Q: I have never seen a psychologist before, what is the process? Do I need a referral?

The decision to see a psychologist or bring your child to a psychologist  is not an easy one. People may worry that others will find out and think there is something wrong with them or their child. Remember that the service is confidential and no one knows that a particular individual is seeing a psychologist or what the problem is. For a number of situations, when the problems become so great that they begin interfering with your daily routines or functioning and you feel unable to change using your current strategies, a psychologist may be able to help.

You do not need a physician/GP referral to make an appointment with me, however, you may need this for your insurance plan to get reimbursed. Please check in with your private insurance provider (e.g., Blue Cross, Manulife, etc) to see what is needed. You can call or email me to set up an appointment. Please note that I typically am not able to answer my phone during office hours as I am working with clients, For this reason, email is typically a quicker way to receive a response from me. Feel free to contact me via phone and leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I am able. 

Q: What's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? Can you prescribe me medication?

A: Psychologists hold either a masters and/or doctoral degree in psychology that typically involves 6 to 10 years of university study.  Psychologists who hold doctoral degrees can use the title "Dr." A practicing psychologist is trained to assess and diagnose problems in how people think, how they handle emotions, and how they act, as well as how to overcome or manage these problems. A psychologist is uniquely trained to use psychological tests to help with assessment and diagnosis. Psychologists help people overcome or manage their concerns using a variety of treatments or psychotherapies. 

There are some distinctions between psychologists depending on how long they went to school and for what specialization. I am a Ph.D. level psychologist and graduated from a clinical psychology program at Queen's University. I am a Registered  Psychologist in both Alberta and Ontario and an accredited CBT specialist in Canada. I specialize in treating children and adolescents, and adults using evidence-based treatments, and and identify cognitive-behavioural therapy and behaviour therapy as my primary form of treatment.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who go on to specialize in mental health and related disorders. Psychiatrists often use medication to help their clients manage their mental health concerns and there are some disorders for which medications are especially beneficial. Some psychiatrists also provide psychotherapy.

As a psychologist I am not able to prescribe you medication but I can work with your family physician if medication is a consideration. 

What is cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT)?

The majority of evidence at this time identifies cognitive-behavioral or behavioral therapy as the most effective treatment approach currently available for OCD, anxiety disorders, and OC related disorders . CBT is a form of treatment that focuses on changing behaviours by understanding how thoughts, behaviours and feelings are interconnected and influence each other. I will work with you to help identify your goals, teach you skills on how to reach them, and assess/monitor your progress throughout treatment. CBT is collaborative and requires the participation of both the client and therapist. 

Exposure and exposure and response prevention (ERP) interventions represent a gold standard in the treatment of OCD, anxiety disorders and most OC related disorders. Anxious people often tend to avoid objects, activities, or places associated with their fears. They may also use special precautions to be able to cope.  Avoidance behaviors and coping strategies known as “safety behaviours" as well as distraction, work in the short term, but end up making the problem worse in the long term. I will help you by providing you with the needed tools to overcome your fears.   We will work together to determine what is maintaining your fears and then at a pace that is comfortable begin to confront the situations or activities that are making your anxiety stronger. 

Q: How is my privacy protected?

A: When seeing a psychologist, you are protected by laws and ethical standards concerning your privacy and confidentiality.  In the vast majority of cases, information discussed with a psychologist is protected by confidentiality. There are limits to confidentiality that will be discussed with you at your first session. I will provide you with a written summary of my practice's  policies and guidelines for confidentiality during the consent to treatment process at your first session. With your consent, there may be contact with your referral source, primary physician, or others in your circle of care. 

Q: Are your services covered under Alberta Health Care and do you accept insurance?

A: Unfortunately, Alberta Health Care does not provide coverage for psychological services. However, most group insurance plans provide partial or complete coverage.  Services provided by a Registered Psychologist can be claimed as a medical expense and are tax-deductible.

Consistent with most practices in the area, payment for each session is collected at the beginning of each meeting, allowing everyone involved to focus entirely on the problems at hand. 

I will provide you with the necessary receipt and information for later reimbursement. 

Also, I would encourage you to contact your provider prior to making an appointment in order to determine what coverage you have and for what services.  Please do not hesitate to ask more about insurance during your initial contact to set up an appointment. 

Q: What forms of payment do you accept?

A: I accept a variety of payment options, including cash, cheque and e-transfers (as long as they arrive prior to the session). Interac/debit, VISA, MasterCard are currently not accepted. Upon payment prior to your session, a receipt will be provided to you for reimbursement/tax purposes.