Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Do Psychologists prescribe medication?
  • What is the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Do you accept students?
  • Why do some psychologists have a MA and some a PhD?
  • What if I don’t like my therapist; can I change?
  • Can my first session be 100 mins?
  • Can my first session be via phone or Skype?
  • Why is the first consultation the same price as the rest, when I don’t know the therapist?
  • My loved one is reluctant to attend therapy. Can I attend on my own, to learn tools for how to help them? If I attend alone, can my loved one later attend sessions with that same therapist?
  • If my friend or family member saw a therapist that they really liked, can I see that same therapist too?
  • What is a psychologist?
  • What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist?
  • How do I know if I need therapy?
  • How many sessions are needed?
  • What happens during the individual therapy sessions?
  • How long are the therapy sessions?
  • What about Payment?
  • How do I get the most out of my therapy sessions?
  • Is what I say in therapy confidential?
  • I’m not sure if I like therapy. What should I do?
  • What if I’m still not sure if therapy is right for me?
  • Which psychologist is the best & most qualified?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • How long is the waiting list?
  • Can someone else pay for my sessions?
  • Do you offer a sliding scale or have student rates?
  • Can I speak to the therapist before booking, to make sure it’s a good fit?
  • What is a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology?
  • Can I arrive late to the session?
  • For couples therapy, can I start alone, and can my partner join later on?
  • Do you accept insurance?
  • Does insurance cover Doctoral Candidates in Psychology?
  • For couples’s therapy: can we have two receipts as my partner and I have different insurance companies through work and we want to pay 50-50?


My loved one is reluctant to attend therapy. Can I attend on my own, to learn tools for how to help them? If I attend alone, can my loved one later attend sessions with that same therapist?

This is a very tricky situation. First of all, its completely understandable that you want to help your loved one, and unfortunate that they are reluctant to seek help. In therapy, there is always an identified “Client”. The client (while you may wish it was your loved one) will actually be You, if You are the one attending the sessions. Put differently, if you seek help from a therapist, you become that therapist’s client (not the loved one).

Here are two options:
1. The person who is struggling, i.e., the “Loved One” would ideally attend the therapy session, even if they are feeling reluctant. The “Helper” can accompany the “Loved One” to the appointment, and even attend the entire appointment if the “Loved One” agrees.

2. The “Helper” can attend without the “Loved One”, if the “Loved One” refuses to attend therapy. However, if the “Helper” attends without the “Love one”, it may not be possible for the “Love One” to see that same therapist afterwards. The reason is because it can create a conflict of interest between the therapist and both the “Loved One” and the “Helper”. Therefore, whenever possible, the “best” course of action, is option 1 above.


Can my first session be via phone or Skype?

First sessions are typically done in person. If you live in a rural area of Quebec and would otherwise not have access to a therapist, we might be able to accommodate you. Please contact our receptionist to see if we have any therapists available to offer this service.


Why is the first consultation the same price as the rest, when I don’t know the therapist?

Some clinics charge more for the first session, as it is actually a lot more work for the therapist to open your file. However, we charge the same amount on the first session as subsequent sessions.


What if I don’t like my therapist; can I change?

Absolutely. You can change therapists at any time for any reason, no hard feelings.  We understand that sometimes people just don’t “click”, and that’s OK. Food for thought…. sometimes the problems we experience in life are the same ones that we experience in therapy. For example, if we often find people to be rejecting or judgemental, we might also experience a therapist that way too. If you think that you might be encountering a familiar problem, you might want to try telling your therapist how you feel.  For example, “last session I felt judged when you said….” This can be extremely helpful for you, because learning how to work out problems with a therapist can help you to learn how to work out problems with people outside of the therapy room. However, this is an invitation only. If you really don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, please trust your gut instinct. You can also contact the clinic director Dr. Emily Blake directly, if you are upset about something a therapist said or did.  Please keep in mind that therapists are human and can make mistakes. We try our best to be as helpful as possible, and are completely open to hearing feedback. By giving us feedback, we have the opportunity to adjust our approach to better meet your needs. If you are unhappy for any reason, please tell your therapist directly if you are able to, or please contact reception, or Dr. Blake. We value your feedback and take it very seriously.


