Please find answers to your frequently asked questions below. Please do not hesitate to call us at (613) 831-8181 or e-mail or use our contact form (Contact us) should you have any further questions, concerns or inquiries.
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What to Expect
If this is the first time you have seen a psychologist, it is completely natural that you may be experiencing a variety of emotions from:
- Eagerness or;
It is important to keep in mind that any feelings of discomfort usually disappear quickly during the first session.
The first session is usually the first of two treatment-focused assessment sessions (Treatment-focused Assessment). It gives us the opportunity to learn more about your concerns and situation. Your psychologist or therapist will gather information about the presenting concern and relevant background information. You do not need to prepare in any way for this appointment, as your psychologist or therapist will gently guide you through it with various questions.
The first session also gives you a chance to get to know your psychologist or therapists’s style and approach. It is important to find a psychologist or therapist that “fits” you. In other words, you need to feel comfortable, safe, motivated, and confident that you are able to establish a connection. You must feel that you can open up to your psychologist or therapist, and that your psychologist or therapist understands you and your situation. This “therapeutic alliance” is one of the most important influences on the success if your therapy.
Following the initial treatment-focused assessment session(s), your Saterra psychologist or therapist works collaboratively with you to provide treatment recommendations tailored individually to help you manage or overcome your concerns and meet your goals. It is up to you at that point how you would like to proceed with the recommendations, which may include individual therapy (Individual Therapy).
We at Saterra very much respect your privacy and abide by strict codes of confidentiality required by our professional colleges, especially the College of Psychologists of Ontario (http://www.cpo.on.ca/). This means that everything you talk about in therapy remains private. Ultimately, it is your information and you decide who has access to it. Therefore, no information will be communicated directly or indirectly to a third party without your informed consent. However, there are rare exceptions to confidentiality requiring the psychologist’s or therapist’s legal obligation to:
- Inform a potential victim of violence, or the appropriate authorities, of the client’s intention to inflict harm
- Inform appropriate persons, or healthcare professionals, of a client’s imminent intentions to end his or her life
- Report a health professional who has sexually abused a client or patient
- Release a client’s file if it is subpoenaed by a court of law
- Cooperate with a quality assurance review conducted by our professional college
In order to maximize the effectiveness of therapy, you should make it a high priority and avoid cancelling sessions except in cases of dire emergency.
To avoid being charged a cancellation fee for a missed session (as detailed in your consent form), you are requested to provide Saterra with 48 hours’ notice if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment. Voicemail can be left at any time directly with your psychologist or therapist, or at the Saterra general line at 613-831-8181
The Length of therapy treatment depends on what initially brings you to therapy and what your goals are.
- Very specific concerns or behavioural problems that can be directly targeted using short-term therapy based on learning new techniques average 3-8 sessions
- Therapy to work on a concerns that cause a moderate level of distress and are relatively uncomplicated averages 8-12 sessions
- More significant, complex, and long-standing difficulties that you wish to untangle, better understand, and transform over time (e.g., relationship patterns, chronic mental health, trauma) may require up to 12 or more sessions
Commonly, clients begin to feel some relief in the first couple of sessions.
Sessions are usually 50 minutes in length, with 10 minutes allocated for the psychologist to complete paperwork, session planning, and consultations.
We can discuss the frequency that best suits your needs depending on degree of distress, financial situation, personal schedules, and preferences.
Generally, research has shown that therapy is more beneficial with regular weekly sessions at the beginning.
You can self-refer or be referred by your family doctor. Some extended-care insurance providers require a letter of referral from a physician to be reimbursed for your sessions. If so, referrals need only state: “I refer ____ for psychological assessment and consultation.”
Types of Therapists
Psychology is both a science and a profession. 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. Psychology involves understanding both normal human experience as well as mental health difficulties.
Clinical psychologists have the most advanced and focused training and education in mental health and therapy compared to any other health profession.
The College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) regulates the profession of psychology in Ontario. Only healthcare providers registered and regulated by the CPO can call themselves “psychologists” or use the terms “psychology” or “psychological” in a professional capacity (e.g., a psychological report).
The CPO protects the interests of the public by ensuring that clients receive knowledgeable, skilled, experienced, and ethical professional mental health services when they consult a psychologist. Regulated psychologists are accountable to the public for their professional behaviour and activities.
