Frequently Asked Questions
How does therapy work when we’re “just talking”?
In therapy, even when we’re “just talking”, we are doing so in a purposeful way. Therapy provides a safe and supportive place to discuss the problems you’re experiencing. Simply being able to share openly, with an understanding and encouraging psychologist, can reduce the burden of your problems and help you feel better.
In addition, your psychologist will ask questions and make suggestions to help you explore issues in a new way and consider positive changes you can make in your life. For example, your psychologist might ask you to consider how particular thoughts or beliefs are impacting your reaction to a certain situation, and explore whether there might be other ways of thinking about that situation.
As you and your psychologist talk about the challenges you’re facing, you will likely begin to think about the problems differently and discover some new ways to deal with them. Although we may be “just talking” during the sessions, you will likely leave the office with the courage and determination to apply your new perspectives and new skills outside of therapy in order to make positive changes in your life.
How should I choose a psychologist to work with?
Therapy involves a significant investment of your time, money, and energy into improving your life. Therefore, your choice of a psychologist should be made carefully. In order for you to benefit from therapy, it is important that you feel comfortable with your psychologist, their skills, and their competence. You can learn more about your psychologist’s background and approach to therapy on this website or by asking your psychologist for more information.
You may also wish to consider whether you would feel more comfortable with a psychologist of a certain age, gender, or ethnic background. Our psychologists have worked with a wide range of clients of diverse ages, genders, sexual orientations, spiritual beliefs, and ethnic backgrounds.
Any of our psychologists would be happy to speak with you by phone for a few minutes at no charge prior to setting a first appointment. We believe that it is extremely important for you to feel comfortable with the person you will be working with, and so we are pleased to chat with you for a few minutes to help you determine if our individual experience and personal style will be a good fit for you.
What should I expect to happen during therapy?
The exact details of what happens in therapy depend a lot on the problems you’re experiencing and your own goals for therapy. Generally speaking, the first session will be used to discuss your background and the problems that have brought you to seek therapy. Within one to two sessions, you and your psychologist will begin working together to create a plan for how to proceed in therapy.
In general, our psychologists are interested in helping you in the here and now. Although it may be important to explore your past experiences in order to understand your current problems, therapy will mostly focus on ways to improve your life today so that you can create a better tomorrow.
Therapy is most successful when there is a working relationship that involves collaboration and partnership between you and your psychologist. Your psychologist will use his or her knowledge and skills to assist you and suggest strategies for making positive changes in your life. This may involve trying specific exercises (such as relaxation practices), developing new skills (such as communication strategies), or exploring new perspectives (such as changing the way you think about and react to situations in your life).
To be effective, therapy requires your active participation, effort, and perseverance, both in session and between sessions. It is important for you to provide input about problem areas you’d like to work on. Your feedback about the topics being discussed and techniques being used will help your psychologist tailor therapy to your needs. Your psychologist may provide books, articles, or handouts to help you learn as much as possible about the problems you are experiencing. Your psychologist may also suggest “homework” exercises to do between sessions, in order to further explore certain issues or practice making changes in your life. You may find it helpful to bring a notebook or electronic recording device (e.g., iPad) to sessions, as you will probably want to make note of important ideas discussed during sessions.
In general, a good rule of thumb is that the more you put into therapy, the more you will get out of it.
How much does it cost?
The fee for psychological services is dependent on the services being provided (e.g., individual, couple/family, group, assessment for legal purposes). Please feel free to discuss the issue of fees with your psychologist when you call to make your first appointment. Payments are typically made at the end of each session. We accept payment by credit card, debit card, cheque, money order, cash, or electronic funds transfer.
Many insurance plans provide coverage for psychological services (e.g., Blue Cross, ManuLife, SunLife, etc.). Your insurance provider can provide you with information about your particular plan. We will provide receipts that can be used to claim your insurance reimbursement. Please let us know if you would like to arrange for the fee to be paid directly by your insurance company or some other organization or person (e.g., an Employee Assistance Program, an employer, a family member, etc.). Psychological services are not covered by Alberta Health Care.