Can my first session be 100 mins?

First sessions are approximately 45-50 minutes. This gives you and the therapist enough time to see if it’s a good fit. If it turns out not to be a good fit, 100 minutes would feel verrrry long. However, if it is a good fit, you can book double length sessions (100 minutes) in the future.


Do you accept students?

We love working with students and do so all the time. However, we do not offer student rates at the moment. If you need help paying for sessions, we can email the invoice to a third party (such as your parents) and they can pay for your sessions online, prior to the appointment. To set up third party payments, please contact your therapist to set that up, once your first session has been booked with our receptionist.


Why do some psychologists have a MA and some a PhD?

In the past, only an MA degree was required to obtain a license as a psychologist in Quebec.
As of 2006, Quebec requires psychologists to have a PhD. Psychologists who obtained their license with an MA prior to 2006 are still allowed to practice using the title psychologist. Having a PhD does not automatically make someone a “better” psychologist. Many psychologists who possess an MA have many years of training and experience, and are excellent psychologists. At Blake Psychology we hire psychologists based on their warmth, compassion, and skill level, not solely their degree or title.


What is the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist?

A psychiatrist is someone who went to medical school, and then later specialized in psychiatry. Many psychiatrists only offer medications (pharmacotherapy), while some psychiatrists offer medications and psychotherapy. Psychologists have studied psychology for approximately 9-12 years at university, and usually hold an undergraduate degree in psychology (3-4 years), as well as a Master’s degree (2 years) and a PhD (4-6 years).


Do I need a referral?

You do not need a referral from a doctor to book an appointment at Blake Psychology. However, your insurance might require a doctor’s referral in order to reimburse you. Please verify your particular coverage by contacting your insurance provider, as each provider works differently.


Do Psychologists prescribe medication?

Psychologists in Canada do not prescribe medications. Psychologists provide psychotherapy, which in many cases, is so effective that medications are not needed. However, in certain circumstances, medications can be very helpful, e.g., in treating bipolar disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, burnout, OCD, anxiety, depression, etc. A meeting with a psychologist can help you to determine if medication is needed. If it seems like medications might be helpful to you, your psychologist will suggest for you to meet with a physician, such as a family doctor, a doctor at a walk-in clinic, a doctor in an emergency room, or a psychiatrist. Meeting with a general practitioner, such as a family doctor or doctor at a walk-in clinic, is usually a good starting point for medications. If you need to meet with a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, a general practitioner can refer you to one. Psychiatrists rarely accept referrals from psychologists, since patients cannot be referred back to psychologists to monitor the medications afterward. Therefore, if you need medications, you can meet with a general practitioner first, then be referred by them to a psychiatrist if needed. If you are in crisis and need medication right away, please present yourself at the nearest hospital emergency room.

Most general practitioners (family doctors and walk-in clinic doctors) are used to managing medications for mental health. Only when an expert is needed, would the patient be referred to a psychiatrist, and there are usually long wait times to meet with a psychiatrist. There are a few private psychiatrists in Quebec who accept referrals from patients directly but again might have long waiting lists. Please contact RAMQ to learn which psychiatrists have opted out of RAMQ and are practicing in the private sector.


If my friend or family member saw a therapist that they really liked, can I see that same therapist too?

The Order of Psychologists of Quebec is very clear that therapists are not allowed to see two people who are in close proximity to one another as it creates a high potential for a conflict of interest. Close proximity are pairings such as “siblings”, “romantic partners”, “roommates”, “family members”, etc. Some reasons why the therapist cannot see both are things like:

  • It can be hard for a therapist to stay “neutral” if providing therapy to both parties,
  • confidentiality can be hard to maintain as it can become confusing who provided what piece of information,
  • the need to keep secrets can result in a host of ethical issues.

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is a licensed practitioner who has extensive university-level training in the assessment and treatment of psychological difficulties. Psychologists are trained to provide counselling and psychotherapy, which are effective methods of helping people better understand themselves, reduce their psychological pain, improve their relationships with others, become more productive in their lives, and increase their feelings of happiness and well-being. Psychologists are experts in psychological processes, and provide scientifically- based therapeutic interventions in order to help people make positive changes in their lives.