In order to become a member of the CPO, a psychologist must meet a number of rigorous professional entry requirements, including:
- Graduate-level education and training in professional psychology
- Pre-doctoral residency
- Completion of a doctorate (PhD) in psychology culminating in a successful dissertation defense
- Post-doctoral year of supervised practice
- Successful completion of three CPO-administered exams: ethics and jurisprudence, examination of professional practice in psychology, and an oral exam with CPO members
Overall, psychologists must demonstrate that they meet the standards, guidelines, and ethical principles to provide competent services to clients.
In contrast, unregulated service providers have no regulatory body with the legal authority to set minimum levels of education, training, and competence, or to establish and monitor professional and ethical standards of conduct. No professional regulatory body is responsible for protecting your interests and holding unregulated providers accountable for the services you receive from them.
As a healthcare consumer, it is in your best interest to check the credentials of anyone you are considering in providing you with mental health services. Inquire into their level of training (e.g., is it from an accredited program?), their experience, and whether they are a regulated health professional.
Other benefits of seeing a psychologist include the opportunity to claim therapy sessions with a psychologist as health expenses on your income tax. Psychologists’ fees are often covered, at least in part, by extended health benefits plans.
You can be confident that a registered psychologist has the appropriate level of training and experience to provide professional mental health services, and that you are protected by the CPO.
The basic difference between the two mental health professionals is the kind of training they have received.
Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology and specialize in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of human emotion, thought, and behaviour. They have advanced training in therapy and the science of behaviour change. Although they may have training in the use of medication to treat mental illness, in Ontario they are not licensed to prescribe medication. Psychologists are the only professionals qualified to use certain kinds of psychological tests to assess intelligence, emotional and behavioural problems, and neuropsychological dysfunction. Their fees are covered by private payment, extended medical plans, employee assistance programs, and through government agencies or other special programs. They are licensed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
Psychiatrists have a degree in medicine like your family physician and then take specialized training in emotional and behavioural problems, predominantly from a biomedical approach focused on prescribing medication rather than on extended therapy sessions. Their fees are covered by OHIP. In Ontario, they are licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. For more information on the study and practice of psychiatry, please visit the website of the Canadian Psychiatric Association at http://www.cpa-apc.org.
Research often demonstrates that psychological treatment for many disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety) is as beneficial as medication, and frequently the best outcomes involve a combination of psychological and psychiatric therapy. Psychologists and psychiatrists often work together to provide their clients with excellent care.
*Please note that this information was obtained from the College of Psychologists of Ontario (http://www.cpo.on.ca, Ontario Psychological Association (http://www.psych.on.ca/ and the Canadian Psychological Association (http://www.cpa.ca). Please feel free to consult these websites for more information.
Psychotherapists provide assistance with building relationships, career development, and mental health. Psychotherapy focuses on using established techniques to improve overall wellness by drawing on your thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and other people or other important relationships in your life.
Psychotherapists are now regulated and require registration with their respective college. Psychotherapists are required to pass examinations and complete a required number of clinical and clinical supervision hours prior to registering with their College.
(The above information is sourced from the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario [http://www.crpo.ca/].)
Counsellors and social workers are regulated by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (http://www.ocswssw.org/). Social workers provide counselling for families, communities, individuals, and organizations. Many social workers also receive training in delivering clinical services. They can provide psychotherapy and can help individual adults, children, teens, or families deal with a number of mental health issues, resolve problematic family dynamics or help with dealing with day-to-day concerns.
(The above information is sourced from the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers)
Psychological services are covered by private and public extended healthcare insurance plans or service providers such as:
- Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP, formerly GSMIP)
- Blue Cross (Veterans Affairs Canada & Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
- RCMP and DND benefit plans
- First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB)
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB)
- Employee Assistance Plans (EAP)
Psychological services are not covered by OHIP.
The coverage for each plan is different, so please check with your insurance carrier for specific coverage details.
Some extended health plans may require a letter of referral from a physician. If so, referrals need only state: “I refer ____ for psychological assessment and consultation.”
Please note that fees that are not reimbursed through extended health plans are tax deductible as a medical expense.
Fees in Ontario are set by the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA); however, our session fees are lower than the OPA recommended rate in order to make services more accessible. We welcome fee inquires, and you can discuss this during your initial telephone contact.
Psychological services are exempt from HST.
Please call Saterra for fee inquires related to psychovocational, psychodiagnostic, or ADHD assessments as they vary depending on complexity.
You are free to use cash, debit, Visa, or MasterCard. Typically fees are payable at the end of each session.