Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is the difference between psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors?
Psychologists are non-medical, mental health specialists that can diagnose, assess, and treat, usually with talk therapy. In BC, psychologists usually have a doctorate degree and need to be registered with the College of BC Psychologists. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can, in addition to assessing, diagnosing, and treating, provide medication. Anyone can call themselves a counsellor, coach, or therapist as these terms are not regulated. Nonetheless, some may have master’s degrees and elect to be part of a self-regulating body such as the Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC).
2) What kinds of clients do you work with?
I generally see clients over 20 years of age who would like to improve their well being through new skills and deeper personal insight. I work with both individuals and couples. I do not work with young children. I do not work with clients who are actively experiencing psychosis, dementias, head injury, or unsupported substance abuse. White Rock Mental Health and Addictions and the Early Psychosis Intervention (EPI) Program are excellent community supports.
1) Do I need a referral?
No. Nonetheless, some insurance companies request a referral from a physician. If you are uncertain, check with your insurance provider.
2) My doctor referred me for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), do you do that?
Yes, I do CBT. Nonetheless, CBT is not the only therapy approach, nor is it always the best approach for every condition or individual. It's the most frequently recommended, often because it's the most familiar. In the first few sessions, I will do a therapy assessment and we will discuss the different recommended approaches.
3) My lawyer, Work Safe, or ICBC referred me for treatment.
I am not a legal specialist for injury claims. I would suggest looking for a psychologist who has a focus in these legal settings.
4) I have paperwork that needs to be filled out by a psychologist, will you do that?
I fill out paperwork for ongoing therapy clients. I do not provide paperwork outside of already established, ongoing therapy.
5) Do you fill out Veterans Affairs paperwork?
No, disability assessment is not my specialty. I recommend that members seek a separate assessment by another psychologist.
1) Do you bill my insurance directly?
I bill the RCMP directly. Otherwise, I am a small practice with no support staff. I issue a receipt that you can submit to your insurance provider.
2) How much is covered by my insurance?
Each provider and each company has different agreements. Call your insurance provider directly.
3) Do you have a sliding scale?
No. When financial circumstances change for current clients, we sometimes negotiate temporary reductions in fees.
4) Can you explain your rates?
My 2020 rates had not been raised since 2017 and are less than the recommended BC Psychology Association recommended rates ($220). Masters level counsellors rates are around $120-160. I would hope that clients see it as a positive investment in the possibility of lasting personal growth, but of course, there are no guarantees.
1) What should I expect from the first session?
The first few sessions are about 1) me getting an in-depth understanding of the various aspects of your issue, 2) you deciding whether you think we are a good fit 3) us developing an initial treatment approach and plan.
2) How often should I come in?
We will discuss treatment frequency and re-evaluate over the course of treatment. For more "active" therapy, I usually suggest once every 1-2 weeks and for more supportive therapy, once every 3-4 weeks.
3) My partner/friend/doctor recommends that I see a therapist, but I don't want my 'head shrunk.'
Trying therapy for the first time can be a bit intimidating. After just the first session, you'll have a better understanding that it's fairly straight forward, collaborative, and possibly, quite helpful. Some people hire a mechanic for their car, a plumber for their home, or a personal trainer for their body. A psychologist is just another specialist to help with life patterns that you may not be able to fully see or overcome.
4) I can't afford therapy right now, are there other options?
Yes, local mental health centers often provide groups, Bounce Back is a free BC program (http://www.mindhealthbc.ca/bounceback), Here to Help BC (http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/get-help) has a list of BC community resources and info, and Sources in White Rock has counsellors and other community services (http://www.sourcesbc.ca/).