To call yourself a psychologist in Ontario you must be registered with the College of Psychologists, and to do that you typically need a Ph.D. in psychology, a year of supervised clinical practice following your Ph.D., and successful completion of the written and oral registration exams.
As the field develops I keep up by attending conferences and workshops, reading books and journals, and by discussions with my colleagues. As part of Cognitive Workshops I help to organize two-day training events for other mental health professionals here in Ottawa, as well as in Toronto, Vancouver, and London England.
My private practice in clinical psychology focuses on teaching skills which allow people to:
Physicians refer patients to me for depression, anxiety problems, stress management, interpersonal problems, and adjustment disorders.
People come for one hour appointments, usually once every week or two to begin with. The idea is to come for only as many sessions as you need to understand your situation, to set goals, and to learn how to work towards them. The approach I take is called Cognitive Therapy (or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT for short), which is a collaborative approach to understanding your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how they interact with each other and with the world around you. The main focus is on the here-and-now, but for some people understanding and coming to terms with early experiences may be an important part of handling their current situation better.
I am comfortable with the CBT model because it is collaborative, nonjudgmental, curious in a kindly way, and focused on goals that are relevant and meaningful to you. I want it to be helpful to you, and that is why evidence-based practice is so important. CBT is based on careful research, an ongoing process of establishing what works best for people. Together, with your knowledge of yourself and your experience, and with my training in good questions and good therapy we can figure out how to proceed to let you thrive.
Yes. People are often referred by their family doctor, their Employee Assistance Program counsellor, or a friend, or they can refer themselves. Sometimes a check-up with your physician is a good idea to see if a problem, for example, depression or anxiety, has an underlying medical cause. Sometimes an insurance company requires a physician's referral letter.
No. Psychologists in private practice in Ontario are not covered by the provincial health plan. However, many people have extended health insurance plans through work which cover at least a portion of their psychologist's bill. It is a good idea to check with your insurance policy to see if you will need a phyician's referral letter to be covered under your plan.