1) What is counselling?
When provided by a trained mental health professional, counselling provides an opportunity for you to explore a variety of concerns, such as past or current difficulties, life dissatisfaction, and distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Counselling also facilitates understanding/self-awareness, promotes growth and change, improves functioning, and relationships with others. Counselling is not prescriptive; rather, the relationship between you and the mental health professional is collaborative in nature.
2) Is counselling helpful?
Yes! Many studies have shown that counselling is effective in treating a variety of psychological difficulties, is an effective alternative to anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications, may produce long-term improvements, and reduces the need for medical services. Research has also shown that people with emotional and interpersonal difficulties who sought counselling do better than those who did not seek counselling. Click here for more information on the effectiveness of psychological treatment.
3) What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor/Therapist?
Typically, the difference between a Psychologist and a Counsellor/Therapist is the amount of schooling, licensure, and expected regulations.
In British Columbia, a Psychologist is required to have a PhD within an area of Psychology (e.g. Counselling Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Neuropsychology) and must be registered with a regulatory body (i.e., The College of Psychologists of British Columbia). The College of Psychologists of British Columbia requires Psychologists to uphold continued competency (e.g. annual professional development, consultation), liability insurance, and maintain professional and ethical practices. Services provided by Psychologists are typically covered by most extended health care benefits.
Therapists/Counsellors typically have a Master’s degree in with the area of Psychology (a few hold doctorates). They are not required to be registered within a regulatory body, although some do, such as with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors.
4) How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions needed depends on the severity, complexity, and duration of the problem for which you are seeking help, as well as your personal motivation for dealing with these difficulties. For some issues, a person may begin to see symptom relief and improvement within 7 or 8 counselling sessions while other issues may require more sessions. People tend to make more progress when they have the continuity of weekly counselling sessions. However, individual circumstances vary. Some people attend counselling biweekly, others attend monthly.
5)How long is a session and what is your fee?
In therapy, I work on the “50-minute hour,” meaning that I meet with clients for 50 minutes and 10 minutes are reserved for note taking and preparation. The fee for a 50-minute session is $225.00 (plus GST). The fee is collected at the beginning of each session and is payable via cash, Visa, or MasterCard. I do not accept debit, Visa debit, cheques, and American Express. An official receipt with my College of Psychologists of British Columbia registration number will be issued to you after payment has been processed (typically 1-2 business days).
Some clients may wish to schedule longer appointments (e.g., 80 minutes or 110 minutes). An 80-minute session is $337.50 (plus GST). A 110-minute session is $450.00 (plus GST).
6) Is counselling covered by the Medical Service Plan?
No, counselling services provided by Psychologists are not covered by the Medical Service Plan (MSP) of British Columbia. Only Physicians and Psychiatrists are covered by MSP.
7)Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
- Does my extended health benefits cover services with a Registered Psychologist?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- What is the amount of coverage per year?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
You may also want to check if you also have coverage under a parent or spouse’s/common-law partner’s plan.
8) Is the fee tax deductible?
Yes, fees for counselling and therapy services are tax deductible as a medical expense. Please speak with your accountant for more information.
9) Do you provide direct billing?
I provide direct billing only for government employees through Veterans Affairs Canada and Canadian Armed Forces. For other plans, a receipt will be provided for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
10) I live in British Columbia, but I’m quite far from your Kelowna office. Do you offer remote sessions?
Yes, I provide telephone counselling and videoconferencing sessions to individuals living in British Columbia who live remotely and/or are not able to come to the office. The videoconferencing program I use is GotoMeeting. I do not use Skype.
11) What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, I require two business days’ notice by telephone (not email). All phone calls must be received during business hours (Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00pm). Messages left after hours and on weekends and statutory holidays will be considered received at 8:30am the following business day. The regular session fee will apply to missed appointments without sufficient notification. Patients are required to pay for missed appointments prior to scheduling subsequent appointments.
Please note that email is not considered to be an acceptable form of communication for cancelling and re-scheduling appointments. Patients who choose to email their cancellation are required to pay the regular session fee prior to scheduling subsequent appointments.
12) What are your office hours?
Monday – Friday 8:30-5:00. The office is closed weekends and all Statutory Holidays.
13) Where are you located?
My office is located at 1100-1631 Dickson Avenue, Kelowna BC V1Y 0B5 (Landmark 6 building). There is free one and two hour parking available.