What is a Psychologist?
A psychologist studies how we think, feel and behave and applies this knowledge to help people live maximally effective and healthy lives.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
While psychiatrists and psychologists both have specific training in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, their training is different. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, as such they treat mental illness primarily with medication. Psychologists are not medical doctors but instead have a doctorate-level degree in psychology and their primary way of treating mental illness is with psychotherapy.
What are the differences between psychotherapy and counselling?
For the most part, “counselling” and “psychotherapy” are unregulated terms. This means than anyone can say they are a counselor or psychotherapist without any legal ramifications. Buyer beware!
Counselling and psychotherapy both involve a dialogue with the goal of helping you to make changes within your life.
Both are based in a healing relationship between you and the therapist/counselor.
Psychotherapy can be thought of as a journey toward self-awareness, personality development, and the development of insight. Counselling, on the other hand, is more focused on resolving specific problems that arise in the here and now.
While counselling narrows in on specific problems, psychotherapy is expansive and considers the “bigger picture.” For example, psychotherapy aims to understand overall patterns of experience, chronic issues and recurrent feelings. It also takes into consideration how the past and future influence the present moment.
Counselling is typically brief, whereas psychotherapy is longer in duration. That said, most psychotherapists are capable of providing you with brief, solution-focused psychotherapy, which is similar to counselling.
Do I need a referral?
No, a referral is not required. However, your insurance provider may require it in order to reimburse your claims. Please verify with your insurance provider before making an appointment to avoid delays in your coverage and reimbursement.
When are appointments available?
My current availability is Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
What can I expect at my first appointment?
We will begin by reviewing some basic information and policies, as well as signing a therapy contract. We will also review your intake questionnaire and discuss what brings you to therapy and your goals. I will offer to email a copy of the policies and intake questionnaire for you to print and review/complete in advance. Otherwise, please arrive 15 minutes early to your first session to review/complete the documents.
Is my information private?
Entrusting your therapist with your personal information is necessary for effective therapy. Understandably, making yourself vulnerable in this way can be scary. I work hard to protect the integrity of your information. Anything you share within our sessions and any notes I take detailing our work will be protected by my promise of confidentiality.
I do sometimes request consultations from other psychologists for purpose of treatment planning, and to ensure that you are receiving the best care possible. In the event of consultation, I will de-identify your information so that others cannot trace the information back to you.
Are there any exceptions to confidentiality?
Yes. There are three major exceptions to confidentiality. I cannot protect your information if:
- Your records are subpoenaed
- You tell me that a child is currently being abused or neglected
- There is a clear and substantial risk that you will imminently and seriously harm yourself or another person
Please note that email correspondence is not secure. Keep this in mind when using email as a form of contact.
Record keeping and storage
The majority of my records are filed electronically. They are stored on a secure Canadian server with bank-level encryption. I also save these files on a password-protected computer. Any paper records are secured under lock and key.
I keep your personal therapy record and any documents pertaining to our work in secure storage for 7 years following the termination of our sessions. They will be destroyed after this time.