Therapy 101: The Ultimate Guide to Beginning Therapy

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Published Date|
October 19, 2023

Therapy 101: The Ultimate Guide to Beginning Therapy


Whether you need support navigating a difficult life event, want to have healthier relationships, or you’ve simply decided it’s time to feel better in your life, therapy can be a great place to start.


You’ve begun researching the different kinds of therapy and searching out different therapists in your area. You may have an understanding of the challenges you want to address in therapy and even set a few goals for yourself throughout the process.


Now what?


Here at KMA, we know that you want to thrive in your personal life, relationships, and career.


To do that, you need a therapy partner who can provide you with the tools and resources you need to face life’s challenges – both big and small.


We know it can be frustrating to navigate the therapy process, from finding the best-fit therapist for you to making sure your money is spent on sessions that will bring you the most benefit.


We’ve created this Therapy 101 Guide to make this process easier.


It will take you through 8 simple steps so that you feel confident in your ability to get the support you deserve.


8 Steps to Finding the Best Therapist for You:


  1. How does the therapy process work?
  2. What type of therapy will work for you?
  3. How do you know your therapist is the right fit?
  4. How much will therapy cost?
  5. How does therapy work at KMA?
  6. How else can you support your mental health?
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. First session checklist

How does the therapy process work?

Therapy can feel overwhelming, but if you’re here, then you’ve already completed the first step – researching options for therapy.

best therapists in toronto therapy research questions

There are four main questions to consider when researching therapy:

1. What challenges are you facing?

2. What are you looking for in a therapist?

3. How much can you afford to spend on therapy?

4. What therapy practices are you interested in attending?

After researching your options for therapy, you’ll begin the process of reaching out to individual therapy practices or individual therapists.

Websites like Psychology Today can be a great place to search up therapy options based on the challenges you’re facing and therapists’ areas of specialization.

What Type of Therapy Will Work for You?

Therapy is not one-size-fits-all. The type of therapy that works best for you will depend on your learning style, the challenges you’re facing, and the way you prefer to connect with your feelings.

We’ve outlined three types of therapy that are often effective choices for our clients:

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

what is cbt

What is it?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an action-based form of therapy that helps you gain control over your feelings and actions by examining the thoughts you have on a daily basis.

It is based on the idea that you have control over your feelings and actions, which are governed by the cognitions (thoughts) that we have on a daily basis.

CBT uses various exercises to help you re-write negative cognitions in a practical and short-term therapy approach.

What does it work for?

CBT can help with issues including anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How do you know if it’s a good fit?

CBT can be a good fit if you’re looking to:

  • Gain tangible skills and strategies that are applicable in your daily life
  • Create new and positive beliefs about yourself and your life
  • Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals
  • Experience a set timeline (8 – 16 weeks)

Learn more about CBT by reading What is CBT? Pros and Cons

2. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

what is psychodynamic therapy

What is it?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy helps you to build self-awareness. It lets you understand how your past experiences influence your present behaviour.

Your past relationships – whether romantic, familial, or friendly – may still hold unresolved conflicts. This can cause symptoms that interfere with your daily life.

Your therapist will help you examine these relationship patterns and figure out how to resolve them.

What does it work for?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy can help you explore topics including family issues, feelings of anxiety and depression, and past abuse or trauma.

How do you know if it’s a good fit?

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy can be a good fit for you if:

  • You’re interested in a less rigorous form of therapy
  • You have unresolved feelings about past relationships
  • You place a high value on a deep relationship with your therapist

Learn more about Psychodynamic Psychotherapy by reading What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy? The Pros and Cons

3. Existential Therapy

what is existential therapy

What is it?

Existential Therapy explores your values and sense of self and challenges you to investigate how to live a more meaningful life.

It can help you to navigate anxiety related to death and dying and support you in experiencing more joy and fulfillment.

It is a relationship-driven form of therapy that emphasizes how you connect with your therapist. It fosters self-awareness, responsibility, and awareness of how the choices you make impact your life.

What does it work for?

Existential Psychotherapy can help you explore feelings of being “stuck” or hopeless,  anxiety surrounding death, and support you in navigating life transitions.

How do you know if it’s a good fit?

Existential Therapy can be a good fit if you’re looking to:

  • Establish strategies to identify and overcome your fears
  • Feel a greater sense of personal responsibility and self-determination
  • Develop a greater sense of self, and understand your role in your recovery

Learn more about Existential Therapy by reading What is Existential Therapy? Pros and Cons

Visit our Therapies page to learn more about the extensive range of therapy options we offer to our clients.

Need to read the rest for later? Download your copy of the full Therapy 101 Guide.

What Type of Therapist Should You See?

One of the things to consider when choosing a therapist is the type of therapist you’d like to see. In Ontario, the word “therapist” is an umbrella term that covers a variety of different mental health professionals.

types of therapists in ontario what type of therapist should you see

Types of therapists in Ontario include:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Social Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist

Learning more about the different types of therapists and choosing which type best fits your needs can help you narrow down your options when searching for a therapist.