What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist?

In Quebec, only certain licensed professionals are legally allowed to practice psychotherapy, since psychotherapy is a regulated act. The Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ) determines who is (and is not) allowed to provide psychotherapy.  The OPQ has determined that both Psychologists and Psychotherapists are qualified to provide psychotherapy.

Psychologists typically have an Undergraduate degree in psychology (3-4 years), a Master’s degree (1-2 years), and a PhD (4-6 years). Prior to 2006, a PhD was not required to become licensed as a psychologist.

Psychotherapists must have a professional license (e.g., Nurse, Social Worker, Counsellor) with extensive training in psychotherapy.  They must also have a permit to practice psychotherapy, issued to them by the Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ).

Please check with your insurance company to see if they cover services provided by a Psychologist or a Psychotherapist.


How do I know if I need therapy?

If you are feeling stuck, not quite satisfied with how your life is going, are in a crisis, or simply want to focus on personal growth, therapy may be right for you. You do not need a psychological diagnosis to benefit from counselling or psychotherapy. Therapy can help you to understand yourself better, to see things in a new way, and to discover new ways of interacting with others. Therapy may also be beneficial to you if you are experiencing emotional suffering, if you are not able to accomplish things like you used to be able to, or if other people that you trust have expressed concerns about how you are doing. Finally, therapy may be for you if you are experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder such as depression, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.


How many sessions are needed?

 The length of individual therapy depends on your needs, resources, motivation, and goals for therapy. When determining the length of therapy it is important to consider:
  • How long have you had the problem?
  • How many goals do you want to achieve?
  • How complex are the goals?
  • What resources and sources of support are available to help you reach your goals?
  • How motivated are you to work towards your goals during the therapy sessions, and also between therapy sessions?

 

Therapy can have ups and downs, and some sessions can feel more useful than others. The important thing is to feel like overall, you are moving in the right direction. It is kind of like planting seeds in garden. If you check the garden every 15 minutes, you may not notice that many changes. However, over time, you should start to notice some meaningful changes taking place.


What happens during the individual therapy sessions?

Pre-therapy: Intake paperwork

Once you book your first session, you will be sent an intake form to complete.

During the first session, your therapist will go over the intake form with you, to make sure that all the information has been properly understood. If you prefer not to fill in the paperwork beforehand, your therapist will assist you to complete the intake and consent form during your first appointment.

Phase 1: Assessment and Treatment Planning

During the first few sessions, you and your psychologist will begin to get to know one another. Your reasons for seeking consultation and your expectations for therapy will be discussed. Your psychologist will provide you with emotional support, and will ask you some questions in order to understand the difficulties you are experiencing in your life. A treatment plan that fits with your values and the context of your life will be developed. This plan will be designed specifically for you and will include your goals for therapy, and some strategies to help you reach these goals.

Phase 2: Intervention

You and your psychologists will work together on the treatment plan developed during phase 1. This plan may be revised if needed as therapy progresses. The length of phase varies according to your needs.

Phase 3: Termination and Relapse Prevention

During the final few sessions of therapy, your progress in therapy will be reviewed, and a toolbox of strategies will be created to help you maintain your treatment gains. The purpose of the toolbox is to remind you how you were able to cope effectively with difficulties during therapy, so that you can use these same tools again in the future to help prevent problems from returning, or to be more effective at coping with problems if they return.


How long are the therapy sessions?

Sessions last approximately 45-50 minutes and typically occur on a weekly basis. Sessions are always booked on the hour, e.g. 9 am (not 9:30 am). Sessions are not a full hour, because clients are seen on the hour, every hour, and the therapist needs 10 minutes between clients to write the session note, and to prepare for the next client.

If you are in distress you can be seen more frequently as needed (e.g., twice a week), or if things are going more-or-less fine or if finances are an issue, you can be seen less often (e.g., every 2 weeks or once a month). However, a once-a-week format is most typical because it allows for enough time between the sessions for you to work on whatever was discussed in the session, but not so much time that the next session is spent updating the therapist on a lot of things that have happened between the sessions.


What about Payment?

