Getting started

Deciding to start counselling takes a lot of courage. The hardest step can be deciding to find support, so congratulations on taking the first step! Now that you’ve decided to start counselling, I recommend taking some time to find a psychologist that seems like a good fit for you.

How much does counselling cost?

As of January 1, 2023 my fee per counselling session will be going up to correspond with the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta’s Recommended Fee Schedule which is $220.00 As always, if my fees are an obstacle to your counselling, please let me know so we can have a conversation about options.

What can I expect from my first counselling session?

Starting anything new can be scary, let alone opening up to someone new about your most private matters. So take a deep breath. Let me tell you a little bit about what our first conversation will look like to help you imagine it. 

During our first session together, you can ask me any questions about my practice, our sessions, or anything else you would like to know. It’s really important to me that you feel comfortable, so don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind. We’ll also have a chance to discuss why you’ve decided to come to counselling. 

How many counselling sessions do I need?

This is a tricky question to answer. Have you ever heard the phrase, “How long is a piece of string”? Well, it’s kind of like that. 

Two important factors make the biggest difference in counselling. The first is the client factor, which includes all your resources, strengths, motivation, and support. The second is the therapeutic relationship between client and their psychologist. You should feel like there is a “click” because the psychologist you’re working with really gets you and your circumstances.

A lot of clients stay with me for years as they move through different life stages. Some people come to counselling regularly because it’s a part of their healthcare. Other clients come in as needed in times of crisis or stress. And other people schedule appointments when their finances and schedules make it possible. There’s no set number of sessions for effective counselling.

It’s good to remember that counselling doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out process to have an impact. Short-term counselling can be helpful because you can develop skills and tools to make dealing with everyday life a little bit easier. 

Does insurance cover counselling sessions?

Yes. Most health insurance plans will cover at least a portion of psychological services. Once I’ve received your payment, I’ll send you an electronic receipt you can submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement. You can also claim counselling as a medical expense on your income tax return. 

I’m not able to provide direct billing. 

What’s your cancellation policy?

Life happens, and sometimes things come up that are out of our control. If something comes up, please cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled session. If you don’t cancel at least 48 hours before, you’ll be charged the full session fee. 

How should I choose a psychologist?

The relationship between a psychologist and client is a huge part of good, effective counselling. Research has found that when clients and psychologists have a great connection, counselling is more successful. 

So how do you find a great connection? Start by choosing a psychologist you feel comfortable talking to. 

Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether or not a psychologist is a good fit for you. And it’s ok to take your time. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the chance to meet with them once or twice to help you decide. Don’t give up! It might take time to find the right fit.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

There’s a lot of confusion between these two, so let’s break them down. 

A registered psychologist is a mental health professional who works with clients to help them heal from things that have happened to them, learn about themselves and their relationships, manage problems, and meet their needs. Some psychologists assess and diagnose clients using different tests and tools. 

In Alberta, psychologists must have earned their masters or doctorate degree in counselling, completed 1600 hours of supervised practice, and passed written and oral exams. They do not prescribe medication.

A psychiatrist is a specialist medical doctor with training in mental health who prescribes and manages medication treatments. Psychiatrists may provide counselling, but many do not and tend to focus on diagnosis/evaluation and/or psychiatric medication management.