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Many people are curious, if not trepidacious, about what they can expect for their first counselling session. Your first appointment with a therapist is primarily an information-gathering session. The therapist will want to know some background information and what type of symptoms you have been experiencing.
Be prepared to sign some paperwork regarding consent to treatment and confidentiality.
You will often create a list of goals for therapy. Goals are important because it tells the therapist what you want them to focus on in therapy.
You might cry. It is not uncommon for people to cry during the first session. The important thing is to not allow yourself to feel so embarrassed about crying that you don’t come back. Often seeing a therapist for the first time, tension is released and often manifests itself as tears.
You’ll probably feel good. For as much as people dread and avoid seeing a therapist, after they finally do, they usually feel really good about it.
Believe it or not, there are many people who see therapists their whole lives, not because they’re “crazy” and “have to”, but because they want to. It feels good to see a therapist, so some people make it a permanent part of their lives.
A referral from a medical doctor is not required to begin counselling services. All services are by appointment only.
Fees are set in accordance with the Recommended Fee Schedule published by the Psychologist's Association of Alberta. We will provide you with the rate before you book your first session. We accept cash, VISA, Mastercard and debit. You will receive a receipt at the time of the payment, which can be used to receive a reimbursement from your benefits provider.
Often fees are covered in whole or in part through most Extended Health Benefits Plans or Employee and Family Assistance Plans - please check with your employer about possible coverage.
While psychologists and psychiatrists both conduct forms of psychotherapy and research, there are differences between the two professions. Both these professions are interested in mental health, but it is their approaches which make them different. The simplest answer lies in the educational background required for each profession. A psychiatrist has a degree in medicine and a psychologist has a masters or doctoral-level degree in psychology.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who go on to specialize in mental health and mental disorders. Psychiatrists often use medication to help their clients manage their mental disorders and there are some disorders for which medications are very necessary, such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder.
A psychologist’s primary focus is on the client’s thoughts, feelings and general mental health. Psychologists have observed and measured human behaviour scientifically and have produced models and therapies based on this knowledge.
Another notable difference between these two professions is a psychologist is not able to write prescriptions, but may recommend a client be seen by a fellow psychiatrist in order to receive medications. Psychiatrists often refer patients to fellow psychologists to receive counseling and/or mental health therapy.
Perspectives Counselling & Psychological Services is committed to protecting your privacy.
When you choose to contact us by phone, e-mail or in-person, we treat all the information you provide as confidential following the strict rules of the College of Alberta Psychologists and the Alberta Health Information Protection Act.
The privacy of your work with your psychologist is protected; your information can only be released when you have given your written permission. In some specific situations, psychologists can share information without the client's written consent. Common exceptions are:
Please ask your psychologist any questions you may have regarding privacy and confidentiality.
As technology has evolved to include various ways of interacting with others, there is a need to address how we utilize these methods to maintain our clients’ confidentiality.
Perspectives Counselling & Psychological Services has a Twitter page that is linked to our company, not only to our psychologist. On our page we post relevant business events or share thoughts or ideas regarding topics we believe may be relevant to our clientele and/or general public. It is not necessary for you to “Like” our posts or follow us as this is not intended to solicit testimonials or endorsement from our clients. You are welcome to browse our posts without identifying your connection to our company as a client. Our psychologist does not accept any “friending,” “contact requests” or “invites” from any current or former clients on any social networking sites. If such a request was to occur, our policy is to ignore the request to ensure your confidentiality is not compromised nor the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship blurred. You can further discuss this with your therapist in session if desired.
Email / Texting
Email and texting are not completely secure nor are they confidential for transferring sensitive information. Therefore, we limit our usage of email and texting content to arranging or modifying appointments, or informing clients of upcoming relevant services. Communications by email and texts are retained as “logs” by your and our Internet Service Provider(s) and can be potentially read by system administrators of these providers. To keep your information confidential, therapy content is most secure when relayed in session. All email and texting communication, received or sent, becomes a part of your legal record.