What is Counselling (And other FAQs)?
1. About your Psychologist
I am a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. The College is responsible for protecting the public through ensuring ethical practice and maintaining a minimum standard for licensing. If you have complaints or concerns about your treatment, please discuss these me. However, if you are not happy with my response or do not feel comfortable talking with me you may contact the College.
Psychologists must be licensed by the College of Alberta Psychologists. Licensure laws are intended to protect the public by limiting registering to those persons qualified to practice psychology as defined by provincial law. In addition, members of the College of Alberta Psychologists adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. In Alberta only Registered Psychologists are allowed by law to refer to themselves as Psychologists (http://www.psychologistsassociation.ab.ca/site/about_therapy). This differentiates them from many other professional titles such as
2. Who will know about my therapy?
Your attendance in therapy and the things we talk about will be kept private EXCEPT:
- to protect your safety or the safety of others;
- the person paying your fees wants to know if you attended;
- people on my team if I need help or ideas about your file;
- a judge wants to know;
- if there is more than one person in therapy; or
- you give written permission for me to tell someone about therapy.
If counselling is for someone under 18 years old, then parent or guardian has the right to some information. This will be discussed in more detail when we begin counselling. We will also discuss confidentiality if there is more than one person in counselling.
3. What happens in therapy?
Counselling is a confidential process designed to help you address your concerns, come to a greater understanding of yourself, and learn effective personal and interpersonal coping strategies. It involves a relationship between you and a trained therapist who has the desire and willingness to help you accomplish your individual goals.
4. Are there any dangers to therapy?
Counselling involves sharing sensitive, personal, and private information that may at times be distressing. During the course of counselling, there may be periods of increased anxiety or confusion. The outcome of counselling is often positive; however, the level of satisfaction for any individual is not predictable. As you start talking about difficult topics or trying to make changes in your life, it can be hard. You might find that you are more emotional following a session and it often helps to allow some quiet time after a session to reflect and regain your composure. I am available to support you throughout the counselling process.
5. How long are my appointments?
A 1 hour appointment includes 45-50 minute session plus 10-15 minutes for documenting. Longer appointments are often recommended for couples or family counselling. This can be discussed with me at any time.
6. How long is treatment? What if I want to stop?
Treatment can be as short as one session, or it can go as long as 30-40 sessions. 6 to 12 sessions is common, but this depends on the complexity of the problem and what you want to accomplish. Some people also find it helpful to come for a few sessions, then stop for a while, then come back later. We will usually discuss this as we go.
You can stop therapy any time for any reason. If possible, please let me know if you would like to stop.
7. How much will it cost?
Fees are often covered by insurance plans, however every plan is different and you should check with your provider for your coverage. Fees that are not covered may be able to be claimed on your taxes as a medical expense. Rates are based on the recommended rates by the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta. These are currently:
- Individual: $200/hr
- Couple: $200/hr
- Family: $200/hr
- Report Writing: $190/hr
- Court Appearance: $1200/half day
- Group Session: $60/hr
- Anger Management: 4 sessions x 2 hours each = $480/course
- Discounted rates available for those with limited finances
Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, Check, Cash, or e-Transfer and is expected at the start of each session. Checks are to be made out to Buhr Psychological Services.
Direct Billing to many insurance companies. Please inquire.
8. What if I need to cancel or rebook a session? What if I’m late?
Life can get busy and things come up and I want to be flexible. However, I also need to plan my schedule and make room for other clients that may be waiting.
If you need to cancel a session please contact me at least a full day (24 hours) before your appointment. If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice, you will be charged a full session fee. If you are late, your appointment will end at the scheduled time, but you will still be charged the full fee. Please note that most insurance companies do not cover missed sessions.
9. What happens to information about me?
I keep contact information and information about treatment for 7 years. This information will be stored in either a paper copy that will be locked in a secure location or it may be stored electronically. We may also communicate by email which would contain confidential information.
With any electronic communication or storage there is some inherent risk involved. I use internet, cellular and wireless technology.
10. How Will I be Contacted and Reminded about Appointments?
Reminders for your appointments are sent via text and/or email. There may also be times that I will need to contact you by text, email or phone. Please be aware of your privacy in regards to messages and the inherent risks in electronic communication (see #9).
11. What if I have more questions?
If this wasn’t truly “everything you wanted to know” then please talk to me. If you feel like you understand then please sign and date on the lines below. When all is said and done, you are the expert in your life and you know what you need. Feel free to discuss anything concerning with me and know that you can stop at any time.