How do I access counselling services?
You can access counselling directly through email or phone. You can contact your EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) provider if you have one, as psychological services are usually a part of your workplace benefits plans. You can claim partial benefits through Blue Cross coverage. Alberta Health Insurance Medical coverage does not include psychological services.
Do I need a referral for counselling?
You do not need a referral from a doctor to attend counselling; you can self-refer. In some instances, family physicians or your workplace may make a referral but this is unnecessary for you to be able to access my counselling services.

What is your fee and how can I pay for it?
My hourly rate is $200 per hour prepaid online by Paypal or internet email transfer 24 hours in advance of your scheduled session. If you pay at the session, the hourly rate is $225 payable by cash or internet email transfer. You are provided with an invoice for you to obtain reimbursement from your insurance plan/coverage.

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How long is a counselling session?
A counselling session is typically one hour long. When EMDR is being used, one and one half hour sessions help to optimize benefit from the approach.
Is counselling private & confidential? Are there exceptions to confidentiality?

Confidentiality is an essential part of counselling. Psychologists are legally and ethically obligated to keep your identity and issues private. If you request me to consult with someone else, such as your family doctor, I will need to obtain your signed written consent prior to discussing your situation with your doctor.

There are three exceptions to the confidentiality of counselling with a psychologist. The first is if you are at risk for hurting yourself or another person. The second is if you are describing situations in which a child is at risk for abuse. The third is if a court of law orders release of your file information. These are rarely occurring occurrences.

At such times as you report that you are at risk for harming yourself or others, it is my practice to assess you for the severity of your state and inform you of the actions I am obligated to take. In such a difficult situation it can be a relief for you to have the help and I hope to gain your agreement and consent to minimize the safety risk for you and others. However, if you do not agree, I will go ahead and contact other professionals such as medical doctors, your lawyer if you have one or the authorities to protect you and others.

What can I do to prepare for my session?
Prior to the first session I invite you to complete the Life History Questionnaire, please come 20 minutes early. It is also helpful to consider and write down your answers to the following questions to focus your thinking about what you wish to get from counselling sessions:

  1. What would I like to have more of in my life?
  2. What would I like to have less of in my life?
  3. What would my life be like without the problem I have?
“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” ~ David Viscott

I acknowledge that making an appointment for counselling is a courageous first step in your life and can be stressful. To be as relaxed as possible in your appointment, wear comfortable clothes and bring a water bottle with water to drink during the session. It may be helpful to plan a fun activity for right after the session and avoid stressful activities, including work, for an hour or two after to assist you in processing what has happened in the session.

Many people feel better after the first session and this is reasonable to anticipate. In order to continue feeling better and have the changes are more sustainable, further sessions are advised until you and your counsellor agree that you have achieved your goals. Subsequent sessions will be at a pace that suits you, leads you toward resolution of the difficulties and has you moving forward in your life.

What can I expect in my first session of individual or couple counselling?
For your first individual counselling session we will discuss your medical, family, coping and relationship history, with an emphasis on the strengths you have developed to date in your life. Together we will select the most important issues to you and begin to address these. While respecting your life experience, we will work together to increase your ability to deal more effectively with your present concerns. While it is very usual and to be anticipated that you will feel better after the first session, to sustain the positive direction of your change and depending upon your issues, six sessions is recommended. This will be discussed with you as the counselling progresses.

For the first couple session, you will each be given the opportunity to talk about how you see your relationship strengths and weaknesses and to listen to your partner’s view. You will be given equal time as much as possible to share your concerns through a series of questions such as what would you like to get out of counselling, what was the catalyst for scheduling the session at this time, how did you meet and what happens when you have a disagreement.

The first session of couple counselling goes by quickly and by the end of the hour it is intended that you feel comfortable with the process and Patricia as your therapist, as well as have a beginning understanding of your part in the pattern of difficulty, conflict or disagreements that you wish to change for the better. Couples report that they often feel better after the first session , but recognize further sessions are necessary and desired to make lasting change. Depending upon the duration and severity of the pattern of disconnection, ten sessions is recommended to start.

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