What is a Psychologist?
Psychologists are regulated health service providers. In Alberta, they are governed by the College of Alberta Psychologists and must adhere to a number of ethical, professional, and health regulations.
Although coaches, psychotherapists, and counsellors can be helpful resources for individuals, they are not the same as psychologists. They do not typically have the same rigorous training and do not have to adhere to any ethical or professional regulations. Additionally, “coach,” “therapist,” and “counsellor” are not regulated titles. This means that anyone can use these titles. “Psychologist,” on the other hand, is a regulated title and is reserved for individuals who are qualified by, and registered with the College of Alberta Psychologists.
The College of Alberta Psychologists ensures that psychologists:
- Are well trained,
- Work only within their area of specialization,
- Obey the laws and regulations of the province as well as ethical, professional, and health standards,
- Provide safe and effective services,
- Are held accountable to consumer complaints made to the College of Alberta Psychologists.
Why see a Psychologist?
Our clients come and see us for numerous reasons. While it is often assumed that you should see a psychologist, when you have overwhelming problems or are in a crisis situation, many of our clients just want to make improvements in a single area of their life or want to be healthier. In fact, almost anyone can benefit from psychological help.
Psychologists can help individuals to work through a variety of difficult life situations and concerns. Although different psychologists have different counselling approaches and techniques, all psychologists strive to help individuals to feel more satisfied and fulfilled in their lives. Working with a psychologist means that you will receive quality, confidential support/guidance from someone who is non-judgmental, empathetic and knowledgeable about your concern(s).
Are my sessions confidential?
All sessions are kept in strict confidence. Information disclosed with a psychologists will not be shared, except under the following conditions:
- Risk of harm to yourself or others
- Abuse or neglect of a child or dependent adult
- Court subpoena
- Limits to confidentiality if the client is a minor – these can be discussed with the psychologist.
How long are sessions?
Typically, appointments are hourly. Sessions are typically 55 minutes in length and in the last 5 minutes clients gain their homework, pay for their session, and schedule their next appointment. Some psychologists offer longer or shorter sessions depending on your needs.
How many sessions are required?
There is no number of sessions that are required. The number of sessions is dependent upon your personal situation and needs.
What can I expect in my free 15-minute consultation?
Some people may not have experienced counselling sessions previously, or are unsure if counselling is the right option for them, so we offer a free consultation to help you clarify this. This is a 15-minute introductory meeting (in-person or over the phone/skype), where you have the opportunity to meet the psychologist and see if working together feels like the right fit for you.
How do I know if I need counselling?
Some indicators that a trained professional may be able to help you, if:
- You have been struggling with an issue and your best efforts do not seem to be helping
- A concern is impacting areas of your life such as your relationships, work performance or day-to-day functioning
- You just want to feel happier
- Experiencing feelings of hopelessness
- You are experiencing overwhelming anxiety
- You are experiencing difficulties in a relationship
- Using coping methods such as drugs or alcohol
What are the costs? Are fees covered through insurance or health benefits?
As of November 1, 2022, a standard rate of $200/hour will apply. This fee is in accordance with the recommendations from the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta.
Many people have health benefits; either privately or through their employer. This coverage can cover the costs in full or part, depending on the benefits package. If you are wondering what coverage you have through your employer; either review your benefits information or contact your HR person. If accessing benefits through your employer, no one at your company will know what services you have accessed. The reimbursement request goes directly to the insurance company. The only thing reported to the employer is the dollar amount used.
Psychological sessions can also be claimed on your income taxes.
Do you offer evening and weekend sessions?
Yes, many of our psychologists offer evening and weekend sessions. They can be scheduled in accordance with your and the psychologist’s availability.