typically a 90-minute session to better understand your history, challenges you are facing, and your strengths. Using both objective assessment measures and collaborative discussion, Dr. Hope will form a working conceptualization of your difficulties, including diagnosis, in order to guide scientific decision making into which treatment may service you best while taking your unique personality and goals into account.
Following the intake, you can be scheduled for individual therapy appointments.
What is CBT?
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a scientifically supported psychotherapy that is focused on helping you to better understand the connection between your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviours. In CBT, you will learn to notice and monitor your day to day thinking, feelings, and habits in order to change patterns that are no longer serving you, and move towards your unique goals.
Difficulties that CBT is supported in helping with:
-Obsessive compulsive disorder
-Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In addition to traditional CBT, Dr. Hope offers two treatments that are evidence-based in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and grounded in CBT principles:
-Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
-Prolonged Exposure Therapy
To hear about a journalist's experience going through CPT for treatment of PTSD with a psychologist over ten sessions, you may be interested in the following podcast episode: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/682/ten-sessions
What is DBT?
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is an adaptation of cognitive behavioural therapy developed for individuals struggling with overwhelming emotions and difficulties related to borderline personality disorder, self-harm, and suicidality. DBT has also been found to be effective for other challenges, including painful or overwhelming emotions co-occuring with anxiety or depression, impulse control problems, and specific eating disorders. Using scientifically-based principles of CBT, DBT differs from traditional CBT in its added emphasis on mindfulness, non-judgement, and acceptance. One of the core tenets of DBT is that in order to change, we must accept ourselves as we are. Therefore, in addition to understanding your unique patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting, and learning new coping skills, in DBT you will also learn strategies for seeing and accepting reality as it is, including your emotions, and in addition to working on changing behaviours that you want to change you may learn to increase skills for self-validation.
Standard DBT, also known as "comprehensive DBT", involves both individual therapy sessions and joining a DBT skills training group. The DBT skills training group is a 26-week course in which you will cover four different modules of skills:
a) mindfulness skills
b) distress tolerance skills (for coping with and reducing emotional pain in the moment)
c) emotion regulation skills (for changing emotions in the long-term, including reducing unjustified fear, increasing pleasant experiences)
d) interpersonal effectiveness skills (for communicating effectively, boundary-setting, and improving relationship quality)
How long is treatment?
Dr. Hope will work with you to make treatment recommendations based on your specific difficulties you are looking for help with. Evidence-based treatment typically involves meeting every week, and at minimum every two weeks (biweekly) as less frequent sessions are not scientifically supported for the types of mood and behavioural challenges that Dr. Hope offers treatment for.
CBT is typically recommended at a minimum of 10-20 sessions. For certain types of problems, including depression, and treatment of PTSD (Cognitive Processing Therapy; Prolonged Exposure) can be effective in as few as 12 sessions. CBT includes skills and exercises for you to practice outside of session, and people usually benefit more from the treatment who enact these practices outside of session.
DBT, which is evidence-based for treatment of borderline personality disorder and associated difficulties, is evidence-based as a 12-month treatment including individual therapy sessions and skills group. A recent randomized control trial (RCT) is examining the question of whether DBT for six months instead of 12 months is as helpful for reducing self-harm, suicidality, and associated problems as the standard 12 month treatment, as this would be a more cost-effective treatment length.
Once you have been recommended and started treatment with Dr. Hope, she will work with you to collaboratively monitor progress on your goals using both your feedback and objective markers of progress or symptom change. This will help Dr. Hope make effective recommendations for modifying treatment, graduating from treatment, and better understand whether treatment is benefiting you. You are encouraged to take an active role in this process, and to provide feedback to Dr. Hope on your experience of therapy.