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Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of different titles for therapists out there. What is the difference between them?

Psychological Associates and Psychologists have education and formal training in the areas of psychological testing, research, diagnosis and treatment. They are able to formulate and communicate mental health diagnoses, and provide treatment in the form of talk therapy.  They are registered mental health providers that adhere to a high standard of professional practice as defined by the Regulated Health Professions Act, Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, Standards for Professional Conduct, Mental Health Act and the Privacy Act.  Their work is covered by most extended health benefits plans.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialization in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Most often, psychiatrists are employed in hospital settings and prescribe and manage medications for patients.  Typically, appointments are shorter in duration, involve less talk therapy, and focus more on whether the medication is helping to manage symptoms.  Some psychiatrists also work in private practice.

Social Workers (Masters of Social Work, MSW) have Master’s level education in the area of sociology, psychology and social work. They have training and experience providing support and therapeutic services to clients with emotional, mental and/or behavioural issues.  Social workers utilize a multi-faceted therapy approach, with a focus on helping clients improve their emotional, physical and functional status.  They are registered mental health providers regulated by the College of Registered Social Workers and Social Service Workers, adhering to a high standard of professional conduct and ethics.

Registered Psychotherapists (RP’s) come from various backgrounds of education and experience including sociology, psychology, education, spirituality, counselling, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. They work together with clients to bring about positive change in the client’s thinking, feeling, behaviour and social functioning.  RP’s are competent to use psychotherapy approaches from a variety of therapeutic modalities, depending on their individual background and experience. They are regulated by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and adhere to a high standard of professional conduct and ethics.

What is the controlled act of psychotherapy?

Under Ontario law, certain acts, referred to as “controlled acts,” may only be performed by authorized health care professionals. The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 governs those procedures or activities that may pose a risk to the public if not performed by a qualified practitioner.

By definition in the Regulated Health Professions Act, the controlled act of psychotherapy involves five elements:

  1. Treating
  2. by means of psychotherapy technique
  3. delivered through a therapeutic relationship
  4. an individual’s serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory that
  5. may seriously impair the individual’s judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning (RHPA 1991).

Who can provide the controlled act of psychotherapy?

In Ontario, members of six regulatory colleges are authorized to provide the controlled act of psychotherapy provided they do so in compliance with the regulations and the bylaws established by their regulatory colleges. These are:

  • College of Psychologists of Ontario
  • Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
  • College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

How will I know how to pick the right provider for me?

Choosing the right provider is much like trying on a piece of clothing to make sure it fits and is comfortable.  What is known from years of research about the process of psychotherapy, is that the relationship, or “fit” between you and your psychotherapist is one of the most important factors impacting the process of change.

So when you choose someone to begin this kind of work with, it is best to go with what feels right to you.  Call potential providers, and get a sense of them during that initial contact.  Ask questions.  We encourage you to contact us, so that we may help to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with a sense of comfort and ease that taking this step will be of benefit to you.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

No you do not need a referral.  You can call to set up the appointment yourself.

Coverage

Are your services covered by OHIP?

Psychological services are not covered by OHIP, however the services that we provide will be covered by your extended health benefits coverage if it includes coverage for psychological services.

Are your services covered by my extended health benefits plan?

Our services are covered by your extended health benefits plan, when your plan stipulates that it covers psychological services:

  • provided by, or supervised by, a registered member of the College of Psychologists
  • provided by MSW’s, or RP’s

How much does it cost?

The cost per 50 minute session ranges from $160-240 depending on the qualifications of the clinician and the complexity of the service provided.

Please note that there may be additional costs/increased rates associated with WSIB, extended health benefit providers, requests for documentation/letters for employers etc.

Most people have insurance coverage ranging from $500 to $2000 per year. Some first responders have unlimited benefits for psychological therapy. This same coverage extends to spouses and children.

You are encouraged to refer to your policy or contact your insurer to determine the nature and extent of your coverage.  

We cannot assume responsibility if your claim is rejected by your benefits provider.

If you have only minimal coverage, keep in mind that even short-term therapy can be of great benefit in helping you to find new ways of managing your problems to improve your quality of life.

How do I pay for each session?

You can pay by cash, cheque, debit, VISA or Mastercard at the time of your session.

What to Expect

Is it confidential?

Everything discussed within the context of this relationship is confidential and no information is released without your consent.  There are a few exceptions to confidentiality when:

  1. It is believed that you are at serious and imminent risk of harming yourself or others.
  2. It is believed that you or someone you know is placing a child at risk for physical or sexual abuse.
  3. It is believed that another regulated health professional has sexually abused you.
  4. A court of law subpoenas your records.

How long does therapy last? What can I expect?

The answer to both of these questions depends mostly on the problems that you want to address in therapy.  Some more specific problems respond very well to a shorter course of treatment, while problems that are more generalized such as “I am so unhappy and I have no idea why, or how to change it”, may take a longer time to address since there are many things that make you and your experiences unique.  For that reason, it may take time to explore the issues to generate a deeper understanding.

What you can expect is that if you are motivated and willing to look at your life with a new perspective, then you can make positive change, no matter how big or small.

What would I expect from my first session? How often do I have to meet with my therapist?

In your first meeting, we will begin by having you fill out some standard paperwork and review policies around topics such as confidentiality.  Then we will begin to discuss the issues that have brought you to therapy.  We will listen and ask questions to gain a preliminary understanding of your concerns.  If possible, by the end of the first session we will have generated a list of goals that you have for yourself – things that you would like to achieve through therapy that we can work toward together.

Most often when clients are beginning therapy, it is helpful to meet on a weekly or biweekly basis to begin to address the issues and symptoms that are most distressing.  For other clients, meeting less often suits their needs.  Frequency of sessions is something that will be discussed with you on an individual basis after consideration of your particular circumstances.

What are your hours of operation? Can I get an evening appointment?

Sessions are offered during the regular business day with some evening availability depending on the therapist.  At the present time, we do not offer weekend appointments.  Call to inquire about your particular needs.