Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if you're the right therapist for me?
Therapy is most beneficial if there's a good fit between you and your therapist. Successful outcomes depend a lot on developing a strong alliance – a relationship that is trusting, non-judgmental and challenging in a good way, one that lets you open up and explore what's going on for you. It can take a little while to feel comfortable, especially if this is your first time seeing a therapist, or if you've had difficulty trusting people and expressing yourself.
However, you should get a sense early on that I'm attentive to your concerns, that I use language and ideas you feel comfortable with, and that we can develop a vision of the changes you want to make. Therapy is an active process, not a passive one where you get “fixed” by an expert who tells you what to do. You'll get much more out of your counselling sessions if you feel comfortable enough to question, reflect and try out new ideas. So I invite your feedback at any time.
And if I am not the right fit for you, I can help you find someone else who might be.
How long will it take to see changes?
This is a difficult question to answer, because change depends on a lot of factors, especially how much energy you can put into it, and the nature of the problem that brought you to counselling. People often feel some relief after just a few sessions. They may begin to change their thinking, understand themselves better, or see the situation differently. Short-term therapy can be a very effective way to deal with specific issues or to learn skills that can help you cope with an immediate problem. Long-standing patterns and more complex problems generally take more time to resolve. How much time really varies from one person to another.
What questions will you ask?
At first I will ask you about your experience of the problems you've been having. I will want to know how they affect you physically, emotionally, mentally and in your relationships. We will probably talk about your work and family life and what kind of support network you have. I'll ask about your general health (like exercise, sleep, medications, eating habits, stress) and any other symptoms or medical issues. We'll also look at what may have helped (even a little) in the past, what makes things worse, and how you imagine your life would be different after you've been to counselling.
How often should I make appointments?
This depends a lot on the person and the issue, but I generally suggest every week or two for the first few sessions, and then gradually spacing appointments a bit further apart.
What are your fees?
The fee for psychotherapy/counselling is $104.35 + HST ($120 total) per hour. The fee for mediation and court testimony is $250 + HST per hour. I accept cash, cheques, and credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) and e-transfers sent before the appointment.
Are the fees covered by my insurance or EAP or tax deductible?
Some insurers will cover my fees and some do not. Please check with your plan administrator before making an appointment. I am also an approved provider for several Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other organizations, including:
Nova Scotia Government employees
Health Canada EAS
Victim Services Criminal Injuries Counselling Program
Health Association Nova Scotia (HANS)
Veterans Affairs Canada (POC-12)
If you need any other information, please contact me.
My fees are considered medical expenses for tax purposes, and may be claimed on your income tax form.
Do I need a referral from my doctor?
No. You can contact me directly. Some insurance companies do require a doctor's note, however, so it's wise to check with your insurer.
Can I bring family members or friends with me?
Family members or friends may attend, based on your needs and their willingness. We can discuss together how this might support your therapy. When I work with children under the age of 16, I usually ask to speak with a parent or guardian first, to get some background about their child.