patient care

Patient Care - What to expect

First Contact

When you first call for information I will explain the initial process of assessing what your difficulties and therapeutic needs may be. Before you ever come in, you will be told about our fees, how payment is made, where my office is located.

First Visit

During your first visit I will ask you about what your current difficulties are, about your current life style, your physical health and your childhood and life experiences. This process usually takes two sessions, after which I will be in a better position to make recommendations, explain whether I think I can be of help, and, if so, how therapy might proceed.

This assessment process allows you to assess me as well, to ask questions and to see if the rapport between the two of us is sufficient for this type of work. I strongly believe you should feel comfortable with the therapist you choose, and hopeful about the therapy. When you feel this way, therapy is more likely to be very helpful to you.

At the end of the first session, you will be given a general information hand-out that informs you of the philosophy of psychological services, how payment works, and what to do if you have an emergency

Confidentiality

What You Should Know about Confidentiality in Therapy

I will treat with great care all the information you share with me. It is your legal right that our sessions and my records about you be kept private. That is why I ask you to sign a release-of-records form before I can talk about you or send my records about you to anyone else. In general, I will tell no one what you tell me. I will not even reveal that you are receiving treatment from me. In all but a few rare situations, your confidentiality (that is, our privacy) is protected by federal and provincial laws and by the rules of my profession. The limits of confidentiality are as follows:

  1. If you make a serious threat to harm yourself or another person, the law requires me to try to protect you or that other person. This usually means telling others about the threat. I cannot promise never to tell others about threats you make.
  2. If I believe a child has been or will be abused or neglected, I am legally required to report this to the authorities.
  3. If you were sent to me by a court or an employer for evaluation or treatment, the court or employer expects a report from me. If this is your situation, please talk with me before you tell me anything you do not want the court or your employer to know. You have a right to tell me only what you are comfortable with telling.
  4. Are you suing someone or being sued? Are you being charged with a crime? If so, and you tell the court that you are seeing me, I may then be ordered to show the court my records. Please consult your lawyer about these issues.

Fees

Are Psychological services covered by OHIP?

No, services offered by a psychologist are not covered by OHIP. However, our fees are reimbursed by extended health care insurance, which you may have through your work. The fees situation is more like that at a dentist's office than at a physician's.

We work on a fee for service basis, and people typically pay as they go, at the end of each session, receiving a receipt suitable for submission to their insurance company. A personal cheque or cash is acceptable to all our psychologists and some accept payment by credit card or Interac. Whatever is not reimbursed by your insurance company is claimable as a tax deduction on your income tax as a medical expense.

You will find that, when you pay for your therapy after each session, debt is not built up and your therapy becomes a budgeted expense, like other weekly expenses such as groceries.

Why should I pay more to see a Psychologist?

Why should I pay more to see a psychologist when I can pay less and see a psychiatrist covered by OHIP or a "Counsellor" or "Social Worker" who is not covered by OHIP but charges less per session? There are a number of very important reasons why you may want to see a psychologist rather than a less expensive or "free" therapist.

  • Clinical psychologists have more mental health and psychotherapeutic training and experience than any other health profession.
  • Clinical psychologists have studied at a university for a minimum of 9 years to earn a doctoral degree in psychology and the work placement experience. After obtaining their doctorate, psychologists must complete a postdoctoral year of supervised experience, write two sets of examinations and pass oral examinations.
  • Psychologists are regulated and licensed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario, which has the power to discipline, fine and revoke the licence of psychologists who have not performed their job competently and hurt a client. As a result, the proficiency level and honour of the profession of psychology is ensured and protects you when you seek help.
  • Only therapists registered with the College of Psychologists can use the title "psychologist" and the terms "psychology" and "psychological" (as in, for example, a "psychological report".) Therefore, when you see a psychologist, you can be assured that he or she is an exceptionally well trained, well experienced, and well regulated health care professional.
  • You also have recourse to a higher authority, the College of Psychologists of Ontario, if you are unhappy with the behaviour of the psychologist. There is no recourse with counsellors and other therapists unregulated by law. This is why insurance companies will reimburse you for our psychologists' fees but will not reimburse you for the fees of an unregulated provider.