FAQ

Asked Questions

What is the difference between and psychiatrist and psychologist?
Are the sessions confidential?
What can I expect during the first session?
What are your fees and payment options?
What are your policies around cancellations and missed appointments?
How do I know if I need therapy?
If my partner does not want to come in, is it still useful for me to come in alone?
If my partner is abusing me emotionally, physically, or sexually, do we come in together?

 

What is the difference between and psychiatrist and psychologist?
The fundamental difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist is the training each receives and, therefore, subsequent scope of practice. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has gone on to specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the mental and physical aspects of mental illnesses/psychological disturbances. (PrivatePsychiatryLondon website, 2011)

 

As part of the treatment plan, they can prescribe medications. In Alberta, they are licensed by and professionally and ethically regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. The cost of services by a psychiatrist is covered by our provincial health care.

 

A Registered Psychologist "studies how we think, feel, and behave from a scientific view point and applies this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their behavior." (PAA website, 2011)

 

Registered Psychologists do not have to train as medical doctors in order to be licensed. They can't prescribe medications. In Alberta, Registered Psychologists are licensed by and professionally and ethically regulated by the College of Alberta Psychologists. The cost of services provided by a Registered Psychologist is typically not covered by our provincial health care. However, there are extensive mental health services provided by Alberta Health Services, free of charge to the public. Please visit www.albertahealthservices.ca if you need more information about these services. Costs may be covered by individual health care benefits or Employee Assistance Programs through the workplace. Otherwise, cost of service is an individual responsibility.

 

Are the sessions confidential?
Under the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, I am required to hold a client's information confidential. Any release of information must be authorized by my client first. There are 'limits to confidentiality' (College of Alberta Psychologists Standards of Practice, 2005), that require me to release information without consent:

  • Child Abuse: if a disclosure is made about the abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect) of a child, I am required to report it to Alberta Children Services.

  • Harm to self or others: " Disclosure is necessary to prevent immediate and grave harm to the client or another person's mental health or safety." (CAP Standards of Practice, 2005). I am required to call emergency services to intervene.

  • Subpoena of my files: I am ultimately bound by federal and provincial laws and regulations regarding the subpoena of my files.

Please also note: If you are using an Employee Assistance Program (or any 3rd party payer), there may be certain requirements around release of information, e.g., the expectation that the psychologist send progress reports to the EAP. Please discuss this with your EAP, in order that you may make an informed decision about the release of this information.

 

What can I expect during the first session?
The first session is about getting some history, an understanding of what brings you to therapy, and what you are needing. The counselling process is a collaborative one based fundamentally in respect and non-judgment for the client. I will also review the pertinent ethical issues around the counselling process.

 

Your first session will be 60 minutes. Subsequent sessions can be 75 or 90 minutes in length if you wish. You will be charged accordingly. If you choose 75 or 90 minute sessions, please consult your insurance company for the reimbursement policies around sessions over one hour.

 

 

What are your fees and payment options?

 

My fee is currently $160/hr. As of January 1, 2019 my fee will be $170/hr. I do not have a sliding fee scale. Fees to be re-evaluated yearly.  

 

Method of payment: cash, cheque, debit, credit card, e-transfer.

 

Direct Billing:  Yes, we will direct bill any insurance company that allows for direct billing.  Please look into that before booking your appt.

 

Employee Assistance Programs:  If you are using your Employee Assistance Program, please discuss this with our Administrative Assistant upon booking as each EAP has its own administration of services, e.g., number of sessions covered, billing requirements, fees, etc.  

 

How do I know if I need therapy?
There may be times in our lives when there is no doubt that we 'need to talk to someone.' We know this because we feel extreme distress and we are not functioning or coping the way we used to or want to. Perhaps you are going through a personal crisis: someone you love has died, your relationship has ended, you have lost your job, you feel overwhelmed by your job, your future is very uncertain... You may be experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief, sadness, depression, anger, anxiety and you feel you have very little control of these feelings. Or, it is less obvious than this. You may be feeling really ready to look at the patterns in your life that ultimately hurt you and others around you.

 

Couples counselling:
You and your partner may be distressed by any one of the following:
- seemingly having the 'same argument' over and over
- experiencing a lack of emotional, physical, or sexual closeness
- poor communication patterns
- infidelity
- substance abuse/addictions.

Couple's counselling may be a very effective process to begin to improve your relationship.

 

If my partner does not want to come in, is it still useful for me to come in alone?
Yes. Taking personal responsibility for one's part in negative patterns (and positive ones) is very important, if not essential to change how we feel in relationships. However, the caveat is that the 'reason' your partner is unwilling to come in for counselling may be indicative of a central issue in the relationship. Also, it is important to recognize that two people create a pattern of relating and two people are responsible to change it. It is a very different therapeutic process (and outcome, often) to talk about one's partner as opposed to talking to them in a counselling session.

 

If my partner is abusing me emotionally, physically, or sexually, do we come in together?
No. If there is chronic emotional, physical, or sexual abuse to one or both partners, couple's counselling is not recommended. Safety of clients is paramount in the counselling process. If one of the partners is afraid 'to say the wrong thing' in session for fear that he or she will 'pay for it later' then couple's counselling is not recommended until individual issues are dealt with.