Do I need a referral from a doctor for psychotherapy?

No. You can refer yourself by simply calling. While some clients are directly referred (i.e. through their doctor, community agency) a referral is not required. When I receive a referral from a source that is not the direct client, I would contact the client to assess their interest and motivation for service. Children and adolescents are most often referred by their parents/guardians and I require that people in the family system are aware of and partake in the therapeutic process as required based on the child/adolescent’s specific needs.

What can I expect when meeting with my therapist for therapeutic services?

During the initial session(s), I gather information from the client and or their family pertaining to the presenting concern (e.g. what brings you to counseling, how long have you been dealing with the issue, what contributes to the problem, etc.) and work towards developing a trusting relationship. Subsequent sessions focus on helping the client gain a better understanding of their emotional and behavioral patterns, developing problem-solving strategies, and work towards shifting the person in order to meet their goals.

What can I expect when meeting with my assessor for assessment based services?

Many times when children have become identified to Alberta Children’s Services, or when schools or doctors or the courts see a need to gain ideas about how best to help families, the parents are asked to take part in a parent assessment. Parents will typically spend time meeting with an assessor to learn and discuss ways that the family can gain supports and improve the well-being of the children. There is not only one way to do a parent assessment; each assessment will be designed to specifically match individual parents, their unique family situations, and the specific questions asked by those who have request the assessment. It is common that parents will meet with the assessor approximately four times. Meetings may take place in the office, in the home, or in other settings depending on the nature of the questions being asked of the assessor. The assessment may involve interviews, observations, psychological testing, and or consultation with others who may have important information to contribute to the assessment.

Are your services covered?

Please see information on this website pertaining to rates and insurance.

Do you have weekend or evening appointments?

While I mainly see client’s Monday – Friday, I do offer a flexible approach to scheduling. Contact me to discuss.

How long and how often are the sessions? How many sessions are required?

The answer to this varies based on the service requires; assessment or therapy.

For assessment specific services I will discuss this at our initial meeting as the answer is typically determined by the referring party (e.g. Child and Family Services, Family Lawyer).

For therapeutic services, sessions are typically 50-minutes long. They can be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the reason for therapy. I like to take a client-centered approach and allow the client to have input in to the service planning. The duration of therapy is individual and many factors should be considered (e.g. presenting issue, expectations, type of work chosen to do).

Do you work with children and/or adolescents?

Absolutely! Obviously this looks a bit different then working exclusively with adult clients in that the family system may also have a role in the therapeutic intervention with the child or adolescent. I hope you will take the time to read my biography and see that I primarily focus on the child and adolescent population though also have the skills and experience to work with adults, couples and families. When working with children and adolescents I often see the client alone, the client together with the parent/guardian, and at times even meeting with the parent alone. The presenting issue will determine how this would look and I would discuss the merits of each approach with the client and family.

Are your services confidential?

Prior to starting any therapeutic relationship I will review confidentiality with my clients.
The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.
Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety
  • Minors (under 18 y/o) must be accompanied to their first appointment by a parent in order to provide informed consent for services and to discuss the limitations of confidentiality for the minor, unless they are a mature minor
  • If my files are subpoenaed by the court of law, I am legally obliged to surrender them
  • In matters of Parenting Assessments confidentiality looks different in that I have to be able to speak freely to the Referral Source (Lawyer, Child and Family Services) and the Courts (Legal System).

Why therapy and what do you think about medication?

It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of treating the symptoms, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. It is my belief that people can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action (which is evidence based). With your consent, I am happy to work collaboratively with your physician to discuss treatment planning and best outcomes.