Payment is due at the start of every session by cash, debit, or credit card. Paying at the start of the session allows the remainder of the time to be spent on the therapy, so that the session can end on time (at ten minutes to the hour). This policy helps to keep the entire therapy process within the allotted time frame so that all clients can be seen on time.

Most insurance companies cover psychological services provided by a psychologist, or services provided by therapists supervised by a psychologist. Please check with your insurance company to verify your particular coverage. All of our psychologists are licensed with the Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ). Any unclaimed fees provided by a licensed psychologist may be claimed as medical expenses on your yearly income tax returns.

Kindly provide us with 48-hours’ notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment to avoid being charged for the missed session. When you schedule a session, time has been set aside especially for you. If you need to cancel, please let us know at least 48 hours in advance so that the spot can be made available to others who may be waiting for an appointment. However, we understand that emergencies can happen. If you need to cancel an appointment because of an emergency, you will not be charged for providing less than 48 hours’ notice.

Many people are used to spending significant amounts of money on trips, pets, cars, and televisions, but they are not used to the idea of investing money into their own well-being. Therapy is an investment that requires not only your time, energy, and emotions, but also a financial commitment. Although therapy can appear expensive in the short-term, it can save you many costs in the long-term. For example, not seeking help can cost you continued emotional suffering; financial costs associated with taking medications, loss of productivity at working including needing to take sick days and missing opportunities for promotion; costs to your health associated with binge eating, smoking, drinking, or taking drugs to reduce stress; missed opportunities for developing supportive and intimate relationships with others such as romantic partners, friends, family members, and co-workers. Fortunately, the sooner that you make this investment, the longer you will have to enjoy its benefits.


How do I get the most out of my therapy sessions?

In order to make the most of your therapy sessions, you may wish to think about some specific goals that you would like to achieve in therapy. During the sessions, a flexible plan can be made to help you achieve these goals. The goals may change as therapy progresses, but it can be useful to start with some sense of what you would like to achieve. Working towards goals requires time and effort both in-session, and especially between sessions. Therapy can help you to plan activities to work on between therapy sessions. You may wish to keep all of your therapy handouts in a binder or notebook so that you can easily refer to them during the week.


Is what I say in therapy confidential?

Psychologists are required to document their services. Files may include items such as: personal information, progress notes, and evaluations. This material is kept strictly confidential. Confidentiality is a key principal upon which the practice of psychotherapy is based. No information about you can be released to a third party your without your prior written consent, or verbal consent in the case of an emergency. Exemptions to professional secrecy, where disclosure is required, may include: (1) you are under 14 years of age, and your parents/legal guardians want access to your file, (2) risk of imminent danger, such as suicide, death, risk of running away, or serious bodily harm to an identifiable person or group, (3) suspected or known abuse or neglect of a child or older adult, (4) unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, (5) requests ordered by a court of law or the Order of Therapists of Quebec, or (6) access is required by other personnel (e.g., administrative staff) to carry out their professional duties, (7) limits related to technology such as email or Skype. Therapists must, as soon as the interest of their client so requires, receive supervision, consult another therapist, a member of another professional order, or another competent person. Disclosure of identifying information will be minimized, and your name will not be released without your consent.


I’m not sure if I like therapy. What should I do?

Therapy can be hard work. If you have any concerns about the process of therapy, please mention your concerns to your psychologist as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that you receive the best care possible, even if this involves referring you to another resource. The goal of Blake Psychology is to help you in the way that you need to be helped, by a person who is qualified to do so.


What if I’m still not sure if therapy is right for me?

Attending therapy is completely voluntary. You are welcome to book an appointment to see if there is a connection between yourself and your psychologist, and to give therapy a chance to see what it can do for you. If you find that therapy is not right for you, you are free to discontinue treatment at any time, or to request a referral to another source of help. If you have any additional questions, please contact us by phone or email and someone will be happy to assist you.


Which psychologist is the best & most qualified?

All our psychologists and therapists have extensive training, and only practice in the areas that they are qualified to practice in.  If you tell us the issue that you are seeking help for, we’d be happy to let you know which therapists specialize in those areas.


What is your cancellation policy?

