Psychologists and clients work together. The right match is important. Most psychologists agree that an important factor in determining whether or not to work with a particular psychologist, once that psychologist’s credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that psychologist. A good rapport with your psychologist is critical. Choose one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease.
A psychologist studies how we think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint and applies this knowledge to help people understand, explain and change their behaviour.
The main difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist is the training. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor who has gone on to specialize psychiatry and mental health disorders. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications. The cost of services by a psychiatrist is covered by provincial health care.
Psychologists do not have to train as medical doctors in order to be licensed. In Alberta, psychologists must have at least a master’s degree in psychology. Furthermore, psychologists cannot prescribe medications. In Alberta, Registered Psychologists are licensed by and professionally and ethically regulated by the College of Alberta Psychologists. The cost of services provided by a Registered Psychologist is typically not covered by our provincial health care.
All counselling sessions are confidential, except for a few limits which I am legally bound to follow. Limits to confidentiality generally involve a court order that would require me as a psychologist to provide information for legal proceedings. Other limits included are if a client or someone else poses an immediate danger to himself or herself or another person, or if there is a potential of abuse/neglect towards any minor person. Any limits to confidentiality will be fully discussed in our first session, which re also outlined in my consent document.
I require 24 hours notice to cancel an appointment. Cancellations under 24 hours and/or missed appointments will be billed at my hourly rate.
If you feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness, and your problems do not seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends then therapy is likely for you. If you find it difficult to carry out everyday activities, such as:
- Concentrating on assignments at work and your job performance is suffering as a result
- If you worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge
- If your actions are harmful to yourself or to others: for instance, you are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive
On average, most people will attend 6-12 counselling sessions before ending therapy. Some individuals find that just 1 session can create significant change in their lives. Each person who comes for counselling will be different in terms of their needs and what benefit they get from therapy. For some people, the number of sessions may be lower or higher. I will never tell you that you can no longer come for treatment. I realize that from time to time individuals want to come in a year or two later for a booster session.