FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency information

As our practice is not equipped to provide crisis intervention, if you are experiencing an emergency, please contact one of the Crisis Support Resources below, or visit your nearest hospital emergency room.

Hamilton:
  • Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST): 905-972-8338 (Hamilton)
Halton:
  • Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST): 1-877-825-9011 (Halton)
Niagara Region please call one of the Niagara Distress Centre 24-hour crisis lines:
  • St. Catharines, Niagara Falls And Area – 905-688-3711
  • Port Colborne, Wainfleet and Area – 905-734-1212
  • Fort Erie and Area – 905-382-0689
  • Grimsby, West Lincoln – 905-563-6674
Owen Sound / Grey-Bruce:
Ontario:

What can I expect at my first appointment?

We ask that you arrive about 10 minutes early for your initial appointment in order to register and fill out some intake forms.

When you arrive at one of our three offices, the staff will greet you and seat you in the waiting area by reception. If the receptionist is away from the front desk, please feel free to have a seat in the waiting area and someone will meet you at your scheduled appointment time.

Our offices in Burlington, St. Catharines, and Owen Sound are wheelchair accessible, professional, and discreet. Your privacy and comfort are a priority. If there is anything you need to know prior to arriving, please do not hesitate to contact us to ask.

What happens in a counselling or psychotherapy session?

In a counselling or psychotherapy session, you may be encouraged to talk about your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours related to events. Your therapist will likely ask questions, offer suggestions, and try to help you look at your thoughts, behaviours, and experiences from different angles or perspectives. Strategies may include homework assignments, such as writing down your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, experimenting with new behaviours, and practicing facing situations that you may have been avoiding. You can go at your own pace. You are the one who determines what you are willing or not willing to do in therapy.

Although a full hour is scheduled for you, the session lasts 50 minutes.  The remaining 10 minutes are used to complete session notes and prepare for your next session. Some sessions may be 75-90 minutes, depending on the nature of the session.  Depending on the individual, the frequency of sessions may range from once per week to once every few months. Your therapist will work with you to establish the frequency of sessions that will be best for you and your financial situation. Generally, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution focused therapy (where you learn strategies to overcome a conflict or specific condition like depression) take a shorter period of time (6-12 sessions weekly) than longer-term insight-oriented psychotherapy. The duration of therapy may take a few sessions or several years, depending on the issues you are working on. You have the right to stop therapy at any time. Normally you are the one who decides when therapy ends. This is usually when you and your therapist feel you have made satisfactory progress on your goals. Some people decide to stop therapy suddenly when difficult issues come up. However, rather than just leaving suddenly, it is important to discuss these feelings with your therapist.

What happens in an assessment?

In the interview, your clinician will ask you lots of questions about your symptoms, difficulties, personal history, medical history, and treatment history.

You may be asked to fill out multiple choice questionnaires that ask about symptoms, personality, and behaviour.

You might be asked to complete cognitive tests that assess your memory, attention, or problem solving skills. These may include solving visual puzzles, giving word definitions, or solving number problems, for example. Tests may be administered by an examiner or on a computer.

You will be invited to take breaks when you need, and  testing can be broken up over a few days if you are tired.

A report will be written that contains your background information from an interview with you, an interview with someone who knows you well (with your permission), and review of previous medical documents. The report also contains observations of behaviour during assessment, test results, diagnoses, and treatment recommendations.

With your consent, we can send the report to treatment providers involved in your care, or to your insurance company or lawyer if required. If this is a medical-legal assessment and you were referred by your lawyer, only your lawyer will receive a copy of the report. If this assessment is being funded by an insurance company, a copy of the report will go to the insurance company. You can refuse to answer any questions or end the assessment at any time.

We aim to make the assessment process as comfortable as possible for you. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about the assessment, or if there is anything you need to make the process more comfortable.

Do you work with children at your clinic?

Yes.

We have clinicians who provide counselling and psychotherapy to children and teens. We also have clinicians who provide mental health assessments, psychoeducational assessments, and neuropsychological assessments to children and teens.

