What can I expect during therapy?

Therapy will begin with obtaining information relating to the concerns you want help with and identifying your current coping strategies, strengths, and goals to work towards. Collaboration between you and your psychologist is one of the keys to success and important in creating a treatment plan to help you achieve the goals you set out. Each client’s treatment plan will differ according to their goals and will mainly focus on the here-and-now. Your past experiences may be explored to help increase awareness and understanding regarding their impact on your current problems and everyday life. Homework is an integral part of therapy, and I will recommend specific strategies and resources for you to work on in between sessions as well as during sessions. This will give you the opportunity to test out new ways of thinking, behaving, and coping and are key to you making progress in treatment.

How long will therapy take?

The duration of therapy generally depends on the complexity and duration of the problem. Your level of motivation, readiness to make changes, and the amount of effort and active participation you put into working towards your goals are other important factors. Clients can expect to see improvement quite quickly and report a reduction in their symptoms within a few weeks. Therapy is usually reviewed every few weeks to ensure you are making progress. Ending therapy is an important part of the process, particularly with regard to reducing the risk of a relapse. As your therapy comes to an end, I will help you develop a plan to enable you to maintain and further your progress of your goals, helping you to become your own therapist.

What are the risks and benefits of therapy?

Therapy involves exploring your problems and the impact they are having on your life. With this increased awareness can come a temporary increase in uncomfortable emotions and problems may appear worse at the beginning as you work on developing new coping skills and strategies. Therapy may result in you making changes in your life you did not anticipate prior to therapy, such as ending a relationship, pursuing a new career, or lifestyle change. Although making positive changes is important, it can feel scary and daunting and I encourage you to discuss any negative effects with me so that I can help you work through these. The benefits of therapy are numerous and dependent on your personal goals. Clients report feeling understood by their therapist, have greater awareness and understanding about themselves and their problem(s), develop different skills and strategies to help deal with their problems, feel better about themselves physically and emotionally, improvements in communication and relationships, and report living richer and more meaningful lives.

How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?

One of the most important factors of therapy is the relationship between client and therapist. It is important that you ‘gel’ and feel comfortable, understood, and able to be open and honest so that you get the most out of treatment. I encourage you to book a free consultation with me. This can help to determine whether we are a good fit, and whether I am the best therapist to help you with the problems you are seeking help for. It also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have. If at any time you do have any concerns about your therapy, you are strongly encouraged to discuss this with me so we can address them. I welcome all feedback and encourage this at each session in order to provide you with good quality treatment. If you feel dissatisfied for any reason and we are unable to resolve these issues, you are free to stop therapy at any time. I will be happy to provide you with recommendations for alternative service providers whom you can contact.

What is the difference between a psychologist and other types of therapists?

A psychologist is trained in psychology and the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment with regard to how people think, feel, and behave. In Alberta, a psychologist will have a minimum of a Master’s level of education and training in their area of practice, along with 1600 hours of supervised practice and successful completion of licensing exams. Unique to the psychology profession, psychologists are specifically trained in the use of specialized psychological tests to assist with assessment and diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders, intelligence, achievement, and personality, etc. The title of psychologist is a 'protected' designation and can only be used by those who have met the required credentials, unlike the title of ‘therapist’, ‘counsellor’, or ‘psychotherapist’ which can be used by any individual regardless of their training. A psychologist will work with people to help them develop insight, understanding, and skills to manage their problems and improve how they are feeling. Psychologists will have received training in the uses of medication, and should be able to discuss issues such as side effects, but are unable to prescribe or provide specific recommendations about medication.

Can I get coverage for my psychology fees?

Many insurance health plans provide coverage, at least partial, for such services and your insurance provider can provide you with details regarding your plan. A receipt will be provided to you for reimbursement from your insurance provider. Direct billing is available for Alberta Blue Cross members. Psychological services are a tax-deductible medical expense so it is important that you retain your receipts.

Do I need a referral from a physician?

A physician’s referral is not required to access Clear Minds psychological services, however your insurance company may require one. You are encouraged to contact your insurance company to obtain this information.