Frequently Asked Questions
About Mental Health Services:
What are the differences between mental health services?
Although psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and spiritual care may overlap in some areas, there are some important distinctions among each profession and what they can offer:
Psychotherapists tend to offer the most diverse range of therapies. They may also offer individual, family, or group sessions.
In Ontario, psychotherapists must be registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
A licensed psychologist has a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology and studies how people think, feel and behave from a scientific viewpoint.
They tend to focus more on testing, assessments, and research. For example, if you have a developmental disorder, learning problem, or brain injury, they can provide coping strategies. A psychologist often works with a psychiatrist. They may or may not counsel clients.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses.
A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and may or may not counsel clients. They work with people on both a biological and psychological level.
Counselling focuses on giving advice, encouragement and instruction; and providing information that may or may not include psychotherapeutic interventions.
Spiritual counselling integrates religion or faith-based beliefs with psycho-social care and guidance. Spiritual direction occurs between two people, with the director facilitating the examination of the directee’s relationship with God in daily life.
The goal is to help another draw closer to God, rather than resolve specific problems. Content is determined by what the directee brings to the session. Accompaniment on the spiritual journey may include: supportive listening, encouragement, suggestions, ideas, readings, and prayers.
Shouldn't I just take medication?
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
Medication treats symptoms, but can’t solve all issues on its own. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
What to Expect:
When should I seek counselling?
Psychotherapy and counselling provide an opportunity for change, growth and healing.
Working together will provide an opportunity to focus on your strengths, in a safe environment, while building on a foundation of warmth and empathy.
In the process of change, there may also be anxiety, distress or fear. It’s natural to feel this way when attempting something new. One of the goals of therapy is to support you through this process.
Maybe you already have an idea of where you need help. Or maybe things just aren’t working for you, and you’re not sure why. Therapy can provide hope by:
- helping you gain a better understanding of what’s happening;
- teaching you ways to overcome or manage symptoms; and
- exploring root causes.
Through compassionate, creative and appropriate therapeutic models, NorthStar Counselling Services supports children, youth and adults in reaching their goals so they can thrive at home, school or work.
How do I know that we could work well together?
Book a free, 15-minute, no strings attached consultation with me to see if we’re a good match.
What can I expect during our first session?
Prior to our first session, I’ll ask you to complete an intake form. This is to help me understand your situation and how I can best support and guide you in achieving your therapeutic goals.
I’ll do my best to understand your concerns. I’ll listen non- judgmentally and provide an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and trust that, together, we’ll find better solutions to the challenges in your life.
What we discuss will be kept confidential, with a few exceptions (see below Is what I tell you confidential?). As with most things in life, there’s no guarantee concerning the benefit of therapy. Change is difficult and, therefore, you may experience distress and or uncertainty. You’re not alone and will be supported through the process.
Sessions are usually 50-minutes long and therapy will continue only as long as you desire and it’s beneficial. Longer sessions are also available.
How many sessions will I require?
There is no minimum or maximum number of sessions* you should attend, as therapy is very personal.
It is recommended that you come for at least four to six sessions, as this is what it generally takes to build a therapeutic relationship and begin seeing positive outcomes from therapy. If you come regularly, we will periodically review your progress to make sure you are benefiting from our time together and determine if there is anything we may improve.
*Please note that the maximum number of sessions may also be determined by your EAP/EFAP/insurance healthcare plan.
Is what I tell you confidential?
Our sessions will be private and confidential, with the following potential exceptions:
- If I believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of physical harm.
- When disclosure is required by law, as in suspicion of child abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional, under the age of 16), abuse of other vulnerable persons (i.e., the elderly or disabled persons), by court order, or a search warrant.
- Your service provider (EAP/EFAP/insurance company) may require documentation regarding your sessions. The details required vary, depending on the provider.
- In order to serve you better, it may be necessary to consult with a professional colleague. In this case, generic issues would be discussed, without any identifying information.
- If you would like me to relate information regarding your sessions to someone else (i.e., doctor, psychiatrist, teacher), all parties must sign a release of information and this will be done.
- In a situation such as my unexpected death or prolonged illness, you may be contacted by a representative who is acting on my behalf. This representative will be obliged to ensure confidentiality as I do, and will provide you with an appropriate referral.
With children and youth, there may be times when it would be helpful for the parents/legal guardian to be informed of particular issues. I would then work with the child/youth to see how this would best be addressed. As much as possible, themes would be discussed, rather than specifics.
What appointment times do you offer?
What if I need to cancel?
Your appointment is a block of time that is reserved for you.
If you believe you won’t be able to make a scheduled appointment, please notify me as soon as possible, with at least 24 hours’ notice. Otherwise, you may be charged for the missed appointment.
What if I'm in crisis?
If you’re experiencing an immediate crisis, please contact your doctor, your local emergency department, call 9-1-1, or Four County Crisis Team. Other helpful resources are listed below.
PETERBOROUGH REGIONAL HEALTH CENTRE
705-743-2121 ext. 5022
FOUR COUNTRY CRISIS TEAM, MOBILE CRISIS INTERVENTION
24 hours/day, 7 days/week
KAWARTHA SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRE
24-hour crisis support line for all 1-866-298-7778
TELECARE DISTRESS CENTRE OF PETERBOROUGH
24 hours/day, 7 days/week 705-745-2273
Fees & Payment Options:
For private clients, my fee for an individual is $150 +HST per 50-minute session.
For sessions with more than one person, or with horses, please call me directly as fees vary.
Session length may vary from 30 minutes to two hours.
Payment by cheque, e-transfer or credit card is due at the end of each session.
Employee Assistance Program / Employee and Family Assistance Program
Each program has different policies and coverage limits that are dependent upon the services your company purchases.
Please check with your provider to ensure coverage for Registered Psychotherapists.
Extended Coverage & Insurance
Psychotherapy services are not universally funded by OHIP.
Many extended health insurance plans cover a portion or the entire cost for psychotherapy. Please check with your plan provider regarding coverage for psychotherapy and counselling services, the limits for hourly rates and yearly allowances, and how you’re compensated.
Here are some suggested questions you might want to ask your provider to help determine your benefits:
- Does my health insurance plan include mental health benefits? Does it include registered psychotherapists?
- Do I have a deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
- Does my plan limit the number of sessions per calendar/school/fiscal year? If so, what is the limit?
- Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for psychotherapy services to be covered?
I don’t bill insurance companies directly, so you would pay and then seek reimbursement.
I am an approved provider for:
- Indian Residential Schools – Resolution Health Support Program (IRS HSP)
- Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB)
- Peterborough Police Service
- Shalem Mental Health Network
- Victim Services / Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP)
A receipt will be given after each appointment.
Please note that non-reimbursed psychotherapy expenses may be claimed on your income tax. For more detailed information, please, visit www.cra.gc.ca/medical.