You've just poured your heart out and your psychotherapist is staring at the ceiling again, coming up with the same tired strategies. Three Toronto psychotherapists think they have the antidote for that particular problem.
For the last year and a half, Liv Capozzi, Lauren Hollett and Susan Valentine have been running a practice they've named 3View, which offers individuals and couples not just one, but three therapists in the room at the same time.
The trio play off one another inside the therapy room, and after sessions they brainstorm about where the treatment needs to go. They say their three-on-one sessions bring a greater complement of skills to the client, and in turn more therapeutic benefits.
The shared approach makes her job more foolproof, Valentine says. "Sometimes when it's just you and the client you can overlook something or miss something that's important."
Capozzi echoes that: "No matter what my state is for the day, there are two other therapists who are there to make up for it."
The three therapists don't take on any defined good-cop, bad-cop-like roles, but pool their combined skills, which they find to be particularly effective in crisis situations. When a distraught client came to see them, the three therapists felt that together they provided enough empathy and insight to calm the person down and help her move forward.
"We made her feel extremely validated, helped de-escalate the crisis, and helped manage some of these emotions she was experiencing," said Hollett.
Capozzi says the client "walked away knowing she had a team behind her" – and the session would not have gone as well had only one of them been there. "As much as I'd like to think we're awesome individual therapists, I don't think we could have had such an impact."
Still, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the approach.
Adam Radomsky, a practising Montreal psychologist and professor at Concordia University, says he gets excited about new types of therapies, but he always asks the question, "Where's the data?"
He says there needs to be proper studies done before people pay for something like 3View.
The therapy doesn't come cheap. The 3View initial consultation costs $180, with $210 for each ongoing session. By comparison, the therapists charge between $120 and $150 for one-on-one sessions. Nevertheless the directed nature of 3View often results in a shorter-term therapy.
If clients are looking for short-term therapies, Radomsky says, cognitive-behaviour therapy has been clinically proven. While he is a big believer in peer support and says it's a proven way to train therapists, he needs to see more supportive evidence before he can back a mental-health solution that involves tying up not one but three therapists.