Areas of Specialization in Therapy

Depending on the challenges you’re facing and what you’d like to explore in therapy, you’ll be looking for different areas of specialization.

Explore our guides on how to find a therapist specializing in:

Qualities of a Great Therapist

Some ways you can identify that your therapist is the right fit include:

  • A feeling of comfort with them
  • A safe, non-judgmental environment
  • Feeling excited to speak to them again
  • Experiencing productive therapy sessions

Experiencing these moments can be great indicators that your therapist is the right fit.

How much does therapy cost?


In Ontario Canada, therapy typically costs between $60 - $300 CDN per session for a one-hour session. You may be able to find some options for cheaper offered by practices with sliding-scale rates based on your income.


Here at KMA, your introductory session will last 50 minutes and cost $190. Your subsequent sessions will last 50 minutes and cost $245 per session.


The cost of your therapy sessions covers:

  • Insurance
  • Licensing fees
  • Supervision fees
  • Your therapist’s in-session and between-session work

Learn more about what goes into the price of a therapy session by reading Why Does Therapy Cost So Much?

How can you pay for therapy?

Therapy at KMA is typically covered under your insurance plan under Psychological Services.


However, your coverage will vary by your plan. Some plans may cover your full sessions, while others may cover 75% and expect you to pay 25% out-of-pocket.

Our article Is Mental Health Therapy Covered by Insurance is a great place to learn more about your coverage options.

How does therapy work at KMA Therapy?

Here at KMA, your therapy journey will begin with a 50-minute Introductory Appointment.


One of our caring intake specialists will reach out to you within 48 hours to schedule this appointment if you haven’t already scheduled it online.


During your introductory appointment, you will:


1. Learn about consent and confidentiality during the therapy process

2. Provide information to the intake therapist about the challenges you’re facing and your goals in therapy

3. Ask any questions you have about the therapy process

4. Receive a plan of action, including a therapist, types of therapy, and estimated duration of therapy


Enter your introductory session with confidence by reading 3 Helpful Tips to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session.


After your Introductory appointment, you’ll be matched with an amazing therapist who we feel will best suit your needs.


You will then attend your First Official Session, and begin your therapy treatment plan.


After you’ve completed your established treatment plan, we’ll do a check-in session to see if you want to continue in therapy, or if you feel confident moving forward without a therapist’s support.


Either way, you’re always welcome back to book another session with your therapist.

How else can you support your mental health?


Whether you want to supplement your therapy with outside support, or you’re looking to find an alternative to therapy, exploring these independent learning resources can be a great way to support your mental health.


To learn about the benefits of exercise, read: How Does Exercise Improve Mental Health?


To navigate through difficult past experiences, read: 5 Healing Ways to Reparent Your Inner Child


To explore feelings of stress in the workplace, read: Why Burnout is More Than Stress - and How to Fix It


Explore even more in our Learning Centre.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know I need to go to therapy?

Therapy is often thought of as something that you only attend when you’re struggling with mental illness or coping with major life events.

But therapy can be beneficial for many challenges you’re facing in daily life.

It may be time for therapy if:

  • You don’t feel like yourself
  • Your relationships are suffering
  • You feel unable to control or handle your emotions
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about the challenges you’re facing
  • You’re altering aspects of your life to compensate for the issues you’re facing

There can be a stigma around attending therapy, but everyone needs help sometimes.

You deserve to feel great in your daily life - and attending therapy can be a great place to start.

Learn more about the benefits of therapy by reading 5 Signs it’s Time to Go to Therapy.

Why do I need to attend an Introductory Appointment?


Your Introductory Appointment is important to help us establish your goals and needs in therapy, and match you with the best therapist for your needs.


It will also help direct your first session – your new therapist will have a solid starting point for your first official session, which can help it to feel more productive.

Your Introductory Appointment will touch on similar subjects as your first session. But rather than repeating the same information, you’ll be able to go into it in more depth and have a better understanding of which challenges you’d like to address first.


Your Introductory Appointment is also a great time to ask logistical questions about KMA Therapy (such as the cost and frequency of therapy) so that your First Official Session can focus more on you.


introductory session kma therapy toronto


What if I don’t like the therapist I’m matched with?


Beginning therapy can feel a lot like dating – you might not meet the person you click with right away, but that doesn’t mean you should quit.


While our Introductory Sessions are highly successful at matching our clients with their best-fit therapist, sometimes you might disagree.


We’re confident that you’ll find a great fit here at KMA – we’ll gladly match you with another fantastic therapist in our practice


You can read about this in more detail in our article I Don’t Like My Therapist: What Should I Do?


Ready to attend your first session? Print off our First Session Checklist to make the most out of your first therapy appointment.

First Therapy Session Checklist

first therapy session checklist


After reading this guide, you’re now equipped with the tools you need to get a great start on your therapy journey.


Stop struggling alone and get the support you deserve in order to live your best life.

Author |
Emily Weatherhead (Guest Author)
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