Psychologist

Do you work with seniors?

seniors mental healthWe have clinicians who provide counselling and psychotherapy to children and teens. We also have clinicians who provide mental health assessments, psychoeducational assessments, and neuropsychological assessments to children and teens.

Is my information kept private and confidential?

Yes, information you provide to the practice is confidential. No one outside of the practice can access your information without your consent. Verbal consent is needed to share information with other treatment providers involved in your care (like your family doctor). Written consent is needed to share your information with anyone not involved in your treatment (like a lawyer or insurance company). You may withdraw consent at any time.

There are times when confidentiality must be broken without your consent. These include:

  • If there is reason to believe that you are at serious and imminent risk of physically harming yourself or another person.
  • If there is reason to believe that a child is suffering from abuse and/or neglect.
  • If you tell us that you have been sexually abused by another regulated health professional (like a doctor).
  • A court has subpoenaed your records (a judge asks for your records for court).

Please note, that in the case of certain types of assessment (such as for insurance purposes or medical-legal purposes), there are a number of limits and qualifiers to confidentiality in the case of an assessment. You may withdraw consent at any time. However, once the report has been sent out with your permission, we cannot retract the report. If changes need to be made to the report after it has been sent out or finalized, we can only do so by writing an Addendum report (a letter that indicates a correction to a previous report).

We only collect personal health information that relates to your treatment or assessment. You have the right to access your records and will be provided with copies for a minimal fee. You have a right to ask questions about how your health information privacy is being handled.

For more information on privacy of your personal health care please see the Personal Health Information Privacy Act brochure in our waiting room, visit (www.ipc.on.ca), or speak to our Privacy Information Officer, Ms. Anita D’Alimonte.

What is your cancellation policy?

Please let the practice know as soon as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you provide less than 24 hours’ notice (except if you are sick, your children are sick and require your care, or it is a snow storm for example), you will be charged the full fee for the session, as that space was held for you.

What is your social media policy?

Email:  Email is typically used only for booking or modifying appointments at the practice. It is best not to email your therapist regarding clinical issues related to therapy sessions. There are a number of risks associated with email. The privacy and security of email communication cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are permanent. Even after deleting copies of the email, back-up copies may exist on a computer, with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), on a server in another country, or elsewhere in cyberspace. Also, emails become part of the therapy records and can be subpoenaed if your file is subpoenaed. Further, emails are not always sent and received instantly; messages can arrive several hours or days after they are sent. As a result, email is not an appropriate method for exchanging time-sensitive or clinically-sensitive information. If you choose to use email to communicate with your therapist, please be advised that your email will likely be seen by the therapist only when the therapist arrives at the office.

Telephone Sessions: Therapists at the practice may have a telephone session with a client, but only with those whom the therapist has met first for an in-person session.

Social Media Sites: Therapists at the practice may or may not have professional profiles through social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. To respect your confidentiality and mutual, respective privacy, therapists at the practice do not accept friend or contact requests from current or past clients on any social networking site.  Therapists at the practice do not follow any clients on Twitter nor does they read their clients’ blogs when they exist, unless the client requests to read something in the course of a therapy session for clinical purposes. The reason for this policy is that information gleaned outside of the session can create discomfort or confusion for the client. Also viewing the client’s online activities without the client’s consent and without a specific therapeutic purpose for it could create a negative impact on the therapeutic work. Clients can share any of their ideas and activities in discussion during sessions rather than indirectly through blogs and other social media forums.

Text Messaging: Therapists at the practice do not respond to text messaging from clients in part because of the general lack of security of such messages. Also, texts are not always read in a timely fashion. The best way to contact your therapist is by telephone during their scheduled office hours, between 9:30am and 5:00pm.

Remote Video Counselling: If, at any time, it appears that a client would benefit from more traditional (in-person) service provision, the psychologist or clinician is ethically-bound to take reasonable steps to secure an appropriate referral to a professional in the client’s region.

Referrals

New clients can be self-referred or referred by a professional. Feel free to contact us to ask about services for yourself or someone else.

To submit a referral, please complete our contact form.

Do you have parking facilities?

Yes.

Free Parking is available in front and around each of our offices in Burlington, St. Catharines, and Owen Sound.