More than 48 hours notice is required to cancel or reschedule an appointment, to avoid being charged an administrative fee equivalent to the cost of the missed session. Each appointment booking is sent out with a cancellation link, so that you can cancel online if you need to. This cancellation link allows you to select a reason for your cancellation and to type a note that will be sent to the therapist, if you so wish.


How long is the waiting list?

If you are waiting to meet with a therapist who has a waiting list, it can be hard to predict the exact wait time.  However, the way that the waiting list works, is that when the therapist has a cancellation, they will start contacting clients until the spot is filled. So you could be contacted right away, or it could take a couple of weeks.


Can someone else pay for my sessions?

Absolutely. However, the name on the receipt is the name of the client, not the person who paid.  If necessary, a note can be added to the receipt, such as “Mr. X was the client, and the session was paid for by Ms. Z”.


Do you offer a sliding scale or have student rates?

Sorry, we do not offer a sliding scale.  For lower cost options, please try the Argle: 514-931-5629, McGill:514-398-4641, or Concordia: 514-848-2424, x. 7550.


Can I speak to the therapist before booking, to make sure it’s a good fit?

Talking to the therapist before your first session is not part of the service that we offer, as meeting face-to-face is really the best way to assess the fit. During the first session, you will get to know your therapist.  If for whatever reason you do not feel that it’s a good fit, we’d be happy to switch you to another member of our team, no hard feelings. If you have specific questions regarding therapy, one of our receptionists would be happy to answer them. Additionally, you can check out the therapist’s profile online and read client recommendations here: https://www.blakepsychology.com/psychologists/


What is a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology?

Prior to 2006, psychologists could be licensed with a Master’s degree, so many psychologists only have only a Master’s degree. Currently, a PhD degree is required prior to becoming licensed as a psychologist. A PhD is an additional 4-6 years of university-level training, after the Master’s degree. The Doctoral Candidates who work at Blake Psychology have completed all their clinical training required to obtain their PhD, they are just in the final states of getting licensed, e.g., finishing up their research/doctoral thesis, or are finished all of their PhD requirements, but just waiting to pass the French test, or just waiting for their license to come in the mail.  Doctoral candidates have extensive clinical training, and are working under supervision until they have their license.


Can I arrive late to the session?

If you arrive late, you will not be given extra time. Sessions always end at ten to the hour, so that the therapist has time to write their session note, and to be on time for the next client.


For couples therapy, can I start alone, and can my partner join later on?

If you are meeting with Ms. Daniela Beer-Becker or Ms. Sophie Brive, both partners need to be present at all times. If you are meeting with Dr. Nicole Roberts, both you and your partner are permitted one “alone session”, and the rest of the time you will need to meet all together.

If you need more than one session to discuss things with a therapist without your partner present, you may wish to also pursue individual therapy. If you want both individual therapy and couples therapy, you will need to meet with two separate therapists (the therapist who sees you for couples therapy cannot also see you for individual therapy).

Please let us know if you would like to book a couples therapy session and/or individual therapy session for you.


Do you accept insurance?

We provide official receipts for insurance purposes. Because we are a private psychology clinic, clients pay the clinic directly, and receipts are provided, so that you can ask your insurance to reimburse you. To find out what your specific insurance policy covers, please contact your insurance provider directly.


Does insurance cover Doctoral Candidates in Psychology?

If you plan on submitting your receipts to your insurance company, you may wish to contact them in advance to make sure that they will cover the specific services offered. It is important to verify your coverage in advance, as we will be unable to reimburse you for services provided. 

Your receipts will say:  Services provided by Doctoral Candidate {NAME}, supervised by Psychologist {NAME, OPQ#}.   

You may wish to tell your insurance company exactly what will appear on your receipts so that you will know for sure whether or not you will be covered. If your insurance does not cover “doctoral candidates supervised by licensed psychologists”, please let us know so that we can re-assign you to a psychologist on our team.


For couples’s therapy: can we have two receipts as my partner and I have different insurance companies through work and we want to pay 50-50?

Only one receipt can be created per session.  Upon request, a note can be added to the receipt stating “half paid by X and half paid by Z”. Alternatively, couples can alternate paying the full amount, so one pays for session 1, and one pays for session 2, and so on.